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OPP officer charged with fraud after probe into Wayne Gretzky memorabilia theft –



An Ontario Provincial Police officer is facing fraud charges after an investigation into the theft of Wayne Gretzky memorabilia from the home of the hockey legend’s father.

Police say a three-month probe into the theft also uncovered an alleged fraud involving a Gretzky hockey stick.

A spokesperson for the Ontario Provincial Police says Insp. June Dobson is facing fraud charges in the case.

Staff Sgt. Carolle Dionne says Dobson was already on an unrelated paid leave of absence when the charges were announced Tuesday.

Police in Brantford, Ont., announced that they had arrested a 58-year-old Oakville, Ont., man and a 58-year-old Brockville, Ont., woman, but did not name them.

The arrests came after an investigation following the theft of approximately $500,000 US worth of memorabilia from the home of Walter Gretzky.

Theft investigation also uncovered fraud

Brantford police say that during the investigation they uncovered evidence of someone — unrelated to the theft — allegedly committing fraud involving a Gretzky hockey stick.

“There was a misrepresentation of a piece of memorabilia, and as a result of that, was sold fraudulently,” said Staff Sgt. Keith Tollar on Wednesday.

Dobson, who was the detachment commander of the Grenville, Ont., OPP detachment, is facing charges of fraud over $5,000 and breach of trust.

The as-yet unnamed Oakville man is charged with theft over $5,000 and possession over $5,000.

The two people facing charges were “family friends” and the items were taken over the course of several months, said Tollar, who was the lead investigator on the case.

“There was no break-and-enter, there was no violence toward Walter or the family,” he said.

Police say they believe several of the missing items had likely been sold to collectors across Canada. 

Game-worn gloves and hockey pants were among the items that were stolen, according to police. (Brantford Police Service)

Tollar said collectors need to do their due diligence when purchasing rare items.

“The message that we’re trying to send to people who do purchase these high-end, one-off items … it’s buyer beware.”

Investigators executed three search warrants in Alberta and two in Ontario and recovered souvenirs, including game-used hockey sticks, jerseys and a Player-of-the-Year award that belonged to Wayne Gretzky.

The items were “one-of-one memorabilia that was given from Wayne to Walter,” said Toller.

The family cooperated with the investigation, he said, and was “extremely happy” to see the memorabilia returned.

“From being born and raised in Brantford and knowing the amount of charity work that Walter Gretzky has done, not just locally, but nationally, I think every member of the team was happy to get the items back to Walter,” said Tollar.

“He’s known as Canada’s most-beloved hockey dad, so we were just happy to get those mementos back to where they belong.”

Police say the investigation is ongoing.

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Report: Blue Jays finalize agreement with reliever Kirby Yates –



TORONTO – The Toronto Blue Jays are closing in on a significant addition for a bullpen in need of reinforcements.

Kirby Yates, who was at the team’s training facility in Dunedin, Fla. Tuesday, is now in agreement with the Blue Jays, as first reported by Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. While the Blue Jays have not confirmed that an agreement is in place, sources tell Sportsnet that the contract is for one year with $5.5 million in guaranteed salary and $4.5 million in performance bonuses.

Considering that Yates underwent surgery in August to remove bone chips from his pitching elbow, a physical may have been a necessary step to completing a deal.

When healthy, Yates has been among the game’s best relievers. As a member of the 2019 Padres, for instance, he posted a 1.19 ERA with a league-leading 41 saves on his way to an all-star selection and Cy Young votes. In 60.2 innings that year, he walked only 13 while striking out 101.

Clearly, that kind of arm would be a welcome addition to a Blue Jays bullpen that lost Anthony Bass and Ken Giles to free agency. On Monday, the Blue Jays agreed to terms with Tyler Chatwood, who could also factor into the bullpen mix for manager Charlie Montoyo.

Also in the Blue Jays’ projected bullpen are Jordan Romano, Rafael Dolis, A.J. Cole, Ryan Borucki and Shun Yamaguchi. While Anthony Kay, Julian Merryweather and Thomas Hatch contributed in relief this past season, they’re likely to be stretched out as starting pitchers in 2021.

Beyond the pitching staff, the Blue Jays are also pushing for George Springer, believed to be their top off-season target.

The Blue Jays’ 40-man now includes one empty spot, which means one more player will have to be removed if Yates eventually joins Chatwood on the team.

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What we learned from the Leafs pummeling the Jets – Pension Plan Puppets



The Maple Leafs pummeled the Jets in most statistical categories, and the only reason the score was an ENG-padded 3-1 was Connor Hellebuyck. The Jets did not have Patrik Laine, and that might have made that game a lot easier for the Leafs.

Special Teams

The Leafs laid down a glorious power play for five seconds less than two minutes on the only penalty called on the Jets. It had movement of all kinds, and might be the single best execution the team has done in some time.

The Jets had four full power plays, and their total shooting on those four looked like this:

Oh, look, the Leafs had two shots on the Jets’ power play making the total shot difference in the Jets’ 8 minutes to the Leafs’ 1:55 minutes 12 to 14. However, not only would it be unwise to give up that penalty differential if Laine is in the lineup, it’s very unwise to do it against Edmonton.

This was the Oilers last night:

I mean, yes, on the one hand, LOL Oilers, but on the other, that’s a very intimidating orange blob when you consider who is doing that shooting. That was a relatively poor showing for the Oilers too, considering they had 11:36 of five-on-four to the Canadiens 9:03.

Yeah, that’s the other thing. This is a weird NHL season, but it’s still NHL, so the penalties are frequent to the point of absurdity in some games. That should go away in about two weeks There were only 36:46 minutes of five-on-five in that Montreal – Oilers game.

Zach Hyman

The Leafs finished off the Jets with a Corsi of 62% and Expected Goals of 71%. Meanwhile the Kerfoot line had 39% Corsi and 60% Expected Goals (the worst of any line).

At the same time, however, Hyman had seven shots (Corsi or all shots, not shots on goal) second only to Matthews and Tavares with eight each.

How can you be on the worst line, and one of the best shooters?

The entire 6:49 seconds the Kerfoot line was together only five shots of any kind were produced by any Leafs player. In 1:49 of Hyman with Marner and Matthews, there were six.

Zach Hyman has been cloned in a way. He plays two deeply distinct roles on the team as the muscle winger of the “shutdown” line that doesn’t shut down top lines very well, and as the support the offence winger on the top line in his free moments.

No one should be too concerned about the Kerfoot line in that Jets game, they were more than good enough, but there’s not much about their matchup results that recommends them for the role against better teams. They dummied Ottawa okay. They folded like wet tissue against the Canadiens, and using Kerfoot’s stats as a proxy for the line since he only played two minutes away from Hyman and Ilya Mikheyev, you get this:

  • 31% Corsi against Nate Beaulieu and rookie Logan Stanley
  • 31% Corsi against Mark Scheifele
  • 34% Corsi against Paul Stastny

The only forward they really shut down was Matthew Perreault. To give them their due, they did keep those top two lines on the Jets to less effective Expected Goals while allowing them to dominate the matchup. But when the Matthews line, and particularly the Tavares line rolled over the entire lineup, this doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence that this third line, as constructed, can handle life outside the North Division. Or the Habs. Or even the Oilers for that matter, although, we’re about to find out.

There’s a lot of time to get to a place where that can be a priority to fix, and I don’t think it is now, but no one actually needs a shutdown line that only works against Ottawa.

All numbers are from the Natural Stat Trick Full game report. All are five-on-five, score and venue adjusted, unless other wise specified or in reference to specific Corsi counts, and then they are unadjusted.

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Raptors waive centre Alex Len after seven games with team –



The Toronto Raptors have waived centre Alex Len after just seven games, the team announced Tuesday.

The bruising big man had fallen down the team’s depth chart at centre after signing the former fifth-overall pick to a one-year deal in the off-season.

Len — who’s also had stops in Sacramento and Atlanta after being drafted by Phoenix in 2013 — averaged 2.3 points and 1.6 rebounds in 10.8 minutes for the Raptors.

The 27-year-old had missed the team’s last three games, the first for personal reasons and the latter two because he was in the NBA’s health and safety protocol.

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