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RELEASE: Blackhawks Annual Pride Night Returns Sunday, March 26

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The Chicago Blackhawks organization will host its annual Pride Night celebration, in partnership with BMO, on Sunday, March 26 when the team takes on the Vancouver Canucks at the United Center. The evening will showcase many of the community partners, programs and entertainers that the Blackhawks work with year-round in support of the LGBTQIA+ community.

In a statement from the organization, the Blackhawks said they are “proud to continue our annual Pride Night celebration, an evening – alongside year-round efforts – fueled by partnership and LGBTQIA+ community engagement. Together, our activities will focus on fostering conversation and more equitable spaces in our pursuit to make hockey more inclusive. We do not condone anti-LGBTQIA+ rhetoric, and we stand firmly with the community.”

“While we know gameday celebrations like these are an important way we can use our platform to bring visibility, it is the work we do together 365 days a year that can create true impact in ensuring all of our colleagues, fans and communities feel welcomed and safe within our sport,” the organization added.

Leading Up to the Game: 

Earlier this week, the You Can Play Project provided front office staff with an educational overview of their work across the league and discussed the meaning and impact of teams hosting events like Pride Night. The organizations will continue to work together to learn about ways to create inclusive experiences for all Blackhawks staff, fans and community members 365 days a year.

Brock McGillis, a former professional goaltender in the OHL and the first openly gay men’s professional hockey player, will join Blackhawks staff and partners for a compelling fireside chat about his playing experience, hosted by Blackhawks Assistant General Manager Meghan Hunter.

Members of the Chicago Gay Hockey Association will host a family and friends skate event at Fifth Third Arena before attending and participating in a special intermission performance during the game. The organization has partnered with the Chicago Blackhawks since 2010, including bringing the Stanley Cup to the Pride Parade for the first time and supporting the Market Days Classic at Fifth Third Arena.

Pregame Atrium Event:  

Ticketed fans are encouraged to arrive early as celebrations begin in the United Center Atrium at 2:30 p.m., featuring entertainers and small businesses from the LGBTQIA+ community. Highlights include:

Live entertainment from DJ Vernimal and the Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus;

Chicago Sugar Daddy Patisserie, an LGBTQIA+-owned bakery in the North Halsted neighborhood offering all types of delicious baked goods, will give out 500 Blackhawks-inspired cookies to fans as part of a small business spotlight program in partnership with BMO;

‘The Glam-boni’, which pays tribute to floats in Chicago’s iconic Pride Parade, will be available for photos along with community flags, pride inspired decor and colorful wall backdrops.

In-Arena Entertainment:  

Pride festivities will continue throughout the game, with the following special in-arena moments set to take place:

The Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus will return for a first intermission performance, followed by the Chicago Gay Hockey Association who will take the ice to showcase their talent in a skills-based competition;

In partnership with BMO, in-game video moments will put local LGBTQIA+ small businesses in the limelight. This year’s features include Chicago Sugar Daddy Patisserie and the Chicago Male Salon, who in partnership with the Chicago Blackhawks Foundation, will provide support to job seekers with the Center on Halsted later this month;

DJ Zel, who is well known for her throwback and high energy sets, will perform for fans during the second intermission.

Additionally, a Pride retail collection will be available at the Madhouse Team Store, Blackhawks Store on Michigan Avenue and CBHShop.com, where a portion of all proceeds will benefit the Chicago Blackhawks Foundation for its continued work with LGBTQIA+ organizations. One of the t-shirts – as well as other presentation elements of the evening – is inspired by the graphic designs of Andrew Rogers, founder and principal of Joslin Lake Design and a player with the Chicago Gay Hockey Association.

The puck drops at 5 p.m., and the game can be seen on NBC Sports Chicago, heard on WGN Radio and, in Spanish, on TUDN, Univision Sports Radio 1200 AM.

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NBA Returns to Montreal with Raptors vs. Wizards Pre-Season Game

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Montreal, QC – The NBA is set to make an exciting return to Montreal. The league announced on Thursday that the Toronto Raptors will face off against the Washington Wizards at the Bell Centre on October 6, marking the 10th edition of the NBA Canada Series.

This annual series has featured 15 teams playing 18 pre-season games across six Canadian cities. Notably, this will be the eighth NBA Canada Series game in Montreal, the highest for any city outside the Raptors’ usual home in Toronto.

Last year, Montreal fans witnessed the Detroit Pistons take on the Oklahoma City Thunder, featuring Canadians Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Luguentz Dort. The Raptors’ previous game in Montreal was in 2022.

This year’s game will be particularly special as it will showcase several Canadian players. Montreal natives Chris Boucher and Quincy Guerrier are both on the Raptors’ training camp roster. Additionally, Kelly Olynyk and RJ Barrett, who are set to represent Canada at the upcoming Summer Olympics, are also expected to play for the Raptors.

The Wizards bring their own Canadian connection with Kyshawn George, selected in this year’s NBA Draft. George, born in Switzerland, is the son of Montreal’s Deon George, a former member of Canada’s men’s basketball team.

The October 6 game will cap off the Raptors’ Montreal-based training camp, promising an exciting end to their preparations.

For more updates and coverage on the NBA Canada Series, visit Canada News Media

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Fafa Picault Leads Vancouver Whitecaps to Victory Over Sporting Kansas City

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Vancouver, BCFafa Picault emerged as the hero off the bench, scoring in the second half to secure a 2-1 victory for the Vancouver Whitecaps against Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday.

The Whitecaps (11-7-5) dominated the first half, with two goals being disallowed due to offside calls. Vancouver’s breakthrough came in the 34th minute when Kansas City defender Robert Valoder accidentally scored an own goal, giving the ‘Caps a 1-0 lead.

Sporting Kansas City (6-14-5) showed more vigor in the second half, equalizing in the 69th minute with a goal from Willy Agada. However, Picault’s decisive goal in the 76th minute ensured the Whitecaps extended their unbeaten streak in Major League Soccer (MLS) to five games (4-0-1).

Yohei Takaoka delivered an outstanding performance with 16 saves for Vancouver, while Tim Melia made 12 stops for Kansas City, whose three-game winning streak came to an end.

First Half Dominance

The Whitecaps were aggressive from the start, creating several early scoring opportunities. Brian White nearly scored with a header in the seventh minute, but Valoder cleared it off the goal line.

Ali Ahmed had a notable moment in the 27th minute, maneuvering past defenders to set up White for a goal that was disallowed due to offside. The Whitecaps’ pressure paid off in the 34th minute when Valoder deflected the ball into his own net, attempting to intercept a pass from Ryan Gauld to White.

Ahmed seemed poised to increase Vancouver’s lead eight minutes later, but his goal was also ruled offside. Despite these setbacks, Vancouver outshot Kansas City 9-2 in the first half.

Kansas City’s Resurgence

Sporting Kansas City made three substitutions at halftime, revitalizing their performance. Stefan Afrifa, substituting for Alenis Vargas, struck the crossbar in the 63rd minute, and Daniel Salloi’s follow-up shot was expertly saved by Takaoka.

Kansas City equalized six minutes later when Agada capitalized on a rebound after Takaoka’s save, slotting the ball into an open net.

Picault’s Winning Goal

The Whitecaps regained the lead in the 76th minute through Picault’s sixth goal of the season. Sebastian Berhalter, who replaced Ryan Raposo in the 67th minute, delivered a perfect cross to Picault, who headed it past Melia to make it 2-1.

Kansas City had a chance to level the score in injury time, but Erik Thommy’s free kick went over the bar following a foul by Mathias Laborda.

The victory solidifies the Whitecaps’ position as a formidable team in the MLS, with Picault’s performance highlighting their depth and resilience.

Stay tuned for more updates and coverage on the Vancouver Whitecaps at Canada News Media.

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Canada announced its Olympic team — here are some fun facts about the athletes

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The Canadian Olympic Committee today unveiled its team of 338 athletes for the Paris Summer Games. That’s fewer than the 371 named for the Tokyo Games three years ago, but still one of the country’s largest Olympic delegations ever.

Competition in Paris begins next Wednesday with some men’s soccer and rugby sevens games, but Canada doesn’t have a team in either event. Canadians see their first action the following day in archery and a women’s soccer match vs. New Zealand.

The opening ceremony is on Friday July 26, featuring a first-of-its-kind boat parade of athletes on the Seine river. Canada will announce its flag-bearers (expected to be a woman and a man) sometime in the coming days.

Here are some interesting facts and figures about the Canadian Olympic team:

The clear majority of them are women. Excluding the 22 alternates on the team, 61 per cent of the athletes named today “identify as female or are competing in women’s events,” according to the COC. Women are also expected to win the bulk of Canada’s medals. They account for 13 of the 20 (65 per cent) projected by the data company Nielsen’s Gracenote.

The oldest athlete is 61-year-old equestrian rider Jill Irving. The first-time Olympian will compete in dressage after helping Canada to a team gold at the 2019 Pan American Games. Irving is two years older than men’s equestrian rider Mario Deslauriers, who’s back for his fourth Olympics after being Canada’s eldest athlete at the 2021 Tokyo Games. Deslauriers made his Olympic debut way back in 1984.

The youngest athlete is 14-year-old skateboarder Fay De Fazio Ebert. She won gold in the women’s park event at last year’s Pan Am Games, when she was still 13. De Fazio Ebert is 24 years younger than fellow Canadian Olympic skateboarder Ryan Decenzo, who turns 38 in a few days. She’s 36 years younger than British rider Andy Macdonald, who will be 51 by the end of the month.

Canada’s best athlete is also a teenager. Seventeen-year-old swimming sensation Summer McIntosh is favoured to win two individual gold medals and could add a few more in solo and relay events at her second Olympic Games. She debuted as a 14-year-old in Tokyo, where she placed fourth in both the 400m freestyle and 4x200m freestyle relay and cracked the top 11 in her two other individual events. Since then, she’s won back-to-back world titles in both the 200m butterfly and 400m individual medley.

The most experienced Olympian is table tennis player Mo Zhang. The 35-year-old will be competing in her fifth consecutive Games after finishing a career-high ninth in both singles and doubles in Tokyo. 142 of Canada’s athletes have Olympic experience, including 38 medallists, while 174 are rookies.

The most decorated Olympian is swimmer Penny Oleksiak. She collected an all-time Canadian record seven medals over the past two Summer Games. That includes her stunning four-medal performance in 2016 in Rio, where she won an individual gold as a 16-year-old. Now seemingly in the winter of her career at the age of 24, Oleksiak did not qualify for any individual events in Paris but could add to her medal collection in the relays. If she doesn’t, Andre De Grasse will have a better chance to catch her. The track star hopes to contend for the podium in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m events after winning a medal in all three of them at two straight Olympics.

There are 10 children of past Olympians. They include men’s basketball star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, whose mother, Charmaine Gilgeous, was a sprinter for Antigua and Barbuda at the 1992 Barcelona Games; and his fellow NBAer RJ Barrett, whose father, Rowan, played with Steve Nash in 2000 in Sydney and is now the team’s GM. Equestrian rider Amy Millar’s dad, Ian, appeared in a world-record 10 Olympic Games in that sport, while Summer McIntosh’s mom, Jill Horstead, swam in the 1984 Los Angeles Games.

There are five sets of siblings. And they each compete in the same sport. Women’s judo sisters Christa and Kelly Deguchi are, thankfully, in different weight classes. Melvin Ejim and his sister Yvonne Ejim can cheer for each other in men’s and women’s basketball, while mountain bikers Gunnar and Isabella Holmgren are also separated by gender. Twin sisters Katherine and Michelle Plouffe share the court in women’s 3×3 basketball, while sailors Antonia Lewin-LaFrance and Georgia Lewin-LaFrance are quite literally in the same boat.

Read more about the Canadian team in this story from the COC.

 

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