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Roughriders fans near and far ready to cheer on green and white during West Division final –



Saskatchewan Roughriders fans are gearing up to cheer on the green and white during Sunday’s CFL West Division final — whether at the game or thousands of kilometres away.

The game in Winnipeg will decide which team will travel to Hamilton for the 108th Grey Cup on Dec. 12.

Hundreds — if not thousands — of fans in green and white will be making the pilgrimage to Winnipeg.

Annamaria Pedulla is one of them.

“The Riders have to win because I have to redeem myself around all these Bombers fans,” she said. 

Pedulla, who is from Thunder Bay, Ont., and now lives in Regina, also attended the Banjo Bowl this season, which the Riders lost.

The green and white also lost the Labour Day Classic against Winnipeg in front of a sold-out crowd in Regina.

Annamaria Pedulla, second from right, attended the Banjo Bowl in Winnipeg this season. (Submitted by Annamaria Pedulla)

But that’s not going to deter Pedulla from going to Sunday’s win-or-go-home game.

“I’m excited. I’m really hoping that Saskatchewan redeems themselves after the Banjo Bowl and the Labour Day classic,” she said.

“I just want to see Winnipeg lose.”

There can be some bad blood between the Riders and Bombers — both on the field and in the stands — but that’s not the case for Pedulla, despite her desire to see the Bombers fall.

“I’m friends with Bombers fans, unfortunately, so they were pretty good about making sure I didn’t get into too much trouble,” she said with a laugh, referring to her trip to the Banjo Bowl.

Pedulla acknowledged that Bombers fans are “pretty loud, especially when they’re beating us. They like to turn around and make sure that [we] know they are beating Saskatchewan.”

But she says Riders fans are more passionate.

“They love their team,” she said.

“They support their team year round, at any event, and the team’s always giving back, from what I’ve noticed — they’re really good about being part of the community.”

Pedulla is fairly new to the green and white family. She moved to Regina four years ago and has since adopted the Riders as her CFL team.

“I never watched the CFL before, so it’s crazy to see this Canadian support for a Canadian team that I didn’t see in Ontario as much,” she said.

Her favourite part of cheering for the Riders is the unity among fans, she said.

“It’s just amazing that it’s bringing people together rather than tearing them apart.”

Rider Nation in Mexico

Unity among Rider fans reaches far beyond Saskatchewan — or even Canada.

Greg Bennett owns Shooters Bar and Grill in San José del Cabo, Mexico — a hub for CFL football, among other sports.

Bennett, who is from Regina, said Roughriders fans are the most prominent CFL fans in San José del Cabo.

He said there are many expats and snowbirds from around Canada in San José del Cabo, but the “Riders still seem to be the one team that there’s more excitement around.”

“You see more Rider jerseys and hats and stuff on football day than you would see with any other CFL team, so it’s just that kind of Rider Nation thing that happens — and it’s pretty exciting.”

Roughriders fans in Mexico cheer on the green and white and Shooters Bar and Grill. (Submitted by Greg Bennet)

He said the bar’s busiest day of the week is usually Sunday due to NFL football, but he’s preparing an even bigger day this Sunday for the West Division final.

Bennett said they’ll have a few TVs in the main section of the bar dedicated to the game, along with decorations and Riders paraphernalia.

“It’ll be a lot of fun,” he said.

“There’s not as many Winnipeg fans around, but there are some, so most of the cheering will be on the Riders side.”

Either way, Bennett said it’s nice to have CFL fans back in the bar after many people put a halt on travel due to COVID-19.

“It’s just a breath of fresh air,” he said.

Bennett also has something to look forward to next week — the Grey Cup.

He said it’s one of the bar’s busiest days of the year.

“People arrive early and they stay late and it’s just a really good day for us,” he said.

The West Division final is set set to begin at 3 p.m. CT on Sunday. The East Division final between the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Toronto Argonauts starts at 11:30 a.m. CT.

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Chiefs’ Tyrann Mathieu suffers concussion on opening drive vs. Bills –



KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu has been ruled out for the remainder of Sunday’s divisional-round game against the Buffalo Bills after suffering a concussion while trying to make a tackle on the opening drive.

The Chiefs had held the Bills to fourth-and-2 at midfield when Allen took off on a designed run. Mathieu went low trying to tackle the 240-pound quarterback and his helmet collided with the knee of teammate Jarran Reed.

Mathieu was checked briefly in the blue sideline tent before he was taken to the locker room.

Allen converted that fourth-down run, then the Bills converted again on fourth-and-goal at the Kansas City 1 to take a 7-0 lead in a rematch of last year’s AFC title game won by the Chiefs.

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Beijing introduces more COVID measures as cases mount before Olympics



Beijing‘s city government on Sunday introduced new measures to contain a recent outbreak of COVID-19, as China’s capital continued to report new local cases of the virus less than two weeks before it hosts the Winter Olympic Games.

Nine locally transmitted cases were found in Beijing on Jan. 22, the National Health Commission said on Sunday, of which six were in the city’s Fengtai district.

Fengtai will organise nucleic acid tests for COVID-19 for all of its residents on Sunday, district health authorities said.

Authorities have asked residents of “risky areas,” including a neighbourhood of Fengtai, to not leave the city, a local government spokesman said at a Sunday news conference, adding that Fengtai residents have been asked to avoid mass gatherings.

Beijing city has also asked residents to proactively conduct nucleic acid tests if they find themselves with COVID-19-like symptoms within 14 days of receiving any deliveries from overseas, local authorities said in a statement dated Saturday.

Authorities have suggested Beijing’s first case of the Omicron variant of the novel coronavirus could have arrived via a package from Canada.

In Fengtai, some kindergartens have told parents that children who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 will not be able to attend, two parents told Reuters.

Reuters could not determine whether the requirement is a government regulation or the kindergartens’ own rules.

A mother surnamed Wang, whose child attends at a private kindergarten in Fengtai, said a teacher told her on Friday that unvaccinated children will not be allowed to return from Monday citing new government regulations, without providing Wang any official documents.

“This is not on a voluntary basis. This is coercion,” Wang told Reuters. She said she has filed a complaint with authorities in the hope of having the requirement removed.

Reuters could not reach local authorities for comment on a non-business day.

Mainland China reported 56 new COVID-19 cases on Jan. 22, down from 63 a day earlier, the National Health Commission said.

Of the new cases, 19 were locally transmitted, versus 23 a day earlier, it said.

The number of new asymptomatic cases, which China does not classify as confirmed cases, fell to 34 from 43.

There were no new fatalities, leaving the death toll at 4,636.

As of Jan. 22, mainland China had confirmed 105,603 cases.

(Reporting by Yingzhi Yang, Roxanne Liu, Jing Xu and Ryan Woo in Beijing; Editing by William Mallard and Christopher Cushing)

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ECHL's Jacksonville Icemen release Jacob Panetta after Jordan Subban calls out racist gesture – The Athletic



The ECHL’s Jacksonville Icemen released defenseman Jacob Panetta on Sunday after South Carolina Stingrays defenseman Jordan Subban said he was subjected to a racist gesture during Saturday’s game. The league suspended Panetta indefinitely, pending a hearing under the league’s collective bargaining agreement.

Later Sunday, Panetta released a response on Twitter, tagging Subban and captioning the video, “racism has no place in this world and no place in the game we love.” He said the gesture he made toward Subban was a “tough-guy, bodybuilder-like” one during a confrontation on the ice. He also said he’s made the same gesture to “non-racialized players a number of times” in his career.

Subban said Panetta made monkey gestures in his direction. His brother, New Jersey Devils defenseman P.K. Subban, later tweeted a video of the incident, which occurred 23 seconds into overtime.

“More like (Panetta) was too much of a coward to fight me and as soon as I began to turn my back he started making monkey gestures at me so I punched him in the face multiple times and he turtled like the coward he is,” Jordan Subban tweeted after the game.

In his video, Panetta said “no racist slurs, noises, or anything of the like, were said by me during the incident.” While he said there were no racial intentions behind the gesture, Panetta apologized for the “pain and suffering and anger my actions have caused him, his family, and everyone that was hurt by this.”

“I acknowledge the impact of my gesture and will commit to better understand the impact going forward,” Panetta said. “Those who know me understand (it) was not intended to be racial, it is not who I am, it is not how I have been raised.

“But at the same time, I need to and I will learn from this. Racism and other forms of discrimination have no place in society, including hockey. I believed that before, and I still believe that now.”

Panetta’s release is “effective immediately” and the investigation is still ongoing at the league level, Jacksonville said in a statement.

South Carolina president Rob Concannon said the club is “disgusted and appalled” by Saturday’s incident.

“Our organization stands in support of our friend and teammate, Jordan, as well as the other players who continue to deal with racism and discrimination. This behavior has to stop and is unacceptable.”

The NHL also issued a statement Sunday, saying it “will continue to make its resources available to the hockey ecosystem to educate and inform, with the goal of making the game welcoming and safe for all players and fans.”

“Incidents of racism, whether they occur in hockey or anywhere else, are abhorrent,” the league said.

Later Sunday, the Devils released a statement backing the Subbans. “We stand in support of Jordan, P.K., the Subban family and anyone who has experienced discrimination within our sport,” team said. “This week’s racist acts within the hockey community are unacceptable and have no place in the game or anywhere.”

On Friday, the San Jose Barracuda of the AHL suspended forward Krystof Hrabik 30 games for using a racial gesture during a game earlier this month.

(Photo: Brett Carlsen / Getty Images)

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