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Round 1 Recap: Calgary, BC complete trade; Williams goes first – CFL.ca

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TORONTO — The 2020 CFL Draft started off with some excitement as a trade ensued before the first pick had even happened.

Calgary, who held the first overall pick in the draft, decided to swap picks with the BC Lions. GM and president John Hufnagel traded the first overall and the 15th overall pick to the BC Lions, in exchange for their third overall pick and their 12th overall pick.

With the first overall pick, the BC Lions selected linebacker Jordan Williams, who is the first regional combine participant to be taken first overall and the first linebacker to go No. 1 since Winnipeg took Henoc Muamba first in 2011.


» Draft Tracker: Each pick as they happen
»
Mock Draft 2.0: Ferguson weighs in on who will go first overall
»
Scouting Bureau: Final April Rankings
»
How to watch the 2020 CFL Draft live

Williams had an excellent showing a the Ontario Regional Combine in March, posting the best 40-yard dash (4.48 seconds) of the day and showed a 39-inch vertical while going for 20 reps on the bench press and recording a 10-foot, 8.5-inch broad jump. That helped his draft stock immensely, as CFL.ca’s Marshall Ferguson had Williams first overall in his second mock draft.

Next up, Mississauga native Dejon Brissett was selected by his hometown team, the Toronto Argonauts, second overall. The addition of Brissett adds another Canadian to the Argos’ receivers group, joining Juwan Brescacin and Natey Adjei, who also hail from the Toronto area. Brissett is the seventh receiver the Argos have drafted in the first round, joining Brian Jones, J.F. Tremblay, Matt Duboc, Jock Climie, Paul Fedor, and Ted Smale.

Calgary went with a defensive lineman with the third overall pick, selecting Southeastern Lousiana’s Isaac Adeyemi-Berglund.

Edmonton took the first offensive lineman of the 2020 Draft, selecting Buffalo’s Tomas Jack-Kurdyla. Hamilton followed suit, picking O-lineman Coulter Woodmansey out of Guelph with their fifth overall selection. Woodmansey became the highest Guelph player chosen since Rob Maver went 5th overall in 2010. Before that was Mike O’Shea, who was fourth overall in 1993.

Adam Auclair, who was selected sixth overall by Ottawa, became the 11th player from Laval to be drafted in the first round since 2005. Auclair’s selection is the highest for a defensive back since Chris Ackie went fourth overall in 2015.

The Riders then took a local product, offensive lineman Mattland Riley out of the University of Saskatchewan, with the seventh overall pick.

Hamilton went with a defensive end for their second pick of the first round, selecting North Dakota’s Mason Bennett eighth overall.

The Argos rounded out the opening nine picks with the selection of offensive lineman Theren Churchill out of Regina. Churchill is the first Regina player selected in Round 1 since OL Brendon LaBatte, selected sixth overall by Winnipeg in 2008.

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New York Rangers get OK to interview Gerard Gallant for coaching job

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The New York Rangers plan to interview Gerard Gallant for their head coaching job, TSN reported.

The Vegas Golden Knights, who fired Gallant during the 2019-20 season, reportedly have granted permission.

A first conversation between the Rangers and Gallant was expected to take place quickly, before Gallant heads to Latvia to coach Team Canada at the IIHF World Championship, which runs from May 21-June 6.

Gallant, 57, was the first coach of the expansion Golden Knights and led them to the Stanley Cup Final in their inaugural season in 2017-18. The Washington Capitals won in five games.

He was fired 49 games into his third season when the team was 24-19-6, and he had an overall record of 118-75-20 with Vegas.

He also coached the Columbus Blue Jackets (2003-07) and Florida Panthers (2014-17) and has a career record of 270-216-4-51 in 541 career games as a head coach.

The Rangers are in the midst of an overhaul. They fired head coach David Quinn and three assistant coaches on Wednesday, following the dismissal last week of team president John Davidson and general manager Jeff Gorton.

The Rangers failed to qualify for the playoffs for the fourth straight season after posting a 27-23-6 record in 2020-21. They finished in fifth place in the East Division.

Quinn, 54, compiled a 96-87-25 record during his three seasons as coach of the Rangers after taking over for Alain Vigneault on May 23, 2018.

–Field Level Media

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NHL wants answer on Canada border crossing soon

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The NHL has asked the Canadian government for a decision by June 1 about U.S. teams crossing the border during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, ESPN reported Friday.

 

The Canadian teams played only each other during the 2020-21 season in a revamped North Division because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and that will continue during the first two rounds of the playoffs. It’s what happens after that — in the semifinals and finals — that is up in the air.

 

“The conversations are ongoing. We’ve told them we really do need to know by the end of the first round, and that’s around June 1,” Steve Mayer, the league’s chief content officer, told ESPN. “That’s pretty much the date that we’ve talked to them about, saying we have to know one way or another.”

 

Last season, the playoffs were held in bubbles in Edmonton and Toronto.

 

Under current rules, American-based teams couldn’t play in Canada without mandatory quarantines, which would make travel for home-and-away games impossible under the playoff calendar.

 

The NHL and government representatives last talked a week ago, and the Canadian officials submitted a variety of questions for the league’s response.

 

In the interim, Mayer said, the league has discussed the possibility of the Canadian team that advances from the North Division being based in the U.S. for the duration of the postseason. Talks have occurred with officials at NHL arenas where teams didn’t qualify for the playoffs.

 

An NHL source told ESPN this week that the league expects “a positive resolution” to the issue, however.

 

–Field Level Media

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Canada to play 2 more home World Cup qualifiers in U.S.

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As Canada continues to wrestle with the coronavirus pandemic, the country’s national soccer team will play two more of its home World Cup qualifying matches south of the border in June.

Canada will face Aruba in Bradenton, Fla., on June 5, and will take on Suriname in suburban Chicago on June 8, Canada Soccer confirmed Monday.

The games are Canada‘s last two of four matches in CONCACAF Group B. A March 26 Canadian home match against Bermuda was held in Orlando, Fla., which Canada won 5-1. Also, the Caymen Islands were the host team on March 29, when Canada rolled, 11-0.

Only one national team advances to the next round, and Canada and Suriname top the group and the game against Suriname in Bridgeview, Ill., figures to be the deciding match in both teams’ efforts to advance.

Thirty nations from Central and North America are competing in this first round with six group winners advancing to a second round of head-to-head knockout matches for the right to compete in the CONCACAF final round of eight teams competing for four places in the 2022 World Cup. A fifth team from CONCACAF advances to an intercontinental play-in round.

As was executed in Orlando, the match in Chicago will be staged in accordance with the FIFA International Match Protocols supported by the relevant public health requirements.

“We had hoped to play these matches at home with Canadian fans providing the support and momentum to play a tough nation like Suriname in FIFA World Cup Qualifiers,” said John Herdman, coach of the Canadian men’s national team. “The reality of the global pandemic and the priority to keep our communities in Canada safe means the match will be played at a neutral site in Chicago with no home advantage, but we will embrace that challenge.

“Whatever comes at us, we will take it on and do whatever we need to do to advance to the next round.”

-Field Level Media

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