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Winnipeg Jets broadcaster apologizes for comments about plastic-wrapping 15-year-old – CBC.ca

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A Winnipeg Jets broadcaster has apologized after telling a story on the air about plastic-wrapping a 15-year-old player to a pole while working as an assistant coach in the Western Hockey League.

“Favourite story of Jared Spurgeon,” Kevin Sawyer mused during a Jan. 4 TSN broadcast of the game between the Jets and Minnesota Wild. “He was a 15-year-old, two months in the season. We Saran-wrapped him to a pillar in the arena, about six feet up in the air.”

“He was so tiny. He looked like he was 12.”

At the time, in 2005, Spurgeon was a player with the Spokane Chiefs and Sawyer was his assistant coach. Spurgeon is now in his 10th season as a defenceman with the Wild.

In a minute-and-a-half-long apology at the start of TSN 3’s Jets broadcast Tuesday night against the Carolina Hurricanes, Sawyer said he was “truly sorry” for the comments.

“I’ve spent considerable time reflecting on my comments over the past couple of weeks, and I was insensitive in sharing a story that was inaccurate and should never have been told on television in the first place,” he said on camera in Raleigh, N.C.

The colour commentator said he was “unaware and had nothing to do with the 16th birthday recognition,” until everyone sang Happy Birthday to Spurgeon, who “appeared happy in that moment.”

“At that time I did not view it as a negative, harmful, or demeaning in any way, rather a celebration of an extremely popular and well-liked teammate. Now I understand that times have changed a lot over the past 15 years, and for the better. This is certainly something that I would never allow if I was coaching in the game today,” he said.

The Wild’s Jared Spurgeon, left, was a player for the Western Hockey League with the Spokane Chiefs and Sawyer was his assistant coach. (Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

The comments come as hockey receives increasing scrutiny for hazing and bullying, with several high-profile cases in the last year involving the firing of coaches.

One of those fired coaches was the Calgary Flames’ Bill Peters, who was also the head coach of the Spokane Chiefs during the 2005 incident Sawyer spoke about.

Sawyer’s Jan. 4 comments received backlash on social media, including from former Winnipeg Jet Scott Campbell, who tweeted that Sawyer’s comments were “jaw-dropping.”

Sawyer said as a father of two teenagers, he understands “how important it is for for our kids to feel safe when they are in the care of others.”

“My comments were unprofessional, insensitive and may have sent the wrong message and for that I want to sincerely apologize to you, our viewers. I am truly sorry.”

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Hurricanes roll out carpet for David Ayres with home game invite – CBC.ca

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The Carolina Hurricanes aren’t done with David Ayres just yet.

Ayres, a 42-year-old Zamboni driver for the AHL’s Toronto Marlies, was forced to be Carolina’s emergency goalie for its road game Saturday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Ayers, of Whitby, Ont., stopped eight-of-10 shots he faced in his NHL debut, helping the Hurricanes capture a 6-3 victory.

Afterward, he was named the game’s first star. Ayres came into the game in the second period after injuries to regular netminders James Reimer and Petr Mrazek.

On Sunday, the Hurricanes announced that Ayres will be present for their home game Tuesday night against the Dallas Stars.

“See you Tuesday, Davey!” the club said on its Twitter account.

After the win over Toronto, the Hurricanes provided a video of Ayres being showered by Carolina players when he came into the team’s dressing room. And head coach Rod Brind’Amour praised both Ayres and his team for their efforts.

“It’s not often in a game that you get tied to a great memory,” he said. “All you have is the memories you’ve got and you guys just gave me one, you gave each other one.

“But it’s a memory I’m going to have forever, the way you guys played in that third period for you (pointing to Ayres) and the way you [Ayres] played for us.”

What’s more, the stick Ayres used in the game is going to the Hockey Hall of Fame.

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Jones, Lawes families find support in each other after personal losses – CBC.ca

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MOOSE JAW, Sask. — Jennifer Jones is two wins away making Scotties history.  

And should she win both of her games on Sunday, she’ll be winningest skip in Scotties history with seven titles – currently tied with Colleen Jones with six.

But the veteran skip from Winnipeg, Team Wild Card this year, has been playing with a heavy heart.

There have been so many times throughout this year’s event Jones has looked into the stands for her father, Larry.

He’s not there.

Larry Jones died suddenly this past May. He was Jennifer’s biggest fan and sparked her interest in the game – Larry also coached Jennifer during her first Scotties win in 2005.

“It’s been tough. I’ll be honest,” Jones said. “After we won the Wild Card game I looked up for my dad and he wasn’t there. You kind of sometimes forget. I feel like he’s out there with me. Every time I curl I feel super close to my dad.”

Sitting in the stands though cheering on her daughter is Carol Jones. Larry and Carol were married for 53 years. They sat beside each other for hundreds of hours of curling.

“My husband and I traveled to all these curling events. Every event over the years,” Carol said.

“Some tearful moments. But the curling community is amazing.”

The ‘Thelma and Louise’ of curling

This year, Carol is sitting beside Cheryl Lawes at the Scotties.

The two have been seatmates at big curling events before – during the 2014 Olympics in Sochi they became good luck charms.

“No matter who was sitting in the seat beside her, I had to get them out because I needed to sit beside her,” Cheryl said. “And I did for the whole Olympics and that’s why we won.”

Now they’re reunited and have rekindled a friendship. Losing a husband and father is something Cheryl and Kaitlyn know all too well.

Keith Lawes, who like Larry Jones for Jennifer, got Kaitlyn involved in curling at a very young age. He loved curling and was so passionate about it. In 2007, when Kaitlyn was just 18 years old, Keith died.

Now all of these years later Carol and Cheryl are providing comfort for each other at the Scotties while cheering on their daughters.

Carol Jones, left, and Cheryl Lawes have been side-by-side cheering on their daughters at the Scotties this week. (Devin Heroux/CBC Sports)

“When Carol was starting to go through her journey, and you could tell Larry was ill, I tried to give her some guidance,” Cheryl said.

“And just to be there for a shoulder to cry on.”

There have been many tears and tough days for the two. But they’ve seemed to find a new energy being in each other’s company in Moose Jaw – they’re actually having the time of their lives right now.

“I’m Thelma,” says Cheryl.

“And I’m Louise,” says Carol, laughing.

The two have been dancing around the stands to music, cheering their daughters on wildly, laughing and leaning together when rocks coming sliding down the ice.

“We’ve formulated a very strong friendship and obviously a very strong support for our girls,” Carol said.

“She did grab my knee the other day. It helps to have somebody that you can lean on when there’s a big shot.”

Joy for Jennifer and Kaitlyn

Carol and Cheryl having as much fun as they are at this year’s Scotties has eased the minds of Jennifer and Kaitlyn – to know their mothers have each other while they’re playing means everything to them.

“I texted my mom last night and asked if she was having fun because I haven’t seen her that much. She said, ‘fun? I can’t stop laughing.'” Kaitlyn said.

Cheryl Lawes, left, and Carol Jones position themselves directly behind Jennifer and Kaitlyn’s sheet, watching every shot with laser like focus, hanging on every rock. (Devin Heroux/CBC Sports)

“It makes me so happy. They have so much energy. They seem younger. They’re having a blast and that’s all I could ask for.”

Jones gets emotional when she thinks about the curling journey she’s been on with her parents and now the past decade with Kaitlyn.

“It’s my mom’s first Scotties without my dad. For her to come and see her laughing and having fun means the absolute world to me,” she said. “It’s amazing that our moms can share this together.”

Carol and Cheryl position themselves directly behind Jennifer and Kaitlyn’s sheet, watching every shot with laser like focus, hanging on every rock.

“We make rocks curl. We make rocks crash on a guard,” Cheryl says, laughing.

“Thank god for her. She’s been a great, true friend,” Carol said.

Jennifer beams when she sees her mom having as much fun as she is.

“I have a tremendous mom. She’s the best person in the world,” Jennifer said. “All I want to see is her smiling. Curling brings us so much joy in our family, but I really think it’s been an amazing healing process for my mom.”

Jones vs. Homan battle awaits

That last spot in Scotties Final on Sunday night will be decided in a semifinal game between Jones and Rachel Homan.

Homan defeated Northern Ontario’s Krista McCarville on Saturday to advance to within one game of the championship battle.

It’s been quite the last number of seasons for Homan and her team out of Ottawa. After their disappointment of the Olympics, they lost year’s Scotties final in dramatic fashion by giving up steals in the 10th end and then an extra end.

Those tough losses are valuable lessons.

“Everything you go through changes you and helps you grow as a person,” Homan said.

“We feel like we’re right there.”

Homan’s lead, Lisa Weagle, says they’ve put those losses behind them and are focused on winning a fourth Scotties title.

“The only thing you can do is learn from it. We’ve taken what we can from that and figured out how we can be stronger and better,” she said.

This iteration of Team Homan made their Scotties debut five years ago in Moose Jaw.

Homan says it’d be a fitting place for them to win again.

“We’re going to give it everything we have. If it’s good enough, awesome. If it isn’t, we didn’t leave anything behind,” she said.

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Canucks 9, Bruins 3: Still nothing like a beatdown of the Bruins – The Province

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The Canucks finished off their February homestand with a thumping win over a team Vancouver fans still love to hate.

It was a near-unanimous comment Saturday from the Canucks before facing the Boston Bruins, who would be tired after having to fight hard to defeat the Calgary Flames on Friday night: sure, they’re among the league’s best, but they have to take advantage.

And they did, knocking off the Bruins 9-3 in front of a raucous crowd at Rogers Arena, posting their biggest win over the team. The closest they’ve come was an 8-5 win in 2018. And the first time since 1996 they scored nine goals.

Led by captain Bo Horvat and the Insurance Line, the Canucks dominated the Bruins from start to finish.

In a vintage performance Horvat scored a first-period power-play, helped create goals for both his linemates, picked up an assist along the way and also had a fight. It was the first Gordie Howe Hat Trick for a Canuck since Denis Pederson in October of 2000.

The Horvat-Tanner Pearson-Loui Eriksson was matched up all night against the Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-David Pastrnak line and while Pastrnak tallied twice, the Insurance Line truthfully controlled play throughout.

“He plays 200 foot game and he shows up in big moments and that’s the type of player I want to be, and I look up to guys like that,” Horvat said of his matchup with Bergeron. “You want to have your best games against guys like that so I was extra motivated today for sure.”

Eriksson hit the cross-bar early and then hit the post twice before finally burying a goal late in the second period.

“We were just laughing at that, because I think it was like the second or third shift of the game, he buried one off the crossbar and you’re just like oh my god, like poor Loui, he’s never going to get one, but it’s nice to see him get one,” Horvat said.

The Canucks fired 17 shots on goal in a high-flying first period, Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask reminding onlookers more than once why he’s among the league’s best.

Second periods have been a challenge for Vancouver this season but not on this night as the Canucks scored three times. The period also featured a dust-up between Bruins captain Zdeno Chara and Tyler Myers as well as the full-on fisticuffs between Horvat and Charlie Coyle.

“I don’t know what it is,” Horvat said about his fight, the third of his career but the second against a Bruin. “I just get amped up for these games, especially in front of a home crowd it’s great and it’s always nice to get the win after that, too.”

The Bruins picked up two goals in the third, but it was too little, too late.

On top of the three goals from Horvat and Co., the Canucks also got goals from Troy Stecher, Adam Gaudette, Elias Petterson, Jake Virtanen and two third-period tallies by Tyler Toffoli while the Bruins’ other goal was scored by Chris Wagner.

Here’s what we learned…

Slickest of mitts

It was a toss-up on what was the more impressive feat in the Gaudette goal: was it Quinn Hughes’ deft puck placement on to the centreman’s stick, or was it Gaudette’s equally deft finish, flicking the puck up and over Rask’s shoulder?

Either way, it was the latest reminder that Hughes is an incredible talent and that Gaudette has come a long, long way on offence this season.

Give me the tools and I’ll finish the job

Horvat couldn’t have been any more open when the puck landed on his stick before he fired it over Rask’s shoulder to put the Canucks back in the lead on the Canucks’ first-period power play.

J.T. Miller laid a perfect pass to the wide-open Horvat, who now has nine power play goals on the season, one off his career high.

Horvat agreed, he’d never been more open in his career.

“No, I don’t think,” he replied, smiling. “I was like J.T., if you didn’t pass me that puck I probably would have been pretty upset at you so I was glad he got it to me and I was glad I was able to score it.”

Miller said he was happy that he’d heard Horvat call for a pass.

“I had my back to the play and if he didn’t yell for it I probably would have took my time since it was a power play. I probably would have just tried to get it set up but he did a good job to get in the right spot and I just tried to give it to him and obviously he did a good job burying it.”

Toffoli’s Titanic week

A week ago, Tyler Toffoli tallied a hat trick for the Los Angeles Kings at the outdoor Stadium Series game in Colorado. Monday he was traded to the Canucks.

Wednesday he picked up an assist in his debut.

Saturday, he scored twice and also picked up an assist. Seven points, three games, making headlines. Surely he’s a candidate to be an NHL star of the week?

“I’ve been in a spot like this before personally and, you know, not play the way I wanted to play before my career and I want to do well right now and if I’m doing well, that means I’m helping the team and winning games … winning games is a lot of fun.”


Loui Eriksson #21 of the Vancouver Canucks shoots the puck in net past goalie Tuukka Rask #40 of the Boston Bruins during NHL action at Rogers Arena on February 22, 2020 in Vancouver, Canada.

Rich Lam /

Getty Images

Nothing like beating a goalie

Troy Stecher pointed out the reason for his great delight in scoring earlier this year was because it was the first time he’d beaten a goalie to score in some time.

When he opened the scoring against the Bruins, firing the puck from the side boards past Rask, he practically jumped through the end-glass in celebration. It’s been a trying few days for the Richmond blueliner, who finds himself in the midst of trade chatter for the first time in his NHL career, so it’s understandable why he might have been even more excited to score his fourth of the year.

That he had scored against the Bruins, the team he rooted against as a teenaged fan in the 2011 Stanley Cup Final, also was a factor in his exaltation, it would seem.

“Yeah, I threw a pretty big fist pump, like that one it felt pretty good. I want to play in Vancouver you know, I take pride in playing at home, I take pride playing for our city and I try to represent our city as best as I can. Every time I put that jersey on I definitely want to win and it feels a little sweeter when you play the Bruins, just obviously being from Vancouver,” he said with a grin.

He chuckled about the goal itself, knowing it was a shot that Rask really should have stopped.

“It’s called luck for a reason,” he said. “Honestly I was just trying to shoot far-pad, kind of blocker-side, looking for a rebound.”

He’s been a quiet dynamo on the Canucks’ blueline again this season and lately has been in a shutdown role alongside Alex Edler. A pending free-agent this summer, he wants to stay in Vancouver but if this proves to have been his final game at home in blue and green, he went out on the highest of notes.


Boston Bruins forward Danton Heinen (43) clips Vancouver Canucks goaltender Jacob Markstrom (25) with his stick during the first period at Rogers Arena.

Anne-Marie Sorvin /

USA TODAY Sports

In case you didn’t know…

Pastrnak is very good.

The move he pulled off to undress Jacob Markstrom on his first-period breakaway can be found in the dictionary under “big league moves.”

It’s no easy feat faking right then going left at full speed. Pastrnak added on a return move to his right, leaving the Canucks’ goalie sliding the wrong way.

It’s no surprise he has 44 goals on the season.

Markstrom laughed about the move.

“I think I went in the locker room and you know he got me in the corner,” he said with a grin. “Good play.”

Markstrom made a huge save on Pastrnak with time winding down in the second to keep the game at 5-1.

Pastrnak got his second goal on a third-period power play.

Just in case

Since emergency backup goaltenders are a topic of conversation after Toronto’s EBUG Dave Ayers got the win on Saturday for the Carolina Hurricanes over the Maple Leafs — a team he works for, by the way, raising no concerns about conflicts of interest or anything like that — the man who sits in the press box, ready to go just in case is usually UBC goalie Rylan Toth.

On Saturday it was Ben Maquignez, who is UBC’s third-stringer. He’s served in the role before, as has Toth’s normal backup Patrick Dea.


pjohnston@postmedia.com

Twitter.com/risingaction

NEXT GAME

Tuesday

Vancouver Canucks vs. Montreal Canadiens

4 p.m., Bell Centre, TV: SNETP, TSN2; Radio: SNET 650 AM

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Is the trade for Tyler Toffoli a wise move for the franchise? Ed is not sour on the deal, but having spent a lot of time watching Tyler Madden last year, he feels the kid has a lot of potential.

They also get into the injury and the issues plaguing Brock Boeser, the team MVP candidates, and revisit Sedins Week and talk about the ups and downs of the 2000s as part of the Canucks at 50 series.

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