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Alberta

Alberta Juniors Choose Positive Path

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Alberta Juniors Choose Positive Path

Everywhere there is gloom. Well, almost everywhere.

A welcome exception is the 15-team Alberta Junior Hockey League, which lost much of its gate revenue due to the coronavirus pandemic arrival at playoff time, and now waits for permission from Hockey Canada and Alberta Health Services to go ahead with its 2020-2021 season.

President Ryan Bartoshyk confirmed on Monday that his league is “in the process of drawing up our schedule right now. We’re aiming (to have teams on the ice) by Sept. 1 and we hope to get the season started by Sept. 18.” Any and all final decisions must meet with at least two levels of official approval, of course, but operators have expressed their confidence by agreeing to put in the work, recognizing that later starts (or no start) are still possibilities.

To an outsider, the clearest declaration of league independence is this: the schedule, with various possible opening dates pencilled in, is being drawn up for all 15 teams. This is most impressive when it is known that several franchises – no names provided by president Bartoshyk or any team spokesman – have expressed serious concern about the cost of business in the coming season.

We have lost at least one league camp for tryouts,” said a spokesman. “We know we’re going to lose more.”

Not included are the Blackfalds Bulldogs, who will replace the former Calgary Mustangs at the start of the 2021/2002 season. Bartoshyk was pleased to say “work on the new arena for Blackfalds is due to start this month.”

Among the established teams reported to have mentioned their problems outside of league meetings are the Canmore Eagles, but the team’s two captains and a pair of assistants have already been named for the coming season. At least a couple of promising signings have also been announced. As a result, pessimism has shrunk a great deal.

Also optimistic about the coming season are the Olds Grizzlys, whose attendance averaged well over 1,500 a game when they dominated Junior A ranks several years ago but dropped to about 600 a game last year. “This is a great sports community, a great place to be,” said club governor and vice-president executive Trent Wilhauk. “We know the fans will come back; they love their Grizzlys.”

Population of the community is slightly more than 10,000. “It’s a happening place when the team is going good.”

After wiping out last year’s playoffs and destroying some of the regular post-season increases at the gate, COVID-19 has continued to harm the AJHL, just as it has damaged so many other areas of the economy. “We have lost at least one league camp for tryouts,” said a spokesman. “We know we’re going to lose more.”

Those financial setbacks may have been dwarfed by the loss of some appealing playoff matchups. “Some of the teams that drew above-average numbers for us (Okotoks Oilers, Brooks Bandits, Sherwood Park Crusaders) didn’t have a playoff game before we had to stop,” Bartoshyk said. “They all had byes in the first round.”

Other teams with relative season-long success at the gate also missed money-raising opportunities. “It’s obvious that our league relies on corporate sponsorship and support at the gate,” Bartoshyk added, mentioning a handful of promising pending post-season clashes — Drayton Valley and Sherwood Park, the Whitehorse Wolverines and the Spruce Grove Saints, Camrose Kodiaks and Drumheller Dragons – that could not take place.

At this point, the day’s general feeling that the AJHL future remains bright surfaced again.

Said Bartoshyk: “We’re ready. We’ll do what is necessary.”

https://www.todayville.com/edmonton/hundreds-of-young-athletes-grow-more-anxious-by-the-day-acac-season-a-series-of-options/

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Alberta

Markets expected to take measure of Cenovus-Husky deal as earnings season begins

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Calgary oilpatch investors are expected to take stock of a mega-merger between oilsands heavyweights Cenovus Energy Inc. and Husky Energy Inc. as stock markets open this morning.

The surprise deal announced Sunday will see Husky shareholders receive 0.7845 of a Cenovus share plus 0.0651 of a Cenovus share purchase warrant in exchange for each Husky common share.

The companies say the price, which values Husky at $3.8 billion, represents a 21 per cent premium, excluding warrants, to Husky’s five-day volume-weighted average price per share on Friday, but Cenovus CEO Alex Pourbaix said Sunday that’s more a result of recent stock market volatility than intent.

Cenovus shareholders would own about 61 per cent of the combined company and Husky shareholders about 39 per cent. 

The transaction must be approved by at least two-thirds of Husky’s shareholders but Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-Shing  controls 70 per cent of Husky’s shares and has agreed to vote them in favour of the deal.

Sunday’s announcement comes just as Calgary’s oilsands companies are about to start rolling out third-quarter financial results, with Suncor Energy Inc. set to report Wednesday and both Cenovus and Husky scheduled to report on Thursday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 26, 2020.

Companies in this story: (TSX:CVE, TSX:HSE, TSX:SU)

The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Watchdog agency asked to look into man’s death following arrest at LRT station

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CALGARY — Alberta’s police oversight agency has been asked to investigate a death that police say happened after a suspect was arrested at a light-rail train station.

Calgary police say in a news release that they were called to the Marlborough CTrain station on Friday for reports of a man in possession of an airsoft gun.

They the man was cooperative when police arrived and they took him into custody without incident, and they say the arrest was captured on a body-worn camera.

He was charged with breach-related offences, police say, and was transported to Spyhill Services Centre where they say he was cleared by a medic and placed in a holding cell.

Police say that during a routine check of the cells at 8 p.m. the man was eating his meal, but at the next check he was found unresponsive.

They say that despite “significant lifesaving efforts” he was pronounced dead at approximately 8:40 p.m.

“We have recently undergone significant work to ensure that our standards are in line with current best practices for in-custody care,” police said in the news release.

“However out of an abundance of caution, we will be reviewing this incident to inform our procedures.”

Police said that as is standard practice with a death in custody, the Director of Law Enforcement was notified and has directed the oversight body, the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team, to investigate.

Calgary police said in the release that it “has extensive systems and protocols already in place to ensure the care of arrestees, including medical clearance checks for every arrestee prior to being admitted into a cell, searches of individuals before being taken into custody, CCTV systems to monitor people in custody and regular cell checks.”

Police said that since it’s now an active investigation by the watchdog agency, it won’t release further details.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 25, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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