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COVID-19

For CFL fans the last refuge is always hope

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The best thing Randy Ambrosie has done for the CFL is create headlines.

Which makes it interesting that, in many ways, the worst thing he has done for Canada’s struggling professional football league is create headlines.

It’s amazing that the former offensive lineman with the Toronto Argonauts, Edmonton Eskimos and Calgary Stampeders, appointed in 2017 has been commissioner for barely more than three years.

Among his first stated projects was a “world-wide CFL,” complete with athletes from almost anywhere in the world. In most league centres, trials were pooh-poohed as ridiculous, but at least one German player — no previous grid experience — won a spot on last year’s Grey Cup champion Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Ambitious plans for 2020 fell apart after a promising start: coronavirus interfered, no surprise.

At that time, a national uproar developed when Ambrosie designed a pitch for $150 million in federal funds to make sure the aged league could stay alive for the 2020 season and several years into the future. Many spoke out that the league’s noble Canadian tradition deserved support but it was hard to imagine, and still is, that megabuck owners such as David Braley of the B.C. Lions,  Bob Young of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Roger Greenberg of the  Ottawa Redblacks should be handed major federal aid while many other Canadians were suddenly facing dire emergencies.

Small wonder that the original appeal got only cursory notice from Ottawa and other government levels. Then, later, came a bid for a loan of $44 million. Followed by the newest request: only $30 million, interest-free, of course.

Details have not been fully released but Ambrosie has said the money would be used for player salaries, COVID-19 tests and the startup costs required to play in a “hub city” situation at Winnipeg, proposed by Manitoba Mayor Brian Pallister. It is also known that the government has asked — maybe for the first time — about a potential repayment plan.

Word circulated last week that a meeting between CFL brass and government officials is due within a few days. There have been indications — nothing official, of course — that this smaller request has been receiving positive attention.

When and if the funds are provided, work will begin in earnest. Players who have been objecting to lack of info from their league and team employers can finally expect some serious attempts to communicate. How the funds will be split among the league’s teams is also up for grabs: most successful at the box office are community-based western organizations who have been harmed as much as their wealthier league brethren by the general economic and social shutdown.

For fans, the last refuge is always hope. Today, at least, it seems there is some chance we’ll get back to games on the field rather than behind closed doors.

Fingers crossed, everyone.

Was the quick evolution of Draisaitl from prospect to standout THE biggest on-ice element in this positive building project?

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Calgary

Summer is here to Stay at Calgary’s Only Indoor Beach Facility

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After a fairly stagnant summer, where the typical buzz of team athletics and busy sporting fields has been largely missed due to COVID-19, the return of the winter weather is being dreaded by most. 

Do not fear the cold, however, there is a way for Calgarians to beat the winter blues. The Beach YYC, Calgary’s only indoor beach recreation facility offers “a little bit of the summer, all year long”. Located in southeast Calgary at 3030-2600 Portland Street, The Beach YYC is a 23,000 square foot facility with almost 13,000 square feet of beach court space and more than 700 tons of sand.
“After the way the summer has been, where people haven’t been able to play the normal leagues and sports they usually do, people are looking for a social, fun, active thing to do.” Says Elliot Weinstein, Founder of The Beach YYC, “And here we are!” 

Originally inspired by an indoor beach facility located in Vancouver, BC, Elliot decided to introduce the concept to the city of Calgary. As the fifth facility of its kind in Canada and the only one available in Alberta, The Beach YYC draws both high and low level players from across the country for everything from major tournaments to evening rec leagues. In addition to offering rec, intermediate and competitive beach volleyball leagues in co-ed and gendered divisions, the facility has 5 courts that can be adjusted to accommodate beach volleyball, Ultimate Frisbee, Spikeball and dodgeball games.

“It’s a great place for people to maintain and improve their skills during the winter months,” says Elliot, “that way they can jump right back into their summer sports when the weather changes.”

In addition to hosting regularly scheduled leagues, The Beach YYC offers kids play dates and camps, catered events such as birthdays, corporate events and beach parties, as well as weekly drop-in rates – which have been on hold due to COVID-19 but will resume when deemed appropriate. 

Opened in September of 2018, The Beach YYC is now approaching its 2-year anniversary, and recently announced the opening of their beachside diner, George’s Beach Club! Named in honor of Elliot’s grandfather George, the club features a full comfort-food menu that includes delicious anomalies like the Bahn Mi Sub, the Buffalo Chicken Tater Tot Poutine, and banana splits for dessert. 

Now in the final stages of securing a liquor license, George’s will soon be a full-service destination for players and friends to relax at before or after games with a pint and bite. 

Don’t wait on that tropical vacation to get your toes back in the sand … everything is better at The Beach! 

To learn more about The Beach YYC or to check out George’s Beach Club, now available on Skip the Dishes and Uber Eats, visit https://www.thebeachyyc.ca

For more stories, visit Todayville Calgary.

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Alberta

Alberta loosens rules for singing, wind instruments as long as precautions taken

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EDMONTON — Alberta’s top doctor says people can sing and play wind instruments indoors once again, provided COVID-19 precautions are in place.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw says those activities were severely restricted because they were thought to pose unique risks of spreading the virus.

But she says new evidence shows they can be done safely with certain safeguards.

Limited band practices, singing, and wind instrument concerts are allowed as long as there’s proper physical distancing, enhanced cleaning and other precautions.

Choirs can restart with maximum size limits and masks, but audience singing is still not allowed.

Alberta reported 111 new COVID-19 cases in Friday’s update and one new death.

There are 1,444 active cases with 41 in hospital and six in intensive care.

Hinshaw also says there are 29 schools where someone attended while infectious with COVID-19 and that 32 cases have been linked to those schools.

This report by the Canadian Press was first published on Sept. 11, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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