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Alberta

Future of junior football murky as Covid-19 forces cancellation of season

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This simple equation is perhaps the easiest way to enter a description of the Wednesday decision, and Thursday public announcement, that the Canadian Junior Football League has dropped all plans for games this year.

CJFL president Jim Pankovich made it clear that the decision by the Prairie Junior Football Conference and allied leagues in Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia supported the decision unanimously.

“Canadian junior football has 18 teams with 18 different ideas — no, make it 18 teams with about 50 ideas — but this was a combined decision and every organization had a chance to provide input,” Pankovich continued. “It has been a long process.”

The Edmonton Huskies, Edmonton Wildcats and Calgary Colts are affected by the decision. All teams were part of the national negotiation.

Coupled with a previous USports decision to wipe out university football across the country in 2020, the junior move leaves only the Canadian Football League as an option for players and fans, with a decision due from the struggling CFL soon, after a bid for $30 million in federal support money is evaluated.

Pankovich, Prairie Football Conference leader Curtis Craig and Edmonton Huskies owner Bob Bula mentioned in separate telephone conversations Thursday afternoon that the COVID-19 regulations made it impossible to consider a 2020 season. All three mentioned the importance of keeping players involved .

“:Small-group sessions and skill-specific training” were mentioned by Pankovich as a necessity for all teams. He and others mentioned that the game is as important for the lessons it provides to young males as it is for the actual on-field competition.

As soon as the announcement became public, there was serious suggestion that high school players hoping to move into junior ranks and current juniors designing their athletic future around possible participation in university programs.may run into traffic jams because eligibility issues are more complicated than before.

Huskies head coach Iain MacLean agreed fully with the decision: “it’s about the safety of our players and all the others who would have to work with us during the virus.”

He lamented that “this will be the first year of my life without a football season since I was 10 years old” and suggested there will be less pressure than anticipated on young players competing against more potential teammates than usual.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if quite a few of the young guys just stop playing,” he added, “and I think a lot of coaches will be considering the same thing.”

Bula insisted that there was no opposition to government regulations that limit the number of persons — 50 in any on-field cohort at one time — able to participate in games. “We might need as many as 100 or more, including other staff.”

Craig, who also is vice-president of the national governing body, said no Prairie team has the potential to develop a “hub” similar to those now employed by the National Hockey League and National Basketball Association.

For CFL fans the last refuge is always hope

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Alberta

Shattenkirk scores in overtime, Tampa Bay beats Dallas 5-4 in Stanley Cup final

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EDMONTON — Kevin Shattenkirk scored on the power play 6:34 into overtime to lift Tampa Bay to a 5-4 win over the Dallas Stars on Friday and put the Lightning one win away from the Stanley Cup.

Shattenkirk fired the puck from the right face-off circle through traffic and past Dallas goalie Anton Khudobin.

The Lighting have a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven NHL final series and could lift the cup for the second time in franchise history with a win in Game 5 Saturday night at Rogers Place.

Brayden Point, with two goals, Yanni Gourde, and Alex Killorn also scored for Tampa Bay.

Goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 26 shots for his 17th win of the post-season against six losses.

Joe Pavelski, with two goals, John Klingberg, and Corey Perry replied for Dallas. Khudobin made 30 saves. His playoff record falls to 13-9.

It was a back-and-forth game with multiple lead changes.

Dallas coach Rick Bowness, looking to spark his team after a 5-2 loss in Game 3, broke up his top line of Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn and Alexander Radulov, mixing and matching them in various combinations with Joel Kiviranta, Perry, and Pavelski among the top six.

The strategy worked early on.

Dallas had just three shots in the first period but scored twice. Klingberg scored first, then Benn dished to a streaking Pavelski in the slot, who zipped the puck blocker-side low on Vasilevskiy.

Point got his first goal in the dying seconds of the first period on a perfectly executed 200-foot breakout.

Shattenkirk, at his own end line, fired a bounce pass off the boards that Ondrej Palat corralled at centre and in turn relayed to Point in full flight, who deked out Khudobin on the backhand.

Point tied the game at two early in the second period on the power play, standing beside the Dallas net and bunting a puck out of mid-air.

Dallas took a 3-2 lead midway through the second period when Vasilevskiy stopped a close-in shot from a streaking Seguin, but Perry sailed in to jam home the loose puck.

Tampa replied again on the power play with a minute to go in the frame. Gourde jumped on a rebound that came right to his stick in the slot.

The Lightning took their first lead seven minutes into the third period. Killorn scored on a spin-around wrist shot from the right face-off circle.

Pavelski replied on a similar, sharp-angle shot soon after to set the stage for overtime.

Point has 13 goals and 17 assists, but remains behind linemate Nikita Kucherov for the NHL playoff scoring lead. Kucherov logged two assists and has seven goals and 32 points.

Pavelski leads the Stars with 12 post-season goals.

Tampa Bay captain Steven Stamkos did not dress for the game and is questionable for the rest of the series. Stamkos started Game 3 on Wednesday and scored on his first shot but sat on the bench for the last two periods.

He had been out since late February, recovering from core muscle surgery and a lower body injury. The NHL is not releasing injury information.

All games are being played in front of no spectators at Rogers Place, and players are isolating between contests to prevent contracting COVID-19.

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

Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Alberta announces carbon levy-funded programs to reduce oilpatch methane emissions

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EDMONTON — Alberta has announced where it will spend part of the money it recently earmarked to reduce methane emissions from the oilpatch. 

Environment Minister Jason Nixon says $25 million will be spent helping companies buy emissions reduction equipment.

Another $27 million will be spent helping companies find, repair and measure methane leaks.

The money will come from Alberta’s levy on industrial greenhouse gas emitters, a type of carbon tax. 

Nixon says the program will help reach the province’s goal of reducing methane emission by 45 per cent below 2014 levels by 2025.

Methane is a highly potent greenhouse gas, about 25 times more so than carbon dioxide. 

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

The Canadian Press

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