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Alberta

Last week our nation ran into a spree of high-profile miracles

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To become a true sports fan, everyone must understand the day-to-day definition of miracle.

League championships count, of course. So do record-setting performances and, rarely, the sort of team or individual success that stamps itself on the viewer’s memory for many years.

Last week, in this humble view, our nation ran into a spree of high-profile miracles:

* Felix Auger-Alliasime, Denis Shapovalov and Vasek Pospisil became the first Canadians to reach the fourth round of the U.S. Open, among the world’s most iconic tennis tournaments;

* Little-known goaltender Thatcher Demko, a San Diego product who was virtually unknown in the NHL, constructed an amazing goaltending streak that carried the underdog Vancouver Canucks all the way to a seventh game in a Stanley Cup playoff quarter-final;

* Our best-ever basketball player, Steve Nash, accepted a contract to coach the Brooklyn Nets of the National Basketball Association.”I knew I wanted to pursue coaching if and when the right chance came.”

* Occasional starter Ogi Anunoby combined with team leader Kyle Lowry on a buzzer-beating, three-point shocker with a half-second remaining — repeat, a HALF-SECOND remaining — to keep the Toronto Raptors alive in their bid to repeat as NBA champions.

Probably the worst thing about sports miracles is that they sometimes fade at painful speed.

Apart from Shapovalov’s victory over Belgian vet David Goffin and the fact that Nash signed a long-term coaching arrangement, that’s exactly what happened this time.

After spotting Goffin the first set in a tie-breaker, the 22-year-old lefty took total control of the next three sets. Pospisil and Auger-Aliassime — known to most of his fans simply as “Double-A” — each played well but lost in the first set. There was little excitement for Canadian fans as they failed to win another set, and probably didn’t reach another break point.

Arguably, the most exciting moments, win or lose, were split between Anunoby and Demko. They also shared immense “cool” when discussing their feats.

Demko, a San Diego product who spent three years in goal at Boston College, made several references to teammates who sacrificed their bodies numerous times in the three games he played at Edmonton’s Rogers Place — two of them victories — against a bigger, stronger, faster Las Vegas team.

Anunoby was even more succinct: “I took the shot because I thought it would go in,” the budding star said without a smile. “I don’t take a shot and expect to miss it.” Later, experts compared his moment of brilliance with Kawhi Leonard’s unforgettable four-bounce shot to defeat Philadelphia on the way to last year’s title.

The future is bright for all of the young players — AA is the baby, just turned 20 years old — and for the 46-year-old Nash, as well as for Demko’s Vancouver Canucks allies, a collection of solid journeymen and fast-improving youngsters.

But things don’t look so good for the Raptors. After Anunobi’s stunner in that 104-103 victory over Boston, they posted a second win and squared the series. Unfortunately, miracles do not always carry long guarantees: the Raptors were humiliated in the fifth game of the series and could be on the sidelines for good by Thursday morning.

If another miracle arrives in Orlando tonight (Wednesday), Nick Nurse and his players are sure to make it welcome.

Edmonton’s connection to the defection of Baltimore Orioles’ superstar Jose Iglesias

Alberta

Canadian Pacific Railway announces five-for-one stock split, share repurchase program

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CALGARY — Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. says it will seek shareholder and regulatory approval for a five-for-one split of its common shares. 

Keith Creel, CP’s president and CEO, says the railway believes the share split will encourage greater liquidity for CP’s shares by making them available to a wider group of investors.

Shareholders are scheduled to vote on the proposed split on April 21.

If approved, shareholders will be entitled to four additional shares for each share held, on a date that is still to be determined.

CP’s shares slipped $8.65 or two per cent at $425.42 in midday trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange ahead of the release of its fourth-quarter results.

The Calgary-based railway also says the TSX has accepted its notice to buy back up to 2.5 per cent of its outstanding common shares over the coming year.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 27, 2021.

Companies in this story: (TSX:CP)

The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Discount carrier Flair Airlines adds 13 Boeing 737 Max planes to fleet

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EDMONTON — Discount carrier Flair Airlines says it will add 13 new Boeing 737 Max aircraft to its fleet.

The Edmonton-based airline will lease the planes from one of its investors, 777 Partners, which owns 25 per cent of Flair.

Stephen Jones, Flair’s president and chief executive officer, says the addition of the planes will allow the airline to keep fares low while expanding its capacity.

Flair’s announcement of its expansion comes as Canadian airlines cut dozens of routes and lay off staff in response to more severe lockdown restrictions.

The Max was grounded in Canadian airspace for nearly two years beginning in March 2019, after two deadly crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia.

Transport Canada lifted the grounding order on Jan. 20 after approving a set of changes to the aircraft’s design and requiring pilots to undergo additional training.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 27, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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