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Canadian government reviewing CFL’s request for modified quarantine for 2021 season

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The CFL has cleared two more hurdles in its quest to return to the field in 2021.

An official with the Public Health Agency of Canada told The Canadian Press the federal government has received the CFL’s request for a national interest exemption for modified quarantine for the upcoming season. The official added Ottawa is reviewing it in consultation with provincial health authorities.

The inclusion of negotiations with Ottawa, in addition to previous talks with provincial health authorities, is a big step in the right direction for the league as it attempts to return to the field for the first time since 2019.

Essentially, the CFL is asking Ottawa to provide it with the same exemptions it has for the NHL. The federal government waived its mandatory 14-day quarantine period for players acquired by Canadian NHL teams from American clubs “under national interest grounds” ahead of the league’s April 12 trade deadline.

Under those terms, CFL players would observe a seven-day quarantine upon arrival into Canada and be subject to daily testing for COVID-19. Players would be eligible to suit up for their teams while continuing to undergo daily testing the following week.

Another positive step is the ratification of an amended collective bargaining agreement between the CFL and CFL Players’ Association. Three sources told The Canadian Press the two sides have reached an agreement in principle on an amended deal — it has been ratified by the union — which would again pave the way for football to return in 2021.

The sources were granted anonymity because the deal has not publicly announced.

“We’ve done everything we can as a union and as players to lay the groundwork needed for us to play a safe 2021 season and now the CFL board of governors has an opportunity to do their part,” union president Solomon Elimimian said in a statement.

“We eagerly anticipate the CFL now making the right decision to get the season going while maintaining the highest player safety standards,” added executive director Brian Ramsay. “”The pandemic hasn’t been easy for anyone in the CFL — and I can tell you that it has been especially hard on the players and their families.

“This MOA (memorandum of agreement) represents another big step toward getting us all back to work so that we can safely get back on the field this season.”

The CFL board of governors will hold their vote on the amended deal Monday.

The CFL didn’t stage a 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The league shelved plans for an abbreviated campaign last August after failing to secure a $30-million, interest-free loan from the Canadian government.

Last November, the CFL unveiled plans for a full 18-game 2021 regular season. But in April, commissioner Randy Ambrosie announced the league was delaying the start of the ’21 season to Aug. 5 and reducing the number of games played to 14 per team.

The next big step for an Aug. 5 return is Monday’s board of governors meeting.

The board doesn’t require unanimous support to accept the Aug. 5 start but seven of nine teams would have to vote in favour as the CFL constitution requires over two-thirds majority. However, it’s unknown if the constitution could force teams to play and incur significant financial losses simply because a majority wants to go ahead with a season.

The fear is that could force a situation where a team voting against the Aug. 5 startup date would simply refuse to play if the remainder of the board votes in favour of beginning a season in early August. That scenario could result in very serious implications regarding league transfer moneys as well as the CFL’s broadcast agreement and league’s ’21 schedule.

Not playing in 2020 came at a significant cost to the CFL. A source has said the league lost between $60-and-$80 million last year by not staging games.

The source has been granted anonymity because the CFL has never revealed its 2020 financial figures.

Another factor, too, is the possibility of fans. The CFL wants to have a “significant” amount of fans in the stands. However, the Ontario government hasn’t signed off on that, and three of the league’s franchises are based in the province (Toronto, Hamilton and Ottawa).

But an Aug. 5 kickoff would see all four East Division teams opening the season with a series of road games in Western Canada. The hope would be that once they were slated to return home that some fans would be allowed in the Ontario stadiums.

A TSN report earlier this week said a committee representing seven of Ontario’s seven pro franchises (Argos, Ticats, Redblacks, Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Raptors, Toronto FC and Toronto Blue Jays) submitted a report to the Ontario government. The report said the committee was looking for 35 per cent of stadium capacity for Ontario’s second stage re-opening and up to full capacity for the third stage.

“We will continue to work with our stakeholders as well as our public health experts at the provincial and local levels to determine when and if it is safe for measures to be lifted, including when other professional sports leagues may return to play,” Ontario’s Heritage, Sport and Tourism ministry said in a statement to The Canadian Press.

The first stage in Ontario’s re-opening is scheduled to start Friday. The province will remain at each step for at least 21 days to evaluate any impacts on key public health and health system indicators.

The earliest date for the second stage would be July 2, with July 23 the earliest for stage 3.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 10, 2021.

Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press

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RDPolytech Athletics

Queens and Kings both hosting playoff games this weekend!

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Red Deer Polytechnic Athletics Update

Red Deer Polytechnic Athletics is proud to announce the RDP Athletes of the Week:

1. Estel Quinteros – Queens Soccer
Hometown – Edmonton, AB
Bachelor of Science Nursing (1st year)

This past weekend, Estel Quinteros played extremely well for the Red Deer Polytechnic Queens Soccer team. On Friday against the SAIT Trojans, the first-year defender had a solid performance which helped give the Queens a chance to down the undefeated visitors. The Queens and Trojans were scoreless at the half, but SAIT capitalized on two opportunities in the latter 45 minutes for a 2-0 edge. Quinteros demonstrated her high soccer IQ by making smart decisions, moving the ball effectively, and playing well positionally.

In Sunday’s 6-3 road victory over the Medicine Hat College Rattlers, the Bachelor of Science Nursing student played an integral role in the Red Deer Polytechnic Queens (4-2) solidifying third place in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) Women’s Soccer South Division. Once again, Quinteros was effective for the Queens, recording two of the team’s 21 shots on goal and playing well on both sides of the ball. She was recognized as the Queens Player of the Game.

The Red Deer Polytechnic Queens will face the University of Alberta Augustana Vikings in the ACAC Women’s Soccer South Division quarter-finals.

2. Thomson Wellie – Kings Soccer
Hometown – Grand Bassa, Maryland – Academic Upgrading (1st year)

Thomson Wellie had consistent performances for the Red Deer Polytechnic Kings Soccer team against the SAIT Trojans and Medicine Hat College Rattlers this past weekend. Along with his strong work ethic, the Academic Upgrading student used his speed and provided the Kings a spark offensively in the pair of games. Despite a 4-0 setback to SAIT on Friday, Wellie was one of the Kings’ best players. Then on Sunday, the first-year forward had another solid outing, keeping the Medicine Hat College Rattlers on their heels. The student-athlete from Grand Bassa pushed the pace and hit two posts in the match.  For his outstanding effort, Wellie was named the Kings Player of the Game. With the win, the Red Deer Polytechnic Kings (4-1-1) sealed second spot in the ACAC Men’s Soccer South Division and a bye to the division semi-finals.

The Kings will play the winner between the Lethbridge College Kodiaks and Ambrose University Lions, who are battling in the south quarter-finals.

This Week in Red Deer Polytechnic Athletics

The Red Deer Polytechnic Kings and Queens Soccer squads will begin the postseason at home. The Cross Country Running team will compete at Running Room Grand Prix #3 in Calgary.

Here is a summary of what is happening this week:

Queens Soccer | Friday, October 15 | 4 pm | RDP Main Field

After months of practicing, training, and playing games, the Red Deer Polytechnic Queens Soccer team knows its opponent in the first round of the playoffs. The Queens will host the University of Alberta Augustana Vikings in the ACAC Women’s Soccer South Division quarter-finals on Friday, October 15 at 4 pm.

The Queens finished the six-game regular season with a solid 4-2 record, placing third in the standings. The U of A Augustana Vikings (1-5) finished sixth in the south. In the previous game between the two squads, the Queens dominated the Vikings 8-1. In that match, Red Deer’s Corbynn Fujimoto led the way offensively with three goals for the Polytechnic. The Vikings were awarded their lone win on October 9 when the Ambrose University Lions forfeited the match. The Red Deer Polytechnic Queens have steadily improved throughout the shortened season and even pushed the undefeated SAIT Trojans (6-0-0) in a close 2-0 setback. While first-year Jenica Swartz led the Queens and league with 14 regular season goals, eight other student-athletes have found the back of the net. Kristy Hernandez was the Vikings’ regular season offensive leader with four goals. Four other student-athletes contributed goals for U of A Augustana.

The Queens enter the postseason as the highest scoring team in ACAC Women’s Soccer, averaging 6.83 goals per game. They are tied with the Lethbridge College Kodiaks as the second-best defensive squad in the south, only allowing 1.67 goals against per contest. Conversely, the Vikings have scored 1.80 goals and have allowed 6.20 goals against per game.

Red Deer Polytechnic Queens Soccer Head Coach Mahziar Peyrow has the team concentrating on some aspects of its game leading up to Friday’s postseason contest. “We know what to expect going into playoffs with certain teams. We have to work on some things and that’s our pace breaking out from the back,” he said. “We need to have that quite a bit faster. If we can capitalize on our breakouts quickly, I think we will be able to have some good results.”

The Red Deer Polytechnic Queens return to the playoffs after a brief absence. In 2018/2019, the Queens (8- 2-2) finished second in the south but dropped their quarter-final to the Concordia University Thunder 4-1. The Queens last won an ACAC medal in 2012/2013, when they earned bronze by shutting out the Medicine Hat College Rattlers 3-0. This season, the Queens are looking to return to the podium.

The winner of this match will face the second place Kodiaks in Lethbridge on Sunday, October 17 at 3 pm in the division semi-finals.

Kings Soccer | Sunday, October 17 | 3 pm | RDP Main Field

The Red Deer Polytechnic Kings Soccer team will be competing in the ACAC Men’s Soccer South Division semi-finals after receiving a bye, but the opponent has not yet been determined. The second place Red Deer Polytechnic Kings Soccer team (4-1-1) will host the winner between the Lethbridge College Kodiaks (4-2) and Ambrose University Lions (0-6), who are battling in a quarter-final match. The ACAC Men’s Soccer South Division semi-final will take place on Sunday, October 17 at 3 pm at Red Deer Polytechnic.

During the regular season, the Kings defeated the Kodiaks 5-1 and handily shutout the Lions 10-0. Brazil’s Pedro Humberto Mourao Neto was Red Deer Polytechnic’s offensive catalyst, recording a hat trick in both of those contests.

In addition to Humberto Mourao Neto’s team leading seven regular season goals, nine other student- athletes have contributed goals in a balanced Kings’ attack. Red Deer Polytechnic scored the most in the ACAC Men’s Soccer South Division (3.67 goals per game). The Kings are the second-best defensive team in the division, averaging 1.00 goals against per contest.

Red Deer Polytechnic Kings Soccer Head Coach Gerald Grobmeier wants the student-athletes to focus on what they can control, which is their effort, performance, and execution. “With that bye we don’t know who we are playing, but that’s fine,” he said. “I’m confident in this team. We just need to do our job and not plan for a particular team. We need to play our game and it’ll take care of itself.”

The Red Deer Polytechnic Kings are looking to build on their results from the 2019/2020 season when they earned ACAC silver and sixth at the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Men’s Soccer National Championship. The third place Kodiaks and sixth seed Lions will play on Friday in a quarter-final match.

Cross Country Running | Grand Prix #3 | Saturday, October 16 | 2 pm | St. Mary’s University

The Red Deer Polytechnic Cross Country Running team will compete in Running Room Grand Prix #3. This season, the Cross Country Running team has received contributions from veterans and first-year student-athletes which has placed the Kings and Queens in the top three at previous competitions. The RDP Kings earned first place at Running Room Grand Prix #1 (North) and the Queens sealed third in Edmonton. At Running Room Grande Prix #2, the Red Deer Polytechnic Cross Country Running team won the combined team trophy. In that race, the Kings finished second and the Queens wrapped up third. They will look to carry on that momentum into Running Room Grand Prix #3 on Saturday. This race will be the final tune-up before the ACAC Cross Country Running Championships on October 30 in Camrose.

For more information on RDP Athletics, the student-athletes and teams, please visit: rdcathletics.ca

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Alberta

Turris scores winner in shootout to lift Oilers 3-2 over Canucks in season opener

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EDMONTON — Kyle Turris scored the shootout winner as the Edmonton Oilers started the season off with a victory, defeating the Vancouver Canucks 3-2 on Wednesday.

Jesse Puljujarvi and Zach Hyman scored in regulation for the Oilers, who gave up a late lead. Edmonton also got a pair of assists from Connor McDavid.

Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Quinn Hughes responded for the Canucks.

Edmonton got the game’s first goal with three minutes left in the opening period as Puljujarvi showed good hands in front, picking out the rebound from a Darnell Nurse shot before depositing it past Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko.

Midway through the second, the Oilers were looking for more on a Kailer Yamamoto breakaway, but Demko was able to make the stop.

The Oilers made it 2-0 with three minutes left in the second frame with a pretty three-way passing play finished off when Hyman scored his first as an Oiler into a wide-open net on a perfect feed from Leon Draisaitl.

Vancouver finally got one past Oilers starter Mike Smith on its 32nd shot of the night as Ekman-Larsson scored on a power-play blast from the point with seven-and-a-half minutes left in the third.

The Canucks tied the contest with 2:49 on a goal that Smith would likely love to have back as Hughes snuck a shot in short side, eventually sending the game to overtime.

The Canucks continue their six-game road trip — the longest road swing to start a season in franchise history — in Philadelphia on Friday. The Oilers remain home to face the Calgary Flames on Saturday.

Notes: It was the third consecutive season that the two teams have played each other in the season-opener… Both teams have had significant changes in the off-season, with the Oilers sporting seven new faces and the Canucks featuring 13 new players… Edmonton went 6-1-1- in pre-season play, while Vancouver was 2-5-0… Forward Colton Sceviour signed a one-year contract Wednesday after being with the Oilers during training camp on a professional tryout.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 13, 2021.

Shane Jones, The Canadian Press

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