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Alberta

A Small, Important Opening

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A Small, Important Opening

Chances are pretty good that all major-league sports and some of the lower-profile ones will manage to complete partial 2020 seasons despite growing signs that COVID-19 will not give up without a long and continuing fight for dominance over sports and all else in today’s world.

Experts and observers of all athletic and public disciplines agree, however, that nothing is certain: baseball players are opting to stay home; basketball players express discontent and confusion every day; the NHL waffles over naming so-called hub cities for a wacky playoff proposal that continues to raise more questions than answers.

In the midst of all this uncertainty comes one simple burst of optimism: the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame will welcome the public on Thursday, 98 days after the rampaging coronavirus pandemic forced closure of the building on the edge of Red Deer on March 16. It is fair to concede that reopening a small-city building warrants little public interest when compared with the billions involved in professional sports, but it’s also reasonable to accept that every step of progress in this deadly world-wide struggle is worth recording.

Although none of the $302,000 committed to the Hall in the current provincial budget has been received – a $75,000 commitment has been made but no cash has appeared and a review is already promised for later this year – executive director Tracey Kinsella said some pleasant things have been achieved during the lockdown.

“We have been extremely busy giving our Hall of Fame an update,” she smiled. “Our goal is to improve the entire experience for our visitors from the moment they walk in the door.”

Cleanliness was, and is, essential in the reopening. Sanitizers, directional signs and plenty of obvious messaging are part of the opening, of course. There is no plan for an opening ceremony, Kinsells said. “We would like to do something of a celebration, maybe later in July.”

At one time, fingers were crossed that induction of the 14 members selected several months ago but “we had to decide (last week) that there will be no induction banquet in 2020. We’ve had to tell all the inductees that we’re having to wait until next year.”

The list includes four athletes: skier Deirdra Dionne, hockey player Chris Phillips, chuck-wagon racer Kelly Sutherland and snowboard-cross star Michael Robertson. Five builders – Jan Ullmark, figure skating; Terry Morris, curling; Ken Babey, hockey; Derek Douglas, soccer – were selected along with five Hall of Fame Award winners Nancy Southern and Ian Allison (equestrian broadcasters, Bell Memorial Award), John Currie (Western Canada Summer Games 1983, Achievement Award); Stan Wakelyn (1922 Canadian soccer champions 1922, Pioneer Award); Dennis Kadatz (coach of Edmonton Huskies national junior football champions 1962-64).

Those awards show clearly how broad is the effect of the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame. Every winner spent years working and practicing toward the world’s most elusive goal: perfection. There is no suggestion that it was reached, just as there can be no hint that they have inspired thousands to follow them.

Discussing the government’s failure to live up to its contracted financial commitment, Kinsella was not especially critical: “We’re sad, disappointed, maybe a little alarmed.” During a lengthy discussion, she finally confirmed receipt of the government’s letter providing the limited amount and mentioned “I’ve asked for meetings, have not had a direct, face-to-face conversation with anyone in the area of culture.”

My unsolicited opinion: this is unreasonable. As the Hall opens its doors, perhaps a government department should also open up.

Learn more about the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame.

Our sports history has value

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Alberta

Calgary Flames take 2-1 series lead with 6-2 win over Winnipeg Jets

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EDMONTON — Calgary scored a trio of power-play goals on Tuesday en route to a 6-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets and a 2-1 lead in their qualifying series.

Sean Monahan led Calgary’s attack with a goal and two assists. Elias Lindholm and Mikael Backlund each scored and had an assist.

Matthew Tkachuk and Milan Lucic also scored, and Johnny Gaudreau produced an empty-netter to go along with a helper. Andrew Mangiapane had a pair of assists.

Calgary starter Cam Talbot made 33 saves for the win. Winnipeg counterpart Connor Hellebuyck stopped 26 in the loss. 

Nikolaj Ehlers and Andrew Copp scored for the Jets.

Game 4 is Thursday night at Rogers Place. Calgary won the series opener 4-1 and Winnipeg took the second game 3-2.

The lower seed and thus the visiting team for the first two games of the series, Winnipeg was the home team Tuesday.

Playing their second game in as many days, and third in four, neither team asserted itself early. Calgary took control with a three-goal second period.

After scoring a pair of power-play goals in Game 1, the Flames had blanked on six chances Monday.

Calgary’s units recovered in the third game scoring three times on four opportunities.

The Jets were minus top-line centre Mark Scheifele, winger Patrik Laine and centre Mason Appleton a second straight day.

Scheifele hasn’t played since the first period of Saturday’s opener. He injured his left leg tangling along the boards with Calgary’s Matthew Tkachuk.

Laine suffered an apparent wrist injury colliding with Flames captain Mark Giordano in the third period of Game 1.

Attrition continued for the Jets on Tuesday. Forward Mathieu Perreault went to the dressing room in the second period and did not return. He was checked hard by Sam Bennett near Calgary’s bench.

Defenceman Tucker Poolman missed the majority of the second period. He leaked blood onto the ice after taking a Backlund shot off his head.

Poolman was back on the bench to start the third, however, wearing a cage until switching to a full shield.

With the Jets trailing 5-2, Hellebuyck was pulled with four and a half minutes to play in a bid for extra-attacker goals.

Lucic buried a rebound off a Dillon Dube shot for Calgary’s fifth goal and third with a man advantage at 8:28 of the third.

Mangiapane fed Tkachuk in the slot from behind the net at 12:48 of the second period.

Winnipeg had pulled within a goal at 8:09. Copp stepped out from behind the net and went backhand top corner for a power-play goal.

Monahan lost his helmet when he was pushed hard into the boards by Jansen Harkins. On Harkins’ resulting minor, Monahan chipped a wobbling puck over Hellebuyck’s stick on a broken play at 7:49.

Winnipeg successfully challenged a Lucic goal for goaltender interference seven minutes into the second period. Calgary led 2-1 on Backlund’s goal at 5:17.

Just 18 seconds after Ehlers’ goal at 10:04 of the first period, Lindholm pulled Calgary even with a power-play goal.

Lindholm redirected Erik Gustaffson’s pass over Hellebuyck’s glove for the Swede’s second goal of the series.

From behind Winnipeg’s goal-line, Dmitry Kulikov put a pass off the wall to Ehlers lurking at Calgary’s blue-line. Ehlers beat Talbot far side with a wrist shot.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on August 4, 2020.

Donna Spencer, The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Alberta sees dip in COVID-19 cases over August long weekend: Hinshaw

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EDMONTON — Alberta’s chief medical officer of health says the dip in COVID-19 cases over the long weekend appears to show that people are following public health guidelines about physical distancing and wearing masks.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw says Alberta’s case numbers have been below 100 for four days straight.

She says the downward trend began Friday with 97 new cases, followed by 67 new cases reported Saturday, 74 on Sunday and 65 on Monday.

Bylaws requiring masks be worn in public places went into effect in both Edmonton and Calgary on Saturday.

Hinshaw also reported five new deaths, bringing Alberta’s total to 201 since the pandemic began.

She says three of the five deaths were at the Good Samaritan Southgate Care Centre in Edmonton, which has become the deadliest outbreak in the province.

The facility is reporting 24 deaths on its website on Tuesday. There have been 112 cases at the centre — 80 residents and 32 staff — since the outbreak began July 17.

Currently, there are 42 active cases among residents and 20 among staff members.

“This outbreak underlines the importance of our collective efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 and to protect the most vulnerable members of our community,” Hinshaw said.

“Part of this protection requires continually evaluating our response efforts and using the best available evidence to update our approach when warranted.”

The most recent update reported 1,191 active cases in the province, down from the 1,386 cases reported before the long weekend.

Hinshaw said there were 85 people being treated in Alberta hospitals, 23 of them in intensive care.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 4, 2020

The Canadian Press


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