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Alberta

Johnson dazzles, Canada tops Czechia 5-1 in world junior hockey championship

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By Gemma Karstens-Smith in Edmonton

Kent Johnson has been working for years on a move that stuns goalies and hockey fans alike.

On Saturday, he executed it in a big way, scoring a highlight-reel-worthy goal that helped Canada to a 5-1 win over Czechia at the world junior hockey championship.

Johnson put away the dazzling game winner 19 minutes into the first period, scooping the puck on to his stick blade behind the net, picking it up as he glided forward and swirling it in over the Czech goalie’s shoulder for an elusive “Michigan” goal.

The move — also known as a lacrosse goal — is something the Columbus Blue Jackets prospect has been honing for about six years.

“I’ve been practising that move since I was like, 14, and doing it,” he said. “Now it’s just something that’s kind of in the tool box.”

Still, pulling it out to give the Canadians a 2-1 lead — one they never relinquished — was exciting.

“It’s a big goal, a really good one,” said Johnson, who added an assist in the third period. “I think it’s the period I was having, too. I think I would have been pretty pumped for it to go off my skate, too.”

The play drew wild cheers from the crowd of 5,135 at Rogers Place. On the ice, Johnson’s linemate Logan Stankoven held his gloved hands above his head and uttered “Oh my God!”

“That was probably one of the nicest Michigans I’ve seen, honestly,” said Canada’s captain, Mason McTavish. “He got it up so fast and at the end of the first period, the ice isn’t that great then. So that was something special to watch. I’ll definitely be watching that over and over again.”

McTavish scored twice for Canada (3-0-0) on Saturday, while Ridly Greig and Tyson Foerster each found the back of the net. Jack Thompson, Ronan Seeley and Stankoven each contributed a pair of assists.

Czechia (1-1-1) opened the scoring with a short-handed goal early in the first period.

Jaroslav Chmelar was sent to the box after running fellow New York Rangers prospect Brennan Othmann into the boards from behind and leaving the Canadian with a bloody nose.

The play was reviewed and Chmelar was ejected with a game misconduct. His team was left to kill a five-minute major penalty.

Rysavy gave the Czech’s some breathing room, putting a shot up under the crossbar 5:10 into the game. The puck bounced out of the net and the play continued, but a video review moments later showed the puck had crossed the goal line.

The way Canada rallied bodes well for the rest of the tournament, said Othmann.

“It’s just a little bit of adversity. And that’s OK in these games,” he said. “I think that builds more character for the important games, elimination games. And it just shows that we’re resilient. It doesn’t matter who we’re playing, we’re going to keep going.”

It was a busy night in net for Czech goalie Tomas Suchanek, who stopped 52 of 57 shots.

McTavish was first to beat the netminder, putting away the equalizer 16:44 into the opening frame by deflecting in Thompson’s long blast through traffic.

Seconds earlier, Suchanek made an eye-popping stop to preserve his team’s lead. Stationed at the side of the net, Johnson got a quick shot off on the out-of-position netminder but Suchanek slid over just in time to make a diving glove save.

“I was a little bit lucky,” the Czech goalie admitted. “The puck went into the slot and I saw he was going to pass it across and I just put my glove out and he just shot it in my glove. I was like ‘Oh my god, what just happened?’ I watched the replay and it was pretty fun. I just said to myself ‘Good job’ and I kept going.”

Canada’s head coach Dave Cameron said he was “nervous” early in the game about how well Suchanek was playing.

“This tournament, now as the games get better and the competition gets tougher, you have to stick with it,” he said. ” (Suchanek) was really good and we stuck with it and found a way.”

At the other end of the ice, Dylan Garand made 22 saves to collect his second win of the tournament for the Canadians.

Canada took a 3-1 lead 4:48 into the frame thanks to a power-play goal.

Czechia’s Gabriel Szturc was called for roughing and five seconds into the man advantage, Greig tipped in Seeley’s shot for his second goal of the tournament.

Canada was 1 for 3 on the power play Saturday while Czechia went 0 for 2.

Teen phenom Connor Bedard set up Canada’s fourth goal of the night, slicing a crisp pass to McTavish, who was alone at the top of the slot. He stickhandled his way in and put a shot through the goalie’s legs for his second goal of the game 11:05 into the second.

Foerster sealed the score 7:39 into the third period, collecting a pass from Johnson in the middle of the slot, winding up and blasting a massive shot past Suchanek to give the Canadians a 5-1 advantage.

Earlier on Saturday, the reigning champion Americans (3-0-0) remained undefeated with a lopsided 7-0 victory over Austria (0-3-0).

Austrian goalie Leon Sommer stopped 49 of the 56 shots he faced.

“I love those kind of games,” he said with a smile. “Lots of shots.”

Saturday’s workload wasn’t the largest Sommer has shouldered in world juniors action — he faced 64 shots in a 11-2 loss to Canada before COVID-19 scrubbed the original 2022 tournament in December.

“I guess I get the tough ones,” the goalie said. “But I love those.”

In Saturday’s final game, Germany recorded its second win by outlasting winless Switzerland 3-2. Germany is now 2-1-0, while Switzerland slips to 0-3-0.

Canada will wrap up round robin play against Finland (2-0-0) on Monday.

The preliminary round continues through Monday, with the quarterfinals set for Wednesday. The semifinals are scheduled for Friday and the medal games will be played next Saturday.

NOTES: McTavish leads the tournament with 10 points (six goals, four assists). … Canada has outscored its opponents 21-4 across its first three games of the tournament. … Both sides were coming off a rest day after Canada routed Slovakia 11-1 on Thursday while the Czechs fell 4-3 in a shootout to Finland the same day.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 13, 2022.

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Alberta

‘Ludicrous’: Prosecutor questions testimony of teen in Calgary hit-and-run cop death

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By Bill Graveland in Calgary

A prosecutor suggested Wednesday a teen charged with first-degree murder in the hit-and-run death of a Calgary Police Service officer had no reason to believe he was in danger.

Sgt. Andrew Harnett died in hospital on Dec. 31, 2020, after being dragged by a fleeing SUV and falling into the path of an oncoming car.

The alleged driver, who cannot be identified because he was 17 at the time, has testified he was scared when Harnett and another officer approached the vehicle during a traffic stop and he saw Harnett put his hand on his gun.

But during cross-examination, Crown prosecutor Mike Ewenson played the body-camera footage of the stop. He asked the accused, who is now 19, if there was any proof Harnett was being threatening or insulting during the routine traffic stop.

“You brought up George Floyd in your direct examination. Do you remember what happened to George Floyd?” Ewenson asked.

The accused replied: “He got pulled out of the vehicle and I think they stepped on his neck … and he said he couldn’t breathe.”

Floyd was a Black man who was killed during an arrest by Minnesota police on May 25, 2020.

During testimony Tuesday, the teen testified he and his friends had discussed the Floyd case on social media.

“Let’s talk about what we just saw with Sgt. Harnett if we could, because you’re bringing this up at a trial that involves his death,” said Ewenson. “Any abusive language from him?”

“No,” the teen replied.

“Anything that was insulting to your age, your race, your ethnic background or religion,” Ewenson asked.

“Not necessarily, no. Actually, I felt like I was being racialized, right? Just the fact that the door opened and the fact that he asked for my phone number. I’ve never been asked for my phone number.”

Ewenson said any talk of the traffic stop being racist was just something the teen wanted the court to “take his word for” and there’s nothing that would be considered racist from Harnett’s behaviour.

“That’s how I felt,” the accused replied.

The teen repeatedly told Ewenson that he wasn’t sure how he ended up in the neighbourhood. He said he was following his GPS to get to a party. He also said he didn’t know who the third person in the back seat of the vehicle was, who had come with a friend.

Ewenson said it’s unlikely there would be memory lapses after an event that was the “most traumatic, powerful” and “consequential” night of the teen’s life.

“So looking back on it, you realize the story is ludicrous? The story doesn’t make sense, does it?” Ewenson asked. “Everything for you is a mindless reaction.”

The suspect said at the time he panicked and just decided to take off because he was afraid. The teen said looking back, he wishes his decision had been different.

“Look, to be frank to you, I’ve sat for two years in jail and I’ve thought about this over and over and over again,” he said. “It’s different when I think about it now and what I was going through at the moment.”

Ewenson suggested it was more likely something illegal was inside the suspect vehicle that made fleeing a simple traffic stop worth the risk.

Closing arguments in the trial are scheduled for Thursday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 28, 2022.

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Alberta

Incredible luxury homes and vehicles seized in massive international $55 million drug bust with Alberta roots

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Niagara-On-The-Lake home seized by police in Project Cobra operation

News release from the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team (ALERT)

Project Cobra intercepts $55 million worth of drugs

More than an estimated $55 million worth of methamphetamine and cocaine has been seized following a cross-border investigation by ALERT, RCMP Federal Serious and Organized Crime, and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

Project Cobra is a nearly three-year organized crime investigation into transnational drug importation, drug trafficking, and money laundering.

Halifax County home seized by police in Project Cobra operation

As the result of enforcement initiatives on both sides of the border, 928 kilograms of methamphetamine and 6 kilograms of cocaine were intercepted. In addition, approximately $7 million worth of assets have been seized or placed under criminal restraint.

Project Cobra relied on the assistance of a number of police agencies and specialized units, including: Calgary Police Service, Edmonton Police Service, U.S. Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), Niagara Regional Police, Canada Revenue Agency, Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC), and RCMP units in Ontario, Nova Scotia, Saskatoon, North Battleford, Sask., and Osoyoos, B.C.

Lamborghinis and Porsche seized by police in Project Cobra operation

Mercedes-Benz seized by police in Project Cobra operation

Police agencies collaborated to make numerous large-scale drug seizures during the course of Project Cobra. These were shipments destined for Alberta, and included the following seizures:

  • 342 kg of meth in Wyoming;
  • 308 kg of meth in Los Angeles;
  • 137 kg of meth in Calgary;
  • 84 kg of meth in Los Angeles;
  • 50 kg of meth at Lake Koocanusa, B.C.;
  • 7 kg of meth and 1 kg of cocaine in Calgary; and
  • 5 kg of cocaine in North Battleford, Sask.


Nineteen firearms were also seized, which included handguns, rifles, submachine guns, and suppressors.

Seven million dollars’ worth of property, bank accounts, luxury vehicles, and other suspected proceeds of crime has been seized or placed under criminal restraint. This includes a $3.5 million home in Niagara-on-the-Lake, two Lamborghinis, a Porsche, classic cars, and $200,000 cash.

Project Cobra began in 2020 and a series of 11 coordinated search warrants were executed in December 2021. Homes, vehicles, businesses, and storage locations were searched in Calgary, Bedford, Nova Scotia, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., and Leduc County, Alta.

Fifteen people and one business have been charged with 80 criminal offences ranging from participation in a criminal organization, to importation of a controlled substance, to laundering proceeds of crime, to drug trafficking.

The suspects were arrested and charged between May 2022 and August 2022:

  • Elias Ade, 38-year -old from Calgary, charged with 12 offences;
  • Abdul Akbar, 37-year-old from Calgary, charged with 8 offences;
  • Tianna Bull, 25-year-old from North Battleford, charged with 1 offence;
  • Lina El-Chammoury, 50-year-old from Calgary, charged with 2 offences;
  • Russell Ens, 39-year-old from North Battleford, charged with 2 offences;
  • Talal Fouani, 46-year-old from Calgary, charged with 3 offences;
  • Belal Fouani, 44-year-old from Calgary, charged with 3 offences;
  • Kari-Lynn Grant, 51-year-old from Calgary, charged with 4 offences;
  • Scott Hunt, 33-year-old from Calgary, charged with 3 offences;
  • Ricco King, 50-year-old from Bedford, N.S., charged with 5 offences;
  • Jarett Mackenzie, 32-year-old from Calgary, charged with 6 offences;
  • Jesse Marshall, 52-year-old from Calgary, charged with 4 offences;
  • Daniel Menzul, 32-year-old from Calgary, charged with 4 offences;
  • Sean Nesbitt, 44-year-old from Calgary, charged with 3 offences;
  • William Whiteford, 39-year-old from Leduc County, charged with 20 offences; and
  • Fouani Equity Funds Ltd. charged with 1 offence.

Fouani Equity Funds Ltd. is a Calgary-based investment company and was charged with laundering proceeds for an organized crime group.

Members of the public who suspect drug or gang activity in their community can call local police, or contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477). Crime Stoppers is always anonymous.

ALERT was established and is funded by the Alberta Government and is a compilation of the province’s most sophisticated law enforcement resources committed to tackling serious and organized crime.

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