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Ice dancers Tessa Virtue, Scott Moir named team of the year

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  • TORONTO — The pressure at Gangneung Ice Arena was palpable. The world was watching. But in what was among the most memorable four minutes of the Pyeongchang Olympics, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir delivered the skate of their lives.

    A world record total score, and a third gold medal that made the Canadian ice dance darlings the most decorated figure skaters in Olympic history. Virtue and Moir perfectly executed a golden plan they’d announced — to mixed reviews — when they’d returned to the sport 18 months earlier.

    “When we announced our comeback, no one was happy, competitors, skaters, family, friends, even our governing body, everyone was surprised, because it was such a risk,” Virtue said. “Maybe because we believed in ourselves and believed in what we could pursue, we felt there was so much more to do.”

    On Friday, Virtue and Moir were rewarded for their historic comeback performance by winning the The Canadian Press team of the year award for 2018. The ice dancers picked up 39 of 54 votes (72.2 per cent) in a poll of writers, broadcasters and editors from across the country.

    “Virtue and Moir … it’s up there with Torvill and Dean now,” said Wayne Chamberlain, sports editor of Postmedia’s Editorial Services. “They captivated a global audience with their swan song performance and made many a Canadian eye tear up.”

    The Canadian junior hockey team that won gold at the 2018 world junior championships in Buffalo was second with five of 54 votes (9.3 per cent), while Laval’s football team that went undefeated and captured the Vanier Cup was third with four votes (7.4 per cent).

    “It’s so incredible, I was looking back at the history of this (award) to get some perspective and just trying to understand how 10 months later people still seem to care, or remember us, and it’s a great moment to reflect,” Virtue said. “Of course it’s the end of the year, but 10 months after the Games, it’s a nice chance to just take a moment and reflect on the impact at the Olympics had across Canada.”

    Golfer Brooke Henderson captured the Bobbie Rosenfeld Award on Wednesday as the year’s top female athlete, while freestyle skier Mikael Kingsbury won the Lionel Conacher Award as the top male athlete on Thursday.

    Partners for two decades, Virtue, from London, Ont., and Moir, from Ilderton, Ont., had been melting hearts since they claimed gold at the 2010 Vancouver Games. They stepped away from the sport for two seasons after their silver in Sochi, returning with a single-minded focus of gold in South Korea.

    Virtue and Moir held a slim lead over Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France after the short dance, despite the fact Papadakis skated most of the program with the clasp of her dress broken.

    The next night, when Papadakis and Cizeron recorded a world record in the free dance, Virtue and Moir were waiting in the wings fingers in ears. They purposely didn’t look at any television monitors.

    Then Virtue, in a gauzy backless red dress, and Moir, channelling his inner Ewan McGregor, brought the crowd to its feet with their breathtaking performance to music from “Moulin Rouge,” a movie they’d loved ever since they saw it together as kids.

    “We knew we were trained, we were fully confident in our preparation. We had never been in better shape mentally. We were laser focused,” Virtue said. “But that doesn’t take away the nerves and it certainly doesn’t take away the gravity of the pressure.

    “There were so many times throughout that day, and especially that half an hour leading into our final skate, where Scott just looked at me and reminded me: ‘You know, this is exactly what we asked for. This is what we wanted when we decided to come back to competition,’ . . .  a ‘bring it on’ sort of a thing. And it was terrifying and unsettling, daunting, and yet also really exhilarating.

    “That thrill of taking the ice on the world’s biggest stage, the pressure mounting, I think that’s the sort of exhilaration we’ll be chasing for the rest of our lives probably.”

    The duo were among the Games’ most popular athletes. Fans swooned to their chemistry and lapped up the Canadian “love story,” which wasn’t so much a love story as a tale of friends and business partners.

    “Virtue and Moir saved their best for last and captured Canada’s hearts with a flawless Olympic finale in a sport where judging means that is sometimes not enough,” said Dave Peters, the Montreal Gazette’s sports and photo editor.

    Virtue still hasn’t watched her performance from South Korea. She’s too much of a perfectionist. But millions of people have. Just one YouTube video of their Olympic free dance program has almost three million views.

    Virtue and Moir are the second figure skating duo to win the award, which was first presented in 1966 to the Montreal Canadiens. Pairs skaters Jamie Sale and David Pelletier won it in 2001.

     

    Lori Ewing , The Canadian Press


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    Sports

    Patriots owner Kraft denies charges of soliciting prostitute

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  • JUPITER, Fla. — Robert Kraft, the billionaire owner of the New England Patriots, faces charges of soliciting a prostitute after he was twice videotaped in a sex act at a shopping-centre massage parlour in Florida, police said Friday.

    The 77-year-old Kraft denied any wrongdoing. The case comes amid a crackdown on sex trafficking from Palm Beach to Orlando in which police planted cameras in massage parlours.

    Kraft was not immediately arrested. Jupiter police said a warrant will be issued and his attorneys will be notified. They said details about the misdemeanour charges against the owner of the Super Bowl champion team will not be released until next week.

    Hundreds of arrest warrants have been issued in recent days as a result of the six-month investigation, and more are expected. Ten spas have been closed, and several people have been taken into custody on sex trafficking charges.

    Jupiter Police Chief Daniel Kerr said he was shocked to learn that Kraft, who is worth $6 billion, was paying for sex inside a shopping-centre massage parlour, the Orchids of Asia Day Spa. “We are as equally stunned as everyone else,” Kerr said.

    Most people charged for the first time with soliciting a prostitute in Florida are allowed to enter a diversion program, said attorney David Weinstein, a former prosecutor. Kraft would probably have to perform 100 hours of community service and attend a course on the harmful effects of prostitution and sex trafficking, he said.

    The arrest could also get Kraft in trouble with the NFL, which in a statement said only that it is “aware of the ongoing law enforcement matter and will continue to monitor developments.”

    Under league policy, players, owners, coaches and other employees can be punished for “conduct detrimental to the integrity of and public confidence in” the NFL.

    “Ownership and club or league management have traditionally been held to a higher standard and will be subject to more significant discipline,” the policy says.

    The Patriots won the Super Bowl this month over the Los Angeles Rams for their sixth NFL championship in the past 18 seasons, making them the most successful team in pro sports during that span. Before the Super Bowl, several retired NFL players appeared in a public service announcement decrying sexual exploitation and human trafficking in Atlanta, the host city.

    Kraft lives in Massachusetts and has a home in the Palm Beach area. Though he is a Democrat, he is friendly with President Donald Trump and a frequent guest at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club. Kraft’s wife, Myra Hiatt Kraft, died in 2011. He has been dating 39-year-old actress Ricki Noel Lander since 2012.

    “Well it’s very sad. I was very surprised to see it. He’s proclaimed his innocence, totally,” Trump said at the White House on Friday.

    In a statement, Kraft’s representatives said they “categorically deny that Mr. Kraft engaged in any illegal activity.”

    The spa Kraft allegedly visited is in a busy, upper-middle-class shopping centre with neighbours that include a dentist, a real estate office, surf and bike shops and a Publix supermarket.

    After hearing about the arrest, Brian Rubino, a Patriot fan who lives nearby, went by the spa wearing a team jersey. He said Kraft made a mistake, but he could see how it might happen.

    “A 77-year-old man, lost his wife, who knows? I see how you can end up in a place like this,” Rubino said.

    Vero Beach police Chief David Currey, whose agency has been involved in the sex-trafficking investigation, told reporters earlier this week that the prostitutes are victims who have been trapped into the trade.

    “These girls are there all day long, into the evening. They can’t leave and they are performing sex acts,” Currey said, according to TCPalm. “Some of them may tell us they’re OK, but they’re not.”

    The owner of Orchids of Asia Day Spa, 58-year-old Hua Zhang, was arrested Tuesday on 29 prostitution and related charges. Police in her arrest report said they watched video of her employees performing various sex acts with two dozen customers. Her attorney, Gennaro Cariglio Jr., had no comment.

    Kraft, who made his initial fortune through a packaging company, bought the Patriots in 1994 for $172 million to keep the team from moving to St. Louis. He hired Bill Belichick as coach in 2000, and the team later drafted quarterback Tom Brady, launching its nearly two decades of success.

    In 2007, the Patriots got in trouble for filming other teams’ signals. The NFL fined the team $250,000 and Belichick $500,000. In 2014, Brady was accused of deflating game footballs to gain a better grip. He served a four-game suspension, and the Patriots were fined $1 million.

    Kraft was not implicated in either scandal.

    ___

    Spencer reported from Fort Lauderdale. AP sports writer Kyle Hightower in Boston and reporter Kevin Frekking in Washington, D.C., contributed to this report.

    Terry Spencer And Joshua Replogle, The Associated Press


















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    2019 Canada Winter Games

    Week 1 wraps up with medals in short track, ringette, hockey, and half pipe… full schedule right here.

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  • Friday, February 22, 2019
    09:00 Ringette Female Placement Round – 7th – 8th Position Game (L24 vs. L25) – AB vs SK Collicutt Centre
    10:30 Speed Skating Short Track – 3000 m Points Race Female Finals – Final 46A Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre
    10:30 Speed Skating Short Track – 3000 m Points Race Female Finals – Final 46B Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre
    10:30 Speed Skating Short Track – 3000 m Points Race Female Finals – Final 46C Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre
    10:30 Speed Skating Short Track – 3000 m Points Race Female Finals – Final 46D Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre
    10:30 Speed Skating Short Track – 3000 m Points Race Female Finals – Final 46E Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre
    10:30 Speed Skating Short Track – 3000 m Points Race Female Finals – Final 46F Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre
    11:30 Ringette Female Placement Round – 5th – 6th Position Game (W24 vs. W25) – NB vs NS Collicutt Centre
    11:38 Speed Skating Short Track – 3000 m Points Race Male Finals – Final 47A Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre
    11:38 Speed Skating Short Track – 3000 m Points Race Male Finals – Final 47B Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre
    11:38 Speed Skating Short Track – 3000 m Points Race Male Finals – Final 47C Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre
    11:38 Speed Skating Short Track – 3000 m Points Race Male Finals – Final 47D Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre
    11:38 Speed Skating Short Track – 3000 m Points Race Male Finals – Final 47E Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre
    11:38 Speed Skating Short Track – 3000 m Points Race Male Finals – Final 47F Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre
    11:38 Speed Skating Short Track – 3000 m Points Race Male Finals – Final 47G Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre
    12:30 Hockey Male Relegation Round – 5th – 6th Position Game – MB vs NS Centrium
    12:30 Hockey Male Relegation Round – 7th – 8th Position Game – BC vs NB Kinex Arena
    13:38 Speed Skating Short Track – Team Relay Female Finals – Relay Final 52A Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre
    13:38 Speed Skating Short Track – Team Relay Female Finals – Relay Final 52B Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre
    14:12 Speed Skating Short Track – Team Relay Male Finals – Relay Final 53A Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre
    14:12 Speed Skating Short Track – Team Relay Male Finals – Relay Final 53B Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre
    14:12 Speed Skating Short Track – Team Relay Male Finals – Relay Final 53C Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre
    15:00 Ringette Female Medal Round – Bronze Medal Game (L22 vs. L23) – BC vs MB Downtown Arena
    16:00 Hockey Male Medal Round – Bronze Medal Game (L34 vs. L36) – AB vs SK Centrium
    17:00 Freestyle Skiing Half Pipe Female Qualifications – Run 1 Canada Olympic Park
    17:00 Freestyle Skiing Half Pipe Female Qualifications – Run 2 Canada Olympic Park
    17:00 Freestyle Skiing Half Pipe Male Qualifications – Run 1 Canada Olympic Park
    17:00 Freestyle Skiing Half Pipe Male Qualifications – Run 2 Canada Olympic Park
    18:00 Ringette Female Medal Round – Gold Medal Game (W22 vs. W23) – ON vs QC Downtown Arena
    19:15 Freestyle Skiing Half Pipe Female Finals – Run 1 Canada Olympic Park
    19:15 Freestyle Skiing Half Pipe Female Finals – Run 2 Canada Olympic Park
    19:15 Freestyle Skiing Half Pipe Male Finals – Run 1 Canada Olympic Park
    19:15 Freestyle Skiing Half Pipe Male Finals – Run 2 Canada Olympic Park
    19:30 Hockey Male Medal Round – Gold Medal Game (W34 vs. W36) – ON vs QC Centrium


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    february, 2019

    fri15feb - 3marfeb 151:00 ammar 32019 Canada Winter Games1:00 am - (march 3) 1:00 am Red Deer

    sat23feb1:00 pm- 4:00 pmMAGSaturday @ the MuseumMAGnificent Saturdays welcomes all ages and abilities to participate in a fun art project every week! 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

    sun24feb11:00 am- 2:00 pmOne Eleven Jazzy Brunch11:00 am - 2:00 pm

    wed27feb12:30 pm- 1:00 pmBusiness Professionals Video Lecture LunchThis course explains high-level business concepts in simple ways. 12:30 pm - 1:00 pm

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