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Sports

Wedding reception pauses to take in electrifying final moments of Raptors game

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If Dolly Kambo couldn’t see Kawhi Leonard sink a legendary shot for her favourite sports team in person, then watching him do it from a relative’s wedding was the next best thing.

The 49-year-old was one of many eager Toronto Raptors fans not-so-subtly checking their phones for word of the team’s Game 7 showdown with the Philadelphia 76ers during speeches honouring the nuptials for her sister-in-law’s daughter.

When one of the masters of ceremonies noticed that Kambo was not alone, he obligingly plugged in his laptop and aired the last few seconds of the game on large screens originally intended for slide shows and family photos.

It was in those final seconds that Leonard sank the buzzer-beating game-winning shot, and Kambo said his heroics on the court helped turn up the wedding celebrations to a whole other level.

“It was so loud,” Kambo said of the gleeful shrieks that erupted in the Brampton, Ont., reception hall after Leonard’s shot finally bounced in. “Everybody came to the dance floor. Everybody forgot that it was a wedding reception and were just loud and cheering. It was like we were in the arena itself.”

Kambo admitted to some trepidation when she learned a decisive playoff match was set to take place at the same time as the reception for the Punjabi wedding, which had featured the actual marriage ceremony the day before.

The resident of Guelph, Ont., who had shelled out for playoff tickets to attend Game 4 against the 76ers in person, even toyed with skipping the reception to take in Sunday’s match at home, but didn’t want to slight her family and friends.

In anticipation of the big game, however, Kambo’s son urged her to download the Raptors official app so she could keep an eye on things from afar. Based on what she saw around her, Kambo said many of her fellow guests had a similar plan.

“Speeches were happening and all that stuff, but a lot of people had their phones out,” she said.

Kambo presumes the newlyweds’ relatives overseeing the reception noticed the same thing, which may have been what led one of them to connect his laptop and broadcast what initially seemed like the closing seconds of a tied game.

She said it was nothing more than luck that allowed them to tune in for not only the critical seconds of the matchup, but for what promises to go down as a seminal moment in Raptors history.

With seconds left in regulation play, Leonard let loose a high-arcing Hail Mary shot that bounced around the rim four times before finally landing and securing a 92-90 win for the team.

That victory clinched the Raptors a spot in the Eastern Conference finals, where they will face off against the Milwaukee Bucks starting on Wednesday.

Kambo will be eagerly watching the Raptor’s next playoff showdown, but said the unusual setting in which she watched the team’s most recent win gives the experience a unique flavour she’ll always relish.

“I can’t tell you how happy we were,” she said. “It was just fantastic last night.”

Michelle McQuigge , The Canadian Press

Sports

Promoters enthusiastic about Winnipeg NFL game despite fumbles

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Investors Group Field Winnipeg

WINNIPEG — The promoters of an NFL pre-season game in Winnipeg remained  enthusiastic in the hours before Thursday’s kickoff despite some earlier fumbles.

“It’s going to be an exciting game and I know the fans that are going to be here are going to be passionate, committed and they are going to see one heck of a good show,” said Terry Dale, operations manager with On Ice Entertainment.

City Coun. Kevin Klein thanked the Oakland Raiders and Green Bay Packers on Twitter for choosing to play in the city, even if it meant they faced some “social media bumps” along the way.

There were many online jabs after some players arrived wearing “Winnipeg, Alberta” shirts.

Raiders punter A.J. Cole apologized to the city and responded to a Twitter user that he’d purchased the shirt on Amazon, saying he’s “just a kid from Atlanta, Florida playing football in Oakland, Nevada with a low geography IQ.”

Safety Johnathan Abram was also spotted in the same shirt in a photo posted on the Raiders website.

Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers embraced the Prairie locale by sporting a jean-on-jean-on-jean “Canadian tuxedo” with a bolo tie.

Organizers of the game received word from NFL inspectors late Wednesday that IG Field, home of the CFL Winnipeg Blue Bombers, was approved for play. But to get there, Dale said, it was all hands on deck for three days following a soccer game Monday.

Goalposts had to be pulled out and specially ordered NFL posts were brought in and mounted, which involved digging holes and filling concrete 1.5 metres deep.

CFL Bombers logos and lines were stripped off the field which was repainted to match NFL regulations. An entire edge of asphalt around the field was replaced with synthetic turf.

Even the team rooms had to be reconfigured.

There was also plenty of skepticism about whether the game would fill seats. Tickets sales appeared slow with people pointing to high prices. Lower-bowl seats cost about $300, although end-zone tickets were recently reduced through a sponsorship deal to $75 from $164.

Earlier this week, the president and CEO of the Bombers announced the team would hold a viewing party downtown.

“Based on the price of these tickets, there was going to be a lot of fans who wouldn’t be able to afford to come to the game and we wanted to make sure that our season-ticket members and football fans in the entire community had a place to gather and have a great event,” said Wade Miller.

Dale said there was a lot of ticket movement in the last few days and he was eager to see seats full of football fans.

Thirty youth and members from northern Manitoba First Nations were being flown in to attend the game. There was also to be an area for members of the Armed Forces and their families. Amateur football players will on deck to hold the Canadian and American flags at the game.

Dale said it’s clear from their Winnipeg-themed arrival that the players were excited, too.

“When they arrived, I can be very straight up and say they were laughing. They were joking. They were excited. They were having fun. They were looking forward to it.”

The game is the first NFL contest in Canada since the Buffalo Bills completed a run of eight games in Toronto with a regular-season clash against the Atlanta Falcons in 2013.

Kelly Geraldine Malone, The Canadian Press

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Edmonton

LISTEN: THE OUTSIDERS Podcast features Edmonton’s Bryn Griffiths and Robin Brownlee

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This week on The Outsiders, Bryn and Robin spend time with TSN’s Chris Cuthbert


 

The Outsiders Podcast is a new offering in the local sports arena.   The Outsiders are Edmonton media veterans Bryn Griffiths and Robin Brownlee. Together, they intend to bring us a different perspective on sports gained from decades in the business.

As a result of their longevity, both have rolodexes literally overflowing with the contacts of some amazing sports luminaries.

This is a new weekly one hour sports podcast.  And while they’ll be covering most sports, they wantT to keep a keen eye on the hottest topics of the week in Canada.  Expect them to serve up some outstanding conversations with a variety of guests, like TSN’s Chris Cuthbert. Above all,  expect lots of opinions! 

“NOT always right but willing to listen.” – Bryn Griffiths

This week, The Outsiders spend time with TSN’s Chris Cuthbert talking CFL.

 

Bryn Griffiths is a veteran of more than 3 decades in the communications and media industries.  He’s worked in radio, television, social media, PR and media relations. The bulk of his experience has been broadcasting sports and news.  

Robin Brownlee is a Canadian writer and columnist.  He has covered the Oilers for the Edmonton Journal and the Edmonton Sun, among other publications.  Robin currently writes for Oilersnation.

Read more stories on Todayville Edmonton.

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august, 2019

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