Archive for: ‘January 2019’

University of Saskatchewan launches final funding drive for new hockey facility

24/01/2019 Posted by admin

At 87 years young, Rutherford Rink is the second-oldest hockey arena in the CIS. Several plans to replace the home of the University of Saskatchewan (U of S) Huskies have come and gone over the years only to die on the vine.

But on Thursday, the latest plan became much more than a pipe dream as the university launched the last phase of a fundraising drive for a new facility, meaning Rutherford’s days are officially numbered.

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    READ MORE: Saskatoon city council backs new arena, increases taxi fees

    With $34 million in funds already secured, the Home Ice campaign is targeting public and community donors for the remaining $7 million needed to build a new arena complex on campus.

    “For a long time now we’ve been quietly raising money, hoping we would get to exactly this point but needing to know that we could, and we did,” university president Peter Stoicheff said.

    While a new rink on campus is long overdue, it wasn’t until U of S alumnus Merlis Belsher donated $12.25 million to the cause that the latest project really came to life.

    “I follow hockey, follow sports, and I was well aware over the years of the state of Rutherford. So when I was contacted I listened very carefully,” said Belsher, the former owner of Weldon’s Concrete Products and who was raised on a farm near McCord, Sask. Belsher’s donation is the largest gift from an alumnus and individual in the university’s history.

    READ MORE: University of Saskatchewan looking to private sector for new ice rink

    The proposed $41-million facility, which will be known as Merlis Belsher Place, will be built on university land south of the Field House and adjacent to PotashCorp Park, where the Huskies football and soccer teams play. It will feature two ice sheets and all the modern amenities that are missing at Rutherford.

    “The biggest thing I think is warming up before a game. You can’t really warm up in a place like this. There’s no room. So having like a gym there and all that, that’s huge for us,” said Kaitlin Willoughby, a forward on the women’s hockey squad.

    “The dressing room’s pretty tight, so to have those luxuries makes it easier on us and makes our jobs as student-athletes even easier,” added men’s team captain, Kendall McFaull.

    READ MORE: 16,500 fans test new facility in first-ever football game at Mosaic Stadium

    The Saskatoon Minor Hockey Association (SMHA) will also benefit, with the new rink providing much-needed relief in a city running short on available ice.

    “The last sheet of ice that was added to our inventory in the city was the second rink at Rod Hamm-Harold Latrace (arena) in 1998,” SMHA executive director Kelly Boes told the crowd at Thursday’s launch.

    The university hopes to raise the final $7 million needed for the project in the coming months. Once the funds are secured, construction will begin. From start to finish it’s estimated the arena will take approximately one year to complete.

Patrik Laine spurs comeback win for Winnipeg Jets in home opener

24/01/2019 Posted by admin

WINNIPEG – The Winnipeg Jets rode the momentum of Patrik Laine’s first career NHL goal as they battled from three goals down to win their season opener. The Jets picked up a hard fought 5-4 overtime victory against the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday at MTS Centre. Mark Scheifele finished a thrilling comeback, scoring the overtime winner.

For the better part of the first two periods the Jets were outplayed by the Hurricanes. But after trailing 4-1 in the third period, the Jets seemed to feed off the energy of the crowd after Laine scored a beautiful goal in his first NHL game.

“I was just getting more and more into the game in the third period.” said Laine. “And after the goal it was just easy to go out there and do my thing and get the confidence back. It was just nice to go out there and play hockey.”

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Laine also had an assist for a two point night to kick off his NHL career. And he seemed to find another gear after netting his first goal.

“I think once you saw him pop that one in, he took off.” said Jets captain Blake Wheeler. “It wasn’t just the chances he was creating, he was winning pretty much every puck battle. He looked like a real force out there.”

RELATED:Winnipeg Jets ready to fly

“Obviously when you see a guy get his first goal, that’s awesome for him and awesome for the team.” said Scheifele. “Especially a guy like Patty, a big pick for us and a guy that’s going to be such a big contributor for years to come.”

Wheeler, Shawn Matthias, and Mathieu Perreault scored the other goals for the Jets. But it was a struggle for the first two periods.

“We want to leave this rink here with the idea that we played poorly for 45 minutes of that game.” said head coach Paul Maurice. “That had we just played well, it would have been like the last 15 minutes of the third all night and 15-0.”

Connor Hellebuyck made the opening night start in goal for the Jets and stopped 23 of the 27 shots he faced.

The Hurricanes got goals from Jeff Skinner, Lee Stempniak, Jordan Staal and Victor Rask.

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The Jets took the early lead just four minutes into the game. Newcomer Shawn Matthias sent the pass in front to Toby Enstrom. His one-timer ricocheted back to Matthias behind the net and he banked in the shot off Ward. Matthias’ first goal with the Jets had Winnipeg out in front. Bryan Little drew the other assists.

After killing off a Jets 5-on-3 man advantage, former Jets forward Lee Stempniak spotted Skinner in the slot. Hellebuyck made the first stop but Skinner knocked in his own rebound. It was 1-1 through the opening period with the Hurricanes outshooting the Jets 10-6.

The Hurricanes took their first lead five minutes into period number two. Noah Hanifin unloaded a canon from the blueline and his shot deflected in off Stempniak. Skinner picked up the other assist on the powerplay goal.

The Hurricanes extended their lead with only 31 seconds left in the middle stanza. Dustin Byfuglien gloved down the puck but got all tangled up with Viktor Stalberg. The official signaled a delayed penalty on Byfuglien just as Staal fired in the loose puck. Jets fans reigned down the boos, upset Stalberg wasn’t assessed a minor penalty. Carolina had a 3-1 lead after two periods. The shots were 11-7 for the Hurricanes.

The Hurricanes added another goal on a man advantage early in the final frame. From the top of the circle Rask handcuffed Hellebuyck, beating him glove side for a 4-1 lead. Sebastian Aho and Justin Faulk had the assists for Carolina.

But a mere nine seconds later, Skinner turned the puck over at the blueline. He handed it right to Wheeler who skated in all alone and tucked it in the five-hole on Ward for a shorthanded marker. Wheeler’s first goal of the season was unassisted. The Jets trailed by two.

The MTS Centre erupted with 6:27 left in regulation. Laine with a perfect shot, ripped it off the post and in for his first career goal. Enstrom and Kyle Connor had the helpers. The powerplay goal pulled the Jets within one.

Then with just 89 seconds remaining, Laine sent the puck across to Wheeler. He found Perreault in front who re-directed the puck past Ward. The building erupted with the game tied 4-4. The Hurricanes challenged the goal but it was upheld through review to send the game to overtime.

Midway through the extra period the Jets broke in on a 2-on-1. Wheeler spotted Scheifele who buried the one-timer for the game winner.

Little suffered what appeared to be a knee injury in a first period collision and did not return.

The Jets also revealed their new goal song after Matthias’ first period tally. The Jets will play Van Halen’s “Jump” after each and every Jets goal this season.

The Jets are scheduled to practice in Winnipeg on Friday before leaving to Minnesota where they’ll face the Wild on Saturday.

WATCH: Winnipeg Jets Post Game Reaction

Pop-up safe injection site opens in Vancouver Downtown Eastside

24/01/2019 Posted by admin

A pop-up injection site on on the Vancouver Downtown Eastside is helping drug users more safely take drugs while hoping to avoid deadly fentanyl overdoses.

“We didn’t have this when my son was alive. But now we do, but my son is gone,” said Janet Charlie, whose son died of a fentanyl overdose in August.

“I wish there were more places like this.”

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According to the City of Vancouver, the supervised injection site is unsanctioned and isn’t operating with the special legal exemptions the city’s two other sites have been given.

“If you’re a person alone in an alley, that’s when people die,” said Sarah Blyth, the site co-ordinator.

Blyth is a former Vision Vancouver Park Board commissioner who helped make the pop-up injection site happen. She said the project was necessary because she and other volunteers at the open market on Hastings Street saw people dying from fentanyl all around them.

“It was a situation where someone would come running in and we’d see if we had Narcan, or had we run out. So now everything’s sort of in one area that people can get easy access to,” said Blyth.

She said they’d rather see people go to Insite, the city-sanctioned safe injection site.

They have been operating since September and see about 100 people a day. Vancouver Coastal Health provides the supplies they need but does not condone the site.

“We share the frustration of Anne and Sarah and others to legally open these services and we’d like to see that period of time reduced and we’d like to see it be a lot easier to offer these services,” said Dr. Patricia Daly, chief medical health officer at VCH.

Daly is hopeful two more safe injection sites will open in Vancouver early next year. Until then, this tent isn’t coming down.

Organizers have opened a GoFundMe campaign hoping to raise $3,000 to keep the tent operating. In three days they have raised $2,700.

Bermuda hopes for quick recovery after Hurricane Nicole hits

24/01/2019 Posted by admin

HAMILTON, Bermuda – Hurricane Nicole roared across Bermuda on Thursday, pummeling the resort island with winds up to 115 mph that snapped trees and peeled off roofs before the storm spun away into open water.

The Category 3 system also flooded homes, damaged boats that broke away from their moorings and knocked out power to more than 27,000 customers who live in the British territory, which has sturdy infrastructure and is accustomed to heavy weather.

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READ MORE: Bermuda slammed by ‘extremely dangerous’ Hurricane Nicole

By late Thursday, crews were clearing roads, and many islanders were posting pictures of calmer seas and clearer skies.

“Nicole is now racing away,” said James Dodgson, deputy director at the Bermuda Weather Service.

“There’s been a bit of sunshine trying to poke through.” Forecasters expected to cancel a tropical storm warning later in the evening.

Hours earlier, Bermuda’s 65,000 people got a brief respite from the storm’s fury when the eye of the hurricane passed overhead. Authorities urged everyone to stay inside.

READ MORE: Hurricane Nicole expected to spare Canada, cause high winds in Grand Banks

After the eye moved away, the wind grew strong enough to fling open a hatch on the weather service’s radar, rendering it useless until the hatch could be shut, forecasters said.

Nick West, who lives with his family near a wharf in the town of St. George, said a large portion of his roof was ripped off just before the eye passed. His garden is now underwater.

“Just as long as we are all safe, that is all I really care about,” he said.

In Nicole’s aftermath, government officials inspected bridges and other structures. The Royal Bermuda Regiment removed uprooted trees and other debris from roads.

Cleanup efforts were expected to continue until early Friday, and the island’s airport planned to reopen by then. Schools were scheduled to stay closed until Monday.

The hurricane weakened to a Category 2 storm as it churned toward the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. By Thursday night, it was about 255 miles (410 kilometres) northeast of Bermuda with maximum sustained winds of 100 mph (155 kph). The system was moving northeast at 21 mph (33 kph).

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After strengthening to a Category 4 storm late Wednesday, the hurricane lost steam overnight.

Although severe storms often affect Bermuda, “a hurricane this strong is rare,” the National Hurricane Center said.

As Nicole howled outside, some 120 guests were ushered for safety into a ballroom at the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club, one of the island’s largest hotels. They were served a free lunch as they waited for the storm to blow through.

American Airlines, Air Canada and other carriers cancelled flights to the island. Several cruise ships also called off trips.

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Associated Press Writer Danica Coto in San Juan, Puerto Rico, contributed to this report.