Tag Archives: eyes

Matsuyama eyes Japanese golf history at Masters with 4-shot lead entering final round

The final round of the Masters has started with all the familiar pin positions for Sunday at Augusta National.

Hideki Matsuyama takes a four-shot lead into the final round. He is trying to become the first Japanese player to win a major and the second major champion from an Asian country. (The first was Y.E. Yang of South Korea in the 2009 PGA Championship at Hazeltine.)

It’s never easy at Augusta National. In November, Dustin Johnson had a four-shot lead that was trimmed to one shot after only five holes. He recovered with a birdie and went on to win by five. Rory McIlroy lost a four-shot lead after 10 holes in 2011 when he shot 80 in the final round.

The most famous was Greg Norman losing a six-shot lead in 1996.

Xander Schauffele, Justin Rose, Marc Leishman and Will Zalatoris were all four shots behind Matsuyama. Rose is the only major champion in that group. Zalatoris is trying to become the first player in 42 years to win a green jacket in his first attempt.

Corey Conners of Listowel, Ont., is five shots back in sixth following a third round highlighted by a hole-in-one on the par-3 6th hole.

WATCH | Conners aces par-3 6th hole on Saturday at Augusta:

Corey Conners of Listowel, Ont., became the sixth player to ever hit a hole in one on the sixth hole at the Masters Saturday in Augusta, Georgia. 0:36

The 29-year-old will attempt to become the second Canadian to clinch a Masters Green Jacket, after Mike Weir in 2003.

Despite his lofty position, Conners was not worried about tossing and turning all night

“I’m notoriously a great sleeper, so I don’t think that will be a problem,” said Conners, who is scheduled to tee off at 2:20 p.m. ET.

Matsuyama will play in the final group with Schauffele at 2:40 p.m., a comfortable pairing. Schauffele’s mother was raised in Japan and he speaks enough Japanese to share a few laughs with Matsuyama during Saturday’s pairing.

Matsuyama showed he could handle Augusta National when he first showed up as a 19-year-old amateur. Ten years later, the Japanese star put himself on the cusp of a green jacket.

Matsuyama looking to make history

In a stunning turnaround after storms doused the course, Matsuyama had four birdies, an eagle and a superb par at the end of a 7-under 65, turning a three-shot deficit into a four-shot lead as he tries to become the first Japanese player to win a major.

“This is a new experience for me being a leader going into the final round in a major,” Matsuyama said. “I guess all I can do is relax and prepare well and do my best.”

Matsuyama was at 11-under 205, and no one could stay with him after Saturday’s one hour 18-minute rain delay made the course a little more forgiving.

Schauffele ran in a 60-foot eagle putt across the 15th green to momentary join a four-way tie for the lead. Seconds later, Rose holed a 25-foot birdie putt back on the par-3 12th to regain the lead. That lasted if it took Matsuyama to rap in his five-foot eagle putt on the 15th to take the lead for good.

WATCH | Canadian golfers heading to the green in droves during pandemic:

Golf Canada is capitalizing on a remarkable interest in the sport while seeing paralleled success on the pro tours. 5:18

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CBC | Sports News

Kevin Koe secures direct berth in Brier final, eyes 5th title

In a Canadian men’s curling championship loaded with uncertainty, one of its most consistent performers keeps on delivering.

The next step for top-seeded Kevin Koe is a chance at another Tim Hortons Brier title and a spot in the record books.

  • Watch and engage with CBC Sports’ That Curling Show live every day of The Brier at 7:30 p.m. ET on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, as well as streamed live on CBC Gem and CBCSports.ca

The Wild Card Two skip defeated Wild Card Three’s Wayne Middaugh 7-6 on Saturday night to earn a direct berth into the final. Koe’s Alberta-based team secured the first seed in the championship pool at 10-2.

Koe will face the winner of Sunday’s semifinal between Saskatchewan’s Matt Dunstone and Alberta’s Brendan Bottcher.

WATCH | Kevin Koe leads his Wild Card rink to a 7-6 win over Wayne Middaugh:

Kevin Koe led his Wild Card rink to a 7-6 win over Wayne Middaugh, finishing with the best record in pool play and claiming a spot in the final. 0:58

“That’s why we curl,” said Koe second John Morris. “It’s to play in major championship finals because that’s where it’s the most exciting and that’s what really gets your blood pumping.

“That’s what separates the champions from coming really close.”

Dunstone and Bottcher also posted evening victories to make the three-team cut at 9-3. The semifinal winner will meet Koe in the evening final at the Markin MacPhail Centre.

Dunstone beat Manitoba’s Jason Gunnlaugson 9-6 and Bottcher dumped Canada’s Brad Gushue 8-2.

Bottcher has made the last three Brier finals and settled for silver each time. Dunstone finished third in last year’s playoff.

WATCH | That Curling Show catches up with Pat Simmons, the Nedohins and Earle Morris:

Hosts Colleen Jones and Devin Heroux also get Curling Canada’s Communications Director to break down tiebreaker scenarios that could go on late into Saturday night. 59:34

Koe is looking to win his fifth Brier title as a skip, which would give him sole possession of a record he shares with Ernie Richardson, Randy Ferbey and Kevin Martin.

Koe locked up the win when Middaugh settled for two points on a double-takeout attempt in the 10th end. A third point would have forced an extra end.

“I’m really happy for the guys to stick in there and battle,” Koe said. “We got fortunate, put them under some pressure, they had a few misses and obviously it feels great. Any game you can save is monstrous here.”

Middaugh’s remarkable run ended with an 8-4 record. Originally tabbed as an alternate, he switched positions with injured skip Glenn Howard and threw fourth stones in his first competitive event in over five years.

Gushue also missed the cut at 8-4. Northern Ontario’s Brad Jacobs defeated Ontario’s John Epping 9-3 in the other night game to leave both teams at 7-5. Gunnlaugson finished at 6-6.

WATCH | David Nedohin tells story of replacing his wife as mixed doubles partner for their daughter:

The legendary fourth for the Fab Ferbey Four says he hasn’t been curling competitively, but has thoroughly enjoyed watching his daughter Alyssa learning the game. 6:14

Earlier in the day, Koe dumped Gunnlaugson 12-4 and Middaugh dropped a 6-3 decision to Gushue to create a four-way tie for second place. Dunstone edged Jacobs 5-4 and Bottcher topped Epping 8-3.

Wild Card Three was caught off guard by the sanding of rocks before the afternoon draw.

Howard planned to protest after not being told about the papering beforehand. Some players on other teams learned of the sanding by talking to the ice crew but not everyone was aware.

Freshly sanded stones have a significant effect on a rock’s curl and speed.

Curling Canada admitted that teams were not formally informed due to a regrettable “communication breakdown.” The federation said it will “review its procedures going forward.”

WATCH | Koe on potential 5th Brier championship:

The Wild Card 2 skip is heading into the championship pool atop the Pool B standings and tells That Curling Show hosts Colleen Jones and Devin Heroux what it would mean to win a record fifth Canadian title as skip. 54:41

Jacobs and Gunnlaugson knew they would miss the cut after the afternoon draw.

A variety of tiebreaker scenarios were still in play entering the evening. Late night and early morning tiebreakers were a possibility along with a double semifinal in the event of a four-way tie for first place.

Gushue, who has won the Brier in three of the last four years, beat Bottcher to win gold last year in Kingston, Ont. Bottcher was 3-8 in his Brier debut in 2017 before taking silver the next three years.

“Personally I can say I’ve learned a ton from each of the three experiences,” Bottcher said of playing on the closing Sunday. “One of the biggest things is you’ve got to find a way to relax.

“I mean it’s just a game of curling. You’ve got to go back to the roots and go back to the basics and do all the things that got you to here.”

The Brier winner will represent Canada at the world men’s curling championship next month in the same Canada Olympic Park venue.

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CBC | Sports News

FIFA eyes late 2021 to pick 2026 World Cup host cities

FIFA set a new target Tuesday of finalizing North American host cities for the 2026 World Cup — if the coronavirus pandemic allows.

The 23 candidate cities likely need to be cut to 16. FIFA said it could confirm them at the end of the the year.

The pre-pandemic schedule called for cities hosting the first 48-team World Cup — likely 10 in the United States and three each in Canada and Mexico — to be picked early this year. The new deadline will depend on FIFA officials being able to take inspection trips to 17 cities in the United States and three each in Canada and Mexico.

“The visits will only take place if the health and safety situation in the host countries allows FIFA to do so,” the governing body said in a statement.

Most of the venues in the United States will be NFL stadiums, with the home of the New York Giants and New York Jets expected to host the final on July 12, 2026.

“Realizing the commercial potential of each venue, as well as in terms of sustainability, human rights and event legacy, is of the utmost importance,” FIFA said.

The first World Cup with 48 teams will have 80 games instead of the current 64.

The proposal was to play 60 games in the United States and 10 each in Canada and Mexico when the bid contest was won in 2018.

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CBC | Soccer News

This is what COVID-19 looks like through the eyes of nurses on the front lines

Turning a desperately ill COVID-19 patient onto their stomach may seem simple enough to the uninitiated. It’s not.

In this case, at Quebec City’s Hôpital de l’Enfant-Jésus, it requires a total of seven people crowded around an intensive care bed. 

We often hear about how demanding it is for hospital staff and long-term care workers to handle the added workload foisted upon them by the coronavirus pandemic. Here’s just one illustration.

After draping a sheet over the patient, the edges are rolled into the sheet underneath. A pair of pillows are now snug to his chest, and the rolling begins. First, the patient is slid to the edge of the bed. On three, he’s turned to his side. Another three-count, and he is softly delivered onto his stomach.

The room empties. Everyone has work to do.

The Quebec capital has seen a massive spike in coronavirus infections in recent weeks, and a trio of nurses say they’re worried by members of the public trivializing the illness.

To help convince people to take the coronavirus more seriously during the upcoming holidays, they opened their doors to Radio-Canada.

Their names are Cathy Deschênes, Jennifer Boissonnault and Lindsay Vongsawath-Chouinard. Their aim: to show what life in the hot zone looks like.

Each of them agreed to wear a small camera so the public could see how a typical day unfolds. They filmed their colleagues and their patients, and illustrated how the pandemic has made the job harder and more complex.

(scroll up to view the video)

From left to right, Hôpital de l’Enfant-Jésus intensive care nurses Lindsay Vongsawath-Chouinard, Jennifer Boissonnault and Cathy Deschênes. (Radio-Canada)

Their point is not to elicit sympathy. As Deschênes says: “It’s difficult, but we love our jobs.”

Instead, they want to show the devastating path some COVID-19 patients are called upon to travel: patients who require more and more staff at their bedside, and need ever larger amounts of treatment time.

And each one of those treatments involves special planning and safety equipment. The ICU rooms have sliding doors, which makes it easier to maintain hot, warm and cold zones. And maintain them, they must.

Each shift has a nurse in charge of making sure the hygiene procedures are being followed and that personal protective equipment, like N95 masks and shields, is worn correctly.

“No one in our department has contaminated themselves (with the virus), we’ve had no outbreaks in intensive care and we’re very proud of that,” Boissonnault says, at one point.

The average age of the COVID-19 patient in the unit is between 60 and 75.

“Some might think that’s old. We don’t think so,” Boissonnault says.

The province has 390 intensive care beds dedicated to COVID-19 patients (20 for pediatric cases), and Enfant-Jésus, in the Maizerets area northeast of downtown Quebec City, accounts for 22 of them.

The unit is not short of business.

Of the 610 COVID-19 patients the hospital has treated so far this year, 90 were in intensive care. And 144 people who entered the hospital with the disease never made it home.

To work in an intensive care unit is to accept that not every patient can be saved, but COVID-19 is rough even for a group of people who must become inured to tragedy.

Public health restrictions mean it’s often not possible for patients’ relatives to be by their bedside, so when things take a turn for the worst, the only hand to hold usually belongs to a nurse, orderly, doctor or other staff member.

Staff prepare a room in the intensive care ward at Enfant-Jésus hospital in Quebec City. The unit opened its doors to Radio-Canada for a rare look at the daily battle against COVID-19. (Radio-Canada)

At one point, a family is forced to make the devastating decision to halt treatment on their intubated loved one. Two nurses each hold a hand as he is prepared for ‘comfort care’ — palliative measures.

“We’re with you sir,” says Boissonault, holding his left hand. “We’re taking care of you.”

The typical hospital stay for a COVID-19 patient lasts 17 days, but in the ICU sometimes it can stretch to 40 or beyond. Attachments form. When someone dies, there are often tears. There have been weeks when that happens four or five times in just one section of the unit. 

People infected with this virus can sometimes take a sudden, catastrophic turn.

“To give comfort to a patient whose family can’t be there with them in their final moments, to be the ones who take their hands in ours during their final moments … it’s troubling,” says Vongsawath-Chouinard, her voice cracking.

So when there is good news, it is celebrated.

Recently, a patient from the Saguenay called Daniel Bouchard made enough progress to be released from the unit to a regular COVID-19 ward in the hospital.

Daniel Bouchard, 65, is wheeled out of Enfant-Jésus hospital’s intensive care unit in Quebec City as staff applaud. He spent 8 days in the unit with COVID-19. (Radio-Canada)

It was his 65th birthday. He had been there eight days, some of them touch-and-go.

The nurses and medical staff got him a card and a small cake. He thanks them in a raspy voice and is overcome with emotion, weeping in his wheelchair as a nurse rubs his shoulders.

“Your tears say a lot,” Boissonnault says.

Safety measures oblige, the gathered staff had to sing Happy Birthday from the next room.

“Thanks so much, you’ve been an all-star team,” Bouchard says. 

Minutes later, it is time to leave. Outside the room, scrub-wearing staff line the hall.

They applaud as he is wheeled out of view.

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CBC | Health News

Toronto FC’s Nick DeLeon eyes 1st game as respite from MLS ‘rinse and repeat’ bubble

Nick DeLeon likes space. So life in the MLS is Back Tournament bubble has its challenges for the veteran Toronto FC midfielder.

“Training, eating, hanging out in the hotel. Rinse and repeat,” he said with a chuckle.

But DeLeon has no complaints. He is looking forward to returning to action this weekend and says Major League Soccer has done its best to look after the players in what is uncharted territory for sports.

DeLeon and Toronto kick off their tournament against D.C. United on Sunday in a challenging 9 a.m. ET start at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports complex in the Orlando area.

Games have been scheduled in the morning and evening to avoid the Florida heat. Toronto was initially handed just one 9 a.m. start in its three group games but the schedule had to be rejigged after Toronto arrived late at the tournament due to additional COVID-19 testing.

The matchup with D.C. United was shifted from Friday evening to Sunday morning. That means Toronto has two early wake-up calls, with its July 21 game against New England also a morning affair.

“It does present some challenges for sure,” Toronto coach Greg Vanney, speaking prior to the schedule reveal, said of the early kickoffs. “We’ll figure it out.

“The worst-case scenario is we would probably have to play one of those. The best-case scenario is maybe we escape all of them. … Both teams have the same challenges.”

The forecast for Sunday calls for a temperature of 30 C at kickoff, which will feel like 36 C. There’s a chance of a thunderstorm around the final whistle.

A native of Phoenix, DeLeon spent two years at UNLV and endured more than few sticky summers playing for D.C. United. But he’s not a fan of the Florida humidity.

“My body feels great, minus this humidity. It’s definitely hit me. It’s smacked me in the face, you can put it that way,” he said.

The 29-year-old DeLeon has to rack his brain to remember the last time he played a game so early.

“It’s been a long time,” he said. “That takes me back to youth days. That’s kind of unique. And that’s why we’re training in the morning. We’re trying to get into that cycle to prepare us for the early kickoff on Sunday.

DeLeon has been setting his alarm for 6 a.m. for training and expects to have to push that to 5:15 a.m. on Sunday. Prior to the tournament, Vanney said the 9 a.m. start would likely require a 5:30 a.m. pre-game meal and meeting.

“Which isn’t too bad for me. I know it impacts some other guys a little more,” said DeLeon. “I have two young kids who wake up pretty early so I’m used to getting up early. But that’s definitely different for some guys, for sure.”

WATCH | Impact’s Thierry Henry kneels at start of game:

Montreal coach Thierry Henry took a knee at the start of the Impact’s opening match in the MLS is Back tournament, in honour of George Floyd, a Black man, who died May 25 after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly eight minutes. 1:58

DeLeon and wife Jordan, three-year-old daughter Marlee, two-year-old son Milo and their two dogs live north of Toronto.

“We like our space,” he said.

DeLeon’s wife and kids left Toronto some three weeks ago to be with his wife’s family in Kentucky during the tournament. They have a better support network there, which reassures DeLeon.

But he feels incomplete without them.

“You’ve got no idea … I’m definitely missing them like crazy,” he added. “Some days more than others.”

He reaches out to them “at least once a day.”“For me, it’s weird. When I Zoom them, it makes me miss them even more,” he said. “It does something to my mentality and my emotions when I see them but I know I can’t hug them, kiss them, be present with them. It’s difficult.”

He says it takes 30 minutes to regain his equilibrium after talking to them.

The buildup to coming down to Florida was the most stressful part.

“The unknowns were where a lot of the anxiety laid,” he said. “Once you got down here, it was really organized. There were a couple of little issues here and there that guys were vocal about and MLS jumped on it and solved them really quickly.”

“Other than that, I feel like they’ve done a really good job to keep this bubble safe. You can tell they’ve put a lot of care and thought into this whole project.”

Players tested every other day

While the Swan and Dolphin Hotel, where all the MLS teams are staying, is not home, DeLeon says MLS has done its best.

The Toronto players get tested every other day for COVID-19. Aside from hanging out in their rooms and eating in the team meal room, there is also a lounge for the TFC players complete with a poker table, ping-pong table and video games.

Players can also access a couple of swimming pools or try their hand at bocce ball.

“There are little releases to kind of get you out of your room if you want to,” DeLeon said. “But the new kind of norm now is everywhere you go you’ve got to wear that mask.”

The training fields are in great shape, he reports.

Even though FC Dallas and Nashville SC have been forced to withdraw from the tournament after 19 members of their travelling parties tested positive, DeLeon says the bubble has done its job to date by limiting transfer to other teams.

But he knows how hard the Dallas and Nashville players worked to get ready for their return to action.

“My heart goes out to them,” he said.

DeLeon spent the first seven years of his MLS career at D.C. United before joining Toronto in December 2018. He signed a new contract in April 2019 that will keep him in Toronto through the 2021 season.

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CBC | Soccer News

Quebec schools see spike in cases as Ontario eyes regional reopening: The latest

The latest:

As efforts continue to curb the spread of COVID-19 in Canada, where the number of reported cases has surpassed 90,000, a cluster of cases in Quebec’s elementary schools is shining a light on the cost of reopening the hardest hit provinces.

At least 41 staff and students tested positive for the novel coronavirus in the first two weeks after elementary schools outside the Montreal area reopened, the province’s education department says.

“It’s normal that by having the daycare, the school being open to the community, there can be cases,” said Dr. Horacio Arruda, the province’s director of public health.

WATCH | Wastewater samples point to where COVID-19 cases are:

Wastewater samples from sewage are being used to determine the existence of COVID-19 in communities and could give advance warning of where a second wave is taking shape. 2:03

“The advantage in those areas is that they’re young children, and we didn’t put any personnel who was high-risk (in the classroom).”

The numbers came from a survey of school boards conducted May 25, which found that 19 students and 22 staff members were infected. Twelve of the province’s 72 school boards did not offer up data.

News of the outbreaks came as Quebec reported another 530 cases of the virus on Friday, pushing its total above the 50,000 mark. With 419 more cases on Saturday, the total climbed to 50,651.

Ontario reported another 323 cases on Saturday, for a total of 27,533 cases and 2,297 deaths.

As the case count surged by 344 with 2,230 deaths on Friday, Premier Doug Ford said he was looking at reopening the province region by region. Two-thirds of the province’s cases are in the Greater Toronto Area, while some other public health agencies say they have few or no current patients.

The province is set to reopen drive-in theatres and batting cages on Sunday. It will reintroduce backcountry camping as of Monday, the government said in a news release Saturday.

New Brunswick, which didn’t report any new cases of the virus for the two weeks leading up to May 21, continued to grapple with a new outbreak of eight cases in the Campbellton area. Two of those infected are in intensive care, said Dr. Jennifer Russell, the province’s chief medical officer of health.

WATCH | N.B.’s chief medical officer of health responds to new cluster of COVID-19 cases:

Dr. Jennifer Russell calls for people to reserve judgment until an investigation into an outbreak in Campbellton linked to a doctor who didn’t self-isolate is complete. 12:15

As of 11:00 a.m. ET Saturday, Canada had 90,161 confirmed and presumptive coronavirus cases, with 47,903 of them considered recovered or resolved. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial data, regional information and CBC’s reporting stood at 7,123.

Russell said over the next four to five days, teams will be doing “a lot” of testing.

WATCH | Ban on large cruise ships in Canadian waters extended through October:

It’s another blow to the tourism industry, which is already struggling because of COVID-19 cancellations, closures, and travel bans. 1:58

Russell urged people to be patient and understanding as public health officials work to trace contacts and complete tests. The Campbellton region has been pushed back a level in terms of reopening, which has meant some businesses that were getting ready to open their doors will now wait at least another week.

Statistics Canada, meanwhile, has announced that gross domestic product fell at an annualized rate of 8.2 per cent in the first three months of 2020 — the worst quarterly showing since 2009 — even though efforts to contain the novel coronavirus by shuttering businesses and schools didn’t begin in earnest until March.

Many of those businesses are now reopening in a bid to re-employ some of the three million people who lost their jobs, putting workers and clients in close proximity and lending new urgency to the testing and tracing process.

Here’s what’s happening in the provinces and territories 

British Columbia this week has had the lowest number of deaths and new cases since a public health emergency was declared on March 18.  In the past seven days, there has been a total of 56 new cases, including four announced on Friday. Read more about what’s happening in B.C.

Alberta has ordered 20 million non-medical masks and plans to distribute them to residents, offering up to four masks per person at no cost. McDonald’s, Tim Hortons and A&W restaurants have partnered with the province to distribute the masks at drive-thrus. The province reported 24 new cases of coronavirus Friday, but no new deaths. There are 616 active cases in province, with 55 people in hospital, four of them in intensive care. Read more about what’s happening in Alberta.

Saskatchewan reported two more coronavirus cases on Friday, one in the south and one in the Saskatoon area. The province has 61 active cases. Read more about what’s happening in Saskatchewan.

WATCH | An infectious disease specialist answers questions about COVID-19, including whether someone who has recovered can stop physical distancing:

An infectious disease specialist answers viewer questions about the COVID-19 pandemic, including whether someone who has recovered from COVID-19 can stop physical distancing. 2:46

Manitoba reported no new cases on Friday after confirming that two new cases on Thursday were related to out-of-province travel. Read more about what’s happening in Manitoba.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford said he’s considering a regional phased approach to reopening the province, an approach he had previously resisted. Ford said that the province’s expanded testing guidelines, released Friday morning, will help public health officials better understand trends and hot spots. The new strategy will focus on communities with relatively high numbers of cases and certain high-risk workplaces while also boosting Ontario’s contact-tracing work. Read more about what’s happening in Ontario.

WATCH | Lack of data hampers Ontario’s fight against COVID-19:

Issues continue to surround Ontario’s failure to gather and share data about COVID-19, which many say is key to controlling outbreaks. 1:44

Quebec added 419 new cases and 79 deaths for a provincial total of 50,651 cases and 4,439 deaths on Saturday. The province surpassed 50,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Friday. It has had nearly 60 per cent of all confirmed cases in Canada. Read more about what’s happening in Quebec.

In New Brunswick, Premier Blaine Higgs is hoping any reopening of the border with Maine will be delayed. Higgs raised his concerns on a federal call Thursday night, where he and other premiers learned the border might be reopened soon for people in communities next to them. Higgs said the reopening for border friends and families could come in the next few weeks or even days. Read more about what’s happening in N.B.

Nova Scotia reported one new case on Saturday, bringing its case total to 1,056, with 978 considered resolved. One additional fatality related to COVID-19 was also reported, for a total of 60 deaths. Read more about what’s happening in N.S.

In Prince Edward Island, Health Minister James Aylward said more than 1,100 surgeries have been delayed because of COVID-19. The surgeries, which included almost 500 eye surgeries, were all postponed during the 10-week period in which elective surgeries were put on hold. Read more about what’s happening on P.E.I., which again reported no new cases on Friday.

WATCH | Buying or selling a home during the pandemic — what to expect:

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed what happens when you buy or sell a house. Andrew Chang walks through what’s changed in the real estate game. 1:48

Newfoundland and Labrador will allow people to expand their household bubbles, officials said Friday. The government first allowed for bubbles of two households on April 30. Now households can expand their bubbles by up to six more people. New members of a bubble do not have to be from the same household, but cannot be changed once decided. The province, which announced a new COVID-19 case related to travel on Thursday, had no new cases on Friday. Read more about what’s happening in N.L.

Yukon health officials say the territory is on track to allow people in July to travel freely between the territory and neighbouring B.C. That means anybody arriving in Yukon from B.C. would no longer need to self-isolate for 14 days. Read more about what’s happening across the North.

Here’s what’s happening around the world

WATCH | Italians nervous as regional borders reopen:

Many Italians are concerned about the potential for more COVID-19 spread as the country reopens its borders to free travel and people start returning to workplaces. 1:58

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CBC | Health News

NHL eyes transition to Phase 2 in early June, including small group workouts

The NHL hopes to have players back in team facilities soon, with plenty of precautions.

The league, which was forced to pause its season March 12 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, released a memo Monday announcing it’s targeting early next month as the start date for Phase 2 of its return-to-play protocol, including the opening of practice rinks and allowing small, voluntary group workouts on and off the ice.

“It has not yet been determined when precisely Phase 2 will start or how long it may last,” the memo read. “We are continuing to monitor developments in each of the club’s markets, and may adjust the overall timing if appropriate, following discussion with all relevant parties.”

The NHL, which has worked closely with the NHL Players’ Association on the phased approach, said that while it views the protocol as “very comprehensive … [it] cannot mitigate all risk.”

“A range of clinical scenarios exist, from very mild to fatal outcome,” the 22-page memo continued. “COVID-19 generally affects older age groups and those with previously existing medical conditions, more so than younger, and otherwise healthy, individuals.

Training camps not addressed in memo

“We recognize that players and personnel have family and household members who may fall into these vulnerable categories.”

  • If the Phase 2 plan gets the green light, on-ice sessions will be non-contact and involve up to six players, who will be expected to maintain physical distancing at all times. Players will be required to wear masks when entering and exiting facilities, and when not able to physically distance.
  • “Face coverings [cloth or surgical-type mask] shall be worn at all times — other than while exercising — when entering or leaving the club facility and while inside the club facility where social distancing cannot be maintained,” the memo read. “Players are not required to wear face coverings when they are exercising or on the ice.”
  • Teams are also not allowed to require a player to return to a club’s home city to complete any necessary quarantine measures before the workouts begin. Coaches and management will be allowed to watch, but not participate in, the informal skates.

The final two phases of the return-to-play protocol — training camps followed by a resumption of game action — were not mentioned in the memo. Phase 1, which continues after a number of extensions, saw players advised to self-quarantine after the novel coronavirus paused most of the sports world some 10 weeks ago.

WATCH | NHL players approve 24-team playoff proposal:

The NHL Players’ Association has authorized “further negotiations” on a 24-team playoff format as the league bids to resume the 2019-20 season and award the Stanley Cup. Photo credit: USA TODAY Sports 6:02

The NHL/NHLPA Return to Play Committee has been hashing out details of what the game will look like if it’s allowed to return this summer. The union’s executive board approved further negotiations on a 24-team format Friday.

The Phase 2 memo sent to teams Sunday and made public Monday also states players and staff will be administered COVID-19 nasal swab tests two days before training begins, and will be tested twice a week afterwards. They will also be perform daily self-administered temperature and symptom checks at home before heading to their team’s facility.

Some players have resumed skating

Clubs must also administer “a separate temperature and symptom check at the entrance of the club facility.”

“As an over-riding principle, testing of asymptomatic players and club personnel must be done in the context of excess testing capacity, so as to not deprive health care workers, vulnerable populations and symptomatic individuals from necessary diagnostic tests,” the memo read.

Players who live in NHL markets other than where they play will be permitted to use local facilities, pending availability, meaning they won’t have to travel back to their team’s home cities for Phase 2.

WATCH | What would hockey in empty arenas look like?:

If (and when) hockey comes back, we know that fans will not be there. Rob Pizzo looks at what teams this may hurt the most. 2:24

Most NHL players have not been on the ice since the league halted its schedule, although some, including a number of Swedish players who returned home, have been skating in recent weeks.

The league said any player or staff member who develops COVID-19 symptons during Phase 2, including cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, fever/chills, muscle pain (not exercise-related), loss of smell or taste, cold-like symptoms, or gastrointestinal symptoms are expected to immediately notify medical officials and self-isolate.

If a COVID-19 test comes back positive, the player/staff member’s team will conduct contract tracing in conjunction with local health regulations.

Apart from laying out the groundwork for Phase 2 and continuing discussions on the 24-team format, plenty of other hurdles remain for the NHL and the NHLPA before the games will be allowed to resume.

Should the NHL return sometime this summer, it’s almost certain teams will be clustered in hub cities across North America — Vancouver, Edmonton, Toronto and Las Vegas are believed to be in the mix — with games being held in empty arenas.

The Stanley Cup has been awarded every year since 1893, save for 1919 because of the Spanish flu outbreak, and 2005 when a lockout led to the cancellation of the entire campaign.

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CEBL eyes hub city-style tournament starting in July

The Canadian Elite Basketball League has presented a plan to the Ontario provincial government to play a month-long tournament to crown a champion in July, CBC Sports has learned.

CEBL commissioner Mike Morreale told CBC Sports the league has been contemplating a return for weeks and has pitched a month-long event that would be hosted in one location somewhere in Ontario.

“We have presented a return-to-play document to the province and the sport minister [Lisa MacLeod],” Morreale said. “We are hopeful to have more detailed discussions in the near future.”

Morreale wouldn’t provide specifics on the location but did say the league has one in mind, and acknowledged the Ontario provincial government must give the league the green light.

The league, which began play last year, includes Hamilton, Edmonton, Saskatchewan, Guelph, Ont., Fraser Valley (Abbotsford, B.C.) and St. Catharines, Ont. (Niagara River Lions), as well as the newly added Ottawa Blackjacks. Seven of the 10 players on each roster must be Canadian.

WATCH | CEBL commissioner examining return-to-play scenarios:

Canadian Elite Basketball League CEO and commissioner Mike Morreale is looking into different scenarios to ensure the season isn’t cancelled. 1:31

The plan is to have all seven teams report to a single location on July 1, with training camp taking place over the following nine days. The teams would play a round-robin tournament beginning July 11, with two games a day, one in the afternoon and one at night.

“Teams won’t play more than two days in a row,” Morreale said. “We’d have two games a day and alternate back and forth. There would be some off days in between round-robin games and the playoffs.”

Morreale said the smaller league and mostly-Canadian rosters makes it easier to plan an event with so many unknowns.

Six of the seven teams would qualify for a playoff, with the championship game proposed for Sunday, July 26.

While there are no official plans just yet to broadcast the games should they happen, the CEBL has a partnership with CBC Sports through 2022, making the public broadcaster the premier media partner of Canada’s only First Division professional basketball league.

Strong interest from players

One week ago, the CEBL sent out a survey to all players across the league to gauge their interest in playing sometime this summer.

Morreale was overwhelmed by the response.

“Over 95 per cent of the players responded they would be interested in playing in a hub city,” Morreale said. “That was very encouraging. We can’t do anything without our players.”

Morreale said many of the players also play on teams in Europe, where leagues have also been shut down because of the global pandemic, and is sympathetic to the financial crunch many of them face.

“They’ve already lost half a season. I’d hate for them to miss an entire season,” he said. “I’m trying to get the players paid. I’m trying to get the players on the court and playing, get some film and get some training.”

Morreale acknowledged there are still a lot of details to work out, including testing, travel and where all the players would stay. The U.S. and Canada recently extended their border restrictions until June 21.

But there is a glimmer of hope that this fledgling Canadian league hoping to build on last year’s inaugural season might just play basketball this summer after all.

“It’s important to play to stay relevant. If we have an opportunity, let’s at least investigate it,” Morreale said.

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CFL eyes September return, changes Grey Cup format

The Canadian Football League is moving away from its traditional Grey Cup Festival format, while it also hopes to return in September in order to salvage a season ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a statement sent to season ticket holders across the country on Wednesday afternoon, the league announced Regina would no longer be hosting the 2020 Grey Cup game. Should a shortened season take place, the championship game will be hosted by the team that qualifies for the Grey Cup game and has the best regular-season record.

“This gives all nine CFL teams a shot at hosting the Grey Cup in this unprecedented year,” commissioner Randy Ambrosie said.

The league is also considering moving the Grey Cup — usually played in November — into December as it explores every option to play as many games as possible this season.

It also means Regina has now been awarded the 2022 Grey Cup game, while Hamilton will host the title game in 2021.

“The plan for the Grey Cup in 2021 remains unchanged. The Hamilton Tiger-Cats will host for the first time in 25 years,” Ambrosie said.

“To our amazing fans in Saskatchewan, we look forward to once again celebrating your passion for the CFL with a Grey Cup game and Festival just a little down the road.”

This all comes against a backdrop of the league asking the federal government for up to $ 150 million in financial aid —  $ 30 million has been asked for immediate assistance and $ 120 million has been requested should the league not have a season at all.

WATCH | League is ‘very much in jeopardy,’ CFL commissioner tells Parliament:

Testifying before the House of Commons standing committee on finance on Thursday, CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie stated the league could need up to $ 150 million from the federal government if their season is wiped out due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 4:47

Eyeing a September start

As for whether or not a season will actually occur, that remains a big question mark at this point, but Ambrosie said should a shortened season take place, it’ll begin in September at the earliest.

“There are several reasons, including the continuing restrictions on assemblies, travel and border crossings. Notably, several provinces and municipalities have already decided to prohibit until Sept. 1, all sporting events featuring large gatherings,” Ambrosie said in a release.

While there is cautious optimism, the CFL is putting player and public safety above anything else.

“We know there is a great deal of interest in whether we might play with or without fans or with social distancing rules in place,” Ambrosie said.

“We are examining all possibilities with both public safety and financial viability in mind. It’s just too soon to speculate on what a return to play in September might look like.”

The league is making it very clear in its statement that, while it eyes a September return, one other ominous scenario remains.

“A cancelled season is also possible. Again, it’s too soon to make a sure call at this point,” Ambrosie said.

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Touchdown Atlantic cancelled

One of the marquee events of the season has been cancelled. The Toronto Argonauts and the Saskatchewan Roughriders were set to play a regular season game scheduled in Halifax on July 25.

But on Wednesday, the CFL said the pandemic and uncertainty that exists has forced the game to be cancelled. 

“The only thing deeper than our regret is our resolve to return to Atlantic Canada. It pains us that this pandemic is preventing us from showing our friends in Nova Scotia, in person, just how saddened we are by the senseless tragedy they have been forced to bear and how much we admire their strength,” Ambrosie said.

The league will be reaching out to fans directly who purchased tickets. The game was a sellout.

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