Tag Archives: Bubble

Positive COVID-19 tests in Calgary bubble halt playoffs at men’s curling worlds

Playoffs at the world men’s curling championship in Calgary have been suspended because of positive tests for the COVID-19 virus.

Those who tested positive are asymptomatic and don’t involve playoff teams, according to Curling Canada.

  • Watch and engage with CBC Sports’ That Curling Show live  Saturday 7:30 p.m. ET; Sunday 5 p.m. ET) featuring the men’s curling championship on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

But games are halted until athletes and staff on playoff teams are tested Saturday and receive their results.

“All teams that made the playoffs will undergo testing on Saturday morning, and until the results are clear and it’s known that the players and event staff are safe, no further games will be played,” Curling Canada said in a statement.

Those who have tested positive for the virus are in quarantine and contact tracing is underway, the organization added.

Canada’s Brendan Bottcher was eliminated from gold-medal contention Friday evening in a 5-3 loss to Scotland.

Saturday’s playoff game involving the United States and Switzerland, and semifinals involving Russia and Sweden are on hold. The medal games are scheduled for Sunday.

Fourteen teams, including 13 who travelled to Calgary from outside the country, competed in the men’s world championship.

The field was whittled down to six teams by Friday afternoon. The eliminated teams were preparing to travel home.

WATCH | Scotland upends Canada in qualification game:

Canada’s Brendan Bottcher loses to Scotland’s Bruce Mouat 5-3 in the qualification game at the men’s world curling championship. 1:04

The Canadian men’s, women’s and mixed doubles championships held at WinSport’s Markin MacPhail Centre before the world championship were completed without any positive tests for the coronavirus.

Athletes and team personnel quarantine and are tested upon arrival in Calgary before competing. They’re confined to the arena and the their hotel across the highway.


A pair of Grand Slams with international men’s and women’s fields are scheduled to start next week in Calgary’s curling bubble.

Participants in those tournaments have begun arriving in Calgary to undergo their testing and quarantine before getting on the ice.

The women’s world championship, which was relocated from Switzerland to Calgary, is planned for April 30 to May 6.

WATCH | Where Canada fits in the current curling climate:

The two-time world champion explains how the rest of the world has caught up to Canadian curling. 3:20

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CBC | Sports News

Australia and New Zealand to launch ‘travel bubble’ April 19 in pandemic milestone

New Zealand will allow quarantine-free visits by Australians from April 19, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Tuesday, creating a “travel bubble” for the neighbouring nations that have closed their borders to the rest of the world to eradicate COVID-19.

Though most Australian states have allowed quarantine-free visits from New Zealanders for months, New Zealand has continued mandatory quarantine from its neighbour, citing concern about small COVID-19 outbreaks there.

The virus has effectively been eradicated in both countries, with minor outbreaks a result of leakage from quarantined returned travellers. Australia has recorded about 29,400 virus cases and 909 deaths since the pandemic began, while New Zealand has had just over 2,100 confirmed cases and 26 deaths.

“The Trans-Tasman travel bubble represents a start of a new chapter in our COVID response and recovery, one that people have worked so hard at,” Ardern told reporters in the New Zealand capital Wellington.

“That makes New Zealand and Australia relatively unique. I know family, friends and significant parts of our economy will welcome it, as I know I certainly do.”

Other neighbouring countries have proposed special travel zones, but the New Zealand-Australia arrangement is among the first that does not involve mandatory COVID-19 testing.


New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announces conditions for quarantine-free travel with Australia on Tuesday. (Mark Mitchell/New Zealand Herald/The Associated Press)

About 568,000 New Zealand-born people live in Australia, according to 2018 figures, equivalent to 2.3 per cent of Australia’s population and Australia’s fourth-largest migrant community.

Australia supplied 1.5 million, or 40 per cent of arrivals in New Zealand in 2019, the year before the pandemic shut borders, contributing $ 2.3 billion Cdn to its economy, according to New Zealand figures. Arrivals were forecast to reach 80 per cent of that level by early 2022, Ardern said.

“Tourism operators can now take bookings with confidence and scale up their staffing,” said Chris Roberts, CEO of New Zealand travel industry body Tourism Industry Aotearoa.

‘Flyer beware’

Flights to and from some Australian states could still be suspended if there were local outbreaks, Ardern warned. She said travellers must wear masks on flights and undertake New Zealand contact tracing, while the travel bubble did not apply to people transiting via Australia from other countries.

The bubble would operate under a “flyer beware” system, with no new support from the New Zealand government for people stuck in Australia by cancellations at short notice, Ardern said.

Travel would operate state-by-state, and would follow a virus risk traffic-light system, with travel as normal in green-light zones, halting for 72 hours in orange zones and halting for an extended period in red-light zones.

Air New Zealand Ltd and Qantas Airways Ltd said they would ramp up flights between Australia and New Zealand to more than 70 per cent of pre-pandemic levels, reducing the airlines’ cash burn when they are almost wholly reliant on domestic markets for revenue.

“I’ll certainly be digging out my passport for the first time since I joined the airline to head across the ditch to see my family, and I’m especially looking forward to meeting some of my grandchildren for the first time,” said Air New Zealand CEO Greg Foran.

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CBC | World News

Underwhelming women’s weight room in NCAA bubble prompts questions of inequity

The teams had barely landed in Texas when complaints of inequity between the women’s and men’s tournaments roared over social media posts noting the women’s weight training facilities in San Antonio were severely lacking compared to what the men have in Indianapolis. Both tournaments field 64 teams.

In an Instagram post, Stanford sports performance coach for women’s basketball Ali Kershner posted a photo of a single stack of weights next to a training table with sanitized yoga mats, comparing it to pictures of massive facilities for the men with stacks of free weights, dumbells and squat racks.

“These women want and deserve to be given the same opportunities,” Kershner tweeted. “In a year defined by a fight for equality this is a chance to have a conversation and get better.”

Several top former college and current WNBA players quickly tweeted support for the women and criticism of the NCAA.


“That NCAA bubble weight room situation is beyond disrespectful,” tweeted A’ja Wilson, who led South Carolina to the 2017 national championship and now plays for the Las Vegas Aces in the WNBA.

NCAA Senior Vice-President of women’s basketball Lynn Holzman said the governing body would try to quickly improve the equipment available at the women’s tournament. The original setup was limited because of a lack of available space in San Antonio, with plans to expand once the tournament field shrunk in the later rounds.

“We acknowledge that some of the amenities teams would typically have access to have not been as available inside the controlled environment. In part, this is due to the limited space and the original plan was to expand the workout area once additional space was available later in the tournament,” Holzman said. “However, we want to be responsive to the needs of our participating teams, and we are actively working to enhance existing resources at practice courts, including additional weight training equipment.”


Middle Tennessee State coach Rick Insell said his team hasn’t seen the weight room yet, but has not seen anything else to indicate that the women are getting anything less than the men.

“I saw something on Twitter about the men’s weight room is a lot different and things were being given to the men that were not being given to the women, but I haven’t seen any of that here,” Insell said. “Now, maybe later on we’ll get to see what’s going on. But, right now we’re kind of just going to practice, going to eat and going to your room.”

COVID test results

The NCAA has administered nearly 2,700 tests so far and only one has come back positive which was a great sign for the women’s basketball tournament.

NCAA Senior Vice-President of women’s basketball Lynn Holzman revealed the numbers on a media call Thursday morning, but did not identify who tested positive.

“From the report I received this morning over the past two days, close to 2,700 tests were performed that included the members of the travel parties, bus drivers and staff and only one confirmed positive test,” she said. “It’s a testament to all those involved in our championship. So given the sheer number of individuals involved in this, where we sit currently today, I’m pleased where we’re at.”

Holzman also said that all 64 teams announced Monday in the bracket have arrived safely in Texas so none of the replacement teams will be needed.

“We continue to emphasis the need for us to make sure we’re conducting our championship in a safe manner,” she said.

Everyone will continue to be tested daily.

Obama makes his pick

Former President Barack Obama picked Baylor to win the national championship this year beating Stanford in the championship game.

Obama had N.C. State and Maryland in the Final Four with the two No. 1 seeds. That would mean that the Terrapins, who Obama had picked against a few years ago in his bracket when his niece was playing for Princeton and they were tournament opponents, would knock off Dawn Staley’s South Carolina team in the regional final.

Staley had some fun with Obama on Twitter.

“@BarackObama I’m telling @MichelleObama……it’s obviously you did not confer with her. We will forgive not forget. You’re still our guy tho.”

Obama mostly went with the better seeded teams to advance in the first round. He did have No. 6 Oregon being knocked off by 11th-seeded South Dakota.


Draft deadline

The WNBA announced April 15 as its draft date for this season.

Every eligible player who would like to make themselves available for the draft must opt-in by renouncing their remaining intercollegiate eligibility.

A player who wishes to opt-in must email the league no later than April 1. If a player is competing in the Final Four, the player has up to 48 hours after her last game finishes to let the league know if she plans on entering the draft.

In the past, players who have run out of college eligibility are automatically entered into the draft. This became more of an issue this season when all the players were granted an extra year of eligibility by the NCAA because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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CBC | Sports News

Brier in the bubble: Gushue begins title defence with opening draw win over Epping

Brad Gushue picked up where he left off at the Canadian men’s curling championship on Friday night.

In his first game with the full foursome of Mark Nichols, Brett Gallant and Geoff Walker since winning the Tim Hortons Brier a year ago, the defending champs showed few signs of rust in a clinical 6-2 win over Ontario’s John Epping.

  • 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

Canada shot 91 per cent as a team while Gushue threw a perfect 100 per cent, numbers he felt may have been a little too kind.

“To use a golf expression, there’s no pictures on the scorecard,” Gushue said with a smile. “There were some throws out there that were pretty gross. But we got a lot out of every shot.

“I think we only had one shot [that] we didn’t get anything out of. That was a goal that we had coming into this game and I thought we executed that very well.”

THAT CURLING SHOW | Setting the table for a stacked 2021 Brier:

Hosts Colleen Jones and Devin Heroux break down the 2021 Brier field with guests Colin Hodgson, Brendan Bottcher and Glenn Howard. 54:13

It was the long-awaited return of top-flight domestic men’s curling after a season limited to just a few bonspiels due to the pandemic.

The opening draw at the Markin MacPhail Centre came on the heels of a successful Canadian women’s curling championship, the first of seven events to be played in a so-called bubble setting at Canada Olympic Park.

In other Draw 1 games, Saskatchewan’s Matt Dunstone dumped Nunavut’s Peter Mackey 10-2, Wild Card Two’s Kevin Koe beat Nova Scotia’s Scott McDonald 7-4 and Quebec’s Michael Fournier edged Greg Smith of Newfoundland and Labrador 7-6.

Gushue’s team played in a couple events last fall in Halifax with substitute players as the Alberta-based Walker remained out west.

WATCH | Gushue kicks off Brier defence with win over Epping:

Team Canada’s Brad Gushue makes a nice shot in the 6th end to set him up for 2 points, goes on to defeat Ontario’s John Epping 6-2 in Draw 1 of the 2021 Brier. 0:51

The teams blanked the first three ends as they got a feel for playing on arena ice again.

Gallant made a brilliant triple takeout early on and jokingly waved to the cardboard cutouts stationed throughout the spectator-free arena.

Epping was heavy on a hit-and-roll attempt in the fourth end that set up a Gushue draw for two.

Ontario settled for a single in the fifth before a Gushue hit and roll set up another deuce in the sixth end. The teams shook hands after a Canada single in the ninth end.

“That was fun,” Nichols said. “The leadup to this has been tough in terms of the isolation and stuff like that. So to get out there and play a competitive game — it felt exactly how I thought it would.

“There was no easing into it or anything. We were just right back to it so it felt really good.”

THAT CURLING SHOW | Colin Hodgson discusses importance of maintaining mental health:

The Team McEwen lead says he doesn’t play to win gold medals and hopes to use his curling platform to encourage young people to be themselves on social media. 2:22

Ontario finished at 82 per cent overall and Epping was at 72 per cent.

For most teams, it was their first competitive game action in several months.

Some provincial and territorial teams were able to play down in recent weeks, but most rinks were invited by their respective associations when championships were cancelled due to the pandemic.

Two more wild-card entries were added this year, boosting the field to 18 teams. Gushue’s team had an automatic entry as returning champions.

“The first game — we were trying not to fall down and hurt ourselves,” Gushue said with a smile. “The nervous legs and everything that we had. I felt pretty shaky from the combination of nerves and not practising as much as we normally do coming in. So my focus was just on that.”

Players are staying in a hotel across the road from the WinSport Arena and are being tested for COVID-19 on a regular basis. Coaches and team alternates wore masks on the end benches.

Electronic hog-line sensors on the stone handles were not used for the second straight event due to equipment delays as a result of the pandemic. The honour system was in effect.

Three draws were scheduled for Saturday. Preliminary-round play continues through Thursday night.

The top four teams in each pool will advance to the two-day championship pool starting March 12. The top three teams will move on to the playoffs on March 14.

THAT CURLING SHOW | Jamie Korab remembers Walter Gretzky:

2006 Olympic gold medallist curler Jamie Korab tells That Curling Show about the time he met The Great One’s dad and how it felt like visiting an old friend. 1:59

The second- and third-place teams will meet in an afternoon semifinal with the winner to play the first-place team for the championship.

The Brier winner will earn $ 100,000 of the $ 300,000 total purse, return as Team Canada at the 2022 Brier in Lethbridge, Alta., and earn a berth in the Olympic Trials in November at Saskatoon.

The champions will also represent Canada at the April 2-11 world men’s curling championship in the Calgary bubble.

Kerri Einarson won the Scotties Tournament of Hearts last weekend. She’ll represent Canada at the April 30-May 9 women’s world curling championship, which was added to the bubble calendar Friday.

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Scotties match between Northwest Territories, Canada postponed due to illness in bubble

The Saturday afternoon curling game between Northwest Territories and Team Canada has been postponed after a member of Kerry Galusha’s Yellowknife foursome fell ill in the middle of the night Friday with a suspected case of food poisoning.

Galusha, speaking exclusively to CBC Sports, said they found out the game was cancelled Saturday afternoon.

  • Watch and engage with CBC Sports’ That Curling Show live every day of The Scotties at 7:30 p.m. ET on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube

“We had to report an illness. Curling Canada made the decision to postpone it,” she said from her hotel room in Calgary.

“The team member was feeling ill in the middle of the night.”

WATCH | Collen Jones surprised with Scotties winning montage on That Curling Show:

During the opening episode of That Curling Show, Colleen Jones is surprised with a montage of her Scotties Tournament of Hearts victories. 3:23

All members of Galusha’s rink are now isolating in separate rooms in the hotel as they await a negative test result from the player who is ill.

The game has been moved to Monday morning.

“The doctor came and saw her and took her temperature. She has to do another test and until she is cleared we have to isolate in our rooms,” Galusha said.

Curling Canada released a statement shortly after the match was postponed, with respect to a player for Northwest Territories.

“A member of Team Northwest Territories came down with a suspected case of food poisoning overnight. She has been assessed by the event’s Chief Medical Officer, and it is believed that this will not impact the team’s ability to continue in the event,” the statement read. “The rest of the team is not showing any similar symptoms, and have all tested negative on previous COVID tests, as recently as Friday, and have passed all twice-daily wellness checks, including this morning.

“The player will receive a COVID PCR test today, and out of an abundance of caution, the decision has been made to reschedule this afternoon’s Northwest Territories-Canada game to Monday morning at 10:30 a.m. ET, which was to be a bye in the schedule for all teams. The Northwest Territories team will self-isolate until the results of the test are known.”

WATCH | 2-time Scotties champion Chelsea Carey on That Curling Show:

For the premiere episode of That Curling Show, hosts Colleen Jones and Devin Heroux talk with 2-time Scotties champion Chelsea Carey. 44:05

Curlers have had to provide three negative tests before the competition. Saturday marks the first full day of competition at this year’s Scotties.

Galusha’s team lost to Northern Ontario 8-7 on Friday evening.

“We had a tough game last night, we blew it. We were in control of that whole game and we let it slip away,” Galusha said.

While Galusha did express concern over the situation unfolding in the bubble, she was quick to praise Curling Canada for the way they’re handling everything so far.

“They have protocols, Curling Canada was on top of it. They’ve been very informative. It’s safety first. Teams need to report if there’s an illness,” she said.

“I think Curling Canada has done an amazing job. I know things have gone off the rails the first couple days but they’ve handled themselves so well and have been in contact with us.”

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Tournament of Hearts 1st test of Curling Canada’s Calgary bubble

Kerri Einarson will miss having her twin daughters ask her when can they go to the hotel pool.

The skip of the reigning Canadian women’s curling champions says those moments are mental breaks from the intensity of the Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

The 2021 Tournament of Hearts opening Friday starts a run of four spectator-free Curling Canada events in Calgary in a controlled environment to avoid the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Einarson’s daughters won’t wait by the rink boards at the home end of the ice to celebrate or commiserate as they did on championship weekend in Moose Jaw, Sask., last year.

“They’re my support team,” Einarson said. “Just seeing that excitement in their eyes after mommy gets off the ice from a win is pretty special.

“Not being able to have them there with me, and my family and friends, it’ll be hard.”

The 18 participating teams will likely find curling the most normal aspect of Calgary’s bubble.

What it takes to run a large-scale, indoor sports event in Canada in a pandemic will greet them as soon as they step off the ice.

Curlers were required to quarantine for 3 days

Curling Canada is adopting many of the practices the NHL used to complete its Edmonton and Toronto playoff bubbles last summer, as well as some of Hockey Canada’s protocols for the world men’s under-21 championship Dec. 25 to Jan. 5 in Edmonton.

The Hearts is also a test event for the Canadian men’s curling championship March 5-14, the national mixed doubles championship March 18-26 and the world men’s curling championship April 2-11 all in Calgary’s Markin MacPhail Centre.


“If we get through the Scotties and everything is absolutely successful, we put everyone on the plane on March 1 to go home and everyone was healthy, then it shows our protocols worked,” said Nolan Thiessen, Curling Canada’s director of broadcast, marketing, innovation and event presentation.

Curlers were required to quarantine for three days and be tested before heading to Calgary.


The Markin MacPhail Centre in Calgary will place host to the 2021 Scotties Tournament of Hearts. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian press)

Upon arrival, they must produce two negative tests before playing their first game. More tests will be conducted next week.

The athletes are required to wear masks outside hotel rooms until they step on the field of play.

If they want to use the hotel’s pool or gym, only one person at a time is allowed to do so for 45 minutes and must book in advance.

Restaurant meals outside their hotel and socializing with other teams are not allowed.

Curlers ‘want to get here and compete’

Curlers can have meals with teammates and be in teammates’ hotel rooms once they’ve produced their pre-tournament negative tests.

The hotel is just across the Trans-Canada Highway from the arena at Canada Olympic Park. The teams will shuttle themselves back and forth in rental cars.

They’ll undergo a wellness check twice a day with temperatures taken at both the hotel and the arena.

“We just want this to be safe and healthy for everybody,” Thiessen said. “In talking to the curlers, they’ve had so much cancelled this year. They’ve had so much negative news. They want to get here and compete.

“We’re at the point where it’s happening. We’re setting up the building, the athletes are arriving, people are testing, tests are coming back negative, so let’s get going and try this and try to deliver for sports fans in Canada.”

All provinces and territories will be represented, although many associations hand-picked their representatives instead of holding playdowns.

Some top teams thus unable to try for a Hearts berth, two more wild-card teams were added for a total of three this year.

That turns the 2021 Hearts into somewhat of an unofficial Manitoba championship.

All 3 wild-card teams hail from Manitoba

All three wild-card teams hail from that province for a total of five alongside Einarson and six-time champion Jennifer Jones.

The top four teams from each pool of nine advance to the championship round, from which the top three advance to playoffs.

The top seed in the championship round earns a bye to the Feb. 28 final to face the winner of the semifinal.

A Canadian title, prize money of $ 100,000 and a return trip to the 2022 Tournament of Hearts in Thunder Bay, Ont., goes to the winner, but not necessarily a chance at a world championship

The World Curling Federation recently called off March’s women’s championship in Schaffhausen, Switzerland, when local Swiss health authorities wouldn’t approve it.


Jennifer Jones, seen here on Oct. 2, will look for her 7th Scotties title in Calgary. (Geoff Robins/The Canadian Press)

Einarson, Val Sweeting, Shannon Birchard and Briane Meilleur didn’t wear the Maple Leaf last year because the pandemic wiped out the world championship in Prince George, B.C.

A similar fate awaits this year’s winner unless the WCF can find another host city. That wrinkle doesn’t dull Einarson’s motivation to repeat.

“We’re beyond excited to step back on that ice again and treat it like it’s our first bonspiel of the year,” she said. “It’s just a big one.”

Einarson, Jones, Ontario’s Rachel Homan and wild-card entry Tracy Fleury have locked down berths in November’s Olympic trials in Saskatoon.

A Hearts winner other than those four teams will earn a berth in trials.

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With help from sister, Kyle Alexander making most of time in Spain after 97 days in NBA bubble

Kyle Alexander spent 97 days in the NBA bubble — and didn’t see a single meaningful minute of game action.

A rookie on the Eastern Conference champion Miami Heat, Alexander arrived in Disney on July 7, three weeks before the regular season resumed. He left on Oct. 12, one day after the Los Angeles Lakers won the championship.

“It definitely had its moments, but it was awesome,” Alexander said, “to be in that kind of environment with one of the hardest working teams in the league with one of the best cultures, and then go to the Finals, get to experience what it takes to win at that level.”

The NBA’s March shutdown came at an unfortunate time for Alexander. The 24-year-old Canadian suffered a knee injury in January while playing for Miami’s G League team, but was verging on a return when Rudy Gobert tested positive for coronavirus.

Alexander finally made his NBA debut in the bubble, playing garbage time in a pair of Heat blowout losses in August.

“I wasn’t in the best state to compete for [playing time]. That part sucked. But as far as jump starting back into my activities and getting healthy and shaking the rust off and getting my touch back on my jump shot, it was the best place to be,” the Milton, Ont., native said.


Kyle Alexander, centre, dives for a loose ball during a game against the Indiana Pacers in August. (Ashley Landis/Pool/Getty Images)

Now, Alexander starts for Fuenlabrada of Spain’s top league. After the NBA playoffs, he took a month off before moving to Phoenix to ramp up off-season training, under the assumption the NBA might not return until March.

The season began Dec. 22, news of which left Alexander scrambling. He went to a Toronto Raptors minicamp in Los Angeles, but could not secure a deal with his hometown team.

“To have that jersey on my chest and to be representing them, I went in there really motivated. And like I said, I was proud of how I did, but it just didn’t end up working out or making sense at the moment,” Alexander said.

(After waiving Alex Len last week, the Raptors have an open roster spot and a need for a big man. Adding Alexander, a defensively responsible centre with some outside touch, could make some sense.)

When Alexander left Raptors camp without a deal, his agent suggested he look to Europe for an opportunity to get immediate playing time and regain some rhythm. An injury on Fuenlabrada presented such a chance.

Through seven games with the team, he is averaging 7.7 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in just under 20 minutes per game.

Late start to basketball career

Overseas basketball is something in which Alexander’s sister Kayla has plenty of experience. The eight-year WNBA veteran has also played in Australia, France, Poland, Russia, Turkey and Belgium, where she’s currently stationed.

Kayla, 30, missed Kyle throughout their childhood as they passed through high school and college at different times. With both now in Europe, this is the closest their basketball careers have come to overlapping.

“I would hear about my pops telling me that he was playing now or seeing this [coach] and he’s getting better. He grew, but I wasn’t there to witness much of the growth, to be honest, which kind of sucks,” Kayla said.

Kyle didn’t begin playing basketball until 16, despite both parents and older sister spending lots of time with the game.

Before then, his father, Joseph, would drive him and Kayla to school early because Kayla needed to get shots up and there was no point in making two trips back and forth. Kyle would rebound for Kayla and a friend, with some occasional defence.


Kayla Alexander rises up for a shot during an August game in the WNBA bubble. (Mike Carlson/The Associated Press)

One time, Kayla, who had a penchant for flaring her elbows, sent Kyle to class with a bloody nose and lip. One-on-one between the siblings was never particularly close.

“She used to kill me. She really used to kill me. Like, it was bad,” Kyle recalled.

Video games were Kyle’s preference until his father finally brought him to a training camp.

“I went there first day smoking layups off the wrong foot against 12-year-old kids and they’re more skilled than me, it’s embarrassing,” Kyle said.

“So I went home that day, set my sister’s net up and just started going at it. And the next day I went in there, I was able to do different things. And that kind of just showed me that I had a work ethic and that I had a drive to want to get better.”

Now, Kayla says the tables have turned.

“Because back then, I was swatting his shots and now he’s swatting mine.”

‘Take care of yourself’

Kayla’s overseas experience has aided Kyle in his transition from the NBA to Europe. She says the advice she had for her brother wasn’t so different from what she tells her teammates on the Canadian national team.

“Have fun, it’s a privilege we get to play and get paid for it, that’s what we love to do. So that’s first and foremost, having fun with it. Advocate for yourself, speak up. If you don’t like something or if you notice anything, it’s good to be vocal. Take care of yourself. Take care of your body as well.”

A self-proclaimed “picky eater,” Kyle says he’s even started to cook — something which Kayla experienced firsthand.

“I didn’t know he was like ‘Chef Kyle.’ That’s amazing,” she said, before adding that he’d made one meal for her — jerk chicken over the summer — which was good, if too spicy.

Kyle’s first couple weeks in Spain even came with a reminder of home, when the country experienced its first snowfall in nearly 50 years.

Still, the goal remains to get back to the NBA. He was recently contacted by Canada Basketball, for whom he’d be able to contribute at the FIBA AmeriCup qualifier — which contains 2024 Olympic ramifications — in Puerto Rico at the end of February.

“It’s a good opportunity to come out here, find yourself play and make money playing the game you love. And then you keep working on it while you’re out here, kind of isolated from your friends and family, you use that as motivation to get better and try and fight your way back,” he said.

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International ski and snowboard bubble planned for Calgary cancelled

A proposed Calgary snow bubble is no longer going forward. 

On Wednesday morning, the international governing body for skiing and snowboarding (FIS), in consultation with Freestyle Canada and Canada Snowboard, decided not to continue with plans to host the 2021 world championships proposed for Calgary.

Countless hours had been spent planning and putting forward proposals to host the 2021 freestyle ski, snowboard and freeski world championships, as well as a number of World Cup events, that were going to be held starting Feb. 24 and running until the middle of March.

The events were going to include dozens of athletes from across Canada and around the world — one of the sticking points was having a large number of international athletes coming into the country. 

“While we are gutted, the safety and health of our athletes, coaches, volunteers and staff is, and always will be, our top priority. COVID-19 continues to evolve globally, and we believe this decision is in the best interest of our broader sport community at this time,” said Peter Judge, chief executive officer of Freestyle Canada.

Canada’s snowboard and freestyle organizations had been working with Canadian authorities at all levels to obtain the necessary approvals. Significant planning focusing on the health and safety of athletes, team members, host venue staff and the public had been completed. 

“We were endeavouring to give our fans watching at home a much-needed respite from the current climate.  But at this point — and as the situation continues to rapidly change — the right thing to do for our athletes and broader community, is to pause.” said Dustin Heise, executive director of Canada Snowboard. 

“While this is disappointing, we will now turn our focus to applying that work to bringing the world back to Canada next season in an effort to help our athletes fully prepare for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games.”

2 Canadian snowboard delegates test positive

The announcement comes just a day after two members of Canada’s snowboard delegation preparing to compete at an international event in Switzerland tested positive for COVID-19, forcing the entire Canadian men’s slopestyle team to miss the event. 

They have been put into isolation and will not be competing in the annual Laax Open — an event that has massive Olympic qualifying ramifications this year.

Canada’s top snowboarders were there to compete in the event — Mark McMorris, Seb Toutant and Max Parrot are all part of Canada’s men’s slopestyle team and are in Switzerland. 

They had been posting to their social media in recent days about preparing for the event. They are all now in isolation. 

It’s a massive blow to Canadian skiers and snowboarders, who were hoping to use these events as crucial qualifying opportunities for the 2022 Beijing Olympics.

It’s an especially challenging situation for Canada’s men’s slopestyle team, who is not only missing out on this weekend’s event in Switzerland, but these events that were scheduled for Calgary as well. 

WATCH | Heroux, Jones break down Calgary curling bubble:

Devin Heroux is joined by six-time Scotties medallist Colleen Jones to discuss the announcement of the Calgary curling bubble. 5:34

Calgary curling bubble moving forward — for now

This all comes as curling officials and teams across the country are moving forward with events in a Calgary bubble.

As of now, health officials at all levels are allowing the curling bubble to move forward.

There are six major curling events planned for the Calgary curling bubble starting with the Scotties on Feb. 20. That will then lead into the men’s national championship beginning of March 5.

Following these two events, the mixed doubles championship will take place all leading to the men’s world curling championship, set to begin in early April.

The final two events held inside the bubble include two Grand Slam of Curling bonspiels. 

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Lisa Weagle in for Team Jones as Dawn McEwen says no to bubble due to pregnancy

With exactly a month to go until the start of the Scotties inside the curling bubble in Calgary, Team Jennifer Jones has firmed up its roster.

Longtime lead Dawn McEwen is pregnant and expecting in April, and will not enter the bubble. That means Lisa Weagle assumes the role for the entire event. 

“I’m really excited to have the chance to play. You never know when you’re going to get back to another Scotties again so it’s nice to have that clarity,” Weagle told CBC Sports. 

“Obviously we wish Dawn was there with us as our five-person team but she’s got a baby to prepare for and we’re really thrilled for her.”

When Team Jones made the announcement that Weagle would be joining them after being blind-sided by the news she had been let go from Team Rachel Homan last March, eyebrows were raised across the curling world about the decision — many wondered how they would determine who would play what games.

“We made that decision for a variety of reasons. Obviously illness or injury or pregnancy were a few of those reasons and it worked out perfectly,” Jones told CBC Sports.


Dawn McEwen, left, longtime lead for skip Jennifer Jones, right, is pregnant and won’t be part of the Calgary bubble. (Paul Chiasson/Canadian Press)

Manitoba stripes

After wearing the Ontario colours for years, Weagle is now ready to put on the Manitoba stripes and compete with what she calls a “powerhouse” curling team.

“I’m really excited. It’s been something to look forward to. And to be there with a new team. It feels like I’m a kid again. I have that sense of gratitude and the passion is back,” Weagle said.

“I’m just happy I was able to land on another world-class team. My family and friends have ordered a bunch of Manitoba hoodies and hats. They’re all in now.”

The team was able to play in a couple of events this past fall in Kitchener, Ont. Both Jones and Weagle say it was an immediate fit. 

“We’re really fortunate that Lisa is a world-class lead. It feels like we’ve been playing with her for a really long time,” Jones said.

Weagle says the team has spent countless hours on Zoom and FaceTime, planning and strategizing for the Scotties.

“We just have this amazing knowledge base we’re able to build on,” Weagle said. 

“We were laughing after our first meeting after our first game. It felt like I Had been part of the team for a really long time. Our communication has been great.”

Team Jones still has the opportunity to add a fifth player to its roster.

“We haven’t made that determination yet. The original plan when we put this team together was that we’d be a five-person team and we’re super happy for Dawn that she’s expecting,” said Jones. “The timing just doesn’t work for her right now and we’re totally supportive of that.”

WATCH | Heroux, Jones on the Calgary curling bubble:

Devin Heroux is joined by six-time Scotties medallist Colleen Jones to discuss the announcement of the Calgary curling bubble. 5:34

Scotties set for Feb. 19

The Scotties bubble is set to begin on Friday, Feb. 19 with the championship game scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 28 — Curling Canada has said the field will include 18 teams this year due to unprecedented times in the midst of a pandemic. 

“I’m beyond excited but also know that the world we live in these days, things can change any given second. We’re just taking it day-by-day,” Jones said. 

Jones has won six Scotties titles as a skip, tied for most-ever with Colleen Jones. 

Weagle has won the Scotties three times as a member of Team Homan.

But now a new chapter for these players is about to begin.

“It’s going to look a little different and feel a little different with the bubble and wearing a Manitoba jersey but I’m really excited for all of it,” Weagle said. 

“At the end of the day, we all have the same goal and that’s to represent Canada.”

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Calgary expects to host World Cup ski, snowboard bubble in February, March

Calgary’s winter sport bubble could be about to grow.

CBC Sports has learned plans are in the final stages to host a number of international ski and snowboard events at Canada Olympic Park.

The 2021 freestyle ski, snowboard and freeski world championships, as well as a number of World Cup events, are provisionally being rescheduled to be held starting Feb. 19 and running until the middle of March.

At this point, details around restrictions and protocol are still being worked through as all levels of government continue to work with sport governing bodies to come up with the safest plan. 

Working on necessary approvals

Canada’s snowboard and freestyle organizations are working with the appropriate Canadian authorities to obtain the necessary approvals.

“We continue to work in close collaboration with key partners around the potential of creating a winter sport bubble in Calgary to host multiple international FIS Freestyle, Freeski, Snowboard events this winter,” the federations wrote in an email to CBC Sports.

The statement went on to say that “significant planning has been done with the health and safety of athletes and team members, host venue staff and the public as the priority. While contracts have yet to be confirmed, we believe Calgary would be an excellent and safe winter event bubble host city.” 

Provincial and federal government, funding partners and public health authorities must still sign off on the plan.

There would be a number of events taking place over a month of competition including slopestyle, big air, halfpipe and freestyle ski moguls, dual moguls, aerials, and aerials team events.

With freestyle and snowboard events being cancelled across the world, the Calgary World Cup races could wind up playing a major factor in qualifying for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

CBC Sports has previously reported that the organizations are using the NHL cohort quarantine model as their pitch. Athletes and coaches would travel only between the host hotels and ski hills, with events happening in times and spaces completely separate from the public.

Testing protocol

COVID-19 testing would occur before arrival, upon arrival and throughout participants’ time in the bubble.

An update on the planning and status of the event will be provided on Jan. 18

This comes in the wake of a curling bubble being announced on the same grounds in Calgary, beginning with the Scotties starting on Feb. 20,  just five days after the beginning of this ski and snowboarding extravaganza. 

The Markin McPhail Centre at Canada Olympic Park will play host to six bonspiels over the course of two and a half months including the Scotties, Brier, mixed doubles nationals, men’s world championship and two Grand Slams. 

Curling Canada along with health officials at all levels of government have imposed a strict bubble for the event including not leaving the confines of the hotel or arena at any point and not allowing any family members inside the bubble. 

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