Tag Archives: career

Brendan Bottcher wins 1st career Brier

Brendan Bottcher won curling’s version of the Battle of Alberta on Sunday night at the Canadian men’s curling championship.

The Alberta skip defeated Wild Card Two’s Kevin Koe 4-2 to win his first Tim Hortons Brier title.

Bottcher sat three in the 10th end and Koe conceded when he didn’t have any options to score two for the tie. Bottcher made it to the last three Brier finals but settled for silver each time.

“Those three years were tough, each one of them for different reasons,” he said. “But it just makes tonight so much more special that we persevered and we worked so hard.”

Koe was trying to win a record fifth Brier title as a skip.

The teams blanked five of the first six ends, with Alberta forcing Wild Card Two to a single in the third.

The game finally opened up in the seventh end as Koe flashed a stone after it picked. He missed a double-takeout to set up Bottcher for a draw for three.

Bottcher kept the pressure on by forcing Koe to make a tough double-takeout against five to salvage a single. In the ninth, Bottcher missed a double for two and settled for one point.

WATCH | Bottcher wins Brier:

Brendan Bottcher curled 97% and finally snapped his Brier losing streak, as his Alberta rink defeated Kevin Koe 4-2. 1:59

Down two with hammer, Koe, B.J. Neufeld, John Morris and Ben Hebert were unable to build the end they wanted for the necessary pair to force an extra.

“We just didn’t take advantage,” Koe said. “They had two misses in 10 and we should have been able to come out of that with at least a deuce. Capitalizing on your opportunities when there isn’t many out there (is key).”

After Koe conceded, Bottcher and teammates Darren Moulding, Brad Thiessen and Karrick Martin enjoyed a celebratory team hug by the side of the sheet in the spectator-free Markin MacPhail Centre.

The Brier was the second of seven competitions to be held in the Canada Olympic Park bubble. The Canadian women’s championship kicked things off last month.

Earlier in the day, Bottcher hit a game-winning angle-raise for a 6-5 semifinal win over Saskatchewan’s Matt Dunstone.

Bottcher removed the Saskatchewan stone from the button and stuck around to score two points for the victory.

‘Nothing to hang our heads about’

“Obviously it was a super-difficult shot,” Bottcher said. “But those are the moments we’re playing for, for those kind of shots.”

Koe, from Calgary, defeated Bottcher in the 2019 final. He represented Alberta that year and Bottcher, from Sherwood Park, Alta., was Team Wild Card.

The field was expanded from 16 to 18 teams for this season only to accommodate teams that didn’t get a chance to compete in provincial/territorial playdowns due to the pandemic.

Bottcher was selected to represent Alberta and Koe got the second of three wild-card entries based on the Canadian rankings.

Koe finished first in the championship pool with a 10-2 record. Dunstone and Bottcher were next at 9-3.

Dunstone was hoping to reach his first career Brier final after winning bronze last year.

“There’s nothing to hang our heads about,” he said. “It was a world-class game. They played awesome and we played awesome.

“The curling gods were wearing a blue sweater today. That’s all there is to it. It totally stinks but this isn’t the end of us.”

The last Saskatchewan team to win the Brier was skipped by Rick Folk in 1980.

Koe remains tied with Ernie Richardson, Randy Ferbey and Kevin Martin with four Brier wins as a skip.

Koe was trying to become the first hometown winner since Brad Gushue won in St. John’s, N.L., in 2017. Gushue defended his crown the following year and also won last season.

Bottcher will represent Canada at the April 2-11 world men’s curling championship in the same venue.

The national champions also get a berth in the Olympic Trials in November and $ 100,000 of the $ 300,000 total purse. Koe’s team earned $ 60,000 for the silver.

Bottcher was named the winner of the Ross Harstone sportsmanship award earlier in the day. Thiessen was named a first-team all-star along with Gushue, Saskatchewan third Braeden Moskowy and Wild Card Two lead Ben Hebert.

Koe was named to the second-team all-star list with Neufeld at third, Canada second Brett Gallant and Northern Ontario lead Ryan Harnden.

Manitoba-based Kerri Einarson is the reigning Scotties Tournament of Hearts champion.

She’ll represent Canada at the April 30-May 9 world women’s curling championship. That event is slated to be the seventh and final event in the Canada Olympic Park hub.

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Tiger Woods survived near-fatal crash, but his career might not

The sheared-off front of the wrecked SUV told part of the story, and the officers on the scene filled in the rest. Tiger Woods was lucky to be alive, they said, thanks to modern safety technology and a big dose of good luck.

Alive and well, no. But alive nonetheless.

The good news — no, make that the BEST news — is that Woods seems on track to survive after being pried Tuesday from the SUV he wrecked in Los Angeles. That’s despite injuries that are so severe — including multiple open fractures of his leg — that he will be convalescing a long, long time.

The other piece of good news was that there was no immediate sign Woods was impaired at the time of the crash — a significant bit of information, of course, because of his past.

The bad news is that the career of the world’s greatest golfer — at least on the game’s biggest stages — is probably over.

WATCH | Woods suffers leg injuries in car crash

Golf superstar Tiger Woods needed surgery after a car crash in Los Angeles on Tuesday that left him with multiple leg injuries. Officials say he was conscious when pulled from the wrecked SUV and the injuries are not life threatening. 2:02

A return from his recent back surgery to play again at the age of 45 was always going to be a problem. Woods himself said previously that Father Time remains undefeated and his return to top-level play wasn’t guaranteed.

Combine that with the gruesome injuries from his crash and now that return borders on impossible.

This isn’t Ben Hogan, coming back from a near fatal car accident in 1949 to win the U.S. Open next year. Hogan was nine years younger, hadn’t been through multiple back and knee surgeries, and didn’t have to swing his driver hard enough to hit the ball 350 yards to keep up with the other players.

Woods was fragile enough to begin with, and there were already questions about whether he could return to play at a high level. He might share Hogan’s determination to overcome everything in front of him, but in the end, there’s only so much he can do to mend his broken body.

That means Woods will never break the record of 18 major championship wins held by Jack Nicklaus. It means his fans will never be able to will him on to another win like they did at the 2019 Masters.

And it means golf will be a lot quieter for a long time to come.

The wreck on a downhill stretch of road in tony Rancho Palos Verdes was stunning, though it shouldn’t have come as a shock. It marked the third time in a dozen years that Woods has been taken from vehicles in various stages of distress — a disturbing pattern that began with his infamous Thanksgiving weekend 2009 encounter with his now ex-wife outside his Florida mansion.

Four years ago, after he was found passed out in his car on a Florida highway with the engine running, Woods was charged with a DUI that was later plea bargained down.

Now, the questions are just beginning about how he managed to crash a brand-new Genesis SUV on a clear morning on the California coast — a wreck that sheriff deputies say he was lucky to escape alive.

The vehicle Woods was driving Tuesday morning lies on the side of the road in Los Angeles. (KABC-TV/The Associated Press)

Suddenly, the 2019 Masters Tournament seems like it was an awful long time ago.

Woods has done things over the years we couldn’t imagine on the golf course. I’ve been along for many of them, covering Woods from his first PGA Tour win in Las Vegas in 1996 as well as the Masters comeback win two years ago that was one of the great sports stories of our times.

He transitioned from young phenom to all-time great as the years and the wins piled up, only to be humbled by a scandal that cost him his marriage and a lot of fans. Then he came back to win his fifth green jacket in a storybook tale that might have made him more popular than ever.

Woods celebrated behind the 18th green that day by hugging his children, much as he celebrated becoming the youngest Masters champion ever in 1997 by hugging his father. Woods not only seemed to regain his game in the last few years but his ability to connect with others as he began smiling and signing autographs like it wasn’t the chore he made it out to be most of his career.

WATCH | ‘Probably the best player ever’

Lorne Rubenstein, who co-authored “The 1997 Masters: My Story” with Tiger Woods, reflects on the golfer and the man. 12:32

On Sunday he was at the Genesis Invitational at nearby Riviera Country Club as the tournament host. He couldn’t play because of his most recent back surgery just before Christmas but came on CBS to answer questions about whether he would be back in time for the Masters.

“God, I hope so,” Woods said. “I gotta get there, first.”

He won’t be there this year. The odds are he will never tee it up at Augusta National as a competitive player again.

The one sure thing is that golf won’t be the same without him. The game will survive, of course, but it’s hard to imagine it without the one player who transcended the sport.

The only thing that really matters now, though, is that Woods survived, too.

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Jennifer Jones breaks career wins record at Scotties

Athletes setting significant records in their sport are often too busy achieving those milestones to process their place in history at the moment.

What helps Jennifer Jones wrap her head around a career 153 wins at the Canadian women’s curling championship is seeing them through the eyes of people she loves.

Jones became the career leader in wins at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts with a 6-5 win Tuesday over Newfoundland and Labrador’s Sarah Hill.

Jones arrived at the 2021 Tournament of Hearts two back of the 152 victories held by Colleen Jones.

Jennifer Jones knows the record would have meant a lot to her late father Larry, who died two years ago at age 80.

“My dad always loved the records,” Jones aid Monday. “He always followed all the records. I know he would watching from above, [be] very, very proud.

“It definitely means something to me. As you kind of approach the end of your career, just to be remembered for doing something that you love is pretty remarkable.”

The wins record is among many Jones holds in women’s curling.

If the six-time national champion prevails in Calgary, the 46-year-old from Winnipeg will be the only woman to win seven.

Should daughters Isabella and Skyla take up curling, the record book provides a compelling argument that their mother is the best to ever play the game.

“My kids do look at it. There’s a book with my name in it with some records,” Jones said.

“I hope if anything it just shows them that if you work hard, that dreams are possible. I just want them to have the best possible life and if this can have any impact on that, it’s absolutely incredible.”

WATCH | That Curling Show: Jones brought to tears by mother, daughters:

The Team Manitoba skip is surprised on screen by her mom Carol and daughters Skyla and Bella. 3:15

Jones’ first win in 2002 was an 8-4 victory over Prince Edward Island’s Kathy O’Rourke, who is P.E.I’s alternate in Calgary this year.

Jones’ 153rd wasn’t a work of art as her team’s shooting accuracy was 80 per cent, but it was one Jones and her Manitoba foursome needed to get to a 3-2 record.

Sitting on 2-3 until their next game Wednesday wouldn’t have felt uncomfortable.

“We were grinding it out today,” Jones said. “We really needed this win to stay kind of in there in the competition.”

Other results at the Scotties

Quebec’s Laurie St-Georges topped Pool B at 4-1 ahead of Prince Edward Island’s Suzanne Birt at 3-1. Manitoba was knotted at 3-2 with Chelsea Carey’s Wild Card One.

St-Georges downed Nunavut’s Lori Eddy 7-5. Carey lost a second straight game, falling 7-5 to B.C.’s Corryn Brown.

B.C., Newfoundland and Saskatchewan were even at 2-2. Saskatchewan’s Sherry Anderson fell 7-6 to New Brunswick’s Melissa Adams, who won her first game. Nunavut was winless in five games.

Ontario’s Rachel Homan and defending champion Kerri Einarson at 4-0 were the only undefeated teams in the tournament heading into Tuesday’s Pool A draw.

The top four teams from each pool of nine at the end of the preliminary round Thursday advance to the two-day championship round and take their records with them.

The championship round’s top three will be Sunday’s playoff teams, with the No. 1 seed rewarded with a bye to that day’s final.

‘A role model’

Jones has won everything there is to win in women’s curling, including two world titles a decade apart in 2008 and 2018.

Jones, third Kaitlyn Lawes, second Jill Officer and lead Dawn McEwen went undefeated en route to an Olympic gold medal in 2014.

“I can’t believe this is my 11th year with Jennifer and the girls,” Lawes said. “I still feel like I’m the 21-year-old kid when I joined the team.

“I was just so eager to learn from the best. I’ve always looked up to Jen. She’s a role model and how special is it to be able to play with people that you’re inspired by?”

Jones and former second Officer own the record for most Hearts final appearances (9). Dawn McEwen, who is pregnant and sitting out this year, played lead for Jones in seven of them.

Jones has appeared in the most playoff games (33) and shares the playoff win record (21) with Officer.

“I’ve been so fortunate to have the best human beings as teammates that have supported me throughout I don’t know how many years,” Jones said.

In her 16th Hearts appearance, Jones trails only Colleen Jones (19) for the most by a skip.

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Canadian Carol Anne Chénard retires from storied refereeing career in soccer

Carol Anne Chénard would never have guessed that taking an officiating course as a teenager would lead her to a storied 15-year career representing Canada as an international soccer referee.

Chénard announced her retirement from international duty earlier this week in a career that took her around the globe, refereeing at football’s greatest tournaments, including two FIFA Women’s World Cups and two Olympics Games.  

Chénard took that first refereeing course because a coach wanted the players to better understand the laws of the game. While it wasn’t love at first whistle, it was a combination of hard work, opportunities and support that helped her reach — and remain — at the top of the sport. 

“One of the things I’m most proud of is just being able to stay near the top for the last 15 years. They say it’s hard to get there and it’s even harder to stay there,” she said on a virtual call with reporters Thursday. “Now that I look back, I truly believe that.”  

Of the many highlights in her career, one that stands out in her mind was the Great Britain-Brazil match at the 2012 London Olympics. The game at historic Wembley Stadium drew more than 70,000 fans, which didn’t happen that often in women’s soccer at that time.  

“It was kind of the beginning of really great things to come.” 

Since her first professional appointment in 2005, Chénard has officiated at a long list of major international tournaments, including 2011 and 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cups and the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, where she refereed the Rio gold-medal game.

Chénard was hoping to work Tokyo Olympics

She’s been part of crews in the North American men’s leagues like the USL, MLS and last year led an all-female crew for a Forge FC versus Cavalry FC match during the inaugural season of the Canadian Premier League.  

She was scheduled to work the 2019 World Cup in France, but was forced to withdraw just days before leaving after being diagnosed with breast cancer. She had hoped to be fit and healthy for the Tokyo Olympics this past summer, but then COVID-19 put an end to that. 

Chenard, centre, before working as referee during a game at the London Olympics in 2012. (Getty Images)

“You can only control what you can control and I’ve been so lucky and blessed to have the opportunities I’ve had. I would’ve liked to end it on the field, knowing when it’s your last game, but not everyone gets that luxury. I’m not the only one, so I’ll take this retirement as it is.”

As for her health, she says she’s feeling great. 

“With cancer, it’s kind of up and down. I’ve had some setbacks and some steps forward, so I continue to undergo treatment but I feel great. I have nothing to complain about.” 

Chénard was just the fourth Canadian referee to serve 15 or more years on the FIFA List of Referees and Assistant Referees.

“Carol Anne Chénard has long been at the pinnacle of international refereeing, breaking barriers over an impressive career that placed her as an inspiration for aspiring referees from coast-to-coast-to-coast,” said Steven Reed, president of Canada Soccer. “We are proud of and celebrate Carol Anne’s professional achievements and know that she will continue to be a leader for young referees in Canada and abroad.”

Supported as ‘an official, not as a female referee’

The 43-year-old federal government employee who was born in Summerside, P.E.I., but calls Ottawa home, doesn’t plan on straying far from the game, or officiating, for that matter.   

She jokes that she’s going to the “dark side.” Translation? “Instructing and assessing.” During the pandemic, she’s already started an instructors course, teaching referees at the international level and hopes to be  involved in some way with CONCACAF and FIFA in the future. She’s also dabbled a little bit in VAR (video assistant referee), which uses replay footage to help correct any errors by the head referee that might influence the results of a game. 

Chénard said she’s always felt supported as “an official, not as a female referee” and is encouraged by the increase of top-level female officials in Canada and internationally over the years, but especially over the last three.

“That’s just a recognition of their ability on the field of play. Like any other referee. They pass the same fitness tests, they’re held to the same standards,” she said. “I’ve always said that players and coaches just want the best referee that’s out there, that understands the game and that’s able to use their soccer understanding to manage the game.”

As for what she’ll miss the most, perhaps surprisingly, it’s the pressure cooker of being a referee. 

“Being on the field in some of the biggest sporting moments is really something I’ll miss. The training, the courses, the group sessions, the talking about games, doing the games … I really enjoyed the difficult games, being on the field. 

“It was a real honour for me.”

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Powell powers Raptors to playoff berth with career high in win over Warriors

Stephen Curry scored 23 points for Golden State in his anticipated return after missing more than four months with a broken left hand, but the Toronto Raptors beat the Warriors 121-113 Thursday night to clinch a playoff spot.

After being sidelined 58 games, Curry led Golden State out of the tunnel to a big ovation — as loud as his neon sneakers, one pink and one yellow. He missed his first two shots but had three quick assists, including a no-look, behind-the-back dish to Andrew Wiggins. He finished with seven assists in 26 minutes.

The two-time MVP hit a 17-footer for his first basket early in the second quarter, then got a huge reaction for a 3-pointer from well beyond the arc shortly before halftime. He was 3 of 11 from 3-point range for the game.

“It feels like the first day of school pretty much all over again,” the 31-year-old Curry said earlier in the day after shootaround. “It’s kind of just getting back to enjoying playing basketball at the highest level. There’s a process to that.”

Norman Powell scored a career-high 37 points for Toronto, which clinched a playoff berth with the win in a rematch of last year’s NBA Finals. The Raptors won that series in six games, finishing with a victory in Golden State’s final game at its old arena in Oakland.

Kyle Lowry added 26 points and 10 assists, and Serge Ibaka had 13 points and 13 rebounds for the Raptors, who won at Phoenix on Tuesday night to end a three-game losing streak.

“Knowing that Steph was coming back, we knew it was going to be a great night, a great atmosphere,” Lowry said. “One of the best players in the league was coming back from injury, we were a little more focused and concentrated on him, but coming in here, it’s a great regular season game.”

Damion Lee scored 23 points and Marquese Chriss had 17 points and 12 rebound for the Warriors, who have lost 10 straight at home.

Golden State trailed 62-55 at halftime but took an 85-83 lead in the third on Eric Paschall’s 3-pointer — with Curry on the bench, no less.

After Toronto regained the lead, Paschall tied it at 95 on a free throw with 9:39 left in the fourth quarter, but the Raptors countered with five straight points. A 3-pointer by Lowry and a powerful dunk from OG Anunoby helped Toronto stretch the lead moments later.

Curry checked back in with 3:51 left and hit a falling layup with two minutes remaining that pulled the Warriors within 113-108. Wiggins added a 3-pointer to make it 113-111, but Pascal Siakam made two baskets in 15 seconds to keep Toronto’s lead safe.

Lee stole the ball from Powell with 25.8 seconds left and was fouled by Powell. But he missed both free throws and then two 3-point tries after consecutive offensive rebounds.

Curry practiced Monday with the G League Santa Cruz Warriors, then was recalled later in the day in a most anticipated promotion. His return to action came without most of his familiar supporting cast — Draymond Green missed his fourth straight game with a left knee injury, and Klay Thompson remains out with a torn left ACL.

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Gigi Hadid Says She Was Told She Didn’t Have a ‘Runway Body’ at the Start of Her Career

Gigi Hadid Says She Was Told She Didn’t Have a ‘Runway Body’ at the Start of Her Career | Entertainment Tonight

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Simply the best: Christine Sinclair’s goal-scoring record merely adds to her career of accomplishment

What do you give the woman who has everything?

In a word: respect.

Respect, of course, must be earned. Christine Sinclair has been doing that it in spades for 20 years.

More accolades are on the way. Sinclair has set a new bar. No other player in the history of international soccer has achieved what she has done. Ever.

The 185th goal of Sinclair’s career came in the 23rd minute of Canada’s 11-0 win over St. Kitts and Nevis at the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament Wednesday. Left alone, Sinclair converted an Adriana Leon feed for the milestone goal.

WATCH | Sinclair’s record-breaking goal:

Canadian Christine Sinclair scores the 185th goal of her career, passing American Abby Wambach on the all-time goals list. 1:10

The record-tying goal came 16 minutes earlier on a penalty kick.

Sinclair was mobbed by her teammates before she picked up the record-breaking ball and ran it to the sidelines for safekeeping.

Don’t expect Sinclair to be celebrating her world record anytime soon. To her the milestone will be as much of a relief as anything else. She will be happy when all the ballyhoo dies down and she can get on with her day job.

Sinclair is not finished yet. She’s preparing for her fourth Olympic Games in Japan this summer. At 36 years old the twilight is beginning to appear on the horizon, but it may well be some time before the sun finally sets.

John Herdman coached Sinclair for seven years during his time in charge of the Canadian women’s team. Before his departure to the Canadian men’s program he told me, “Her body is a machine. She could play until she’s 40.”

Sinclair might be the greatest female Canadian athlete of all time. Certainly in team sports she has few peers. Hockey legend Hayley Wickenheiser would obviously be in the conversation, but few other names spring to mind.

WATCH | Canadian athletes congratulate Sinclair:

With her 185th international soccer goal, Christine Sinclair become the world record-holder for most ever international goals. Here are some Canadian sports legends sending her well wishes on the feat. 1:30

Her contribution to her team can be measured in goals and assists. Her contribution to the popularity of the sport and growing the game across Canada is immeasurable. There are many parts of the world where women’s soccer remains an afterthought.

Not in Canada.

As an athlete Sinclair is both selfish and selfless. It is part of a goal scorer’s DNA to have a selfish streak. It is an instinctive reaction. It is coupled with confidence and an absolute self-belief that when the chance comes you will execute.

Sinclair celebrates a goal in the 2015 World Cup. The drive to score and win is in her DNA. (Getty Images)

At the same time she is all about the team. Sinclair is acutely aware that without the necessary backup she would not have got anywhere near her unique goal-scoring feat. She is always among the first to pay tribute to the supporting cast.

Sinclair’s soccer IQ is exceptional. She’s intelligent and experienced enough to pass the ball when a colleague is better positioned to score. Her 56 assists in international soccer are ample evidence of Sinclair the team player.

WATCH | Sinclair’s record-tying penalty kick:

Canada’s Christine Sinclair records the 184th goal of her career, tying retired American striker Abby Wambach. 0:55

Yet she is a reluctant hero. Sinclair has never been entirely comfortable when confronted with a microphone — she would much prefer her actions on the field to do the talking. But as Captain Canada she has had to accept there are media obligations and she has grown into the role.

There is no question Sinclair is an inspiration. Many of her current teammates, some barely half her age, took up the game as kids after watching Sinclair. And who knows how many thousands of children decided to play soccer, dreaming of being the next Christine Sinclair.

The most prominent player – male or female – in Canadian soccer history, Sinclair has inspired countless children to pick up the game. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

We’re still waiting. In my opinion there will never be another like her. She was in at the ground floor of women’s soccer at the turn of the century and elevated the sport into our consciousness. Sinclair took it seriously from the get-go and so must we.

Sinclair will never match Abby Wambach’s medal haul. The American icon retired with a pair of Olympic gold medals as well as a FIFA Women’s World Cup champion in 2015.

She scored her 184 goals in considerably fewer appearances than Sinclair, collected a host of individual awards, and is often cited as the greatest female forward of all time.

But Sinclair has one thing that neither Wambach, nor Messi, Ronaldo, Pele or Maradona can match. She is in a league of her own. Hers is a record unlikely ever to be matched in international soccer.

It is mission accomplished.  But it is not yet game over.  

There’s one other thing we Canadians can give Christine Sinclair.

Our gratitude.

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Canadian Jessie Fleming hopes to cap UCLA soccer career with NCAA title, MAC Hermann Trophy

After 74 games in UCLA colours, Canadian international Jessie Fleming’s collegiate soccer career will end at the College Cup in San Jose, Calif.

Fleming’s seventh-ranked Bruins (18-4-1) meet No. 1 Stanford (22-1-0) on Friday in an NCAA women’s tournament semifinal, a rematch of the 2017 final won 3-2 by the Cardinal. The winner will face either No. 2 North Carolina (23-1-1) or unranked Washington State (16-6-1) in Sunday’s final at Avaya Stadium.

UCLA coach Amanda Cromwell will be sad to see the 21-year-old midfielder from London, Ont., go.

‘Epitome of a box-to-box midfielder’

“Jessie’s one of the best midfielders to ever play college soccer in America,” Cromwell said in an interview. “She’s someone that can dictate the tempo of a game. She can score goals. Her work rate is phenomenal defensively. She can block a shot at one end and then go score at the other end in a few moments.

“She’s just the epitome of a box-to-box midfielder that has great vision, great feeling for the game and makes everyone around her better.”

Fleming has 25 career goals and 22 assists with the Bruins, starting 71 of her 74 games. And, on Thursday, she was named one of three finalists for the MAC Hermann Trophy, which goes to the top NCAA soccer player. She was also a finalist in 2017.

Professional future

Pro soccer beckons after UCLA.

“I’m getting inquiries from pro coaches about her — or have been for the last year,” said Cromwell. “Everyone knew she was staying in college and wanted to get her engineering degree. I respect her so much for that.”

“She’s just one of those kids you just want to clone,” she added. “You want a player like that every year. But the level she is and quality of student and person, the whole package — you maybe get one of those kids once every 10 years.”

Fleming was 15 when she made her senior debut for Canada in December 2013, the second-youngest to ever play for Canada at the time. Her cap count currently stands at 70, including 58 starts.

She scored and was named player of the match in Canada’s 2-0 win over New Zealand at this summer’s Women’s World Cup in France.

Making her mark

Fleming wasted little time making her mark at UCLA, scoring twice in her debut against the University of Florida just nine days after helping Canada win bronze at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

The five-foot four midfielder also turned heads with some magic footwork in that 4-3 loss to Florida. Confronted by a would-be tackler near the sideline, Fleming backheeled the ball with her right foot to her left. Still going at top speed, she tapped the ball around one side of the defender and went around the other, collecting the ball behind the flailing Gator.

Fleming had shown more of the same in the Olympic bronze medal match in Sao Paulo. With Canada leading 1-0, Fleming stole the ball from a Brazilian early in the second half and danced her way around several defenders on the right flank. She found Deanne Rose in the penalty box who, in turn, fed Christine Sinclair for what proved to be the winning goal.

Fleming routinely shows her technical wizardry in practice, pivoting on a dime or pulling down a high ball with her boot as if attached by Velcro.

Fleming recorded team-highs of 11 goals and 27 points in 2016 en route to being named the Top Drawer Soccer Freshman of the Year and a third-team All-American (only the fourth UCLA freshman to earn NSCAA All-America honours).

In 2017, she earned first-team All-America honours.

Although she missed half of the 2018 season while on national team duty, Fleming had five goals and five assists in just 11 games and was a first-team All-Pac-12 selection.

Other accolades

This year, Fleming is a finalist for the Senior CLASS Award, honouring student-athletes who excel on and off the field (she is majoring in materials engineering and minoring in environmental science). She also became only the third player in UCLA history to earn first-team all-conference honours all four years.

Fleming’s time at UCLA has coincided with some white-knuckle trips to the NCAA tournament.

In 2016, the Bruins lost to West Virginia in the third round after Fleming’s 89th-minute goal tied the game at 1-1 and forced a penalty shootout. The Mountaineers won the shootout 4-2 with all four successful spot kicks coming from Canadians (Carla Portillo, Ashley Lawrence, Amandine Pierre-Louis and Kadeisha Buchanan). Fleming missed her penalty.

Fleming scored on a second-half penalty in a losing cause in the 2017 championship game. The Canadian is one of eight current Bruins who played in that final.

Last year, UCLA lost a quarter-final penalty shootout at North Carolina after rallying from a 2-0 deficit. Fleming missed her penalty in the 4-2 shootout loss.

The Bruins have been dominant so far at this year’s tournament, however.

UCLA advanced by beating Lamar (4-1), Clemson (5-0), Wisconsin (2-0) and defending champion Florida State (4-0). The Bruins have won nine straight since a 1-0 loss at Stanford on Oct. 19.

Canadian teammates

There are two other Canadians on the UCLA roster. Kennedy Faulknor is a junior forward from Markham, Ont., while Shana Flynn is a redshirt freshman defender from Brampton, Ont.

The 20-year-old Faulknor, a defender converted to a forward at UCLA, has won four senior caps for Canada. She was 16 years when she made her debut for Canada in December 2015, becoming the youngest centre back to ever play for Canada.

Faulknor played in 13 games this season (including seven starts) with two goals and two assists. A hamstring injury sidelined her recently but Cromwell says she should be good to go Friday.

Flynn, 19, is a Canadian youth international who missed the 2018 season due to a knee injury and has seen limited playing time off the bench with the Bruins this season (125 minutes in eight games).

Washington State has two Canadians on its roster but neither will feature at the College Cup. Ebony Clarke, a midfielder from Richmond, B.C., is recovering from a torn anterior cruciate ligament while goalkeeper Aly Hay is a redshirt freshman from Vancouver.

Fleming should exceed 6,000 minutes played as a Bruin at the College Cup. She enters the final four with 5,918 minutes under her belt.

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Don Cherry’s comments are the latest chapter in controversial broadcasting career

Sportsnet cut ties with Don Cherry on Monday after the veteran hockey commentator called new immigrants “you people” on his “Coach’s Corner” segment while claiming they don’t wear poppies to honour Canadian veterans.

It proved to be the last straw in a broadcasting career filled with controversy. Here are some other times when Cherry’s comments caused offence.

Feb. 22, 1998 — Cherry criticized Canada’s choice of skier Jean-Luc Brassard as Olympic flag-bearer, calling him “a French guy, some skier nobody knows about.” The CBC ombudsman would later rule that Cherry’s comments crossed the line. CBC had rights to Hockey Night in Canada and Coach’s Corner — Cherry’s most recognizable media platforms — until the 2014-15 NHL season.

March 22, 2003 — Cherry entered into a heated debate with Coach’s Corner co-host Ron MacLean about Canada’s failure to join the war in Iraq. The debate and Cherry’s pro-U.S. sentiments prompted at least 1,500 complaints to the CBC.

WATCH | Looking back on Don Cherry’s past controversies:

CBC News Network highlights some of Don Cherry’s previous controversial moments. 1:12

Jan. 24, 2004 — Cherry went on a rant about visors in the NHL, which prompted the commentator to say the protective gear was worn by wimps and usually sported by “Europeans and French guys.”

The comments were taken as a slur against francophone Canadians, touched off criticism from numerous federal politicians and forced the CBC to temporarily implement a seven-second tape delay on his segments.

Dec. 7, 2010 — Wearing a garish pink suit, Cherry crashed Rob Ford’s inauguration as mayor of Toronto with zeal that seemed to surprise even Ford. Cherry was invited by Ford to attend the ceremony and put the chain of office around Ford’s neck.

He took the opportunity to deliver a three-minute tirade in front of city council, calling bicycle riders “pinkos” and celebrating Ford’s election with the phrase “put that in your pipe you left-wing kooks.”

Oct. 6, 2011 — Cherry, an avowed supporter of fighting in hockey, called former enforcers Stu Grimson, Chris Nilan and Jim Thomson “pukes” and “turncoats” for suggesting that NHL players who fight are prone to substance abuse. The comments were made shortly after the deaths of Derek Boogaard, Rick Rypien and Wade Belak, three former NHLers known for fighting.

WATCH | Don Cherry in hot water over comments on Coach’s Corner: 

Don Cherry sparked online backlash on Saturday night for his comments about immigrants not wanting to wear poppies ahead of Remembrance Day. 0:50

April 28, 2013 — Cherry said he was against women reporters being allowed in NHL dressing rooms.

“I remember the first time it happened to me,” Cherry said. “Guys are walking around naked and I hear this woman’s voice. I turn around and she’s asking me about the power play. I say, ‘Let’s go outside.’ She said, ‘I’m not embarrassed.’ I said, ‘I am.”‘

Several women reporters and the Association for Women in Sports Media rebuked Cherry for his stance.

WATCH | Cherry faces major backlash after controversial comments:

CBC’s “The National” touches on the reactions of many Canadians following Don Cherry’s remarks on “Coach’s Corner”. 4:00 

Feb. 7, 2015 — Cherry faced backlash and a call for an apology from some Inuit Canadians when, while on location in Newfoundland and Labrador, he called MacLean a “savage” and a “barbarian” for eating seal meat.

Cherry walked back his comments a couple of days later. “I have no problem with my friends who are hunters and eat venison and duck. Just the same, as I have no problem, with people who hunt seals and seal meat,” Cherry said on social media.

“I do however find it very unusual, in my world, that a person would go into a restaurant and order a seal burger for lunch. I meant no disrespect to the hunters who hunt and eat seal meat just like I have no disrespect for the hunters who hunt deer and duck and eat their meat.”

WATCH | Ron MacLean apologizes for Don Cherry’s ‘hurtful’ remarks: 

Cherry made comments on Hockey Night in Canada regarding new Toronto citizens not wearing poppies. 1:04

Feb. 3, 2018 — Citing cold weather during winter, Cherry sounded off against those looking to combat climate change during a segment of Coach’s Corner.

Cherry asked MacLean if he and his “left-wing pinko friends” could explain their concerns over rising global temperatures while Toronto was experiencing a midwinter cold snap. “I’m just asking you, the cuckaloos are always saying there are warming trends,” Cherry said. “We’re freezing to death.”

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