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
Bianca Andreescu has suffered another injury, ending her best tournament since capturing the U.S. Open title in September 2019.
The Canadian retired with a right ankle injury after falling behind 6-3, 4-0 against top-ranked Ash Barty of Australia in the final of the Miami Open on Saturday.
The eighth-seeded Andreescu, from Mississauga, Ont., tumbled to the court in the third game of the second set and struggled with her movement after the fall. She was wearing tape on the right ankle for the entire final of the WTA 1000 event — one level below a Grand Slam.
Andreescu called a medical timeout to receive treatment from the trainer after Barty finished the game with a break to go up 3-0.
WATCH | Andreescu retires from Miami Open final with injury:
Australian Ashleigh Barty claimed the WTA Miami Open title Saturday 6-3, 4-0 after Canada’s Bianca Andreescu was forced to retire in the 2nd set having fallen awkwardly earlier in the match with what appeared to be a right ankle injury. 6:03
She returned for one more game, but wasn’t moving well.
“Definitely not the way I wanted to end the tournament,” Andreescu said. “But I’m super grateful nonetheless. I got to the final of one of my first tournaments in a while now, and I could not be more happy.”
Afterward, she put her hand to her face as she tried to hold back tears before going to the net to greet Barty and end the match.
Andreescu returned from a 16-month layoff in February at the Australian Open, losing in the second round of the Grand Slam. She suffered a knee injury late in 2019 and opted not to try to make a comeback earlier in the pandemic in 2020.
The 20-year-old Canadian followed up her first tournament back by reaching the semifinals of an event in Melbourne for players eliminated early from the Australian Open, but a leg injury suffered there kept her out until Miami.
Andreescu did not specifically address the nature of the injury when she made her speech during the trophy presentations.
“I just want to say for me getting back on my feet wasn’t easy, but I continued to believe in myself and I never gave up,” she said. “To everyone out there going through a tough time like me now, I just want to say keep your head up and continue to believe in yourself.”
However in a post-match interview, Andreescu expressed her frustration.
“It seems that I’m kind of the only one that keeps getting asked questions about injuries, which is super annoying,” the former world No. 4 told reporters.
Andreescu focussed on future
“I don’t want, like, for me to have a reputation of that, because it’s not only me that’s getting injured. But, yeah, I mean, it’s happened quite a bit, but I don’t want to define myself through those. It sucks.
“Even if it’s something small, sometimes I’ll be extra cautious, but I’d rather be that than push through it and get it worse, because I have been through both, and today I’m glad that I stopped. It’s hard for me to say that, but I’m glad that I stopped.”
Looking ahead toward the rest of the season, Andreescu remained confident.
“My body seemed to be good up until today,” said Andreescu, who will climb up three spots to number six in the rankings on Monday.
“No one wants to end a tournament retiring, especially in the finals. But things happen, and I want to look ahead in my career. I’m only 20.”
After winning four three-set matches in a row to reach the Miami final, Andreescu struggled to find any rhythm against Barty in their first career meeting.
Barty was far better with first serve, winning 77.8 per cent of her points as compared to 45.2 for Andreescu.
“I hope you recover well and this doesn’t hinder your season too much,” Barty told Andreescu during the trophy ceremony. “I’m sure we’ll have many more good and hopefully healthy matches in the future.”
Andreescu has exited early in both appearances in Miami with injuries — her only two losses in North America since the start of 2019.
Barty, the 2019 French Open champ, won her 10th career title and earned $ 300,110 US of the $ 3.26-million total purse. Andreescu pocketed $ 165,000.
Barty overpowered Andreescu early to jump in front 3-0 before the Canadian found some rhythm and broke back to cut the deficit to 3-2.
But on Andreescu’s next service game, the Australian responded. Two winners after Andreescu fought off two break points put Barty up 4-2 for the decisive break. The world No. 1 then won every point on the ensuing serve game to take charge of the first set.
Andreescu is scheduled to take most of April off. Before the match, her agent, Jonathan Dasnieres de Veigy, said Andreescu is scheduled to return for WTA 1000 clay-court events in Madrid (April 29-May 8) and Rome (May 10-16) before playing in the French Open (May 23-June 5).
Bianca Andreescu admits she sometimes surprises herself with her ability to chase down tough shots.
“Sometimes I literally feel like I’m an octopus out there, running side to side,” the Canadian tennis star said early Friday morning. “I feel like I have eight legs. It’s insane, sometimes I don’t even know how I get to some shots. It’s that fighting spirit that I’ve always had in me, never giving up.”
That competitive drive has been front and centre this week with Andreescu back in the spotlight in a hurry following 16 months off.
The 20-year-old Andreescu, in her third tournament back after the layoff, has won four three-set matches in a row to reach the final of the Miami Open. She will play top-ranked Ash Barty of Australia on Saturday in the championship of the WTA 1000 event — the level directly below Grand Slams in women’s tennis.
In her return after a knee injury and a decision to stay off the courts later in the pandemic, the 2019 U.S. Open champion was well off top form and exited in the second round of the Australian Open in February. A trip to the semifinals of a smaller event in Australia followed, but Andreescu injured her leg there and didn’t play again until starting in Miami last week.
Now, the native of Mississauga, Ont., is producing a run that has similarities to her journey to the title at the Rogers Cup in Toronto in 2019. Andreescu won four three-setters in a row at her hometown event, too.
A day off Friday was a nice break for Andreescu after 12 hours 12 minutes of court time in five matches over seven days in Miami. The third-set semifinal tiebreaker against Greece’s Maria Sakkari ended at 1:35 a.m. ET and Andreescu didn’t wrap up her press conference until close to 3 a.m.
“I found a way somehow and I’m super proud of myself with how I dealt with everything,” she said. “It was very up and down, but I did it.”
WATCH | Andreescu to play in Miami Open final:
Bianca Andreescu of Mississauga, Ont., defeats Greece’s Maria Sakkari 7-6 (7), 3-6, 7-6 (4). The Canadian will face world No. 1 Ash Barty in the Miami Open final. 3:11
Andreescu, who will move up three spots to No. 6 in the rankings next week, will face Barty for the first time on Saturday.
The champion at Miami and the French Open in 2019, Barty also is coming off a long break. After the pandemic hit last March, she did not play for the rest of 2020.
Barty won a tournament in Australia before the Grand Slam and now has a shot to win back-to-back titles in Miami (the event wasn’t held last year).
Both Barty, 24, and Andreescu won their first and only Grand Slam to date in 2019.
“It’s going to be great. Definitely have wanted to play her,” Andreescu said. “I have my chance on Saturday. I know it’s going to be really tough. She’s playing great tennis. I hope I can be on my A game.”
Barty says she doesn’t watch a ton of tennis when she’s not playing, but is well aware of what Andreescu brings to the table.
“Bianca has shown in big tournaments that she’s got the ability to beat the very best,” Barty said. “I know from the little that I have seen that she’s got a way of moving around the court that is extremely physical.
“She’s got great hands and got options off both sides. She’s got a chisel off both sides. She has the ability to flip the ball up or hit through the court. That’s what makes her game exceptionally challenging. She’s got so many different assets and so many different things she can go to to ultimately let the competitor in her figure it out.”
One-way ticket to the final 🎟️<a href=”https://twitter.com/Bandreescu_?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@Bandreescu_</a> survives Sakkari in yet another three-set thriller, 7-6(7), 3-6, 7-6(4).<a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/MiamiOpen?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#MiamiOpen</a> <a href=”https://t.co/VP8Mo90C1e”>pic.twitter.com/VP8Mo90C1e</a>
Andreescu is one of many Canadian athletes or teams to be competing in Florida this spring. She has played her best tennis in North America, going 33-1 since the start of 2019.
Andreescu says it helps having familiar faces watching her. Her parents and her dog, Coco, have received plenty of television time in the stands this week.
“My parents are putting her up and making her dance to the music, which is super cute,” Andreescu said. “It’s nice to have that during these tense moments because I’ll throw a little smirk in there and things will be better.”
Quick note before we get started: I’d like to mix in a few “mailbag” newsletters in the coming months. But first I’ll need more mail. So if you have a question about sports that you’ve always wanted to ask, or you want my #take on something, or whatever, send it to email@example.com and include your first name and where you’re from. I’ll pick a few of the better ones to answer in some upcoming newsletters.
Also, no newsletter on Good Friday or Easter Monday. Back Tuesday.
OK, here’s what to know for today:
Good things come in fours
Starting tonight, the Easter long weekend will feature four Canadian athletes playing a prominent role in a final four (or, for most of them, a Final Four). Here’s a bit about each:
Bianca Andreescu: She’s back, folks. After nearly a year and a half of injury-induced frustration, the Canadian tennis star has put together her most meaningful tournament run since she won the 2019 U.S. Open. Andreescu won a hard-fought match vs. Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo last night to reach the semifinals of the Miami Open. She also made the semis of the Phillip Island Trophy in Australia in February, but that was a low-stakes event with weak competition — players who’d either been eliminated quickly from the Australian Open or didn’t qualify. Miami is in the WTA 1000 tier — just a cut below the Grand Slams. Andreescu hasn’t made the semifinals at a tournament of this calibre or better since her historic Grand Slam title in New York in September 2019. That was also the last time she reached a final of any kind. Andreescu can end that drought tonight when she faces Maria Sakkari sometime after 8:30 p.m. ET. Sakkari is ranked 25th in the world (16 spots below Andreescu) but the powerful Greek just destroyed Naomi Osaka 6-0, 6-4 in the quarters, snapping the world No. 2’s 23-match win streak. The winner meets No. 1-ranked Ash Barty or No. 5 Elina Svitolina in the final on Saturday.
Aaliyah Edwards: The most impressive Canadian in the NCAA women’s basketball tournament helped UConn reach its 13th consecutive Final Four by averaging 14.5 points and 6.7 rebounds over the first four rounds. Edwards, a freshman forward, won the Big East Conference’s Sixth Woman of the Year award after coming off the bench for most of the regular season, but she’s started the last three games. With freshman sensation Paige Bueckers leading the way, UConn is heavily favoured to beat Arizona on Friday night and will likely meet top-ranked Stanford in Sunday’s final. Canadian Shaina Pellington is part of Arizona’s rotation and is averaging 4.5 points in the tournament.
Laeticia Amihere: The sophomore forward hopes to literally block Stanford’s path to the title game in Friday’s other Final Four matchup. Amihere swatted away nine shots and added 10 points and eight rebounds off the bench in South Carolina’s blowout of Texas in the last round. She’s averaging 11 points and eight boards in the tournament. Stanford has its own Canadian player, Alyssa Jerome, but she didn’t get on the court in their last game and has yet to score in the tournament. For more on the Final Four, check out the latest newsletter from our friends at The GIST, who cover women’s sports with a unique voice year-round.
Andrew Nembhard: Gonzaga is two wins away from becoming the first undefeated NCAA men’s basketball champion in 45 years, and a Canadian starts for them. Nembhard isn’t an elite scorer (8.7 points per game in the tournament) but he’s capable of big games like his 17-point, eight-assist outburst vs. Creighton in the third round. And apparently he doesn’t get tired: Nembhard played 110 of a possible 120 minutes in the last three rounds. Gonzaga is an absolute juggernaut that has blown out its four opponents by an average of 24 points. But if it ever gets tested — either in Saturday night’s Final Four matchup vs. Cinderella UCLA or in Monday’s championship game — there’s a good chance Nembhard is one of the guys coach Mark Few will count on in crunch time.
The police know what happened to Tiger Woods. But they’re not telling. Citing unspecified “privacy issues,” the sheriff of Los Angeles County said yesterday that he couldn’t reveal exactly what detectives determined caused the single-vehicle crash that seriously injured Woods last month. Sheriff Alex Villanueva has called the crash “purely an accident” and indicated there was no evidence of impairment. In yesterday’s update, he said his team has “reached out” to Woods and his camp about waiving the privacy concerns so that the investigation findings can be released to the public. Read more here.
The men’s curling world championship starts tomorrow in Calgary. First-time Brier winner Brendan Bottcher and his rink will try to capture Canada’s first world title since Brad Gushue’s team did it in 2017. Their opponents include Sweden’s Nik Edin, who’s going for a three-peat after beating Brad Gushue and Kevin Koe in the last two finals, and reigning Olympic champion John Shuster of the United States. Read more about Bottcher here and get a quick snippet on each of the 14 teams here. Also, That Curling Show is back. Join hosts Devin Heroux and Colleen Jones tonight at 7:30 p.m. ET on the CBC Sports YouTube channel as they preview the worlds and chat with Bottcher, Edin and Shuster (that’s right, they’re all on tonight’s show).
The Sabres won a game! Their tragicomic 18-game losing streak (an unofficial NHL record) ended last night with a cathartic 6-1 blowout of the same Flyers team that prolonged their misery by rallying from a 3-0 third-period deficit two nights before. But Buffalo is hardly out of the woods. They’re last overall by nine points, they’ve been shut out as many times (seven) as they’ve won, and their two best players (Jack Eichel and Taylor Hall) have scored four goals this season. Combined. Nashville’s Rocco Grimaldi, who you’ve possibly never heard of, matched that output by himself in one game last week.
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Iran’s civil aviation authority says an error by the Iranian military was the cause of Ukrainian Airlines Flight PS752’s destruction in January 2020.
In its long-awaited final report on the incident, released today, Iranian safety investigators conclude that the Boeing 737-800 passenger plane was shot down by accident after being “misidentified” by an air defence unit as a “hostile target.”
All 176 passengers and crew members — including 138 people with ties to Canada — died in the crash.
“The … aircraft was misidentified by the air defence unit in the suburbs of Tehran and, consequently, two missiles were launched toward it,” the report reads. “The operation of the aircraft had not imposed any error to the air defence unit.
“The interference of military activity with civil aviation operations resulted in an accident.”
Investigators identified the immediate cause of the crash as the detonation of a warhead on the first of two surface-to-air missiles fired in close proximity to the plane. The explosion damaged the aircraft’s navigation systems and caused it to crash. The plane exploded on impact.
The report, conducted by Iran’s Aircraft Accident Investigation Board, bolsters the Iranian government’s claim that the plane was shot down as a result of human error — but it leaves unanswered many questions raised by the Canadian government and the families of the victims.
Canada’s Transportation Safety Board said it has received the final report and senior officials will respond at a press conference Thursday morning.
Iran denied shooting down the aircraft for three days after the crash. In response to mounting international pressure and evidence, Iran later admitted a unit of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps “mistakenly” shot down the jet.
The Iranian military was on high alert at the time because of the assassination of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani by a U.S. drone strike five days earlier, and a subsequent retaliatory attack by Iran on Iraqi bases where U.S. forces were stationed.
In a video posted to Facebook, Ukraine’s foreign minister blasted the investigation as incomplete and biased.
“What we saw published today is just a cynical attempt to hide true causes of the downing of our passenger aircraft,” Dmytro Kuleba said, according to an English translation.
“This is not a report but a collection of manipulations aimed not at establishing the truth, but acquitting the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
Kuleba said the investigation violated standards set out under international law and by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
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.
Forge FC owner Bob Young says the Canadian Premier League champions will be playing the Canadian Championship final against Toronto FC at a disadvantage.
In an open letter on social media, Young says Canada Soccer has proposed a date for the game “that worked for one team but ignored the situation of the other.”
Canadian soccer fans – I need help understanding our national federation, <a href=”https://twitter.com/CanadaSoccerEN?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@CanadaSoccerEN</a> : <a href=”https://t.co/SRZP9I4mJn”>pic.twitter.com/SRZP9I4mJn</a>
While Young does not reference the date in his letter, March 20 has been talked about.
At issue for Young is the preparation time for both teams.
“Why would Canada Soccer propose a date to play this game where one of the teams had more than a month to practise and prepare for the game and, due to COVID restrictions, the other team only a week?” he wrote. “They are proposing a date that, according to leading Canadian soccer coaches and medical personnel I’ve spoken to, would put one team’s athletes at risk of injury, and would certainly give the team that had been practising an obvious and significant advantage.”
Toronto FC was granted permission by MLS to open camp early, on Feb. 17 to prepare for the Canadian Championship final. Most other teams started March 1.
In an interview, Young said Forge had only just received permission from the Ontario government to train.
“My complaint is not with any of the individuals at Canada Soccer. It is with the decision that they’ve reached on this topic,” he said.
The winner of the Canadian Championship final earns a berth in the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League, CONCACAF’s flagship club competition. The victor will meet Mexico’s Club Leon in a two-legged round-of-16 matchup scheduled for April 7 and 14.
The MLS season kicks off April 17.
Young said the game could be played the first week of April.
Forge booked its ticket to the Canadian Championship final by winning the Island Games in 2020. TFC made it by posting the best record in the all-Canadian portion of the pandemic-disrupted 2020 MLS season.
Young, who also owns the CFL’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats, said he wrote the open letter because “Canada Soccer won’t respond to me.”
Canada Soccer, which runs the Canadian Championship, has yet to confirm the date or venue for the final. It has only said the game will take place in the first quarter of 2021.
Time is running short. There is a FIFA international window March 22-28 during which World Cup and Olympic qualifying matches are scheduled.
Canada Soccer did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Young’s letter.
Rachel Homan is in familiar territory in a strange curling season.
She’ll skip Ontario in a third straight Canadian women’s curling championship final Sunday.
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.
Homan’s 7-2 win over Saskatchewan and defending champion Kerri Einarson’s 10-9 loss in an extra end to Manitoba on Saturday combined to give Ontario a bye to the final.
“We really wanted to get to the final and see what we can do and to put that Maple Leaf on our back would really be another dream come true,” Homan said.
“We’re going to work and fight hard to the last rock and hopefully we can make more than the other team.”
Homan is a three-time winner of the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in 2017, 2014 and 2013. In the third trimester of her pregnancy, she’ll try for a fourth.
Homan and Einarson owned identical 10-2 records at the conclusion of the championship round Saturday.
Homan’s 7-4 win over Einarson in a Pool A game Thursday was the tiebreaker giving Ontario the higher playoff seeding.
Einarson has a place in Sunday afternoon’s semifinal as the second seed.
The defending champs await the winner of a morning tiebreaker between Manitoba’s Jennifer Jones and Alberta’s Laura Walker, who were both 9-3.
WATCH | Manitoba’s Jennifer Jones sets up tiebreakers with Alberta’s Laura Walker:
Jones led Manitoba to a 10-9 win over Team Canada to set up a tie breaker against Alberta on Sunday. 0:56
“Personally, it’s pretty huge for me not to play three games tomorrow,” Homan said. “I knew we were ready to do whatever it took to be in that final.
“Thankfully the way it fell, we were able to get that bye, get some rest, get our feet up and just prepare for the final tomorrow.”
The COVID-19 pandemic wiped out most of the competitive curling season.
Homan’s team arrived in Calgary incorporating new second Sarah Wilkes and adjusting to the shift of Joanne Courtney to lead without the benefit of 50 to 60 games behind them this winter.
“I think we’ve faced a lot of adversity like every team here trying to show up and put together the best performance we can under the circumstances,” Courtney said.
“I’m really proud of how we’ve supported each other and kind of just stayed tough. Lots of gritty wins, lots of gritty ends. Any time you get a chance to play in a final, it’s a huge honour.”
WATCH | That Curling Show celebrates Curling Day in Canada
From Watson Lake, Yukon to Kirkland, Quebec and even south of the border to Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, Colleen Jones and Devin Heroux are showing you some of the best outdoor curling rinks in Canada. 1:59:06
Walker took three losses into the championship round, but won a fifth straight game Saturday to keep the host province in contention for the national women’s curling crown.
Alberta came from behind to cap the championship round with a 9-4 win over Chelsea Carey’s Wild Card One.
“I think our confidence is high,” Walker said. “To run the table in the championship round is a pretty special thing I think for us to have just done.”
Six-time champion Jones avoided elimination by drawing for the extra-end win over Einarson.
Her Winnipeg foursome must win three games Sunday for Jones to claim a record seventh title.
“Adrenalin usually takes you through those games,” Jones said. “We didn’t play a lot of games coming in. We’re well-rested.
“Hopefully we’ll be able to play three. At the end of it we’ll be tired, but I think when you’re playing, you’ll be fine.”
This is how Canadians celebrate the roaring game
That Curling Show features fan-submitted photos and video to celebrate Curling Day in Canada 2:34
The 2021 Tournament of Hearts is one of four Curling Canada events to be held in a spectator-free, controlled environment at WinSport’s Markin MacPhail Centre.
The pandemic thwarting many provincial and territorial playdowns prompted Curling Canada to add two wild-card teams to the Hearts field for a total of 18, which in turn shrunk the playoff window.
Instead of the traditional four teams in a Page playoff, only three advance.
Einarson is attempting to win the first back-to-back Hearts titles since Homan in 2013-14.
Sunday’s victor earns $ 100,000 in prize money and a return trip to the 2022 Tournament of Hearts in Thunder Bay, Ont., as Team Canada.
The runner-up earns $ 60,000 and $ 40,000 goes to the third-place team.
The winner doesn’t have a world championship, however, in which to wear the Maple Leaf.
The March 19-28 tournament in Schaffhausen, Switzerland was cancelled by the World Curling Federation because of the pandemic.
The 2020 world championship in Prince George, B.C., was called off for the same reason, so Einarson wasn’t able to represent Canada there.
Beth Peterson’s Wild Card Three (7-5) finished with a 10-3 win over Quebec’s Laurie St-Georges (6-6) on Saturday.
Wild Card One, with Carey filling in at skip for Tracy Fleury, and Saskatchewan’s Sherry Anderson also finished 6-6.
Health Canada’s chief medical adviser said today the department is poised to make a decision on whether to authorize a promising COVID-19 vaccine from AstraZeneca in the coming days.
Dr. Supriya Sharma told the House of Commons health committee that the regulator has received all the necessary scientific information from the company but is still looking into questions about labelling and the product monograph — the information disseminated by Health Canada to medical professionals about how and when a vaccine should be administered and in what groups.
The department has said for weeks its decision on the product would be released soon.
“That review is ongoing. It is in the final stages and the length of time that that takes is really dependent on a number of factors,” Sharma said, adding the regulator has put some questions to AstraZeneca and is awaiting responses.
Other countries — notably Australia, the European Union and the United Kingdom — already have authorized the product for use in their jurisdictions, but under different conditions.
In Australia, for example, the product was approved but regulators there recommended a three-month wait between shots because data suggest the product’s efficacy rate improves with a longer interval. The European Medicines Agency recommended a dose interval of between four and 12 weeks.
“It’s complicated. We know that we’ve got different regulators looking at the same data for AstraZeneca and are making different decisions based on the science. That’s why this is taking a little bit longer than the ones we’ve done before,” Sharma said.
“We’re going back and forth with the company,” she said, adding discussions on the “terms and conditions” of the product are still ongoing.
The United States has not yet approved the shot for the American marketplace.
Health Canada and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the Pfizer and Moderna products within days of one another last December.
Unlike those two shots, which are based on mRNA technlogy, the AstraZeneca uses a more conventional viral vector load vaccine technology.
The company has faced questions about its decentralized manufacturing process — the product will be made at different sites worldwide, sometimes by third parties — its stage three clinical trials and the product’s effectiveness against emerging variants.
Some jurisdictions, notably France, have restricted the vaccine to people under the age of 65 despite the World Health Organization’s insistence that the product is safe and effective for all age groups.
Gustav Svensson scored off a corner kick in the final moments of second-half stoppage time, and the Seattle Sounders beat Minnesota United 3-2 on Monday night to advance to the MLS Cup final.
Seattle scored three times in the final 15 minutes of regulation and stoppage time to stun Minnesota and claim the Western Conference championship for the fourth time in the past five seasons.
Seattle will travel to Columbus to face the Crew in the MLS Cup final on Saturday.
Will Bruin scored in the 75th minute to pull Seattle within 2-1 and set the stage for the wild final moments when the Sounders scored twice off corner kicks. Raul Ruidiaz had a fortunate bounce fall at his feet before he beat 23-year-old Canadian goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair to pull the Sounders even at 2-2 just before the end of the 90 minutes.
Seattle continued to press for a winner and nearly got it from Ruidiaz only to see his shot hit the outside of the post. But Svensson came through by rising above the Minnesota defenders on the final corner kick.
St. Clair, from Pickering, Ont., was making his 16th straight start for the Loons. He entered the game on three straight shutouts, having last given up a goal Nov. 4 against Chicago in the penultimate game of the regular-season.
Seattle will attempt to become the first repeat champs in MLS since the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2011-12.
YOUR SEATTLE FREAKIN’ SOUNDERS. <a href=”https://t.co/faA0To8U06″>pic.twitter.com/faA0To8U06</a>
For most of the night it appeared the young, upstart Loons would be on their way to Columbus to play in their first final in Minnesota’s fourth MLS season. Minnesota had limited scoring chances but took advantage of the ones they did get, taking the lead on Emanuel Reynoso’s perfect free kick from 30 yards in the first half. Defender Bakaye Dibassy scored on a header off an assist from Reynoso midway through the second half, and the Loons appeared headed for the final.
Reynoso continued to show himself as one of the bright young stars in the league following his move in September from Boca Juniors in Argentina to join the Loons. Reynoso had a part in Minnesota’s final 11 goals of the season, either scoring or assisting on each one of them.
But Seattle’s late substitutions made a huge difference. Bruin came on and almost immediately scored and the late additions of Brad Smith and Svensson proved critical.
It was just the second time in team history two different substitutes scored for the Sounders. Seattle has now won 14 straight playoff matches at home.