Calgary’s Cavalry FC takes aim at Canadian soccer supremacy on home turf Saturday, and with a stellar home record and a team hungry to make history, head coach Tommy Wheeldon Jr. is brimming with confidence.
Spruce Meadows hosts the championship match of the first Canadian Premier League (CPL) season on Saturday afternoon, featuring Hamilton’s Forge FC versus Calgary’s Cavalry FC.
The Cavs have been the best team in the CPL, winning the spring and fall seasons, and even knocking the Vancouver Whitecaps out of the Voyageur’s Cup.
They enter the final match of the best of two championship series having lost 1-0 to Hamilton on Oct. 26.
But with a home record of 7-2-0 this fall season at ATCO Field, the Cavalry will be ready to welcome the Forge to the “lion’s den” this time around, said Wheeldon.
“Will it be easy? Absolutely not.… But I think we’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain, and that’s how we’re preparing,” he said in an interview with the Calgary Eyeopener.
Home field advantage
The roaring crowd, the elevated physicality demanded by Calgary’s high altitude and the cool weather forecast all play to Calgary’s advantage, said Wheeldon.
“There’s something about Calgarians, we seem to be a tougher breed. It’s almost T-shirt weather when it’s about 10 degrees out here,” said Wheeldon.
“We wear teams down anyway with our type of high energy, high attack, high pressure football. And when it gets to the last 15 minutes, I think the other team can only take so much.”
Wheeldon, who in the lead up to this match has found himself ruminating on lineups, formations, and plan As, Bs and Cs from the very moment he opens his eyes in the morning, says there’s no secret sauce to winning. The path to victory is simple.
“Goals. We’ve got to score goals, and we’ve got to score them in bunches. We’re prepared to do that,” he said.
“We’ve got to play our best football, and our best football is on the front foot. We’re going to get into the spaces, we’re going to create chances, and we’re also not going to give them time to breathe.”
‘A hell of a story, regardless’
This is the most momentous match of Wheeldon’s career, by his own admission. As it’s the ninth meeting this year between the Forge and the Cavs, he expects it to be a heated one.
“What you’re getting is two teams that don’t want to give each other an inch,” Wheeldon said.
So with all the excitement and work yet to do, he hasn’t had much time to reflect on the breakthrough season that his team, and the league as a whole, have had this year.
“But my, it’s been a hell of a story, regardless of the outcome on Saturday,” he said.
Wheeldon mentioned he’s found himself overcome with emotion, just previewing video montages that the Spruce Meadows media department has compiled from past matches.
“I tell you, watching it, I’m getting a lump in my throat,” he said.
“That’s the way you launch a league.”
With files from the Calgary Eyeopener.
Josh Peck is a dad!
The former Nickeloden star welcomed his first child with wife Paige O’Brien, he announced on Instagram on Monday, alongside the first photo of the little one. The couple revealed they were expecting in August, just over a year after they tied the knot.
Peck simply captioned the close-up of his son’s face with the bundle of joy’s name: “Max Milo Peck.” O’Brien, meanwhile, shared another shot of their baby boy to her Instagram, this time of him swaddled in a brown blanket, and sporting a white hat. The newborn stares up into the camera in the cute snap, which his mom also captioned with his name.
ET spoke with Peck in August, when he revealed that his good friend and former Grandfathered co-star, John Stamos, had taught him a thing or two about fatherhood.
“Stamos is already crushing fatherhood. No joke,” Peck raved of the actor, who is dad to young son Billy. “Can you imagine John Stamos changing a diaper? I mean, that baby is lucky. But his son, Billy, is gorgeous and if I can get anything quite like that, I’ll be overpaid.”
“He’s done this incredible, beautiful transition into being a dad,” he continued. “And I know that he wanted to have a kid for so long. So to watch him sort of flourish in that way has been a joy.”
See more — including what Peck had to say about making Stamos his child’s godfather — in the video below.
Willie O'Ree simply wanted a chance to show what he could do.
Years later and under vastly different circumstances, the same went for Martin St. Louis and Jayna Hefford.
There was a common theme as the Hockey Hall of Fame welcomed its newest members Monday — one of opportunity.
"At the age of 14, I had set two goals for myself: play professional hockey and one day play in the National Hockey League," O'Ree said in his speech. "All I wanted to be was a hockey player.
"All I needed was the opportunity."
The first black player in NHL history and the third to enter the Hall, O'Ree would get that chance when he was called up by the Boston Bruins for a game against the Montreal Canadiens on Jan 18, 1958.
From castoff to Hart Trophy winner
"I did not know I was breaking the colour barrier," O'Ree, now 83, continued. "That's how focused I was on making my dream come true."
O'Ree, St. Louis and Hefford were joined by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, all-time goalie wins and shutout leader Martin Brodeur and Soviet-era Russian star Alexander Yakushev as the Hall's class of 2018.
St. Louis, Hefford, Brodeur and Yakushev were inducted in the players category, while O'Ree — who suited up for just 45 games in the NHL, but would return to the fold in 1996 as a goodwill ambassador — and Bettman went in as builders.
Undersized and undrafted, St. Louis rocketed from castoff to Hart Trophy winner and two-time scoring champion once he got his chance with the Tampa Bay Lightning, including a Cup victory in 2003-04.
"For all the kids out there listening: follow your dreams," St. Louis said from the podium. "Believe in yourself. When it seems like all of the doors are closing, look for a window and find a way in."
Watch nine quick facts about this year's Hall of Fame induction:
The five-foot-eight winger is one of just six undrafted players to reach 1,000 points and was a member of Canada's men's Olympic team that won gold in 2014.
"The reason that some people don't reach their full potential is that they quit too soon," St. Louis said. "Be a good teammate both on the ice and in life."
And for Hefford, that chance was getting to play a sport growing up that was supposed to only be for the boys.
She won four Olympic gold medals and seven world championships playing for Canada, and is the sixth woman to enter the Hall.
"My story is about more than just hockey," Hefford said. "My story is about the power of opportunity.
"Dreams without borders are powerful, and fewer barriers represent freedom. Hockey has given me so much. I wouldn't be up here tonight if I didn't have the opportunity to play the game."
A 'deserving honour' for Bettman
Speaking of opportunity, the NHL gave one to Bettman more than 25 years ago when the league plucked him from the NBA to serve as its first commissioner.
Since then, the NHL has expanded from 24 to 31 teams, with annual revenues ballooning tenfold to around US$ 5 billion.
"Everyone knows that my public appearances get an energetic reaction," Bettman joked during his speech. "I get booed when I present the Stanley Cup, particularly to a road team, but even from the home team, and at the draft.
"Tonight should erase any claim that election to the Hockey Hall of Fame is a popularity contest."
While the NHL has seen incredible growth during Bettman's time at the helm, he's also overseen three lockouts, including one that wiped out the entire 2004-05 season, with another work stoppage looming as early as 2020.
Olympic participation and how the league has dealt with concussions have been among some of the other issues where criticism has been directed his way.
Brodeur owns record books
A three-time Stanley Cup champion and four-time Vezina Trophy winner with the New Jersey Devils, Brodeur won 691 games and had 125 shutouts in his 20 seasons.
"This is a really special day for me," said an emotional Brodeur, the shoe-in of this year's class. "I'm honoured and humbled."
A two-time Olympic gold medallist for Canada, Brodeur shares or owns 12 NHL records and played more than 70 games in a season 12 times in his career.
"He competed with a smile on his face," Devils teammate and 2013 inductee Scott Niedermayer said Sunday at a Hall of Fame event. "He just embraced the big challenge. He wasn't overwhelmed."
Yakushev starred for the USSR in the 1972 Summit Series, scoring seven goals to tie Canada's Phil Esposito and Paul Henderson for the lead in the best-on-best showcase. He won Olympic gold in 1972 and 1976 and was elected to the International Ice Hockey Federation Hall of Fame in 2003, but never got the opportunity to play in the NHL.
"Mark Messier and I got to spend one of the best lunches ever together with Yakushev," Wayne Gretzky said before the ceremony. "In Edmonton when you made a great play in practice, we would say: 'That was Yakushevian.'
"We were telling him the story and he started crying. He didn't believe us."
Congrats to Erika Christensen!
The Parenthood star is a mother of two after her daughter made a swift, surprise arrival Friday morning. Christensen took to Instagram to share the happy news, alongside the sweet story of how her baby girl, Polly, was delivered at home.
“It happened! It happened this morning. And it will go down in family history because babygirl’s own, incredible Dad delivered her all by himself,” she wrote alongside a photo of herself with husband Cole Maness and baby Polly on the bed. “My fault entirely as I didn’t know she would come so quickly and didn’t call the doc until far too late. He came straight over and arrived about one minute after she joined us in the world. Haha! My Mom too.”
“You should’ve seen their faces when they walked in to hear her little wail. Mom immediately took this picture. So epic. 9:21a (we think) at 7lbs 8oz (we think). 😆 Doc didn’t have time to grab the baby scale in his rush,” Christensen continued. “Meet Ms. Polly. She’s chubby-cheeked and rosy and so beautiful. ♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️.”
The 35-year-old actress announced she and Maness were expecting their second child in May. The couple are already parents to 2-year-old daughter Shane.
Christensen gushed about motherhood in a sweet Mother’s Day post earlier this year.
“Today I definitely focused on my gratitude for my mom, who did and does so much to teach me not THAT the seemingly impossible is possible, but HOW. She taught me to break the mountain down into step after step. I hope I can teach the same invaluable lesson,” she wrote. “And now a moment of gratitude to my girl for swooping in and bringing her infectious joy and curiosity into our family, and for helping me learn how to be a mama. Happy Mother’s Day to all the teachers and the lovers and leaders who are helping wear that mother hat whether they even realize it or not.”
See more on Christensen in the video below.
Tom Hopper and his wife, Laura, just welcomed an adorable new addition to their family.
The Game of Thrones actor revealed the news on Saturday in a heartwarming image posted to Instagram, showing himself, his wife, their 3-year-old son Freddie, and newborn daughter, Truly Rose, laying together in the family’s bed.
“So my amazing wife @laurahopperhops gave birth to our second beautiful child,” the 33-year-old English actor captioned the cute photo. “Welcome to the world, our baby daughter, Truly Rose Hopper. Weighing 8lb 1oz.”
“Family bed times just got even more cozy,” he added, along with a trio of heart emojis.
The following day, Hopper — who plays Dickon Tarly on the seventh season of HBO’s hit fantasy drama — followed up with a slideshow of photos showing him shirtless, cradling his infant daughter to his chest while still in the English hospital where they welcomed their baby girl.
The actor used the sweet post to explain the importance of a parent sharing skin-to-skin contact with their babies soon after welcoming them into the world.
“I feel like the luckiest guy on earth. There is no feeling like the skin on skin i’ve had with our beautiful children after their births. An immediate and unique bonding process that is the most beautiful of moments to experience as a parent,” he wrote. “Their hearts beating next to yours for the first time, and your body warmth keeping them comfortable and secure. A true blessing to be able to give and it’s nature at its finest.”
Hopper went on to explain how he felt “lucky to have had this experience with both our babies straight after they were born,” and called the bonding opportunities “memories that I will treasure forever.”
The excited new mom also shared her own emotional post to Instagram on Sunday, with a snapshot taken in her hospital bed.
“I feel so incredibly lucky to have another beautiful baby. But boy did I have the most magical birth,” she wrote, before praising the National Health Services hospital for their kindness and superb treatment during her pregnancy journey.
“The #nhs hospital I used went above and beyond to ensure I had the best experience. The wonderful midwives, nurses and NICEST consultant. Thank you from the bottom of my heart from me and my little girl,” she wrote.
Congrats to the happy couple!
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Nicky Hilton Rothschild has got the greatest gift, just in time for Christmas! The 34-year-old businesswoman welcomed baby No. 2, daughter Teddy, with husband James Rothschild, she revealed on Twitter Friday. “Christmas came early! On December 20th James and I welcomed a baby girl, Teddy Rothschild into the world,” Hilton wrote. “Feeling very blessed this holiday season.” Teddy joins the Rothschild family just over a year and a half after their first daughter, Lily-Grace Victoria, was born on…
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Congrats to Katie Lowes!
The 36-year-old actress announced the birth of her first child, a son named Albee Shapiro, just in time for the premiere of Scandal‘s final season on Thursday.
“Baby’s first #Scandal Thursday!” Lowes captioned the adorable first photo of her baby boy. “@shappyshaps and I are thrilled to welcome Albee Shapiro to our family! We’re happy & healthy! #BabyGladiator.”