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🏒New York Rangers Fire President and General Manager

May 06, 2021
Source: Bruce Bennett/USA TODAY Sports
Source: Bruce Bennett/USA TODAY Sports

The incident: It started during Monday night’s Rangers vs. Washington Capitals game. Caps strongman Tom Wilson — who has a history of rough play and subsequent disciplinary action — acted severely outside traditional hockey violence boundaries and went after Rangers’ star Artemiy Panarin, injuring him.

  • Though many expected Wilson to be suspended for multiple games, he was only slapped with a $5,000 fine (the maximum) from the NHL’s Department of Player Safety, which is led by another goon George Parros.

The backlash: The Rangers shared a strongly worded statement on Tuesday, calling for harsher punishment and for the NHL to fire Parros. The statement was well-received by everyone...except the NYR owners, who (plot twist) fired Davidson and Gorton yesterday.

  • The two teams faced off again in their final meeting of the season last night, and unsurprisingly, things started with a line brawl. The first period alone ended with 20 penalties and Wilson leaving with an upper body injury. 
  • The Caps are off to the playoffs now and the Rangers aren’t, but something tells us that in October, they’ll pick up right where they left off.

The postseason: Speaking of, there’s still no postseason start date. Due to the Vancouver Canucks’ previous COVID-19 outbreak and ensuring four-week hiatus, the regular season won’t end until May 19th, way past the original May 11th playoff start.

The happy news: Let’s end on a high. Team Canada made it to the IIHF U18 Men’s World Championships final after a stunning 8–1 defeat over Sweden yesterday. Canada will now face Russia in today’s final. Watch it on TSN3 at 9 p.m. ET.

European Football Drama

May 03, 2021
Source: BBC Merseyside Sport/Twitter
Source: BBC Merseyside Sport/Twitter
🏈🏆

NFL Draft finished on Saturday

May 03, 2021
Source: NFL Draft/Twitter
Source: NFL Draft/Twitter

🏈NFL: The NFL Draft finished on Saturday after seven rounds, 259 picks, and a record-tying four Canadians drafted to “the show:” Safety Jevon Holland was picked by the Miami Dolphins in the second round; cornerback Benjamin St-Juste and receiver Josh Palmer were selected in the third; and thanks to Carolina Panthers’ head coach Matt Rhule’s wife, running back Chuba Hubbard was chosen in the fourth. Remember those names.

🇨🇦Canada: It’s a busy few days for Canada’s major league teams. Last night, the Toronto Raptors faced the LA Lakers — and won 121–114 — and the Vancouver Whitecaps lost 1–0 to the Colorado Rapids.

⛳️Golf: Mike Weir is a winner again...and it only took him 13 years! The 2003 Masters champion won the Insperity Invitational with a 10-under par score, marking his first win on the PGA TOUR Champions (the men’s pro 50+ league) and first pro win since 2007. Way to go, Weirsy.

🤨WTF: Former Olympian Caitlyn Jenner is running for governor of California her mouth. When asked about recent state legislation banning transgender kids from playing on sports teams that match their gender identities, the one-time track & field star, who is trans, said that she supports the bills, because “we need to protect girls’ sports in our schools.” 

We don’t have to tell you how disgusted and disappointed we are with that statement, but we do want to give more context about these awful new bills popping up across North America, in this week’s episode of The GIST of It, coming at you Wednesday.

Challenge Cup final is locked in

May 03, 2021
Source: NWSL/Twitter
Source: NWSL/Twitter

NWSL: The Challenge Cup final is locked in, with NJ/NY Gotham FC punching their ticket to the finals with a 0–0 draw on Sunday vs. Racing Louisville FC. Gotham will face the West’s first place team, the Portland Thorns, who clinched their spot in the finals back on April 21st after going undefeated in the group stage. 

Football: In yesterday’s Champions League action across the pond, Barcelona topped Paris-Saint Germain 2–1 (3–2 on aggregate) to advance to their second Champs League final. 

  • In the other semi, Chelsea notched a 4–1 (5–3 aggregate) W over Bayern, sending Chelsea to their first-ever Champions League final and making coach Emma Hayes the first woman to coach in the final in 12 years. Big mood.
  • The final match (just one leg in the final!) is set for Sunday, May 16th at 3 p.m. ET. Mark your calendar.

🏆AAPI sportspeople you should know about

May 02, 2021
Photo source: WTA/Giphy
Photo source: WTA/Giphy

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“I don’t really know what feeling Japanese or Haitian or American is supposed to feel like. I just feel like me.”

― Tennis superstar Naomi Osaka, who plays under the Japanese flag, was raised in America, has a Japanese mom and a Haitian dad and is 100% herself.

🥇 International love

SOURCE: CRESCENTA VALLEY HISTORICAL SOCIETY

The Olympics are sports’ biggest stage, and some of our most accomplished Olympians have Asian heritage. During the 1948 London Summer Olympics, Filipino American diver Vicki Draves became the first Asian American to win Olympic gold and first American woman to win multiple gold medals in diving. That’s how you make a splash.

  • She was the first of many North American Olympians with Asian heritage, including hockey players Julie Chu and Vicky Sunohara, wrestler Carol Huynh, gymnasts Victoria Moors and Kyla Ross, swimmer Nathan Adrian, and speed skater Apolo Ohno.

These days, Chloe Kim is one of the most recognizable Olympians, and the biggest name in snowboarding. The youngest woman to win an Olympic snowboarding gold medal at 17 years old, Kim recently spoke out about anti-Asian hate in North America, but also her pride in her Korean heritage.

⭐️ The best and brightest

SOURCE: PHELAN M. EDENHACK/AP PHOTOS

⛳️Let's talk about the most transcendent Asian American and Asian Canadian athletes. Exhibit A: Tiger Woods, of Thai and Chinese heritage. In 1997, he became the first Asian American to win a pro golf major (his first of 15) and is currently tied for the most PGA Tour wins at 82. 

  • Tiger’s GOAT status led the way for other Asian American golfers, like LPGA star Michelle Wie West, 2020 PGA Championship winner Collin Morikawa and the PGA’s first player of Tongan and Samoan descent, Tony Finau.

A few Canadian and American figure skaters of Asian descent are also considered amongst the GOATs. Michelle Kwan — the greatest Olympian to never win gold — and Kristi Yamaguchi owned the figure skating spotlight in the late 20th century, leading the way for Mirai Nagasu and Karen Chen.

  • On the men’s side, Patrick Chan is the best Canadian figure skater there ever was, winning three world championships and a few Olympic medals, while American Nathan Chen is working on being the best ever — he hasn’t lost since the 2018 Winter Olympics.

🏀🏈⚾️🏒 Welcome to the big leagues

SOURCE: MELISSA MAJCHRZAK/NBAE

For as long as we can remember, the major sports leagues — NBA, NFL, MLB and NHL — have had a severe lack of Asian representation. But the players who have made it to the big leagues have certainly made their marks.

🏀Basketball: Remember Jeremy Lin? The American-born son of Taiwanese parents who set the NBA on fire for a period in 2012? While Linsanity was short-lived, he went on to win an NBA championship with the Toronto Raptors in 2019.

  • Lin should probably thank Wataru Misaka — a second-generation Japanese American who excelled in college basketball during a time of intense anti-Japanese racism in and around WWII.
  • In 1947, Misaka broke the NBA’s color barrier as the first non-white player and first player of Asian descent.

🏈Football: Wide receiver Hines Ward is a Pittsburgh Steelers legend, winning two Super Bowls and setting copious franchise records during his 14-season career. Born in Seoul, South Korea, Ward aimed to grow the popularity of American football in his birthplace by introducing other biracial kids (like himself) to the game.

  • Nowadays, players like Miami Dolphin Tua Tagovailoa (pronounced TUNG-o-vai-LOA), Los Angeles Ram Taylor Rapp and Atlanta Falcon Younghoe Koo are some of the NFL’s standout players boasting Asian and Pacific Islander heritage.
  • In the Great White North, Norman “King” Kwong reigned over the CFL in the ’50s and ’60s. The first Canadian pro football player of Chinese heritage and winner of four Grey Cups, Kwong set 30 league records.

⚾️Baseball: Many MLB players are from Asia, largely due to the sport’s popularity in East Asian countries. Players like 10-time All-Star Ichiro Suzuki and 2009 World Series MVP Hideki Matsui were both born across the Pacific while others, including three-time World Series champion Tim Lincecum, boast Asian heritage.

🏒Hockey: Though he only played one minute of one game in the NHL, Larry Kwong’s mark on the league was indelible. The Canadian of Cantonese descent broke the NHL’s color barrier in 1948 as the first non-white player and first of Asian heritage.

  • Kwong skated so Montreal Canadien Nick Suzuki, Minnesota Wild Matt Dumba and Dallas Star Jason Robertson could soar...and so Paul Kariya could star in the most iconic hockey film franchise of all time, The Mighty Ducks.

💪 Who’s the boss?

SOURCE: MLB/TWITTER

Asian dominance isn’t limited to on-field/ice/court action, though: there are plenty of proud Asian Americans making their marks from the bench and the front office. Kim Ng (pronounced ANG) made herstory last year when she joined the Miami Marlins as the first MLB general manager (GM) of East Asian descent and the first female GM in a major sports league.

Over in the NBA, Rich Cho (who was born in Burma) became the first Asian American GM in major league history when he took the job with the Portland Trail Blazers in 2010, while Toronto Raptors’ GM Bobby Webster of Hawaii was the first Asian American to win a championship when the Raps won it all in 2019. 

  • From the bench, Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra is the first Asian American head coach in the history of the major leagues and the first Asian American head coach to win an NBA championship. Feeling hot hot hot.

❤️ #StopAAPIHate

SOURCE: JONATHAN YIM/TWITTER

As we celebrate these amazing athletes and leaders and their illustrious careers, we also must recognize the hurdles they’ve faced, and continue to face. Anti-Asian violence and hate has reached unimaginable levels, and even the most elite sportspeople are subjected to AAPI racism every day.

  • Honor these athletes, Americans and Canadians of Asian and Pacific Islander descent across North America, by helping put an end to AAPI hate. Visit GoFundMe’s Stop AAPI Hate campaign to find out how you can support.