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Soccer

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The GIST's Bits & Bites - CAN

February 25, 2021
Source: Jeff McIntosh/CP
Source: Jeff McIntosh/CP

🥌Curling: It’s almost playoff time at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts. Today is the last day of round robin play, and reigning champion skip Kerri Einarson and her Team Canada have one last obstacle ahead of an undefeated record: three-time Scotties champ Rachel Homan and Team Ontario. Follow all the “hurry hard!” action here

🏒Hockey: It’s going to be a big weekend for the PWHPA. Saturday marks the start of the 2021 Dream Gap Tour, with a primetime game between Team New Hampshire and Team Minnesota in New Jersey before Sunday’s megashow: the first-ever pro women’s hockey game at Madison Square Garden in NYC.

  • And even better...we get to watch it live! Sportsnet will air the 8 p.m. ET game, with play calling from PWHPA member Blake Bolden, a leading force in the drive for diversity in hockey. Can’t wait. 

⚽️Soccer: Oh no, Canada. With an unfortunate 2–0 loss to Brazil yesterday, Team Canada ended the SheBelieves Cup on a low note. Although two losses and one win wasn’t the strongest showing, how nice was it to see this team out on the pitch again? They’ll be back in action in a friendly against England on April 13th. 

CANWNT Continues in SheBelieves Cup

February 22, 2021
Source: Alex Menendez/Getty Images
Source: Alex Menendez/Getty Images

So far: The World No. 8 team held their own against Team USA in the opening match of the tournament on Thursday, but came out on the losing end of the 1–0 final after American Rose Lavelle’s 79th-minute goal.

  • One goal was all the difference in yesterday’s match, too. Sarah Stratigakis scored her first international goal for Canada in extra time to pull out the 1–0 win over Argentina. 
  • This win was Canada’s first of the year, and the first under new head coach Bev Priestman. Canada now sits in the middle of the leaderboard with one match to go.

Up next: The last game is set for Wednesday, with Canada playing Brazil, while the tournament-leading USWNT takes on Argentina. Follow all the action here

CANWNT Begins SheBelieves Cup Today

February 18, 2021
Source: Michael Janosz/ISI Photos
Source: Michael Janosz/ISI Photos

The set-up: The annual invitational soccer tournament starts today and is a four-team event hosted by the USWNT. Usually held between three U.S. cities, this year’s tournament will take place entirely in Orlando, Florida, and the Canadian, Brazilian and Argentinian national teams have all been invited.

  • Every team plays three matches — one against each opponent — and the top team based on points (three for a win, one for a draw) after the round-robin is declared the winner. Unsurprisingly, the USWNT are the defending champions and favorites.

The squad: Starting with some bad news, national treasures Christine Sinclair, Kadeisha Buchanan and Jordyn Huitema (pronounced HIGH-TAH-MAH) won’t be joining the team, which could very seriously hinder our chances.

  • On the bright side, new head coach Bev Priestman and five future stars will make their official Team Canada debut and midfielder Sophie Schmidt will make her 200th national team appearance tonight, against a fully stacked Team USA. Check out the full schedule here.
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The GIST's Bits & Bites: Olympics, NWHL Bubble, James Harden, NWSL Challenge Cup

January 28, 2021
Source: The Hill/Twitter
Source: The Hill/Twitter

🥇Olympics: Will they or won’t they? That’s the big question still surrounding the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Last week, a report alleged that Japanese officials are coming to terms with a possible cancellation, but the IOC and the heads of the international sporting organizations have denied this.

  • Still, the Olympic and Paralympic organizers have a ton of prep work to do before welcoming over 15,000 international athletes, so they’re releasing a playbook next week to let the world know exactly how they plan to do that.
  • And if it all goes to sh!t, Florida is ready to step in and save the day (wish we were kidding).

🏒NWHL: Despite the off-ice situation going on with the league right now (listen to this week’s episode of The GIST of It for all the info), the NWHL’s bubble is producing some exciting hockey. 

  • The Minnesota Whitecaps remain undefeated after handing the Metropolitan Riveters their first loss in Tuesday’s battle of the best, while the Toronto Six won their first game in franchise history and added another last night. Check out the standings here ahead of Saturday’s final round robin games.

🏀NBA: Though the four-team blockbuster trade that saw James Harden leave Houston hasn’t been as successful for the Brooklyn Nets as they’d hoped, it was a literal lifesaver for Caris LeVert. The 26-year-old was traded from the Nets to the Indiana Pacers in the January 16th trade, pending a physical.

  • That physical included an MRI, which found a mass on LeVert’s kidney, and following successful surgery on Monday, it was confirmed that the tumor was kidney cancer. We’re happy to report that LeVert is expected to make a full recovery without any additional treatment.

⚽️NWSL: The Challenge Cup is returning for a second season, starting April 9th, but instead of it replacing the regular season like last year, it’ll complement the regular season, which begins May 15th and runs to October 30th. An extended postseason will start November 6th.

  • And if that weren’t enough to get you pumped, Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan and Carli Lloyd are all expected to return after sitting out last season. Is it April yet?
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The GIST's Bits & Bites - Toronto Six and Toronto Raptors

January 25, 2021
Source: Toronto Six/Twitter
Source: Toronto Six/Twitter

🏒NWHL: As you most definitely read in yesterday’s Sunday Scroll, the NWHL’s super-condensed two-week season in the “N-Dubble” began on Saturday, with the league’s first-ever Canadian team debut. 

  • The Toronto Six had a tough start to the season, losing Saturday’s game 3–0 to the 2018 Isobel Cup–winning Metropolitan Riveters and yesterday’s game 6–5, in a shootout to the reigning champs, the Minnesota Whitecaps. Game three is tomorrow at 8:30 p.m. ET, against the Boston Pride.

🏀NBA: The Toronto Raptors we know and love are clawing their way back to us. After a rocky (read: awful) start to the season, the Raps have won five of their last six games, including yesterday’s 107–102 game against the Indiana Pacers, and guys from the 2019 championship-winning roster, like Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby and Norm Powell, are putting up big numbers.

  • That said, the Raps are still boasting a 7-9 record and fan favorites Pascal Siakam and Kyle Lowry are out with injuries. We’re cautiously optimistic...for now.

⚽️Football (the European kind): The FA WSL’s Manchester City may have forgotten which sport they’re playing. Last weekend’s 7–0 win over Aston Villa and yesterday’s 7–1 win over Brighton & Hove Albion look more like football scores of the NFL variety.

  • Amongst the goal scorers in yesterday’s blowout is Canada’s very own Janine Beckie, who notched this “extra point” to close out the match. Jolly good.