2022 NHL Draft to Take Place in Montreal

The 2022 NHL draft has been scheduled to take place in Montreal, Quebec this July according to a statement from the NHL on Friday.

This comes after the city was supposed to host the event both this year and in 2020, but it was moved to a online & virtual format due to the COVID-19 Pandemic for both years. The last in-person draft was held in Vancouver in 2019.

According to the NHL, the event will be held over two days in the city, on July 7 and 8, with spectators and media both allowed access in for the first time in two years. Next years’ draft will mark the 27th time that Montreal has hosted the event, with the last time they hosted being in 2009.

“Montreal, the site of the first NHL Draft in 1963, is a wonderful place to bring the NHL family together and to focus on the future of our game as our Clubs call the names of top prospects from around the world,” said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman in a press release on Friday. “We also thank Geoff Molson and the entire Canadiens organization for their cooperation and support while we needed to conduct the Draft remotely the past two years.”

Next year’s draft will see several young players trying for their shot at the major leagues, but this time up close and in person at one of the NHL’s most covered annual events.

Tickets and other details are to be announced at a later date, but if you’ve missed out for the last few years and want to see the NHL’s next star players for the first time yourself, you might want to mark the date in your calendar.

For more information about the draft and past drafts, you can visit https://records.nhl.com/draft/

Residential School Survivors to be Honored at BC Lions Game

While any BC Lions Game sees the color orange in the stands, their game next Friday will see fans of both teams sporting the color in remembrance and honor of indigenous survivors of residential schools.

In an announcement on Thursday, Phyllis Webstad, the founder of Orange Shirt Day, spoke about how it was a dream of hers for “survivors and their families to go to one of these football games and be honored there, and they could know about what happened to us[.]”

As well as wearing to the color Orange, the BC Lions will give 350 tickets to residential school survivors and their families to attend the game on Friday, as well as a $20,000 donation to the Orange Shirt Society. There will also be a commemorative shirt for the event, with a logo designed by indigenous artist Corrine Hunt.

Orange Shirt Day was started in 2013 by Webstad as a way to “commemorate the residential school experience, to witness and honour the healing journey of the survivors and their families, and to commit to the ongoing process of reconciliation.” The orange shirt itself comes from a story of Webstad’s, where on her first day at a residential school, an orange shirt given to her by her grandmother was taken from her.

In the last year, significant attention has been brought to the tragedies that occurred in the residential school system, with over 1500 unmarked graves of indigenous children being found at five schools across the country. There were 139 residential schools, the vast majority of which remain unsearched still. The last of these was closed in 1996.

The game is scheduled to take place on Friday, Sept 24, at 7:30PM at BC Place.  All people in attendance must have proof of COVID-19 vaccination. For more information on the event, or Orange Shirt Day, you can visit www.bclions.com or www.orangeshirtday.org.

Beijing 2022 Olympics to Begin This February with Strong COVID-19 Precautions

With the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics approaching quickly, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced on Friday that the events will go forward with strong COVID-19 countermeasures

In an open letter, IOC president Thomas Bach stated that like the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, the Beijing 2022 Olympics will also have a vaccine programme, which makes vaccinations accessible and encouraged to all participants and athletes. Regarding this and other countermeasures being put in place, Bach said “we are sparing no effort to make these Olympic Winter Games safe and secure for everyone.”

The Beijing Games are scheduled to begin in February, just months after the delayed Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics ended this August. This summer’s games went forward after considerable pushback from the medical community in Japan, with the Tokyo Medical Practitioners Association recommending the games’ cancellation in the months before they opened, worried about a shortage of medical staff and worsening case counts in the country. Following the summer games, over 500 cases were reported in staff, media, contractors and athletes, despite most athletes and participants being vaccinated.

“The Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 come at an important moment to bring the world together in the Olympic spirit of peace, solidarity and unity,” said Bach. “It will once again be the athletes of these Olympic Games that will send this message of the unifying power of sport to the world.”

For team Canada, next year’s games means the first time that many of the NHL’s heavy hitters will get a chance to skate on Olympic ice since the League opted out of the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics in favor of the World Cup of Hockey Instead.

According to Bach, the first edition of the games’ Playbooks, which will cover the detailed COVID-19 protocols, is scheduled to be published in October.

TGS Esports Centre Opens Its Doors Once Again

TGS Esports recently re-opened its Richmond facility last week after being closed since March of 2020.

TGS, which stand for The Gaming Stadium, is a company setting out to build Esports community through hosting tournaments, events and creating a space for people to play, watch and get involved in competitive Esports. Since reopening, they have said they will be hosting events live four days a week at their Richmond location, featuring a series of competitive games including Magic the Gathering, Counter Strike: Global Offensive and Valorant.

Through the last year and a half, TGS has hosted online events streaming through Discord, and hosted other giveaways, but has not been open to the public until last week’s grand re-opening.

The center is equipped with 60 PCs, twelve of which are on a main stage area that TGS uses for tournaments and live competitive events, with a spectator area for people to watch as well. As well, the center allows people outside of scheduled tournament times to use their resources for streaming games.

Competitive Esports have seen a rise in popularity in the last few years in Vancouver, with both the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University having competitive Esports associations that are home to several teams across many different video games. As well, The Vancouver Titans are the city’s competitive Overwatch team, which is owned by Canucks Sports and Entertainment and have made total earnings of nearly a million CDN since their formation in 2018.

For more information about TGS, or getting into competitive Esports nearby, visit https://www.thegamingstadium.com.

How a Delayed Phase 4 May Impact Sporting Events, Concerts, and other Public Events

As of this week, proof of vaccination is officially required for entrance into large events in BC. Across the province, spectators and participants must present vaccine cards at any sporting events for people 22 years or older, as well as at youth sporting events with gatherings of more than fifty people and arts gatherings, such as live theater and concerts.

However, because of COVID-19 case counts rising in the last month especially, the transition to Phase 4 has been pushed back, meaning an uncertain fate for events planned in the optimism that we would already be back to ‘normal’. And with Phase 3 meaning a cap at half-capacity with most large events, it may have repercussions for events planned in the next few months.

For sports gatherings, guidelines are set out by the stadiums and teams hosting, nearly all of which nationally have set out plans as sports seasons begin to resume this year. However, rules are different between provinces. While many have already applied a passport system like BC that they are introducing this month, many others, such as Alberta and New Brunswick have looser guidelines and recommendations.

For concerts however, especially for touring acts from the USA or elsewhere internationally, dates in Canada seem uncertain, especially with acts selling tickets for a higher capacity that they expect venues will be able to accommodate at their scheduled dates. Despite vaccine cards being mandatory now at indoor public gatherings, it’s not certain whether tour date cancellations may be a reality soon if case counts don’t start to fall soon in the province.

Since the beginning of Sept., case counts in BC have begun to hit a plateau, albeit one that hovers around 500 to 800 new cases per day, but the next few weeks will show the effectiveness of vaccine cards and if a return to normal may be before us soon.

Varsity Hockey Captain’s Cup Returns this Friday

University Hockey Teams in BC are preparing for the annual Captains Cup, which returns again starting this Friday after being cancelled last year due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

The tournament, which is the first big competition these teams see each year, typically includes The University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University and Trinity Western University’s Varsity hockey teams. However, this year the tournament will be expanded, and will also see the University of Victoria and Vancouver Island University’s hockey teams compete alongside the usual suspects for their shot at the cup title.

This will be fourth Captains Cup since it began in 2017. Aside from bringing together the university hockey teams in the lower mainland (and now the island), the cup also acts as a way to raise awareness for the varsity hockey teams and the WHL’s Scholarship program, which is a bursary available to university students who intend to play varsity hockey. The cup is sponsored by the WHL and the Vancouver Giants, who present the scholarship every year.

Due to the additional teams included in the cup this year, the tournament will last eleven games and carry out from Friday Sept. 17 all the way until the championship game which will take place on Saturday, Oct. 9. The games are scheduled to take place mostly between the University of Victoria and the University of British Columbia, with other select games taking place at both Simon Fraser University and Vancouver Island University.

The regular varsity hockey season is set to being the week after the cup, with UBC and TWU playing their first official game on Oct. 15. For more information about times, schedules, and game locations you can visit the schedules on the team pages for UBC, TWU, SFU, UVIC and VIU.

Vancouver’s Annual Dragon Boat Festival Sets Sail Again This Month

Vancouver’s Dragon Boat Festival opens for the first time in two years. The festival was cancelled last year due to COVID-19, but this year, the festival returns, taking place between Sept 18-25 across the city.

In Dragon Boat racing, teams of 22 people race against each other by rowing in long canoe-like boats called Dragon Boats, a traditional Chinese boat. This is the 33rd anniversary of the Canadian International Dragon Boat Festival Society, which has been running the festival in Vancouver every year but last year since then.

As part of the festival this year, the week prior to the races will have other events as part of the festival around the city. These include a Mid-Autumn festival at the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Garden in Chinatown, as well as free admission for the week into the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame’s Dragon Boat Festival exhibit.

image – pixabay/barni1

Events are being spread out across the city this year so that COVID protocols and safety measures can properly be put into place. Additionally, vaccine cards will be mandatory for being granted access to all events taking place as part of the Dragon Boat Festival this year.

The races themselves will take place at Concord Pacific Place on Sept 25, and will also include food vendors, art, and other events at the site of the festival. Registration is currently open for both adult and junior teams. Registration this year for junior teams is free, whereas adult registration ranges from 75$ to nearly 600$ depending on what races your team wants to compete in.

For more information on registering, event schedules, and safety protocols, you can visit the Dragon Boat festival’s website at https://concorddragonboatfestival.ca/

 

Team Canada 1 wins the 2021 Show-Jumping Nations’ Cup

Team Canada 1 took the top prize this Sunday in the BMO Nations’ Cup annual Show-Jumping competition.

For the uninitiated, show jumping is an equestrian event that involves riding one’s horse around an often-colorful course and jumping over a series of obstacles within a certain amount of time.

This year’s cup, hosted in Spruce Meadows, Alta., saw five international show-jumping teams compete for the Nations’ Cup title. Team Canada 1 and 2 both competed in the Cup, with team 1 placing first and team 2 placing third overall. The other teams they competed against were Ireland, USA, and Mexico. This marks the third time in history that Canada has won the Nations’ Cup title, as well as the first time they have in seven years.

photo – pixabay/romavor

At the Cup, every member of each team must ride through to clear a 12-obstacle circuit twice, from which a combined score is calculated after. The sport of show-jumping is scored through the number of ‘faults’ incurred, which are given to a team when a horse knocks down one or more jumping poles, or in some cases, refuses to make the jump altogether.

By the end of the cup, Team Canada 1 sat in first place with only eight faults over the two rounds. Team Canada 2 finished with 16 faults, while USA, Mexico and Ireland finished with 15, 32 and 44 faults respectively.

There was a hunger for victory this time around, as the team missed out in competing at this year’s delayed 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics. However, due to the recency of the Olympics, a small number of teams wound up competing at the Nations’ Cup this year, giving Team Canada an opportunity to show the crowd that they came to win.

 

 

 

A Quick Look at What Vaccine Cards Mean for Sports Fans in B.C.

With vaccine card rollouts happening this month in BC, and in provinces across the country, sports fans will now have to show proof of vaccination at most events starting this month. Here’s a look at what that means for fans this season:

With the hockey season beginning in October, Canucks Sports & Entertainment have confirmed that they will require fans to be fully vaccinated with two doses before they are given admission to Rogers Arena for home games as well as any other events at the stadium.

As well, the BC Lions have stated that as of Monday, Sept. 13, proof of at least a first COVID-19 vaccine dose will be needed for fans to get into BC Place. The first home game following this mandate is scheduled for Sept. 24, where the Lions will face off against the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

image - pixabay

Image – pixabay/jaspion82

 

Elsewhere in Canada, the CFL has had to make a shift on COVID-19 policy since their season began last month. While some teams in the league took a firm stance on vaccine proof being needed at the outset of the season, others – such as the Saskatchewan Roughriders & the Edmonton Elks – didn’t state whether they would require the jab to get into games until late last month. Every CFL team has now made a statement requiring vaccinations at home games.

The Blue Jays game this Monday against Tampa Bay also marks their first home game this season where fans will need to show immunization proof. According to the Blue Jays’ Health and Safety, getting into the ball game will take either a “Receipt of full COVID-19 vaccination” within 14 days of the game, or a negative test within 48 hours. This comes more than a week before Ontario’s vaccine receipts will be required starting Sept. 22 in a similar manner to the ones in BC.