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FILE PHOTO: NFL: NFL Honors-Red Carpet
FILE PHOTO: Feb 2, 2019; Atlanta, GA, USA; Gerald McCoy during red carpet arrivals for the NFL Honors show at the Fox Theatre. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

May 21, 2019

The Gerald McCoy saga is over as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced Monday that they released the six-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle who spent the past nine seasons with the organization.

McCoy, the third overall pick in 2010 NFL Draft, had three years left on his contract which called for him to make $13 million in base pay this season. The original contract was for six years and $95.2 million.

“These decisions are very difficult, personally and professionally,” Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht said in a statement. “Over the past nine years, Gerald has been a cornerstone of this franchise and a leader in our community. Parting ways with a player and person such as Gerald is one of the toughest responsibilities of this job. We wish Gerald, along with his wife, Ebony, and the entire McCoy family continued success and thank them for everything they have meant to our organization and community.”

After the Tampa Bay Times’ Rick Stroud originally reported the news, ESPN’s Adam Schefter noted that the Bucs tried for two months to find a trade partner, but when it was clear there was none, the two sides “mutually parted ways.”

The 31-year-old McCoy has been a pillar on otherwise subpar defenses for most of his career in Tampa.

Earlier this month, McCoy voiced his displeasure with trade rumors while skipping voluntary workouts.

“I will be playing football somewhere,” McCoy told a local reporter at the time. When asked where that would be, McCoy said, “I don’t know. We’ll see.”

First-year coach Bruce Arians didn’t get to coach McCoy but wished him well.

“I know Gerald has done a lot of good things on and off the football field in Tampa during his time here,” Arians said in a statement. “You hate to see good football players go, but this is a decision that we felt needed to be made in order to allow us, and Gerald, the ability to move forward. Gerald is a class act and I wish him the best.”

Drafted out of Oklahoma in 2010, McCoy has 296 tackles, 54.5 sacks, 140 quarterback hits, six forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries in 123 career games.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

NFL: Combine
Feb 27, 2019; Indianapolis, IN, USA; New York Jets head coach Adam Gase speaks to media during the 2019 NFL Combine at Indianapolis Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

May 20, 2019

Adam Gase doesn’t agree with the overriding perception that he undermined recently fired general manager Mike Maccagnan.

The New York Jets coach addressed the issue on Monday for the first time since Maccagnan was stunningly dismissed last Wednesday as reports insist the two had a relationship filled with heavy friction.

“I disagree with that, as far as a power struggle,” Gase, the current interim GM, told reporters. “Because whoever is getting hired (as the new GM) is going to have the same role — control of the roster. I will coach the football team. That’s what I’m going to do. Nothing is changing in that structure.”

Gase was hired to coach the Jets in January so the working relationship with Maccagnan lasted barely four months.

Both mean denied there was friction as reporters percolated. Multiple reports claimed prior to the NFL draft that Gase was upset over personnel decisions made by Maccagnan.

Other reports say Gase pulled a power play to get Maccagnan fired. But Gase is maintaining he was surprised when Maccagnan and vice president of player personnel Brian Heimerdinger were dismissed by CEO Christopher Johnson.

“He told me. That’s what it was,” Gase said. “He’s the owner. In this business, (expletive) like that happens all the time. It happened to me last year (in Miami). That’s what it is. I work for him. We’re aligned, as the head coach and the GM both report to the owner. That’s the way it is.”

Johnson said Gase had no influence on the decision, but he did cite the two weren’t clicking the way he had hoped.

One of the transactions Gase reportedly disagreed with was the signing of free-agent running back Le’Veon Bell to a four-year, $52.5 million deal. Gase reportedly was not keen on spending top dollar for a running back.

Gase went 23-25 in three seasons as Dolphins’ coach before being fired after last season.

Maccagnan became New York’s GM in January of 2015.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Minnesota Vikings
FILE PHOTO: Aug 27, 2017; Minneapolis, MN, USA; San Francisco 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster (56) looks on following the game against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports – 10243462

May 20, 2019

Washington Redskins linebacker Reuben Foster was carted off the field Monday with a season-ending torn left ACL, according to multiple reports.

The Redskins sent Foster for an MRI exam after the injury, coach Jay Gruden told reporters after the first workout of the team’s offseason program.

“Reuben, the type of player that he is, the type of energy that he brings, he wouldn’t be laying down unless something was wrong. We’ll hope for the best right now until we get the results, but very concerning for sure,” Gruden said after the workout.

“I’ll just have to wait and see before I get too emotional about it.”

Foster was emotionally distraught as he was assisted to the cart and into the locker room with an air cast on his left knee.

Foster crumpled to the ground on the third play and immediately was tended to by defensive coordinator Greg Manusky and team president Bruce Allen. Allen was observing the workout from nearby.

Gruden said Foster, in a non-contact drill while going about three-quarters speed, stepped on guard Tyler Catalina’s foot and “landed funny on his left leg.”

“Very disappointing what happened,” Gruden said. “His first rep as a Redskin, he runs through the gap and gets injured. … He’s devastated. He’s obviously guarded right now. He felt something happen in his leg. But he’s very upset about it.

“I don’t know how to process it really. We’ve had some bad luck over here for the past couple of years, but this one here takes the cake.”

The Redskins claimed Foster off of waivers when the San Francisco 49ers parted with the troubled linebacker last season. The 49ers let Foster go in the wake of a domestic violence accusation stemming from an alleged incident during a team road trip to Tampa, Fla.

Foster, 25, was a first-round pick out of Alabama in 2017 (31st overall). He has played in 16 of a possible 32 games in his career.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-St. Louis Blues at San Jose Sharks
May 19, 2019; San Jose, CA, USA; St. Louis Blues center Ivan Barbashev (49) and San Jose Sharks center Joe Pavelski (8) reach for the puck during the second period in Game 5 of the Western Conference Final of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs at SAP Center at San Jose. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

May 20, 2019

The team that sat dead last in the NHL when the calendar flipped to 2019 is now one win away from the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 1970.

That kind of turnaround sounds like a cheesy movie of the week, but it’s the scenario before the St. Louis Blues after they blasted the host San Jose Sharks 5-0 Sunday afternoon to take a 3-2 lead in the Western Conference finals.

“We’re close,” Blues forward Patrick Maroon told reporters. “We’re very close right now. I think the guys know that. It’s in the back of their heads, but we know that that’s a good hockey team over there, too, and they’re not going to give up.”

The Blues will look to close out the best-of-seven series Tuesday at home when they host Game 6. The winner of the series will face the Boston Bruins in the Stanley Cup Final.

Coincidentally, the last time the Blues reached the championship round, they lost to the Bruins — a result forever framed by the famous image of Bobby Orr flying through the air after scoring the Cup-winning goal. St. Louis made the Cup final in each of its first three seasons but hasn’t returned since.

“It’s gonna be a lot of emotion and it’s important our players keep it in check,” Blues head coach Craig Berube said. “Our players have done a pretty good job of … focusing. I don’t expect anything different. It’s important at the start of the game you’re simple and direct. Keep your emotions in check and not let them get out of control.”

Berube’s charges moved ahead in the series with their most dominating performance of the playoffs. Jaden Schwartz recorded a hat trick and goalie Jordan Binnington made 21 saves for his first career playoff shutout as the Blues claimed their seventh win in nine road tilts this spring.

“If you saw the game, you saw how good everyone on the team played,” Binnington told Sportsnet after the game. “Everyone was outstanding, making the right decisions, playing hard and playing disciplined. That’s a good team win.”

And a costly one for the Sharks. Not only did they suffer a defeat, but the Sharks suffered through a war of attrition in what may be their final home game of the season. Defenseman Erik Karlsson and forward Tomas Hertl didn’t play in the third period, while captain Joe Pavelski left early in the final frame after taking a hard check.

Karlsson, who appeared to aggravate a groin injury that limited him during the regular season, looked nothing like himself on the game’s first goal. His poor giveaway resulted in Oskar Sundqvist’s game-opening goal before the six-minute mark. From there, it went to downright ugly for the hosts as the Blues took complete control.

Schwartz’s trio of goals gives him 12 in the playoffs, one more than he collected through the regular season, while Vladimir Tarasenko netted a penalty shot goal in a three-point game. Tarasenko has collected at least one point in every game this series.

Now, the Sharks must find a way to recover and win on the road to force a seventh game at home, which would be Thursday.

“We’ve been here before. We had to go and win in Vegas to get to a Game 7,” said coach Peter DeBoer, whose team has been outscored 7-1 in the last two games. “You’re never comfortable when your back’s against the wall like that, but we’ve been there before and found away. We’re confident we can do that again.”

Sharks goalie Martin Jones stopped 35 shots in the loss.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: MLB: Colorado Rockies at New York Mets
FILE PHOTO: May 4, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets left fielder Yoenis Cespedes is congratulated in the dugout after scoring in the eighth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

May 20, 2019

New York Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes suffered multiple fractures of his right ankle during a “violent fall” on Saturday, according to the Mets.

The incident occurred at Cespedes’ ranch in Port St. Lucie, Fla. Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen told reporters on Monday that Cespedes stepped in a hole.

“He twisted and put his leg and foot in a difficult position,” said Van Wagenen, adding that Cespedes didn’t fall off a horse.

Cespedes is being evaluated at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York.

Cespedes, 33, hasn’t played this season as he recovers from surgeries on both heels. The club had been hoping he could return later this season as he recently began running and taking batting practice.

Cespedes is in the third season of a four-year, $110 million contract.

The two-time All-Star was limited to 38 games in 2018 due to the heel issues. He batted .262 with nine homers and 29 RBIs.

He has a .274 average with 163 homers and 524 RBIs in 826 career games with the Oakland Athletics (2012-14), Boston Red Sox (2014), Detroit Tigers (2015) and Mets (2015-19).

New York also placed right-hander Seth Lugo (shoulder) on the 10-day injured list and recalled left-hander Hector Santiago from Triple-A Syracuse.

The 29-year-old Lugo is 2-0 with a 3.12 ERA in 19 appearances for the Mets.

Santiago, 31, was 3-1 with a 3.35 ERA in eight appearances (seven starts) for Syracuse. He has a 46-49 record with a 4.06 ERA in 238 big league games (137 starts) with the Chicago White Sox (2011-13, 2018), Los Angeles Angels (2014-16) and Minnesota Twins (2016-17).

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

Diamond League - Doha
Athletics – Diamond League – Doha – Khalifa International Stadium, Doha, Qatar – May 3, 2019 South Africa’s Caster Semenya before the women’s 800m REUTERS/Ibraheem Al Omari

May 20, 2019

(Reuters) – Caster Semenya will compete in the 3,000 meters at the Diamond League’s Prefontaine Classic in Stanford, California on June 30, a distance she can race without reducing her testosterone levels.

Semenya, who has won two Olympic golds over 800 meters, has been adamant that she will not take medication to lower her testosterone levels to comply with new International Associations of Athletics (IAAF) rules.

The race will be her first since the new rules went into effect.

Under the new regulations, female athletes with high natural levels of testosterone wishing to compete in events from 400m to a mile must medically limit that level to under 5 nmol/L, double the normal female range of below 2 nmol/L.

Barring an appeal, Semenya can no longer compete in her specialist event after she lost her appeal against the new rules, with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) stating that the regulations were necessary to ensure fair competition.

Semenya will form part of a formidable field at the Prefontaine Classic that includes world 5,000-metres champion Hellen Obiri, 2016 world indoor 1,500-metres champion Sifan Hassan, and 2018 world indoor 1,500 and 3,000-metres champion Genzebe Dibaba.

“It was a request from Caster Semenya’s agent asking if she could run a 3,000,” meet director Tom Jordan told Reuters. “Of course we said yes.”

The event is sponsored by Nike, who have Semenya in their stable of athletes.  

Semenya became South African national champion in the 5,000 meters in April, but is some way off the leading runners in the world over that distance.

The flat 3,000 meters is not contested at the Olympic Games, but a steeplechase over the distance is on the list of events.

Semenya has a personal best of 9:36.29 in the flat 3,000 meters, the slowest of the runners in the Prefontaine Classic, with Dibaba (8:16.60) the quickest.

The South African’s last race over 800 meters was in the Diamond League in Doha on May 3, when she cruised to victory in 1:54.98, nearly three seconds ahead of Burundi’s Francine Niyonsaba.

“I’m a crazy athlete, I switch events like hell but, yeah, 800 meters is my calling, I believe in it, and that’s what I want to do,” she said after winning in Doha.

“I will switch races when I want to — no man can tell me what to do. I’m here for a purpose, if I want to switch events I switch them, but if someone wants me to switch them, that’s their own problem, not mine.

“I’m a power athlete, I can run from 100 meters to 5 km, so I can run any race I want.”

The Prefontaine Classic is being staged in Stanford, California this year while a new stadium is built in Eugene, Oregon for the 2021 world championships.

(Reporting by Nick Said; Additional reporting by Gene Cherry, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

Source: OANN

NBA: Playoffs-Milwaukee Bucks at Toronto Raptors
May 19, 2019; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) shoots the ball as Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam (43) defends in overtime in game three of the Eastern conference finals of the 2019 NBA Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

May 20, 2019

TORONTO – The game of adjustments will continue Tuesday night when the host Toronto Raptors try to even the best-of-seven Eastern Conference finals against the Milwaukee Bucks.

The Raptors showed a few new wrinkles Sunday night in Game 3 when they defeated the visiting Bucks 118-112 in double-overtime.

The Bucks, who lead the series 2-1, will try to have answers in Game 4.

One adjustment Raptors coach Nick Nurse made Sunday was in dealing with Giannis Antetokounmpo, who was held to 12 points on 5-of-16 shooting, but gathered 23 rebounds, before fouling out early in the second overtime.

“(Nurse) said everybody is going to be guarding him,” said forward Kawhi Leonard, who scored 36 points and played a career-high 52 minutes on Sunday. “Pretty much everybody just has to be ready to step up and like I said before, one man can’t guard him. It takes the whole team, and that’s what we did. Everybody stepped up, took the challenge and just wanted to guard him.”

Antetokounmpo saw the double-overtime defeat as a missed opportunity.

“What bothers me is that we had a chance,” Antetokounmpo said. “Even though we didn’t play well, we still had a chance. If we play a little bit better we probably would have won this game and we’d be up 3-0.

“But at the end of the day, nothing’s going to be easy. I don’t expect this to be easy. We can’t allow Kawhi to have 11 field goals made when me, Khris (Middleton) and (Eric) Bledsoe had 11 (combined). As the leaders of the team, that cannot happen.”

Middleton and Bledsoe, each shot 3-for-16 from the field.

Antetokounmpo added seven assists and four blocks and made eight turnovers as Leonard guarded him with the Raptors also using frequent double teams.

“This is what makes average, good and great players,” Antetokounmpo said. “That’s the difference, when they can react and be basketball players. It’s way easier if I knew where my shots were going to come from. It’s way easier when I can figure out the defense and know who is going to guard me, but now they’re double-teaming me, showing walls. But I’ve got to be a basketball player, I’ve got to react, I’ve got to be in the moment. Usually, good basketball players, they can do that really well.”

Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer figures some tweaking is in order.

“He’s making the right read,” Budenholzer said of Antetokounmpo. “He’s making the pass. And we’ve probably got to shoot it a little bit better. We’ve got to drive it a little bit better. Maybe we can create more space for him. We’ll look at all those things.

“But, you know, I think when somebody is committed to getting the ball out of his hands, we feel great about the shooting around him and the players around him. Hopefully, we can make teams pay. We were right on the cusp of winning a game when we didn’t play that well.”

The fact that Leonard was the primary defender on Antetokounmpo doesn’t change the five-man approach to guarding him.

“It’s a team deal with him,” Nurse said. “But, again, Kawhi did a great job. … He was up and not giving him quite as much runway to get flying off of. But so were the other guys that ended up on him in a switch or in different parts of the game. They were all a little bit more locked in. We took steps forward to get physical. The other night we were backing away from everything.”

Leonard seemed to be favoring a leg early Sunday and has logged considerable playing time.

“It was a lot of minutes, but I think he’s OK,” Nurse said.

–Larry Millson, Field Level Media

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-St. Louis Blues at Dallas Stars
FILE PHOTO: Apr 29, 2019; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elijah Elliott watches the game between the Dallas Stars and the St. Louis Blues during the first period in game three of the second round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

May 20, 2019

Dallas Cowboys All-Pro running back Ezekiel Elliott was handcuffed after knocking a security guard to the ground at a Las Vegas music festival, but he was not arrested.

TMZ posted a video on Monday showing events that reportedly took place early Saturday at the Electric Daisy Carnival festival in the city.

The two-minute video begins with Elliott engaged in a tense conversation with a young woman, and as she walks away, he follows her. The interaction does not turn physical with the woman. He then encounters event security guards and says to one of them, “You got something to say?” He elbows the guard, who hits a metal rail and falls.

A Las Vegas policeman then handcuffs him.

Elliott’s attorney, Frank Salzano, told TMZ that “security misconstrued and overreacted to the situation.”

“He was cuffed as a precautionary measure. He was released with no charges. He left Vegas that night and went to his (youth football camp in Dallas) on Sunday,” the attorney said.

While the Cowboys have not issued an official statement, Mike Leslie of WFAA in Dallas tweeted this:

“#Cowboys front office source says they are aware of this incident involving Ezekiel Elliott being handcuffed at EDC Vegas after knocking a man to the ground, and says they are gathering information right now.”

The NFL likely will want to review the tape.

Elliott served a six-game suspension in 2017 after he was investigated following domestic violence allegations. Commissioner Roger Goodell handed down the punishment after a yearlong probe concluded that Elliott and former girlfriend Tiffany Thompson had several physical confrontations. Prosecutors in Columbus, Ohio, where Elliott went to school at Ohio State, declined to prosecute.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: NBA: NBA Draft Lottery
FILE PHOTO: May 14, 2019; Chicago, IL, USA; A general view of the stage prior to the 2019 NBA Draft Lottery at the Hilton Chicago. Mandatory Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

May 20, 2019


A label brought by a mix of expectations created and quickly canceled, typically a high-level investment gone horribly awry.

NBA lottery picks often considered saviors on draft day are prone to vicious reversals of fortune by their second season in the league.

A month out from the 2019 NBA Draft, Field Level Media defines the top draft busts of all-time – not counting those impacted by incident or injury (hello, 2002 No. 2 overall pick Jay Williams.)

10. Jon Koncak, Atlanta Hawks, 5th overall, 1985

Koncak went ahead of Karl Malone and Charles Oakley, bona fide NBA power forwards who seemingly played forever at a high level. Koncak could’ve been marked return to sender early in his career while the Mailman was ascending to All-Star and then MVP levels in Utah. While Koncak was able to hang on for 11 seasons (10 with the Hawks), the Southern Methodist product averaged a meager 4.5 points and 4.9 rebounds per game in his career.

9. Michael Olowokandi, Los Angeles Clippers, 1st overall, 1998

The Kandi Man was a replacement-level center for most of his career, but with the No. 1 pick comes astronomical expectations. And relative to his draft class peers – Vince Carter, Dirk Nowitzki and Paul Pierce to name two – Olowakandi’s career can be tossed in the bust bin. Olowokandi never averaged as many as 13 points.

8. Dajuan Wagner, Cleveland Cavaliers, 6th overall, 2002

A high school legend who put up 100 points in a prep game, Wagner was selected four picks after Williams in a draft that failed to produce great star power. Yao Ming was the No. 1 pick and beyond the Rockets’ star, Carlos Boozer was a second-round pick and is recognized as one of the best players turned out by the ’02 draft. The Cavs were one of the eight teams who passed on Amar’e Stoudemire (ninth, Suns) while Wagner averaged 13.4 points as a rookie before fading into Polish pro basketball anonymity.

7. Adam Morrison, Charlotte Bobcats, 3rd overall, 2006

Appreciate the mop and the minor-league ‘stache appropriately, but Morrison never made a major dent in the NBA on the heels of a hysteria-driven placement in the draft on the heels of a heroic run at Gonzaga. Morrison did suffer a knee injury after a decent rookie season but never found his footing with the Los Angeles Lakers.

6. Danny Ferry, Los Angeles Clippers, 2nd overall, 1989

Maybe you remember the light-maned Ferry leading Duke to three Final Four appearances, or can picture him canning corner 3-pointers late in his NBA playing life with the San Antonio Spurs. What you probably chose to forget – if you’re old enough – is the Clippers passed on Tim Hardaway (among others, including Shawn Kemp) to pick Ferry, who refused to go to L.A., went overseas, and returned only to be traded to the Cavs. He averaged 7.0 points and 2.8 rebounds in his career.

5. Hasheem Thabeet, Memphis Grizzlies, 2nd overall, 2009

Thabeet learned quickly that he wasn’t in UConn anymore, and bounced to three teams in his first five seasons while failing to establish a consistent niche in the NBA. Thabeet was not to be entirely dismissed as a defensive presence in the lane, but the pro game moved too quickly and he was a detriment in almost every other way.

4. Greg Oden, Portland Trail Blazers, 1st overall, 2007

Yes, before Kevin Durant. And, yes, he last only 105 games as a pro. Thing is, Oden could play, and he contributed when healthy. We won’t entirely dismiss him as a bust considering the opportunity loss not drafting KD, but the Blazers don’t get a complete F here, either.

3. Anthony Bennett, Cleveland Cavaliers, 1st overall, 2013

Oh, Canada. Bennett was heralded as a potential two-way star but the shock of the draft night stunner that led Cleveland to opt for Bennett at No. 1 never quite wore off. The Cavs weren’t the only team duped in the top nine – Victor Oladipo went No. 2, but otherwise this is a No Man’s Land – before a few names you might recognize went off the board: CJ McCollum (10th, Blazers), Giannis Antetokounmpo (15th, Bucks) and Rudy Gobert (27th, Jazz).

2. Darko Milicic, Detroit Pistons, 2nd overall, 2003

One out-of-work draft analyst infamously pegged Milicic as a comparable player to … Wilt Chamberlain. That’s the kind of hype that helps doom a decent prospect to the bust category. It also didn’t help that the Pistons selected Darko ahead of the likes of Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Carmelo Anthony. Over 10 seasons, Milicic played for six different teams as mostly long-legged roster fill.

1. Kwame Brown, Washington Wizards, 1st overall, 2001

Anyone who believed the greatest basketball player of all-time, Michael Jeffrey Jordan, would also be a great general manager in the NBA was served up a heaping helping of crow in 2001. MJ hand-picked Brown as the top pick, and it was a train wreck from the jump. With his own rep on the line, Jordan tried to heckle and hound Brown into the next great one, but he never found his footing. Being an athletic big, Brown did hang on for 12 NBA seasons without doing anything remarkable.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics
FILE PHOTO: Ice Hockey – Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics – Women’s Semifinal Match – Canada v Olympic Athletes from Russia – Gangneung Hockey Centre, Gangneung, South Korea – February 19, 2018 – Goalie Shannon Szabados of Canada in action. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

May 20, 2019

(Reuters) – Top women’s hockey players from around the world have formed a union to support the creation of a viable women’s professional league in North America, they said on Monday.

The Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association’s (PWHPA) formation follows more than 200 players deciding to sit out the upcoming professional season after the Canadian Women’s Hockey League said in March it was shutting down.

The PWHPFA will work to build a sustainable league that will showcase their talent, the union said in a statement on Monday.

The National Women’s Hockey League currently is the only professional league in North America.

“We are fortunate to be ambassadors of this beautiful game, and it is our responsibility to make sure the next generation of players have more opportunities than we had,” Kendall Coyne Schofield, gold medallist with Team USA in 2018, said in a statement.

“It’s time to stand together and work to create a viable league that will allow us to enjoy the benefits of our hard work.”

The players are looking for a professional league that will provide financial and infrastructure resources, provide health insurance and training programs and work with companies, business leaders, and sports professionals worldwide.

“We know we can make this work, and we want the chance to try,” said Canadian two-time Olympic gold medallist Shannon Szabados.

The union includes players from the United States, Canada and Europe.

“We might play for different teams, and come from different countries, but we’re united in our goals,” said Finnish goaltender Noora Räty.

“This is about protecting ourselves, protecting our future, and making hockey a better place for women and girls.”

(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Raleigh, North Carolina, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

Source: OANN

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