All posts by Simon Sharkey-Gotlieb

Foreign-born athletes to be allowed entry into U.S.

Find out the latest on COVID-19's impact on the sports world and when sports are returning by subscribing to Breaking News push notifications in the Sports and COVID-19 section.

Acting U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf signed an order Friday exempting foreign-born professional athletes from being denied entry into the country.

"Professional sporting events provide much-needed economic benefits, but equally important, they provide community pride and national unity," Wolf wrote. "In today's environment, Americans need their sports. It's time to reopen the economy and it's time we get our professional athletes back to work."

Wolf's order specifically mentions Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League, the Women's National Basketball Association, the PGA and LPGA tours, and the ATP and WTA tennis tours. In addition to athletes, the order also exempts each league's "essential staff and their dependents."

MLB, the NBA, and the NHL are all working on plans to either begin or resume their seasons amid the pandemic.

It was reported Friday that MLB safety protocols will not require players to quarantine if they are returning to the U.S. from abroad; some foreign-born players returned to their respective home countries when the league halted spring training in mid-March.

Some in the NBA are apparently hoping players will be allowed to report directly to potential game sites in order to avoid quarantining. Orlando's Disney World is reportedly emerging as a top site to host the resumed basketball season.

Copyright © 2020 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

Foreign-born athletes to be allowed entry into U.S.

Find out the latest on COVID-19's impact on the sports world and when sports are returning by subscribing to Breaking News push notifications in the Sports and COVID-19 section.

Acting U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf signed an order Friday exempting foreign-born professional athletes from being denied entry into the country.

"Professional sporting events provide much-needed economic benefits, but equally important, they provide community pride and national unity," Wolf wrote. "In today's environment, Americans need their sports. It's time to reopen the economy and it's time we get our professional athletes back to work."

Wolf's order specifically mentions Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League, the Women's National Basketball Association, the PGA and LPGA tours, and the ATP and WTA tennis tours. In addition to athletes, the order also exempts each league's "essential staff and their dependents."

MLB, the NBA, and the NHL are all working on plans to either begin or resume their seasons amid the pandemic.

It was reported Friday that MLB safety protocols will not require players to quarantine if they are returning to the U.S. from abroad; some foreign-born players returned to their respective home countries when the league halted spring training in mid-March.

Some in the NBA are apparently hoping players will be allowed to report directly to potential game sites in order to avoid quarantining. Orlando's Disney World is reportedly emerging as a top site to host the resumed basketball season.

Copyright © 2020 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

Texas to open for pro sports May 31, California targeting early June

Find out the latest on COVID-19's impact on the sports world and when sports are returning by subscribing to Breaking News push notifications in the Sports and COVID-19 section.

Two more states are getting ready to welcome back professional sports.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced Monday that professional sports will be allowed to reopen in his state May 31, according to Karina Kling of Spectrum News Austin.

Seven professional sports - basketball, baseball, auto racing, football, golf, softball, and tennis - were given the green light to resume in Texas, pending approval from the Department of State Health Services (DSHS), according to Jori Epstein of USA Today. Hockey and soccer were not mentioned; it's unclear if that will mean a longer wait time for the National Hockey League's Dallas Stars or Major League Soccer's FC Dallas and Houston Dynamo.

Abbott's office detailed a list of requirements that professional leagues must meet before being allowed to resume in Texas. All leagues must first present "a plan that incorporates applicable minimum standard health protocols" to the state, which will then be reviewed by both the DSHS and the governor's office.

Out west, Gov. Gavin Newsom stated California is hoping to allow sports events beginning in the first week of June.

Newsom cautioned, however, that early June is merely a target at this time. There would also be "modifications and very prescriptive conditions" required to host events in California.

In both states, pro sports would resume without fans in attendance.

Texas and California are the latest states to either reopen for sports or contemplate doing so. Both Florida and Arizona officially welcomed professional sports into their borders last week; New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo encouraged his state's teams to start planning for a reopening without fans.

Texas and California play host to a combined 29 sports franchises spread across the four major professional leagues, MLS, and the WNBA.

Copyright © 2020 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

Gov. Ducey: Pro sports can resume in Arizona on May 16

Find out the latest on COVID-19's impact on the sports world and when sports are returning by subscribing to Breaking News push notifications in the Sports and COVID-19 section.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey announced Tuesday that major professional sports can resume playing in the state as of Saturday.

If any sports leagues were to resume in the state, they would have to do so without fans.

The announcement came as part of Ducey's COVID-19 update in his state. Arizona's stay-at-home order will expire on Friday, the governor said.

Ducey added that Arizona has had discussions with various league commissioners about playing in his state.

North America's three major sports leagues currently in-season - Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League, and the National Basketball Association - as well as the MLS and WNBA, are all currently on hiatus due to the pandemic. Each league has been pursuing alternate plans to either continue or begin their current seasons.

At one time, MLB was reportedly considering isolating all 30 teams in the Phoenix area to play the season across multiple spring-training facilities and the Diamondbacks' Chase Field. Fifteen baseball teams have their spring headquarters in Arizona.

The NHL's Arizona Coyotes said they "are aware of Governor Ducey’s announcement and will await direction from the NHL," according to a statement obtained by Mark McClune of CBS 5 Arizona.

The Arizona Cardinals responded by noting they still require a go-ahead from the NFL before resuming team activities at their facilities, according to McClune.

Copyright © 2020 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

Trump: Professional sports will restart without fans in attendance

Find out the latest on COVID-19's impact on the sports world and when sports are returning by subscribing to Breaking News push notifications in the Sports and COVID-19 section.

Unites States President Donald Trump has begun to lay out a potential road map for the post-coronavirus return of professional sports.

Trump expects that whenever sports leagues do return, they'll have to do so in empty facilities.

"Many of them are gonna be starting without the fans, so it'll be made for television. The good old days, made for television," Trump said, according to Arash Markazi of the Los Angeles Times. "And it'll go that way, and then the fans will start coming in, maybe they'll be separated by two seats. And then ultimately, we want to have packed arenas.

"When the virus is gone, we're going to have packed arenas, and we're gonna be back to enjoying sports the way they're supposed to be. ... So at a certain point in time, when the virus is gone, we're gonna be back to normal."

His remarks come one day after Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the chief medical experts on the administration's coronavirus task force, made similar comments about sports returning without fans.

The president also confirmed he sought the advice of the commissioners of "almost every sport" Wednesday, according to Aaron Rupar of Vox. Earlier this week, Trump announced he reached out to the commissioners of the four major sports leagues, as well as those of MLS, NASCAR, WWE, the WNBA, and the PGA Tour, among others.

Most pro sports leagues in North America are on hold due to the pandemic. At least one already has a plan to return, as the PGA announced Thursday that it will resume hosting golf tournaments without fans in June.

Copyright © 2020 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

McDavid, Eichel highlight All-Star Skills Competition participants

The National Hockey League announced the participants for Friday's All-Star Skills Competition in St. Louis, and some of the sport's biggest names will lace them up as part of the festivities.

Here are the players who will participate:

Fastest skater

Michael Martin / National Hockey League / Getty
Player Team
Jack Eichel Sabres
Nathan MacKinnon Avalanche
Connor McDavid Oilers
Mathew Barzal Islanders
Chris Kreider Rangers
Anthony Duclair Senators
Travis Konecny Flyers
Quinn Hughes Canucks

Save streak

Icon Sportswire / Icon Sportswire / Getty
Goalie Team
David Rittich Flames
Tristan Jarry Penguins
Jordan Binnington Blues
Andrei Vasilevskiy Lightning
Frederik Andersen Maple Leafs
Jacob Markstrom Canucks
Braden Holtby Capitals
Connor Hellebuyck Jets

Accuracy shooting

Harry How / Getty Images Sport / Getty
Player Team
Jaccob Slavin Hurricanes
Tyler Bertuzzi Red Wings
Leon Draisaitl Oilers
Jonathan Huberdeau Panthers
Nico Hischier Devils
Tomas Hertl Sharks
Alex Pietrangelo Blues
Mark Scheifele Jets

Hardest shot

Bruce Bennett / Getty Images Sport / Getty
Player Team
Mark Giordano Flames
Seth Jones Blue Jackets
Shea Weber Canadiens
Victor Hedman Lightning
Elias Pettersson Canucks
John Carlson Capitals

Shooting Stars

Bill Smith / National Hockey League / Getty

The Shooting Stars competition will feature eight NHL players, one American elite women's All-Star, and one Canadian elite women's All-Star. Participants will attempt to hit targets positioned on the ice while standing on an elevated platform 30 feet above.

Player Team
David Pastrnak Bruins
Matthew Tkachuk Flames
Patrick Kane Blackhawks
Tyler Seguin Stars
Brady Tkachuk Senators
David Perron Blues
Ryan O'Reilly Blues
Mitch Marner Maple Leafs
Canadian Women's All-Star TBD
American Women's All-Star TBD

The two women's All-Stars will be selected through a social media vote.

Elite Women's 3-on-3

Icon Sportswire / Icon Sportswire / Getty

Some of the best in women's hockey from Canada and the United States will take the ice in a three-on-three game. The 20-minute contest will be played in two 10-minute periods, and the game will use a running clock.

Team Canada: Meghan Agosta, Melodie Daoust, Rebecca Johnston, Sarah Nurse, Marie-Philip Poulin, Natalie Spooner, Blayre Turnbull, Renata Fast, Laura Fortino, Ann-Renee Desbiens

Team USA: Alex Carpenter, Kendall Coyne Schofield, Brianna Decker, Amanda Kessel, Hilary Knight, Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson, Annie Pankowski, Kacey Bellamy, Lee Stecklein, Alex Cavallini

Copyright © 2020 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

Kings agree to 1-year, $1.5M deal with Ben Hutton

The Los Angeles Kings have agreed to a one-year, $1.5-million contract with defenseman Ben Hutton, the team announced on Wednesday.

Hutton, a left-handed shot, joins the Kings after spending his first four NHL seasons with the Vancouver Canucks. He appeared in 69 games for Vancouver in 2018-19, tallying five goals, 20 points, 43 penalty minutes, and a minus-23 rating while averaging just over 22 minutes of ice time.

The 26-year-old blue-liner was Vancouver's fifth-round pick (147th overall) out of the University of Maine in 2012. He's scored 11 goals and 70 points over 276 career NHL contests.

Copyright © 2019 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

NHL releases 2nd-round playoff schedule

The NHL announced the dates for the second round of the playoffs following the completion of Tuesday's quarterfinal action. All but one first-round series has been decided.

Here's a look at the second-round schedules:

Eastern Conference

The final Eastern Conference second-round schedule won't be determined until after Wednesday's Game 7 between the Washington Capitals and Carolina Hurricanes.

If Capitals advance:

Blue Jackets vs. Bruins

Jamie Sabau / National Hockey League / Getty
Date Time (ET) Away Home TV
April 25 7 p.m. Blue Jackets Bruins NBCSN/SN/CBC/TVA
April 27 TBD Blue Jackets Bruins TBD
April 29 TBD Bruins Blue Jackets TBD
May 1 TBD Bruins Blue Jackets TBD
May 3* TBD Blue Jackets Bruins TBD
May 5* TBD Bruins Blue Jackets TBD
May 7* TBD Blue Jackets Bruins TBD

*If necessary

Capitals vs. Islanders

Patrick McDermott / National Hockey League / Getty
Date Time (ET) Away Home TV
April 26 7:30 p.m. Islanders Capitals TBD
April 28 TBD Islanders Capitals TBD
April 30 TBD Capitals Islanders TBD
May 3 TBD Capitals Islanders TBD
May 5* TBD Islanders Capitals TBD
May 7* TBD Capitals Islanders TBD
May 9* TBD Islanders Capitals TBD

If Hurricanes advance:

Blue Jackets vs. Bruins

Jamie Sabau / National Hockey League / Getty
Date Time (ET) Away Home TV
April 25 TBD Blue Jackets Bruins NBCSN/SN/CBC/TVA
April 27 TBD Blue Jackets Bruins TBD
April 30 TBD Bruins Blue Jackets TBD
May 2 TBD Bruins Blue Jackets TBD
May 4* TBD Blue Jackets Bruins TBD
May 6* TBD Bruins Blue Jackets TBD
May 8* TBD Blue Jackets Bruins TBD

Hurricanes vs. Islanders

Bruce Bennett / Getty Images Sport / Getty
Date Time (ET) Away Home TV
April 26 TBD Hurricanes Islanders TBD
April 28 TBD Hurricanes Islanders TBD
May 1 TBD Islanders Hurricanes TBD
May 3 TBD Islanders Hurricanes TBD
May 5* TBD Hurricanes Islanders TBD
May 7* TBD Islanders Hurricanes TBD
May 8 or 9* TBD Hurricanes Islanders TBD

Western Conference

Blues vs. Stars

Icon Sportswire / Icon Sportswire / Getty
Date Time (ET) Away Home TV
April 25 9:30 p.m. Stars Blues NBCSN/SN/TVA
April 27 TBD Stars Blues TBD
April 29 TBD Blues Stars TBD
May 1 TBD Blues Stars TBD
May 3* TBD Stars Blues TBD
May 5* TBD Blues Stars TBD
May 7* TBD Stars Blues TBD

Sharks vs. Avalanche

Icon Sportswire / Icon Sportswire / Getty
Date Time (ET) Away Home TV
April 26 TBD Avalanche Sharks TBD
April 28 TBD Avalanche Sharks TBD
April 30 TBD Sharks Avalanche TBD
May 2 TBD Sharks Avalanche TBD
May 4* TBD Avalanche Sharks TBD
May 6* TBD Sharks Avalanche TBD
May 8* TBD Avalanche Sharks TBD

Copyright © 2019 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

Golden Knights ink Theodore to 7-year contract

The Vegas Golden Knights have signed restricted free-agent defenseman Shea Theodore to a seven-year contract worth an average annual value of $5.2 million, the team announced.

The agreement ends a protracted saga that saw the 23-year-old miss the start of training camp while the sides negotiated this new deal. It's not immediately clear when he'll arrive in camp, or whether he'll be able to play in the Golden Knights' next preseason contest, Friday against the Kings.

Selected by Vegas from the Anaheim Ducks in last year's expansion draft, Theodore emerged as a critical piece of the Golden Knights' core during their remarkable run to the Stanley Cup Finals. In 61 regular-season games last year, the former first-round pick tallied six goals and 29 points while averaging just over 20 minutes of ice time, and he added another 10 points in 20 playoff games.

Vegas opens its regular season on Oct. 4 against the Philadelphia Flyers.

Copyright © 2018 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

Larry Fitzgerald among Arizona athletes who’ll take part in John McCain’s funeral

Some of Arizona's most prominent sports icons will take part in a memorial service for Sen. John McCain, who died Saturday at age 81.

Arizona Cardinals wide received Larry Fitzgerald is one of several people who are scheduled to speak during Thursday's service at North Phoenix Baptist Church, according to Chris Cole of AZCentral.com. Additionally, former Diamondbacks great Luis Gonzalez and ex-Coyotes captain Shane Doan will act as McCain's pallbearers.

Both Gonzalez and Doan released statements about the Senator shortly after his death, according to Cole. Gonzalez said he's "proud to consider (McCain) a dear friend," while Doan called him "a shining example of what a modern leader should be."

Beyond his political career, McCain was well-known for his avid sports fandom, and he was a frequent spectator at home games for all of Arizona's major professional sports teams.

McCain, who ran for president in 2008, had served as Arizona's Senator since 1987.

Copyright © 2018 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.