Monthly Archives: January 2019

Bob Nicholson joins Oilers as vice-chair of new sports & entertainment company – Edmonton

Watch above: A well-known name in the hockey world is joining the Katz Group. But the move is not about the Oilers, instead what’s seen as future business opportunities. Vinesh Pratap explains.

EDMONTON – Bob Nicholson has been hired as the vice-chairman of the Oilers Entertainment Group, a new sports and entertainment company that will manage the Katz Group’s sports and entertainment assets, and operate Rogers Place.

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“I think I’m going to really enjoy this. We’re going to build this into the best job and the best sport and entertainment organization,” said Nicholson.

Nicholson recently retired as president and CEO of Hockey Canada, although he will remain vice-president of the International Ice Hockey Federation until 2016.

Nicholson has made it clear his relationship with Oilers management – particularly Kevin Lowe, who’s helped Hockey Canada pick the past four Olympic teams – is a major reason why he accepted the position.

“It was the main reason that I’m sitting here today. It’s been a long and special relationship with Kevin over 14 years.”

“I have a great deal of respect for Bob, that goes without saying. We’ve got a great relationship, and he’s as passionate about fixing the Oilers as we all are,” said Kevin Lowe, Oilers President of Hockey Operations.

WATCH: Bob Nicholson is introduced as the new vice-chairman of the Oilers Entertainment Group

Nicholson’s relationship with Oilers Owner Daryl Katz also played a factor in accepting the job.

“I got to know him through Kevin and Wayne Gretzky, and I’ve been in touch with Daryl ever since.”

Nicholson’s duties will include securing major sponsorships and events, but he says his primary initial responsibility will be operating the new downtown arena.

“There’s a big vision coming. I get excited when I drove down here today and you see the big hole in the middle of the city. How we’re going to change this city, and there’s going to be more on top of that,” said Nicholson.

Lowe says he’ll also lean on Nicholson for input about hockey related issues.

“He’ll be as involved as much as we can get him, and I know that’ll be a massive addition to this organization.”

Rexall Sports also owns the Edmonton Oil Kings, the Oklahoma City Barons (AHL) and the Bakersfield Condors (ECHL).

WATCH: Kevin Karius has more on the impact the hiring of Bob Nicholson could have on the Edmonton Oilers’ hockey operations

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Canadian assistant referee Joe Fletcher to make World Cup debut

TORONTO – Canadian assistant referee Joe Fletcher will work his first game at the World Cup on Saturday when Colombia plays Greece.

The Group C game is at the Estadio Mineirao in Belo Horizonte.

Fletcher, a 37-year-old chartered accountant from St. Catharines, Ont., is part of a crew that also includes American referee Mark Geiger and fellow assistant Sean Hurd.

SEE MORE: Complete World Cup coverage

The Canadian-American trio has already officiated at the 2013 FIFA Club World Cup, the 2012 Olympics and the 2011 FIFA U-20 World Cup, among other tournaments.

READ MORE: Brazil’s controversial win caps dramatic World Cup opening day

Winnipeg assistant referee Hector Vergara worked the 2002, 2006 and 2010 World Cups. Werner Winsemann was the first Canadian referee at the World Cup, working the 1974 and ’78 finals.

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©2014The Canadian Press

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Israel soldiers search West Bank for missing teens – National

WATCH ABOVE: Israel has been reinforcing troops in the occupied West Bank on Saturday to step up searches for three Israeli teenagers believed to have been abducted by Palestinians, a military source said.

JERUSALEM – Israeli soldiers searched the West Bank on Friday for three missing teenagers from nearby settlements, one of them a U.S. citizen, amid fears Palestinian militants abducted them, authorities said.

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Israel police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said one of the missing teens called police to say the three had been kidnapped, without giving additional details. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blamed the Palestinian Authority for their disappearance without elaborating, saying he held the government responsible for their safety.

Netanyahu told the teens’ families that Israel is “making every effort” to find them, his office said in a statement.

Palestinian authorities could not be reached for comment and no one immediately claimed responsibility for the teens’ possible abduction.

Two Israeli defence officials said authorities believed the teens likely were kidnapped by Palestinian militants, without elaborating. They spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not allowed to brief journalists.

Brig. Gen. Motti Almoz, a military spokesman, said that military and intelligence forces were involved in the search for the missing teens.

“The main mission is to ensure their return,” Almoz said. He refused to offer any other details, saying it would compromise the operation.

Tsuri Tsuf, a spokesman for a settlement where one of the teens is from, told Israel’s Channel 10 television that his community was “greatly worried” and gathered to pray for the safety of the youths. The station reported the teenagers hitched a ride the night before from their Yeshiva, or religious seminary, and had not been seen since.

Authorities found a burned-out car during their search that investigators were examining, local media reported.

Israel’s Shin Bet intelligence agency initially imposed a gag order Friday morning blocking local media from reporting on the incident. Later, an official familiar with the investigation told The Associated Press that one of the teens was an American and that Israeli authorities notified U.S. Ambassador Dan Shapiro. The official spoke on condition of anonymity as he wasn’t authorized to publicly brief journalists.

The three teens are from settlements in the West Bank, territory Israel captured from Jordan in the 1967 Mideast war and that Palestinians are demanding as part of their future state along with the Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem.

If Palestinians abducted the teens, it would be the first serious incident to challenge relations with Israel since the formation of a Palestinian unity government earlier this month, led by President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party and backed by the Islamic militant group Hamas. The move was meant to end a crippling rift between Abbas and Hamas after a violent split between the rival Palestinian groups in 2007. Israel and the West consider Hamas a terror group because it has carried out suicide bombings and other deadly attacks targeting civilians.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called Abbas to talk about the missing teenagers and likely will call Netanyahu as well, a senior State Department official said. The official was not authorized to discuss the matter by name and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Hamas frequently calls for the abduction of Israelis. The Israeli military has said it has foiled multiple Palestinian kidnapping attempts in recent years and warns soldiers and civilians not to accept rides from strangers. Despite the warnings, hitchhiking remains common in Israel.

While such incidents are relatively rare, it would not the first instance of Palestinians abducting Israelis.

Last year, a Palestinian lured an Israeli soldier to a village in the West Bank and killed him with the intention of trading the body for his jailed brother. And in 2001, a Palestinian woman lured an Israeli teenage boy over the Internet to the West Bank where he was killed by waiting Palestinian gunmen.

The woman, Amna Muna, was released in 2011 along with over a thousand other Palestinian prisoners in exchange for a single Israeli soldier, Gilad Schalit, held captive in Gaza by Hamas-allied militants for more than five years.

©2014The Canadian Press

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Wynne won: Here’s what she promised – Toronto

TORONTO – The results are in: Kathleen Wynne is still Ontario’s premier, and she has a larger mandate than ever.

After you’re done celebrating, weeping, or defending yourself because  hey, you voted for Kodos, here’s a primer of what you should expect from Wynne’s government based on the promises she made in her election-triggering budget and the election campaign.

The budget

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Kathleen Wynne promised to re-introduce their budget within 20 days of being elected. The budget featured a higher than previously projected deficit and several new spending initiatives along with new taxes for smokers, aviators and the wealthy.

Start the countdown now.

Transit Funding

Transit was a large part of Wynne’s strategy heading into the election: she promised several new revenue tools – including a hike to aviation and tobacco taxes – to fill in the gap created by diverting roughly $740 million each year to building new transit in the province.

Some of their priority projects include the Eglinton Crosstown LRT (whose construction is already well under way, as anyone who’s tried to navigate Eglinton recently knows), the Brampton LRT, the electrification of some GO Transit lines, an extension of the Yonge line north to Vaughan and the badly-needed relief line.

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The Ontario Pension Plan

One of Wynne’s biggest promises from the budget and the campaign was a made-in-Ontario pension plan.  If passed, employees will have to contribute 1.9 per cent of their annual income that will be matched by their employers.

Government estimates suggest this will raise approximately $3.5 billion to be invested by a board operating “at arm’s length” from the government.

ELECTION RESULTS: Complete Ontario riding-by-riding election results

Less ‘red tape’ to buy booze

The Liberals promised to remove some of the “red tape” associated with getting a drink in the province. This likely just means being able to buy some alcohol in larger grocery stores (not in corner stores, as some suggested) but the party was loath to release details – so this is something to watch.

24-7 access to primary health care by 2018

Wynne promised during the campaign that by 2018, all Ontarians would have guaranteed access to 24/7 primary health care by 2018. The Ontario Medical Association suggests that more than 700,000 Ontarians lack access to primary care.

“But that is our commitment, to reach all of these Ontarians. It’s my commitment as the leader of the Liberal party and what we will follow through on if I am privileged to be premier after June 12,” Wynne said when announcing the promise.

The Drive Clean program

Wynne has promised to keep the Drive Clean program despite a Global News investigation found newer model cars almost never fail.

READ MORE: Four more years – Ontario awakes to a Wynne-led Liberal majority

Health care

Wynne has promised hospital expansion, a hike to health worker pay, expanding the province’s mental health strategy and children’s health benefits for low-income families.

Social assistance

Wynne has promised to hike rates for welfare, Ontario Child Benefit and Ontario Disability Support Program, as well as extending health benefits – for prescription drugs, for example – to kids in low-income families. She’s also pledged money for affordable housing.

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Doug Ford suggests enema for ailing Ontario PCs – Toronto

TORONTO – The Progressive Conservatives will soon be looking for a new leader and Doug Ford isn’t ruling anything out.

“The doors always open,” he told reporters at city hall Friday morning. “I can’t answer that right now.”

Ford had previously mused about leaving city hall for Queen’s Park but didn’t seek a nomination in the last election.

He did however offer some medical advice to cure the PC’s ailments less than 24 hours after a stunning loss to Kathleen Wynne’s liberals.

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“I think the PC party needs an enema from top to bottom,” he said.

Wynne led the Liberals to a majority government in Thursday’s general election, while Tim Hudak’s Progressive Conservatives lost seats, forcing Hudak to announce he is resigning as leader.

ELECTION RESULTS: Complete Ontario riding-by-riding election results

Wynne’s victory, despite ongoing scandals incolving MaRS, deleted emails and the cancelled gas plants may in fact mean good things for Rob Ford, his brother said.

“It means people in Ontario are willing to give second chances,” he said.

The mayor has been at a treatment facility near Muskoka since early in May but plans on re-entering the mayoral campaign in July.

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