April 1st, 2019
#thegist of it is...
The CWHL is discontinuing operations effective May 1st, heartbreaking. March Madness is mad entertaining. Duke is out. The U.S. figured their sh!t out and are keeping funding for the Special Olympics. Roger Federer won his 101st ATP title, #GOAT. The Toronto Blue Jays starters had a v good opening series. Toronto FC has a new player with some sweet feet. See what’s up this week. And check in on how your March Madness Bracket is doing.
The End of an Era
The GIST: The Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL) announced on Sunday that it has made the decision to discontinue operations effective May 1st. Absolutely heartbreaking. The CWHL was founded in 2007 with a mandate to grow women’s hockey. This season, the league had six teams across North America and China.
This is devastating. Why is it shutting down?: Let us be clear. The league isn’t shutting down because of the product on the ice. The CWHL was arguably the best women’s hockey league in the world. And we 110% believe know there is a market for women’s hockey. The league is shutting down because the business model (the league is not-for-profit) has proven to be “economically unsustainable”.
What’s the reaction been?: We’re not going to sugar-coat it, it’s been rough. Staff, players, fans, young female hockey players and supporters of women’s sports are crushed. The majority of players shared this message on Twitter: “This morning we were informed the #CWHL is folding. As players, we will do our best to find a solution so this isn’t our last season of hockey, but it’s hard to remain optimistic. #NoLeague.”
Now what?: TBH, we don’t know. However, rumour has it that the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL)—the for-profit league sister to the CWHL in the U.S.A.—might be interested in creating one league across North America, similar to the NHL. Rumours started swirling after NWHL Commissioner Dani Rylan released a statement yesterday saying: “We had an excellent meeting with the CWHL in January where we presented significant proposals to them about forming one league...” and “... we remain committed to building the value of women’s professional hockey players—not just in the U.S., but around the world.”
There's a light at the end of the tunnel: As demonstrated by breakthrough performances by female hockey players at the 2019 NHL All-Star game *cough* Kendall Coyne-Schofield *cough* and a record of 175,000 fans tuning in to watch this year’s Clarkson Cup, there’s no denying that the women’s game gained significant momentum this year. Now, more than ever, it’s up to us fans, large media networks and the NHL to support women’s hockey. Which brings us to…
What can I do?: To support women’s sports, the biggest thing you can do is watch them. Watch on TV (when they’re aired…) and buy tickets to attend women’s games. And this week, you’re in luck. The women’s IIHF World Championship is taking place in Finland from April 4-14th and is being aired on TSN. As always, our Canadians are expected to do v well and meet our arch nemesis, the U.S., in the finals. Let’s support our women and blow this tournament’s viewership out of the water.
It's the Final Countdown
The GIST: The NCAA March Madness college basketball tournament is getting madder by the minute as it comes down to the wire. The men’s tournament is down to the ‘Final Four’ and the women’s is almost through its ‘Elite Eight’.
Who’s In?: On the men’s side it's No. 5 Auburn vs. No. 1 Virginia and No. 3 Texas Tech vs. No. 2 Michigan State in the Final Four.
Are any of these surprising?: Oh yes. DUKE IS OUT! We repeat, No. 1 seed and favourite to win the whole shebang, Duke, is out of the tournament after No. 2 Michigan State upset them 68-67 on Sunday evening. Madness. So without a doubt, the most common phrase you’ll hear around the office today is “oh my gosh my bracket is so busted now.” Yours and everyone else’s, Pam. Anyway, with this loss, it’s likely that superstar freshman Zion Williamson and Canadian RJ Barrett are done with college basketball as it’s expected they’ll be drafted to the NBA later this year.
We also have to give a shout out to No. 5 Auburn who beat No. 1 Kentucky 77-71 in dramatic AF overtime fashion. You have to watch the highlights here. It’s the first time that Auburn has ever made it into the Final Four and they did it without superstar Chuma Okekewho tore his ACL in the Sweet Sixteen. Impressive.
For the women: The final two Elite Eight games take place tonight at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. ET. And as much as there were some upsets at the beginning of the women’s tournament, everything has levelled back out as all the teams remaining are ranked either No. 1 or No. 2.
Best highlights from the weekend?: Here for some unreal dunks and here for some unreal defence. Watch and tell us those highlights don’t make you smile.
What’s next?: The men’s Final Four tips off (literally) on Saturday. Meanwhile, the women’s Elite Eight finishes up this evening and Final Four starts on Friday. You have to love this tournament. Like an episode of Game of Thrones you just never really know what’s going to happen.
- Last newsletter we talked about Cruella De Vil Betsy DeVos, Donald Trump’s education secretary, who proposed eliminating all $17.6M of funding for U.S. Special Olympics programs. Well after almost a week of defending her budget cuts, President Trump reversed the proposal and said the Special Olympics “will be funded.” What TF is going on in that White House that these two aren’t seeing eye-to-eye? Politics aside, we’ll take this good news.
- Welcome to Miami. After both of our Canadian teenage tennis sensations—Felix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov—lost in the semifinals of the Miami Open (welp), it was time for No. 4 Roger Federer to take on No. 7 (and kind of injured) John Isner. And to no one’s surprise, R-Fed dominated, winning his 101st title (!!!) 6-1, 6-4. On the women’s side, Aussie Ashleigh Barty handily beat Karolina Pliskova 7-6, 6-3. Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi, Oi, Oi.
- Take me out to the ball game, take me out the crowd! Baseball is back and our Toronto Blue Jays started out 2-2 against the Detroit Tigers. Not bad. And in those first four games, the Jays’ starting pitchers went a combined 24 innings without giving up a run, setting a franchise record. Boring baseball for sure, but we’ll take those stats any day.
- If you can believe it, the NHL regular season ends on Saturday! Where the heck has the time gone?! Check if your team is in, out, or on the fence here.
What’s Up This Week
Monday: Watch the final two games of the women’s Elite Eight March Madness go down at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. ET.
Meanwhile, the Ottawa Senators are hosting the Tampa Bay Lightning at 7:30 p.m. ET. The Sens are coming off a BIG win 4-2 against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday and will be looking to keep the good times rolling.
Wednesday: After hosting the Orlando Magic on Monday, the Toronto Raptors are flying to Brooklyn to take on the Nets at 7:30 p.m. ET. FYI the Raptors regular season ends on Tuesday, April 9th.