Woodbine CEO desperately worried about the future of the industry — Toronto Sun

You can hear the strain in Jim Lawson’s voice as the Woodbine Entertainment CEO struggles to come to grips with what is happening to his industry as the COVID-19 pandemic creates havoc across the world. Read More

Woodbine CEO desperately worried about the future of the industry — Toronto Sun

You can hear the strain in Jim Lawson’s voice as the Woodbine Entertainment CEO struggles to come to grips with what is happening to his industry as the COVID-19 pandemic creates havoc across the world.

Mohawk Raceway has recently been shut down, putting hundreds of standardbred track workers out of work. And now the thoroughbred season at Woodbine, originally slated to begin on April 18, has been postponed indefinitely, putting even more track workers — many of whom have little means — in a jobless situation. Lawson is worried about the future of his industry if the shutdown and postponement goes on for too long.

“There’s just no money right now and that’s the problem,” Lawson told the Toronto Sun on Wednesday. “We’re working with the government on a relief fund, but we’re putting so many grooms and hot workers and everyone else out of work. And despite the perception that horse owners are wealthy, they really aren’t. There’s a very small handful of owners that are wealthy and the rest of them are hard-working people. And they can’t make this work without any sort of funding. And the longer this goes on, the bigger threat it is to this entire industry.

“Hopefully we can get it under a control a little bit because I don’t think, like a lot of industries, the horse racing industry is going to be able to tolerate (a shut down) for that long,” added Kevin Attard, one of Woodbine’s leading trainers, pointing out that many of the track workers live pay cheque to pay cheque and many of the owners are small-time business people who would probably would walk away from the sport if they face financial insecurity.

“It comes down to feeding your family or feeding your hobby,” Attard. “Right now, you can see the writing on the wall.”

more…. Woodbine CEO desperately worried about the future of the industry — Toronto Sun

Raptors’ fitness is in good hands, if even at a distance — Toronto Sun

Keeping 17 NBA bodies finely tuned and chiselled is no easy feat at the best of times. Read More

Raptors’ fitness is in good hands, if even at a distance — Toronto Sun

Keeping 17 NBA bodies finely tuned and chiselled is no easy feat at the best of times.

But try doing it without being able to take any of those 17 into the gym, or even see them face to face for what looks like it will be at least a month and probably longer, and the job becomes infinitely tougher.

That is the task that falls to Raptors strength and conditioning coach Jon Lee.

But instead of tough, Lee is finding he has a lot of help from within these days, most of it coming from various veterans on the team.

In fact, Lee’s biggest concern right now is that the condo building floors of Serge Ibaka’s Toronto abode are sufficiently reinforced to withstand all the weights and equipment he’s having sent in.

“He was on the phone to me two days after (the Raptors’) self-isolation period began,” Lee said of the veteran big man. “I was packing up stuff from OVO (the Raptors’ practice facility) and getting it delivered to him. Today, I just had more stuff delivered over to him. I won’t be surprised if I have to send over more stuff in two days.”

It’s to the point now where Lee is only half-joking when he says he is concerned about the building Ibaka lives in, and whether it can take all that weight and equipment without causing some sort of cave-in.

But Ibaka is not the only Raptor pushing himself at home while the rest of us work on those worn-in marks on our collective couches.

Ibaka might be the extreme when it comes to wanting to maintain his fitness level while the world works on overcoming this coronavirus pandemic, but he’s not alone in a desire to stay at or as near as possible playing form.

Lee has another player — he chooses not to name him — who not only updates him daily with his workouts, but sends him screenshots of said workout complete with heart rates at particular intervals of said workout.

“This player is so highly motivated he went out and (purchased and had delivered) his own (equipment),” Lee said. “His own weights, his own bench, a monitoring system … That’s one area I am truly lucky in. We have real professional guys and when it comes down to our veteran guys, I really don’t have to worry.”

Even the young guys, who might not be as diligent in their daily workouts, hear from the veterans. Lee knows because they tell him.

The message is always a variation of the same truth: “We got that championship last year and we’re not happy with that,” Lee says. “We’re getting another one. We’re going to fight until we get the second one. We are in a position this year where we have a great chance.”

All that, of course, is contingent on this season actually being completed. Lee though says the work must go on and he has had absolutely zero pushback when he delivers that message.

“Be ready,” he tells them. “Be ready. We could be starting in one month, we could be starting in two months but you better be ready for us.”

More…

Raptors’ fitness is in good hands, if even at a distance — Toronto Sun

Enes Kanter Calls People ‘Selfish’ For Not Self-Quarantining Amid COVID-19 Crisis — NESN.com

The COVID-19 outbreak has millions of Americans staying home in an effort to curb the virus. That said, some people haven’t exactly been abiding by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation to limit social exposure as the coronavirus spreads. And that does not sit well with Enes Kanter whatsoever. The Boston Celtics big…

Enes Kanter Calls People ‘Selfish’ For Not Self-Quarantining Amid COVID-19 Crisis — NESN.com.

NHL Rumors: League Asks All 31 Teams For Available August Home Dates — NESN.com

There’s no clear answer as to if, and when, the NHL will return to action after the league paused its season March 12 due to the coronavirus outbreak. The playoffs were slated to start in April. But it’s unknown if the regular season will pick up where it left off or if the league will…

NHL Rumors: League Asks All 31 Teams For Available August Home Dates — NESN.com

The playoffs were slated to start in April. But it’s unknown if the regular season will pick up where it left off or if the league will go into an altered playoff format. For what it’s worth, commissioner Gary Bettman is optimistic a 2019-20 Stanley Cup champion will be crowned. But could the league be looking at playing games late into the summer?

TSN’s Bob McKenzie on Tuesday alluded to such on “Insider Trading.” “Earlier (Tuesday), the National Hockey League did request from each of its 31 member clubs to provide available home dates for the month of August,” McKenzie said. Of course, teams would need to figure out how to handle players who contracts expire June 30 if games were to be played well into the summer. The NHL also reportedly asked its players to continue self-quarantining until April 6 — an additional 10 days than the original March 27 plan. Even if games go into August and beyond, the NHL still plans to have a full 2020-21 season.

Read more at: https://nesn.com/2020/03/nhl-rumors-league-asks-all-31-teams-for-available-august-home-dates/