HOCKEY

Tired of the status quo and low pay, more than 200 of the world’s top female hockey players announced Thursday they will not play at all this year in an attempt to establish a single, economically viable professional league in North America.

“One hundred percent it’s a big risk,” said goaltender Liz Knox, the Canadian Women’s Hockey League Players’ Association co-chair. “But it’s like how long do we want to suffer through this and keep doing the same thing over and over again before we say: `There’s got to be better for us.”‘

The players announced their decision on social media in a strikingly unified effort that came together in less than a month. The group includes stars such as Americans Hilary Knight and Kendall Coyne Schofield and Canadian national team goalie Shannon Szabados, and all of them expressed their dissatisfaction with the current state of the sport while demanding a say in establishing a league.

The decision is an immediate threat to the future of the National Women’s Hockey League, the U.S.-based five-team league that is the only current option in North America after the CWHL, which had six teams in the U.S. and Canada and China, formally shut down Wednesday.

The NWHL, however, said it planned to push forward with its fifth season this October and would offer salary increases and a “50-50 revenue split from league-level sponsorships and media rights deals.”

All eyes were also on the NHL, which has provided financial support to both the CWHL and NWHL but steered clear of throwing its full support behind a women’s league.

NHL: The Rangers agreed to terms with defenseman Adam Fox on an entry-level contract.

New York acquired Fox on Tuesday in a trade with Carolina for its second-round pick this year and a conditional third-round choice next year.

• Red Kelly, the defenseman-turned-center whose Hall of Fame career included eight Stanley Cups while playing for Detroit and Toronto, has died. He was 91.
Kelly’s family said in a statement that he died Thursday in Toronto.

Kelly spent nearly 13 seasons with Detroit, helping the Red Wings win four championships from 1950-55. In 1954, he was the first winner of the James Norris Trophy, which goes to the NHL’s top defenseman.

After being traded to Toronto during the 1959-60 season, Kelly became a forward and scored at least 20 goals in each of his first three full seasons with the Maple Leafs. Toronto won the Stanley Cup four times from 1962-67.

• The Vegas Golden Knights promoted Kelly McCrimmon to general manager and kept George McPhee as president of hockey operations.

SOCCER

PORTUGAL: Iker Casillas is expected to fully recover from a heart attack but Porto’s doctor says it’s too early to know if the veteran goalkeeper will keep playing professionally.

Casillas, 37, remained hospitalized  a day after falling ill during a practice and undergoing a catheterization.

FIGURE SKATING

CANADA: Kaetlyn Osmond of Canada, the 2018 world champion and Olympic bronze medalist, is going out on top.

Osmond, 23, announced her retirement from competitive figure skating. She leaves the sport as Canada’s most decorated women’s singles skater.

Osmond won the world title last March in Milan, a few weeks after she won singles bronze and team gold at the PyeongChang Olympics. She’s also a three-time national champion.

FOOTBALL

NFL: The attorney for Tyreek Hill sent a letter to the NFL disputing child-abuse claims made by the wide receiver’s fiancee, offering a point-by-point response to a secret recording of the couple that was made public last week.

In the four-page letter, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press, attorney N. Trey Pettlon also said Hill was willing to cooperate with the league’s investigation.

The Chiefs suspended Hill indefinitely last Thursday, shortly after KCTV aired the recording in which the couple discusses injuries to their 3-year-old son. The following day, prosecutors in Johnson County, Kansas, reopened an investigation of Hill that had been closed just 48 hours earlier.

TENNIS

MUNICH OPEN: Former champion Philipp Kohlschreiber upset second-seeded Karen Khachanov 7-6 (6), 6-4 to reach the quarterfinals in Germany.

Kohlschreiber will next face Matteo Berrettini of Italy, who beat unseeded American Denis Kudla 7-5, 6-3. Kudla, who is ranked 82nd, had upset the fifth-seeded Kyle Edmund on Tuesday.

PRAGUE OPEN: Bernarda Pera reached her second WTA Tour semifinal by upsetting third-seeded Qiang Wang 6-0, 6-7 (5), 6-3 at Prague.

It was only the American’s second career victory over a top-20 ranked player and earned Pera a meeting with another surprising semifinalist, Karolina Muchova. The Czech player, who was given a wild card for the tournament, eliminated Russia’s Natalia Vikhlyantseva 6-3, 6-4 to advance to her first WTA semifinal.


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