Russian players on two NHL teams opening the season in the Czech Republic will be allowed to participate in the two Global Series games in Prague after all.

The Czech government has dropped its attempted ban of Russian players on the rosters for San Jose and Nashville, NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said Thursday. The move paves the way for the Sharks and Predators to travel to Europe this weekend for practices and exhibition games in Germany and Switzerland, respectively, before facing off at Prague’s O2 Arena Oct. 7 and 8.

The Czech Foreign Ministry said last week that Russian players would not be granted entry into the country because of their nation’s invasion of Ukraine.

• Rasmus Sandin signed a two-year, $2.8 million contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs, the club announced.

Sandin, a 22-year-old defenseman, had 16 points in 51 games last season.



WOMEN’S SOCCER: Hannah Bamford scored off an assist from Halle Rogers with 6:13 remaining game as Maine (6-2-2, 2-0-1 America East) salvaged a 1-1 draw against New Hampshire (4-5-1, 1-1-1) at Durham, New Hampshire.

Meghan Guarente scored on a feed from Anna Hewlett 1:51 into the game to open the scoring for New Hampshire.

Kira Kutzinski made three saves for Maine, Cat Sheppard recorded eight saves for the Wildcats.

FOOTBALL: Air Force received two years of probation from the NCAA and had its squad size reduced by 10 for four years as part of its sanctions for recruiting violations during NCAA-mandated dead periods during the COVID-19 pandemic.



PGA: Davis Riley shot a 6-under 66 and a share of the lead Thursday with Will Gordon in the Sanderson Farms Championship at Jackson, Mississippi.

On the closing hole, Riley hit a cut from the rough to navigate a tree and came up just short of the green. He pitched to 6 feet and finished off a bogey-free round.

Riley and Gordon were a shot ahead of eight players, a group that included Christiaan Bezuidenhout of South Africa, who went 1-0-1 in his Presidents Cup debut last week. Also at 67 was big-hitting rookie Brandon Matthews, who got married Saturday, and two other rookies in Trevor Cone and Kevin Yu.

LPGA: Xiyu Lin of China made a 10-foot eagle putt on the par-5 17th hole Thursday that sent her to a 6-under 65 and a one-shot lead in The Ascendant LPGA in The Colony, Texas.

Atthaya Thitikul, bidding to reach No. 1 in the women’s world ranking, won in Arkansas last week for her second LPGA title this season, and now the 19-year-old Thai can replace Jin Young Ko at the top of the ranking with another win. She opened with a 66, along with Lizette Salas.

EUROPEAN TOUR: Romain Langasque tied the course record on the Old Course at St. Andrews by shooting 11-under 61 in the first round of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland, including a 28 on the back nine.



CUP SERIES: Alex Bowman will miss Sunday’s race at Talladega Superspeedway because of a concussion that the Hendrick Motorsports driver apparently suffered last weekend at Texas.

HMS said Bowman was evaluated Thursday in Charlotte, North Carolina, and was ruled out of this weekend’s playoff race. Noah Gragson will drive the No. 48 Chevrolet for Bowman.

Bowman crashed on Lap 98 at Texas on Sunday but went on to finish the race. He finished 29th and is ranked last among the remaining 12 playoff drivers.


WORLD CUP: Fans going to the World Cup in Qatar must show a negative COVID-19 test when they arrive as part of the host nation’s rules to combat COVID-19, organizers said Thursday.


All visitors aged 18 and over must also download a government-run phone application tracking people’s movements and health status.


UFC: The UFC is holding its next fight show without fans or media members in attendance, and isn’t saying why.

The UFC will stage a 13-bout card at the Apex Gym on its corporate campus in Las Vegas on Saturday night, but no fans or reporters will be there. The UFC has held regular televised cards at the small gym since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, but has typically allowed groups of fans and media representatives. A UFC spokesperson declined to comment when asked by The Associated Press. Reporters are allowed to cover the official weigh-in on Friday, but not the fights.


PARMA LADIES OPEN: Top-seeded Maria Sakkari rallied past 97th-ranked Maryna Zanevska 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 in Parma, Italy, to reach her first semifinal since the grass-court season.

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