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Sport Friday Sports in Brief

Sport Friday Sports in Brief


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Sport Friday Sports in Brief

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said it remains impossible for the NBA to make any decisions about whether to resume this season and that it is unclear when that will change. But in a sign that at least some of the 259 remaining regular-season games that were not played because of the coronavirus pandemic will not…

Sport Friday Sports in Brief

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NBA

Commissioner Adam Silver said it remains impossible for the NBA to make any decisions about whether to resume this season and that it is unclear when that will change.

But in a sign that at least some of the 259 remaining regular-season games that were not played because of the coronavirus pandemic will not be rescheduled, the league announced Friday it will withhold 25% of player pay starting with their May 15 checks.

Silver, speaking after the league’s regularly scheduled April board of governors meeting said all options remain on the table for trying to resume play and eventually crowning a champion.

The salary decision was made in concert with the National Basketball Players Association, the league saying it would “provide players with a more gradual salary reduction schedule” if games are officially canceled or the rest of the season is totally lost.

NEW YORK (AP) — Isaiah Todd has become the second player to jump from high school to the G League this week, signing with the league with the intent of joining its new elite program.

Todd’s signing was announced Friday, one day after Jalen Green became the first in the program.

Todd was a highly recruiting forward at Word of God Christian Academy in Raleigh, North Carolina. He was a McDonald’s All-American and Jordan Brand Classic selection this year.

The G League is still working on many details of the new program and says players like Todd and Green will have “a chance to begin their professional careers while receiving mentorship and life skills training.”

WNBA

NEW YORK (AP) — Oregon star Sabrina Ionescu was the No. 1 pick in the WNBA draft, as expected.

When she’ll play for the New York Liberty is unclear.

With sports on hold because of the coronavirus pandemic, it was a draft Friday night like no other with players in their own homes instead of a central location, Commissioner Cathy Engelbert announced selections from her home in New Jersey, holding up the jersey of the player being chosen.

Ionescu set the NCAA record for triple-doubles and was the first college player to have over 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 1,000 assists in her career. Ionescu was one of three first round picks for New York, which also had Nos. 9 and 12.

“I’ve been working for this for my entire basketball career and super excited to see that come to fruition,” Ionescu said. “I’m very humbled and excited for the opportunity.”

Ducks teammate Satou Sabally went second to Dallas. Lauren Cox went third to Indiana, and Chennedy Carter was the fourth pick by Atlanta. Dallas took Bella Alarie with the fifth pick. The Princeton star was only the second Ivy League player to be drafted that high.

BASEBALL

TOKYO (AP) — Nippon Professional Baseball’s season openers will not take place in May due to the new coronavirus pandemic, with no firm date set for the start.

Representatives of the 12 teams decided Friday to also scrap interleague play. The removal of 18 interleague games from each team’s calendar would make for a 125-game regular season.

Although no specific date had been set to start the season, the representatives agreed in an online meeting to not start before the end of May. The interleague games between the Central and Pacific leagues have started in May since the format was established in 2005.

HOCKEY

Dustin Byfuglien and the Winnipeg Jets agreed to mutually terminate his contract Friday, potentially marking the end of a playing career for “Big Buff.”

The agreement ended a lengthy dispute between Byfuglien and the organization over his absence this season. Because there was no financial settlement as part of the termination, the defenseman walked away from the $14 million remaining on his contract with no guarantee he’ll play again.

The episode ended seven months after Byfuglien told the Jets he’d lost the desire to play and following surgery in October to repair an ankle injury, which prompted a grievance filed through the NHL Players’ Association and settled Friday.

COLLEGE MEN’S BASKETBALL

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Guard Malachi Flynn, a consensus All-American and the Mountain West Conference Player of the Year, will forgo his senior season at San Diego State and enter the NBA draft.

Flynn became the most decorated player in Aztecs history in his one season at SDSU after transferring from Washington State and sitting out a year. He led SDSU to a 30-2 record, the regular-season MWC title and a No. 6 ranking.

Flynn transferred to SDSU because he wanted to be part of a winning program. He never got a chance to play in the NCAA Tournament. The Aztecs were projected as a No. 1 or 2 seed before this year’s tournament was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

NASCAR

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — NASCAR has suspended its May 9 race at Martinsville Speedway and did not give an indication on when the season will resume.

When NASCAR suspended racing four events into the season, it listed the event in Virginia as its return date. But Virginia is under a stay-at-home order until June 10.

NASCAR in a statement said it is considering restarting the season without fans in May. It has privately told teams that NASCAR is hopeful to race May 24 at Charlotte Motor Speedway with the Coca-Cola 600.

GOLF

Marion Hollins financed and developed a golf course for women in New York and was the brains behind two fabled golf courses in California. And with one determined swing, she set in motion plans for the famous par-3 16th at Cypress Point.

A visionary in golf course architecture, a confidante of Alister Mackenzie and a U.S. Women’s Amateur champion, Hollins now takes her place among the greats in the game.

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She was elected into the World Golf Hall of Fame through through the contributor’s category, joining a 2021 class that so far includes Tiger Woods.

The Hall of Fame announced her election Friday. The induction is planned for March in Florida.

NEW YORK (AP) — Women’s golf has lost another senior major because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Senior LPGA Championship has been canceled. It was scheduled to be played July 30-Aug. 1 at French Lick Resort in Indiana.

The USGA previously canceled the U.S. Senior Women’s Open.

The Senior LPGA will stay at French Lick in 2021. The new dates will be determined later.

SURREY, England (AP) — The BMW International Open in Germany and the Open de France golf tournaments were canceled on Friday because of the coronavirus pandemic, and the Scottish Open was postponed.

Both the BMW International Open, which was to be played in Munich from June 25-28, and the Open de France, which was scheduled to take place a week later, fell victim to bans on major events in their countries.

The Scottish Open was scheduled to be played from July 9-12.

All European Tour tournaments up to the end of July have been canceled or postponed because of the virus outbreak.

SOCCER

Major League Soccer is pushing back restarting the season to at least June 8 and says it is also discussing possible salary cuts with the players’ union.

Teams had played two matches before the season was suspended on March 12 because of the coronavirus pandemic and the league had been looking at possibly resuming play in mid-May. The league would still like to play a full season.

MLS also said it is exploring possible “changes to player compensation” because of the financial hit the league and teams are facing.

LONDON (AP) — English Premier League clubs on Friday discussed the coronavirus testing required and scenarios that could allow the season to resume from June at the earliest, with the aim of completing all fixtures.

Executives from the 20 clubs held a conference call a day after Britain’s lockdown was extended by the government for another three weeks to May 7.

The aspiration of the league is restarting after a three-month absence on June 8, presenting an optimistically tight timeframe for players to regain match fitness if social distancing is relaxed.

Clubs in the three professional leagues below the Premier League have been told by the English Football League that May 16 is the earliest training sessions are recommended to start.

Premier League teams have up to nine games remaining, including Liverpool, which has a 25-point lead in its quest to end a 30-year title drought.

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexican league soccer owners voted Friday to suspend relegation and promotion between the country’s top two divisions for five years, citing economic problems for the second division that have been aggravated by the coronavirus pandemic.

Liga MX President Enrique Bonilla, making his first public appearance since announcing March 20 he had tested positive for COVID-19, also said during the online news conference that the current season of the second division, known as Ascenso MX, would be canceled. The two divisions were suspended March 15.

The owners of the 18 Liga MX franchises voted remotely, days after the second-division Ascenso MX clubs approved the suspension. Each Ascenso MX team will receive $845,000 a year for the five seasons.

It will be the first time since the 1951-52 season that no teams will be move between the divisions.

TRACK AND FIELD

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — USA Track and Field has laid off seven people from its 65-person staff and CEO Max Siegel is taking a 20% pay cut to offset lost revenue due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The organization that runs the country’s largest summer sport has been forced to cancel dozens of events, including the Olympic trials, which were scheduled for June. In 2016, trials produced around $5 million in revenue. They will be rescheduled to mesh with the Olympics, which have been pushed into 2021.

Sports Business Daily reported that all the cuts came in divisions that support the 8,000 live events the USATF sanctions each year.

OBITUARY

LADUE, Mo. (AP) — Bob Hermann, the soccer executive who launched the Hermann Trophy given annually to the top college soccer players in the United States, has died at age 97.

His family said he died Monday at his home in the St. Louis suburb of Ladue.

A key figure in the rise of the professional sport in the U.S. in the 1960s, Hermann was inducted into the U.S. National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2001.

LEEDS, England (AP) — Norman Hunter, a former Leeds defender who was part of England’s World Cup-winning squad in 1966, died Friday with COVID-19. He was 76.

Hunter, who earned the nickname “Bites Yer Legs” because of his tough tackling, was admitted to the hospital last week and died early Friday, Leeds said.

Hunter made 726 appearances for Leeds and won two league titles and the FA Cup. He also played 28 times for England.

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Sport Friday Sports in Brief

VIRUS OUTBREAK The shock waves from the coronavirus outbreak rattled sports for another day as two rites of spring, the Masters and Boston Marathon, were postponed. There was at least some relief Friday that those events are expected to take place later in the year, unlike the stunning announcement the day before that the NCAA…

Sport Friday Sports in Brief

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VIRUS OUTBREAK

The shock waves from the coronavirus outbreak rattled sports for another day as two rites of spring, the Masters and Boston Marathon, were postponed.

There was at least some relief Friday that those events are expected to take place later in the year, unlike the stunning announcement the day before that the NCAA was canceling March Madness, one of the biggest events on the U.S. sports calendar.

Golf and car racing came around and called off weekend events, leaving fans with nothing to look forward to for several weeks.

Major league baseball encouraged players to go home, a day after canceling the rest of the spring training schedule and postponing opening day by at least two weeks.

Ballparks in Florida and Arizona were locked down as the sport considered how to proceed.

RUNNING

BOSTON (AP) — The Boston Marathon, the world’s most celebrated footrace, was postponed until Sept. 14 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh announced the decision Friday. The Boston Athletic Association, which oversees the marathon, had held off deciding the fate of the April 20 race even as other high-profile sports events were canceled or postponed around the globe.

But pressure had mounted in recent weeks from officials in Boston and the seven cities and towns along the 26.2-mile (42.2-kilometer) course. Some had expressed worries not only for the health of the 31,000 registered runners but also the estimated 1 million spectators who traditionally line the route, giving athletes hand slaps and even kisses as they pass.

GOLF

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Augusta National on Friday postponed the Masters, another massive hit to the spring sports calendar from the new coronavirus that already is responsible for the loss of March Madness and the delay of opening day baseball.

So much for that annual rite of spring and the first week in April devoted to the brilliance of dogwoods and azaleas, Amen Corner and Tiger Woods chasing another green jacket.

The Masters had been scheduled for April 9-12.

Masters chairman Fred Ridley said he hoped the decision puts Augusta National in the best position to host the Masters and its two other amateur events “at some later date.”

He did not indicate when the Masters could be played. The private club traditionally closes in May and does not open for its members until October.

AUTO RACING

NASCAR and IndyCar reversed course Friday and pulled the plug on racing this weekend, with IndyCar also suspending its season through the end of April due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic.

NASCAR called off Sunday’s race at Atlanta Motor Speedway and next weekend’s events at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Both events were already scheduled to be run without spectators.

IndyCar was scheduled to open its season Sunday on the streets of downtown St. Petersburg without fans. Formula One also canceled its season opening race in Australia, leaving the first full weekend of global motorsports without a major event.

Mark Miles, president and CEO of IndyCar parent company Penske Entertainment, said the about-face came as both IndyCar and NASCAR saw more and more events and attractions closing.

NCAA

NEW YORK (AP) — The NCAA is planning to extend the eligibility of athletes on spring sports teams by one year to make up for the season lost to the new coronavirus.

The details of how the extra eligibility will work are still being ironed out.

All three NCAA divisions would potentially allow another year for athletes in the 14 spring sports, which include baseball, softball, lacrosse and golf. The decision comes after the NCAA announced Thursday that its winter and spring championships would be canceled as a precaution against the spread of the coronavirus.

Some, but not all, conferences have announced that their spring sports teams would not continue their regular seasons.

The NCAA Division I Council Coordination Committee sent an email Friday notifying schools of its intention. The proposal is expected to pass.

NFL

NEW YORK (AP) — The NFL is ending in-person visits between teams and draft prospects because of concerns over the coronavirus outbreak.

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The league sent a memo to all 32 clubs on Friday afternoon saying the ban would go into effect until further notice at the end of the business day. The memo, obtained by The Associated Press, adds that teams will be permitted to conduct telephone and/or video conference interviews with prospects through the day before the draft.

The NFL draft is currently scheduled to begin on April 23 in Las Vegas.

The league has told teams they must report all telephone and video conference calls with prospects to the NFL player personnel department upon completion.

LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) — The Chicago Bears re-signed veteran inside linebacker Danny Trevathan to a three-year contract extension through the 2022 season.

The team announced the move Friday. Trevathan has 327 tackles in four seasons with Bears and 602 overall in eight years with Chicago and Denver. He played on a Super Bowl champion with the Broncos.

The Bears value his leadership and production. But he has missed 18 of 64 games for Chicago, including seven last season because of a gruesome elbow injury.

ENGLEWOOD, Colorado (AP) — The Denver Broncos placed the franchise tag on safety Justin Simmons on Friday and also picked up the 2020 contract options on star pass rusher Von Miller, linebacker Todd Davis and kicker Brandon McManus.

The tag on Simmons is worth $11.545 million, although chances are good the fifth-year safety will sign a long-term deal averaging more than $14 million a season before the July 15 deadline.

“We remain focused on reaching a long-term contract agreement with Justin, and he’s a big priority for us,” general manager John Elway said. “This is a placeholder in that process and our goal is the same — to make sure that Justin is a Bronco for a long time.”

All four times Elway has used the franchise tag the sides reached a deal on a long-term extension: Matt Prater (2012), Ryan Clady (2013), Demaryius Thomas (2015) and Miller (2016).

SOCCER

DÜSSELDORF, Germany (AP) — The Premier League and the Champions League were both suspended Friday as the chaos stemming from the coronavirus outbreak continues to impact soccer.

The French and German leagues also dropped plans to play this weekend. After Spain and Italy previously made similar moves, all five of Europe’s biggest national competitions are now on hold.

Matches in England will be stopped until at least April 3 after five Premier League clubs said some players or staff were in self-isolation. Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has tested positive for the virus, as has Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi.

UEFA said it was stopping next week’s games in all competitions, including the two remaining Champions League matches which had not been already called off — Bayern Munich vs. Chelsea and Barcelona vs. Napoli, both scheduled for Wednesday.

Games involving Juventus and Real Madrid had already been postponed because those clubs quarantined their players.

MMA

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The UFC is determined to fight on amid the coronavirus pandemic.

While leagues and organizers across sports canceled or delayed competition this week, the UFC proceeded with its plans to hold a fan-free event Saturday night in Brasilia, Brazil. Next weekend, the promotion still plans to stage a full fight card with fans inside London’s O2 Arena.

The UFC hasn’t canceled any competitions, even those previously scheduled for areas where large gatherings are now banned. Instead, the promotion has moved events scheduled for March 28 in Columbus, Ohio, and April 11 in Portland, Oregon, to the new UFC Apex complex in Las Vegas, where it has a small arena and television production capabilities.

UFC President Dana White attributes his decision to go against the sports world’s collective mindset partly to a conversation Thursday with President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence. White and Trump are longtime friends and business associates.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois-Chicago fired coach Steve McClain on Friday after five seasons.

McClain went 76-93 with the Flames, including a 42-48 record in the Horizon League.

UIC was 18-17 this season and reached the Horizon League Tournament final, but lost 71-62 to Northern Kentucky.

UIC’s last NCAA Tournament appearance was in 2004.

The Flames won at least 16 games in each of McClain’s last four seasons.

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Sport Friday Sports in Brief

NBA LOS ANGELES (AP) — A witness to the deadly crash of a helicopter carrying Kobe Bryant and eight others said it sounded normal just before slamming into a hillside and wreckage at the scene showed no sign of engine failure, federal investigators said in a report released Friday. The Jan. 26 crash occurred in…

Sport Friday Sports in Brief

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NBA

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A witness to the deadly crash of a helicopter carrying Kobe Bryant and eight others said it sounded normal just before slamming into a hillside and wreckage at the scene showed no sign of engine failure, federal investigators said in a report released Friday.

The Jan. 26 crash occurred in cloudy conditions and experts said the “investigative update” from the National Transportation Safety Board reinforces the notion the pilot became disoriented and crashed while trying to get to clear skies around Calabasas, northwest of Los Angeles.

The veteran pilot, Ara Zobayan, came agonizingly close to finding his way out of the clouds.

He told air traffic control he was climbing to 4,000 feet (1,219 meters). He ascended to 2,300 feet (701 meters), just 100 feet (30 meters) from what camera footage later reviewed by the NTSB showed was the top of the clouds.

But rather than continuing higher Zobayan began a high-speed descent and left turn in rapidly rising terrain. He slammed into the hillside at more than 180 mph (290 kph) and was descending at 4,000 feet (1,219 meters) per minute.

MLB

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Former fan favorite Hunter Pence is returning to the San Francisco Giants, agreeing to a contract that will give the young club a veteran presence in both the outfield and clubhouse in a season of big change ahead.

Pence will provide some stability as the Giants move into 2020 with new manager Gabe Kapler and a coaching staff that is entirely new aside from longtime coach Ron Wotus working at third base.

The 36-year-old Pence was part of the Giants’ 2012 and ’14 World Series champion teams. After a more limited role in 2018 with San Francisco as he worked to retool his hitting mechanics and rediscover his swing, he spent 2019 with the Texas Rangers and resurrected himself. He batted .297 with 18 homers, 17 doubles and 59 RBIs over 83 games.

TENNIS

Roger Federer wasn’t going to lose this one to Rafael Nadal.

Not on what felt like a homecoming for Federer, who beat his great rival 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 in a three-set exhibition match at a soccer stadium in Cape Town, South Africa, on Friday.

It was Federer’s first match in his mother’s country of birth, and the country the Swiss great rates as his second home.

Almost everything was for Federer on the night. The caps and T-shirts with RF logos all across the crowd. The “Welcome home, Roger” signs being held up. The coin for the toss, a newly minted 20 Swiss Francs with Federer’s image on it. Federer recently became the first living Swiss to be engraved on one of the nation’s coins.

Even South Africa’s biggest sports stars were in awe.

SOCCER

CARSON, Calif. (AP) — Samantha Mewis scored twice and the U.S. national team secured a spot in the Tokyo Olympics with a 4-0 semifinal victory Friday night over Mexico in the CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying tournament.

Rose Lavelle and Christen Press also scored for the United States, which extended its unbeaten streak to 27 games.

The United States will face Canada in the tournament’s title game on Sunday. Canada earned the region’s other Olympic berth with a 1-0 victory over surprisingly resilient Costa Rica 1-0 in the earlier match Friday.

COLLEGE WRESTLING

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. (AP) — Coach Pat Pecora earned his 617th career victory on Friday night, breaking a 46-year-old record for most wins in college wrestling at any level.

The University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown coach passed former Oregon State coach Dale Thomas for the record across all NCAA divisions plus NAIA and junior college, with a 22-12 victory over Mercyhurst.

In his 44th season at Pitt-Johnstown, Pecora is 617-151-8. Thomas passed Kent State coach Joe Beglia’s 284 victories in 1974, and ended his career with a 616-168-13 record.

Pecora’s teams won the Division II National Championship in 1996 and ‘99, and he was named the National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) Coach of the Year in 1995, ’99, and 2019. Pecora has lead his teams to 22 NCAA regional titles, including five straight from 2003-07 and 10 from 1992-2001.

COLLEGE BASEBALL

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WACO, Texas (AP) — Baylor issued two-game suspensions to 14 baseball players Friday over an unspecified hazing incident that occurred last February.

The school said the number of suspensions required them to would be staggered over the first three weeks of the season. The Bears open at home against Nebraska on Feb. 14.

Athletic administrators became aware of the incident last May, and an investigation by Baylor’s general counsel office and Division of Student Life followed.

The school said drugs and alcohol were not involved in the hazing incident. The names of the players weren’t released.

OLYMPICS

DENVER (AP) — The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee’s CEO told her staff “we acted appropriately, expeditiously and in the best interest of the athletes” in the athlete-welfare cases the federation’s fired medical director complains about in a lawsuit.

In a letter sent to the staff and obtained by The Associated Press on Friday, CEO Sarah Hirshland spelled out the reasons for terminating Bill Moreau, who worked at the federation for 10 years — at the end as the vice president of sports medicine.

Hirshland also defends the USOPC’s handling of cases Moreau brought up in the lawsuit he filed this week; he claims his persistence in pressing higher-ups to take the cases more seriously led directly to his firing last May.

“Let me start by being very clear that there is absolutely no merit to the suggestion of retaliation as a cause for the separation of Bill Moreau,” Hirshland writes.

In the lawsuit, Moreau brought up a number of instances in which he urged the USOPC to take stronger action in the case of athletes who needed help.

SPORTS BROADCASTING

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Jessica Mendoza will no longer be on ESPN’s “Sunday Night Baseball” or work for the New York Mets front office after signing a contract extension with the network.

ESPN announced Friday that Mendoza will be an analyst on weekday games as well as making appearances on various network shows, including “SportsCenter” and “Baseball Tonight.”

Mendoza’s increased appearances on ESPN have led her to resign as a baseball operations adviser to the Mets and general manager Brodie Van Wagenen. She was hired as a Mets adviser last March.

Mendoza joined ESPN as a softball analyst and college football sideline reporter in 2007. She has been an MLB analyst since 2015 and was part of the “Sunday Night Baseball” booth for four seasons. Her roles with the network and the Mets had been under discussion since the end of last season.

OBITUARY

MAMARONECK, N.Y. (AP) — Roger Kahn, the writer who wove memoir and baseball and touched millions of readers through his romantic account of the Brooklyn Dodgers in “The Boys of Summer,” has died. He was 92.

Son Gordon Kahn said his father died Thursday at a nursing facility in Mamaroneck.

The author of 20 books and hundreds of articles, Kahn was best known for the 1972 best-seller that looked at his relationship with his father through their shared love of the Dodgers, an object of nostalgia for the many fans who mourned the team’s move to Los Angeles after the 1957 season.

TORONTO (AP) — Brian Glennie, a hard-hitting defenseman who spent most of his 10-year NHL career with the Toronto Maple Leafs, has died. He was 73.

Glennie, who was inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 2005, helped the national team win Olympic bronze at the 1968 Winter Games in Grenoble, France, under Father David Bauer.

The Maple Leafs confirmed his death on Friday.

Glennie was No. 94 on the 2016 list, part of the franchise’s centennial anniversary.

Glennie, born on Aug. 29, 1946 in Toronto, captained the AHL Toronto Marlies to a 1967 Memorial Cup win on a team that included Brad Park and Mike Pelyk. He spent time at Michigan State before splitting the 1968-69 season with the minor-league Rochester American and Tulsa Oilers.

After nine seasons with the Maple Leafs, he finished his career in 1978-79 with the Los Angeles Kings.

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