Sports

For about a year and a half, I worked as a web producer and writer for the National Post’s sports department. Here’s a collection of my stories:

547924305Can Eugenie Bouchard and Milos Raonic continue their great starts? Five questions heading into the Australian Open
The year’s first major, the Australian Open, is upon us. World No. 1s Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams are the top seeds, but if we learned anything from 2015, it’s that upsets can await anywhere in the draw. With the Open set to get underway on Monday in Australia (Sunday night here in Canada), here are five questions to ponder before competition begins. Read the rest here.

503014364 Boston Pride player Denna Laing suffered ‘significant spinal injury’ during Outdoor Women’s Classic
Boston Pride forward Denna Laing suffered a “significant spinal injury” during the Women’s Winter Classic on New Year’s Eve at Gillette Stadium, the National Women’s Hockey League said in a statement Friday. Read the rest here.

year_top_sports_stories_20151222-2Andre De Grasse introduces himself to Canada — and the sprinting world
Before this year, there’s a good chance many Canadians hadn’t heard of a young sprinter from Markham, Ont. named Andre De Grasse. Having only started sprinting three years ago, De Grasse was still relatively new to the track and field scene. But when he won the 100m and 200m at the NCAA track and field championships in Eugene, Ore. his name — which by the way is pronounced de-grass, not like the beloved Canadian melodrama — started to garner some buzz. Read the rest here.

britain_wimbledon_tennis (1)Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic chase perfection — and get pretty darn close
For years, the tradition of the winners sharing a dance at the Wimbledon Champions Ball was forgotten. This year, however, Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams revived it. The choice to dance, reportedly, was Djokovic’s; the choice of song — Night Fever by the Bee Gees — was all Williams. Read the rest here.

theiseneaton_lp00120 Questions with Olympian Brianne Theisen-Eaton: A near-fatal javelin incident and the mind of a heptathlete TORONTO — Earlier this week, Olympian Brianne Theisen-Eaton met former Toronto Maple Leafs player Tie Domi. They were both appearing on CTV’s morning show Canada AM: Domi, to plug his upcoming memoir, Theisen-Eaton, to talk about her athletic feats, most recently winning silver at the world championships in Beijing in August. Read the rest here.

pjt-marielle_thompson_and_kelsey_serwa-3Olympic ski cross medallists Kelsey Serwa, Marielle Thompson out to make up for lost time TORONTO — Canadian ski cross teammates Kelsey Serwa and Marielle Thompson work well as a team, whether it’s racing down a ski hill — or finishing each other’s sentences. Read the rest here.

bba_alcs_blue_jays_royals_20151016How the Blue Jays gave an entire generation a playoff memory of their own to cherish
In 1993, there was no way Drew Clement was attending a Toronto Blue Jays playoff game. His dad, Jerome, was working multiple jobs — postman, limo driver, furniture deliveryman — and they simply couldn’t afford tickets. Read the rest here.

maple_leafs_red_wings_hockey-2Toronto Maple Leafs players welcome chance to help rebuild team they grew up watching
TORONTO — As a kid, Daniel Winnik loved cheering for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Growing up in Mississauga, he recalls visiting the old Maple Leaf Gardens and watching from the front-row greens — his favourite seats — and idolizing players like Doug Gilmour and Wendel Clark. Read the rest here.

screen-shot-2015-09-30-at-8-37-50-pmBlue Jays fan created a David Price nickname generator and the ace thought it was ‘pretty funny’
Toronto Blue Jays ace David Price was the inspiration behind Ruhee Dewji’s latest web project, but she never dreamed he’d see it. Dewji, 26, is the mastermind behind the website, “The David Price Nickname Generator.” Essentially it’s an online tool that allows any user to input a name and with one click it spits out a Price-inspired nickname. Read the rest here.

senators_at_leafs_preseasonWilliam Nylander and Kasperi Kapanen may not be ready yet, but Maple Leafs already like look of youngsters
TORONTO — Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Kasperi Kapanen has enjoyed watching the recent Blue Jays playoff push. William Nylander was sporting a Toronto Raptors baseball cap earlier in the week at the team’s practice facility in Toronto’s west end. Read the rest here.

hkn_camp_leafs_201509181Leafs’ Connor Brown likes his chances of sticking with team

TORONTO — Over the summer, Connor Brown worked hard to put on about 10 pounds. For the forward, who has been labelled undersized for much of his hockey tenure, it was a big step. “I feel a lot faster on the ice is the main difference from last season. I feel good. I’m excited to get these exhibition games going,” Brown said after the Toronto Maple Leafs’ morning skate on Monday ahead of the team’s pre-season split-squad games against the Ottawa Senators. Read the rest here.

hkn_camp_maple_leafs_20150916Maple Leafs’ Mike Babcock happy to leave last season in the past: ‘It starts here today for me’

TORONTO — Mike Babcock isn’t worried about how the Toronto Maple Leafs played last year, which is why he’s opted not to watch any film of their games during the 2014-15 season. “The reason I haven’t done that is because things went so poorly, why would I watch them be bad? It makes no sense to me. They’ve got a clean slate,” the new Leafs head coach said. Read the rest here.

belinda-bencic (1)Belinda Bencic reaches new echelon with Rogers Cup title
TORONTO — After the biggest win of her young career, Belinda Bencic was rewarded with a cupcake. “My fitness coach said if I win I get a cupcake,” Bencic said, grinning as she told the media that she ate the treat following her semifinal win over No. 1 Serena Williams at Toronto’s Rogers Cup one day earlier. Read the rest here.

rogers-cup-toronto-day-61A giddy Belinda Bencic benefits from Serena Williams’ lost serve at Rogers Cup
TORONTO — Belinda Bencic couldn’t hold it in. The 18-year-old just won the biggest match of her career against, perhaps, the greatest women’s tennis player of all time, and she was overcome with emotions. Read the rest here.

rogers-cup-toronto-day-6 Justine Henin remains a case study for shorter players on women’s tennis tour

TORONTO — Simona Halep was nervous when she met former world No. 1 Justine Henin. “It’s first time in my life, and she was my idol,” Halep said about her introduction to Henin after her match at the Rogers Cup on Saturday. “I saw that she’s not very tall. So I was happy.” Read the rest here.

484052022Serena Williams gets ‘charged up’ on the court against Drake, Belinda Bencic meets Connor McDavid at Rogers Cup

TORONTO — Serena Williams gets “charged up” against Toronto rapper Drake on the tennis court. For her past two matches during Toronto’s Rogers Cup, Drake, who she described as a “super amazing person,” has been in attendance. Following her quarter-final win on Friday night against Roberta Vinci 6-4, 6-3, the media asked her about her friendship with the hometown hip-hop star. Read the rest here.

484031126
Simona Halep declares herself ‘back in business’ with berth in Rogers Cup semifinals

TORONTO — Simona Halep didn’t know her quarter-final win at Toronto’s Rogers Cup on Friday was the 300th of her career. “Oh. Nice,” she said, smiling as she sat in a leather armchair and was told about the milestone during her post-match conference. Does she recall winning her first? Read the rest here.

ten_rogers_cup_women_20150813Swiss teen Belinda Bencic less star-struck, becoming a star in her own right at Rogers Cup

TORONTO — She’s only 18 years old but Belinda Bencic is getting more comfortable playing against the top guns. Just last year, though, she remembers feeling star stuck when she was looking at Ana Ivanovic or Serena Williams on the other side of the net. Read the rest here.

483898362Serena Williams dominant, but not yet satisfied, at Rogers Cup

TORONTO — Top-seed Serena Williams is her own harshest critic. “I still think I have a tremendous amount of improvement to do off the ground and everywhere else,” Williams said. Read the rest here.

483729014Simona Halep feels Eugenie Bouchard’s pain after stumbling following rise to the top

TORONTO — Simona Halep said she entered her second-round match at the Rogers Cup stress-free. For the majority of the match on Wednesday afternoon it looked like she played that way, too. Read the rest here.

ten_rogers_cup_women_s_20150811Eugenie Bouchard exits Rogers Cup early, again, but sees positives in defeat

TORONTO — It was another first-round exit for Eugenie Bouchard at the Rogers Cup — but this one felt different. The 21-year-old lost 6-0, 5-7, 6-2 to another young player, Belinda Bencic, from Switzerland. But under the lights of Centre Court at the Aviva Centre, two versions of Bouchard showed up on Tuesday night. Read the rest here.

483658426Victoria Azarenka works to climb back up rankings at Rogers Cup after long fall

TORONTO — Victoria Azarenka has seen the view from the top. For 51 weeks, the 26-year-old Belarusian was the world’s best female player, gaining the No. 1 ranking after she won her first major title at the 2012 Australian Open. Read the rest here.

480365084-1As rain wipes out Rogers Cup play, Serena Williams and her rivals contemplate the Grand Slam

TORONTO — The most dominant performer on the first day of Toronto’s Rogers Cup was certainly the rain. It forced the majority of the matches at the Aviva Centre to be postponed, save for a singles and doubles match early in the day. Read the rest here.

img_1530Lucie Safarova’s Canadian coach finds himself by showing others how it’s done

TORONTO — Rob Steckley stands behind Lucie Safarova, acting as a substitute for a ball kid as the 28-year-old from the Czech Republic smacks the ball back to Agnieszka Radwanska during a practice session Monday. He’s wearing a red baseball hat and his blond hair is tied into a neat knot peeking out of the back loop. His beard is scruffy and his oversized reflective sunglasses shield his eyes as he watches Safarova intently, offering nods and thumbs up for his player’s efforts as she prepares for the Rogers Cup, where she is the seventh seed. Read the rest here.

tortennis08Eugenie Bouchard confirms split with coach Sam Sumyk, but insists she is ‘feeling good’ ahead of Rogers Cup

TORONTO — In a dimly lit room in a downtown Toronto hotel, Eugenie Bouchard was the main attraction at the announcement of the Rogers Cup draw. But amid the anticipation for the tournament, several weighty questions hung in the air. Read the rest here.

480365084-1Serena Williams gearing up for Rogers Cup ahead of chance to make history at the U.S. Open

TORONTO — Serena Williams said she’s feels “OK” about her game heading into the summer hard-court season. To be clear, that’s the 21-major-winning, three-quarters of the way to a Grand Slam, undisputed world No. 1 Serena Williams. Read the rest here.

532332931Roger Federer withdraws from Rogers Cup in Montreal: ‘I am disappointed that I won’t be playing’

The world’s second-ranked male tennis player has withdrawn from next month’s Rogers Cup in Montreal. Roger Federer announced he would not be competing in Canada’s upcoming ATP Masters 1000 event on Wednesday. Read the rest here.

IMG_1483VIDEO: Eugenie Bouchard and Milos Raonic play tennis on a floating court docked on Lake Ontario

TORONTO — Typically there are three main surfaces a tennis player must master: hard court, clay and grass. On Wednesday, Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard and Milos Raonic played on some unfamiliar territory — a barge docked on Lake Ontario. Read the rest here.

vol_pan_am_20150718_topixCanada’s men’s beach volleyball team can’t catch home break at Pan Am Games, women advance to semis

TORONTO — The beach volleyball venue at the Pan Am Games seems inherently designed for celebration. Between points, snippets of dance music are pumped through the speakers. During breaks in play, dancers perform choreographed routines, ensuring the enthusiastic crowd is always spared boredom. Even water guns were routinely deployed to douse spectators, keeping them cool during Saturday’s bout of hot and humid weather. Read the rest here.

478979282Vasek Pospisil out for Davis Cup with wrist injury, Milos Raonic aims to be back for Rogers Cup

Canada’s top male tennis player aims to be back on the court to play in his home country. Milos Raonic said on Thursday that he would not play any tournaments this summer until the Rogers Cup in Montreal, which begins on August 7, while he recovers from lingering effects of surgery he had to correct a nerve problem in his right foot in May. Read the rest here.

ncaa_championships_athleticsMeet Andre De Grasse, the future of Canadian track and field

In the place dubbed Track Town USA, it was a Canadian who was about to announce himself to the sprinting world. On a Friday in June, at the NCAA track and field championships in Eugene, Ore., Andre De Grasse, a 20-year-old sprinter from Markham, Ont., representing the University of Southern California was running in the 100- and 200-metre finals. Read the rest here.

474942702Grand Slam or not, Serena Williams already among the greats of the game

Serena Williams’ most recent title was, in her own words, “difficult.” She lost the opening set in four of her six matches at the French Open. She was visibly suffering from the flu in her last two matches. And in the final against Lucie Safarova, she trailed in the third set. But, like she’d done 19 times before, she won. Read the rest here.

474721840French Open just the latest stage for tennis fashion: How players are outfitted for the Slams and beyond

Bob Smith has four major fashion shows a year. They’re in typical cities — London, New York, Melbourne — but on atypical stages. His latest creation debuted in Paris last week, not on a runway, but on the courts at Roland Garros. Though to him the two may not be that dissimilar. Read the rest here.

4726003101Milos Raonic withdraws from French Open after foot surgery

Milos Raonic to undergo surgery to repair pinched nerve in his foot ahead of French Open

sascanada_lkp_004Maple Leafs relieve Gord Dineen, Marlies’ staff, of coaching jobs

Already on a closely watched coach and general manager search for its NHL club, the Toronto Maple Leafs organization can now list AHL head coach to its list of needs. Read the rest here.

ten_fed_cup_romania_canada_20150418-2Canada’s rising tennis star Francoise Abanda on Fed Cup win, future goals and playing idol Venus Williams

Earlier this month, in front of her hometown crowd, Canada’s Francoise Abanda won the biggest match of her young tennis career when she defeated Romania’s Irina-Camelia Begu, ranked No. 33 in the world, in three sets during Canada’s Fed Cup tie. Read the rest here.

year_female_athlete_20141228Eugenie Bouchard will play in Canada’s upcoming Fed Cup tie versus Romania

Eugenie Bouchard is back. The Canadian tennis star has confirmed that she will play in Canada’s upcoming Fed Cup playoff tie against Romania in Montreal on April 18-19. Read the rest here.

462310734Eugenie Bouchard experiences growing pains as she follows up breakthrough season

It was always going to be a tough act to follow. The Eugenie Bouchard of 2014 burst onto the tennis scene so spectacularly, doing no worse than a semifinal appearance in three of the four Grand Slams, including a final at Wimbledon, that the bar was set pretty high for the Bouchard of 2015. Read the rest here.

Author of salacious tweet about Maple Leafs players Joffrey Lupul and Dion Phaneuf, and Elisha Cuthbert, issues apology68310936

Four days after his tweet caused a national television controversy, the Twitter author of a salacious comment involving Toronto Maple Leafs players Joffrey Lupul, Dion Phaneuf and Phaneuf’s wife Elisha Cuthbert has apologized over social media. Read the rest here.

Toronto Maple Leafs’ Joffrey Lupul and Dion Phaneuf, actress Elisha Cuthbert receive formal apology from TSN over scandalous tweet

TSN has apologized to Toronto Maple Leafs players Joffrey Lupul, Dion Phaneuf and Phaneuf’s wife Elisha Cuthbert after a tweet appeared on TSN during Monday’s live NHL trade deadline coverage that disparaged the three. Read the rest here.

537241231Milos Raonic to lead Canada’s team in Davis Cup against rival Kei Nishikori, Japan

The budding rivalry between Milos Raonic and Kei Nishikori could add another chapter come March when Canada takes on Japan in their Davis Cup World Group first-round tie. Read the rest here.
wings_vs_flames_10_allFormer Calgary Flames defenceman Steve Montador found dead at Mississauga home

The hockey world is mourning the loss of one of its own. Former National Hockey League defenceman Steve Montador was found dead at his suburban Toronto home early Sunday morning, according to Peel Regional Police. Read the rest here.

466360134-1Will Eugenie Bouchard play when Canada faces Romania in bid to stay in Fed Cup World Group?

Canada will have to defeat Romania if they want to stay in the elite Fed Cup World Group and qualification rules for next year’s Olympics may prompt Eugenie Bouchard to play. Read the rest here.

Eugenie Bouchard decides to skip playing for Canada at Fed Cup: ‘Of course we are disappointed’

Canada’s best female tennis player will not play during the upcoming Fed Cup tie against the Czech Republic. Eugenie Bouchard, 20, has decided to skip the team competition, which is being held at Laval University in Quebec City — her home province — this weekend. Read the rest here.

b73vksjicai_a8z1How two lucky Canadian fans scored a selfie with Eugenie Bouchard at the Australian Open: ‘She had this kind of shocked look’

Most people wouldn’t dare throw their cellphone away — but apparently that is one way to score a selfie with Eugenie Bouchard. At least that appears to be how some Canadian fans got one with the tennis star. Read the rest here.

450402602Toronto Blue Jays’ Brett Lawrie says goodbye on Twitter: ‘You fans made my time in Toronto unforgettable’

Brett Lawrie, who hails from Langley, B.C., was once touted as the future of the Blue Jays, but injuries throughout his three-plus seasons in the majors hampered his progress. Read the rest here.

image151Toronto Maple Leafs fan scores penalty box selfie with Phil Kessel: ‘I didn’t even expect him to look over’

For Kristin Provincial, the more people dislike Phil Kessel, the more she likes him. Read the rest here.

screen_shot_2014-11-07_at_5-27-38_pmWhy Milos Raonic set making the ATP Finals as a goal three years go

When Milos Raonic won the ATP World Tour’s Newcomer of the Year award in 2011, he was invited to receive that honour at the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals in London. Read the rest here.

screen-shot-2014-10-18-at-2-26-26-am11Toronto Maple Leafs disapprove of tossing jersey onto ice: ‘We fight hard for that logo’

The Toronto Maple Leafs have only played four games in front of the Air Canada Centre crowd thus far this year. In half of those, a blue and white jersey has been thrown on the ice. Read the rest here.

jake_gardinerToronto Maple Leafs’ Jake Gardiner back in the lineup, and coach expects a ‘higher level’ of play

After sitting out for two straight games, Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Jake Gardiner has been released from press box exile and will be back in the lineup Friday night against the Detroit Red Wings. Read the rest here.

james_reimer1Toronto Maple Leafs’ James Reimer making a case for No. 1 job

With just over five minutes to play in the third period with the game tied 2-2 against the Colorado Avalanche, Toronto Maple Leafs goalie James Reimer had the puck on his stick. Reimer is not known for his stick-handling ability and the next sequence of events showed why. Read the rest here.