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The Latest: Hurricanes ask employees to take time off

March 26, 2020 GMT
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FILE - In this March 12, 2020, file photo, goals used by the NHL hockey club Nashville Predators are stored in a hallway in Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn. The Ottawa Senators announced late Tuesday night, March 17, 2020, one of their players has tested positive for COVID-19, has mild symptoms and is in isolation. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, File)
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FILE - In this March 12, 2020, file photo, goals used by the NHL hockey club Nashville Predators are stored in a hallway in Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn. The Ottawa Senators announced late Tuesday night, March 17, 2020, one of their players has tested positive for COVID-19, has mild symptoms and is in isolation. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, File)

The Latest on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world:

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The Carolina Hurricanes are asking full-time employees to take vacation or personal days off next week with limited operations due to the coronavirus.

In an interview with The Associated Press, team president and general manager Don Waddell said the request was “the best avenue to take for the next 10 days.” The team had announced this week that it would temporarily close its offices as of Tuesday while employees work remotely.

Waddell said the decision would be on a week-to-week basis, though it doesn’t affect employees working under contracts. It comes as Wake County commission Chairman Greg Ford said the county plans to soon issue a stay-at-home order for residents similar to other areas of the state.

The News & Observer of Raleigh first reported the plan, citing an internal email that stated employees would go without pay if they had used all allotted time off. Waddell clarified that later, telling the newspaper: “Everyone will get paid and we’ll figure it out after that.”

“Everybody’s got full benefits, everybody’s getting paid this week,” Waddell told the AP. “We haven’t laid one person off. We haven’t cut one person. We haven’t cut any benefits.”

The Hurricanes had previously announced plans to compensate arena and team-event staff for lost wages for remaining home games on hold with the NHL regular season suspended.

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Aaron Gordon of the Orlando Magic has added his name to the list of NBA players helping out during the global coronavirus pandemic, announcing he has made a donation to the Homeless Education Fund for schools in Central Florida.

School closures mean many children in the Orlando area are missing out on the free or reduced breakfast and lunch meals that they usually count on daily. Gordon has helped with causes directed toward helping vulnerable kids before, and says he’s hoping his gift can help “our most precious resource.”

Several Magic players, including Jonathan Isaac, Nikola Vucevic and Mo Bamba have made donations to various causes in recent days. The DeVos family, which has owned the Magic for 29 years, is also backing a $2 million fund that will pay hourly employees of the Magic, Lakeland Magic, Orlando Solar Bears and the Amway Center who would have otherwise been missing out on income during the sports and entertainment shutdown.

“Potential is universal; opportunity, not so much. That’s where we come in,” Gordon said. “Now is a great time to wrap our arms around our kids’ communities.”

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Canadian hockey equipment manufacturer Bauer is offering to modify its production line to make protective visors for doctors, nurses and first responders.

The protective equipment to help deal with the COVID-19 pandemic would be produced at the company’s innovation center in suburban Montreal, as well as its facility in Liverpool, New York.

Bauer’s vice president of products, Dan Bourgeois, says he has already received calls from Montreal police, firefighters and hospitals interested in the products.

Bourgeois says the company decided to adapt its hockey visor production after hearing Premier Francois Legault say manufacturers in Quebec could have a role to play if supplies of protective equipment run low.

The proposed full-face visors are made of plastic and contain anti-fogging material.

With non-essential businesses ordered closed in Quebec, the company is awaiting authorization from the provincial government before going into production.

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A construction worker at the new Raiders stadium in Las Vegas has tested positive for the new coronavirus.

Mortenson-McCarthy Builders said Wednesday the worker had not been in close contact with any other project worker and had been off site since last week. The worker is self isolating for 14 days and won’t return to work until cleared.

Fox5 in Las Vegas first reported the news.

Mortenson-McCarthy says the area of the stadium where the worker was assigned and the surrounding vicinity were immediately shut down and sanitized. Work in other parts of the stadium has been unaffected and the stadium is still scheduled to be completed this summer.

The Raiders are set to begin play in the $1.9 billion stadium this fall.

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USA Diving will keep its Olympic trials in Indianapolis when the event is rescheduled.

With the Tokyo Olympics postponed until 2021 because of the coronavirus outbreak, USA Diving formally called off the trials scheduled for June 14-21 at the IU Natatorium on the IUPUI campus near downtown Indianapolis.

The governing body said it will work with the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee and the Indiana Sports Corp to reschedule the event, though that decision can’t be reached until the International Olympic Committee comes up with new dates for the Tokyo Games.

All tickets that had been purchased for the U.S. diving trials will automatically be shifted to the new dates once a decision is reached. Any hotel reservations that were booked through USA Diving’s site will be canceled.

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The Seattle Sounders have established a relief fund to help support individuals and businesses in the Seattle neighborhoods of Pioneer Square, SoDo and the Chinatown-International District near the team’s headquarters and home stadium of CenturyLink Field.

The family of majority owner Adrian Hanauer is making a $500,000 initial investment to the fund, which will be aimed at individuals, non-profits and small businesses in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The MLS team says the fund is intended to support a range of needs, from groceries to rent assistance and monetary packages. The priorities of the fund will go toward individual shift workers and service providers that work in and around the stadium when the team has home matches; small businesses in the area to help them stay open; and non-profits that support individuals and businesses in those neighborhoods.

“The Sounders were born here in Seattle over 40 years ago, and we wouldn’t be the club we have become without the support we’ve always found in this amazing and vibrant community,” Hanauer said in a statement. “Now, as our world faces the new and unprecedented challenges presented by COVID-19, it’s our responsibility to step up and give back to the community in a meaningful way.”

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Claressa Shields’ fight against Marie-Eve Dicaire has been postponed.

Shields and Dicaire were supposed to have a 154-pound unification bout May 9 in Flint, Michigan. Salita Promotions announced the postponement, citing the coronavirus pandemic.

Salita Promotions said it would monitor the situation and work to announce a new date at some point.

“Unfortunately, the real fight is outside the ring right now,” promoter Dmitriy Salita said in a statement. “Once our invisible opponent is beaten, we can get back to watching two undefeated champions and the two best super welterweights in the world vie for the undisputed world title as Claressa Shields continues to build her incredible legacy in female boxing.”

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Wrestling star Jordan Burroughs has no plans to retire, announcing he is going to compete for a spot in the Olympics in 2021.

The 2012 gold medalist and four-time world champion said he was disappointed when he found out the Tokyo Games would be postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic. He considers it a setback, not a deal-breaker.

He turns 32 in July.

“When I walked away from Rio medal-less in 2016, I contemplated retirement,” he tweeted. “Not because I couldn’t do it anymore, but because I knew that it would require another four years of tremendous work to get back. I was unsure if I was willing to dedicate another four years of my life to reach that stage.

“Yet, here we are, and there it goes. The race that I was once afraid to embark on because of its length just moved its finish line a little further. But I’m still in the race.”

Burroughs’ aggressive wrestling style and success has earned him a worldwide following.

He won his first world title in 2011 and took gold in his Olympics debut in London the next year. He was favored to repeat as champion at 74 kilograms in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro but finished ninth. He won the world title in 2017 and was third the last two years.

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Churchill Downs has suspended the final three racing dates at Turfway Park following Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear’s “Healthy at Home” executive order out of concern for the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Florence, Kentucky, track’s winter meet was scheduled to end Saturday. Turfway’s backside area will remain open because it falls under the “life-sustaining business” category by providing “food, shelter and other necessities of life for animals.”

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The National Hockey League has postponed its scouting combine, awards ceremony and draft that were scheduled for June. It did not provide new dates for the events.

With the NHL season on pause since March 12, the postponement of these events did not come as a surprise. The league is still working on scenarios of what hockey would look like if it is able to resume this season.

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Organizers of the European Championships in track and field still hope to stage the event in Paris in August despite France being locked down during the coronavirus pandemic.

European Athletics says it asked officials in Paris for a feasibility study for the Aug. 25-30 championships.

French officials reported their work has been “severely compromised by France’s national shutdown of non-essential activities” during the health crisis.

However, European Athletics says “many athletes are keen” to see the championships go ahead as planned. It shapes up as the main medal target for European track and field athletes in 2020 after the Tokyo Olympics were postponed until next year.

The European track body’s ruling council next meets May 7-8 by video conference.

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The owners of the NFL’s Buffalo Bills and NHL’s Buffalo Sabres are committing $1.2 million to supporting local charities and health officials dealing with the new coronavirus pandemic.

Kim Pegula says she and her husband Terry wanted to provide immediate assistance to “those in need and fighting on the front lines.”

Money from the teams’ charitable foundations will got to the newly formed Western New York COVID-19 community response fund supporting the region’s non-profit agencies.

Money also is going to several local food banks and assistance for health officials in purchasing protective gear and medical equipment.

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Rio de Janeiro’s soccer body has extended its prohibition on professional matches in the state to the end of April. The initial suspension is valid until the end of March.

Rio is home to defending Copa Libertadores winners Flamengo.

Brazil has more than 2,400 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus, and 57 people have died.

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The Boston Bruins say they are putting 68 full-time employees on temporary leave and cutting the pay of 82 others who work for the team or Delaware North, which owns the TD Garden.

The moves — which the Bruins called “temporary business stabilization measures” — are effective April 1.

The companies say they intend to restore jobs and compensation “once our business resumes to its normal state from this unprecedented stoppage.”

The Bruins were the last team in the NHL to offer help to gameday employees who lost work because of the coronavirus pandemic — and then only if postponed games aren’t made up. The team is owned by Jeremy Jacobs, who is the chairman of the NHL board of governors and a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame. According to Forbes Magazine, the Jacobs family is worth $3.3 billion.

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Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry is teaming up with Dr. Anthony Fauci for a question-and-answer discussion about the coronavirus.

Curry, a two-time NBA MVP, will host the chat on his Instagram account Thursday — (at)StephenCurry30. Fauci is Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Curry posted his plans on his Twitter account with an invite to all to submit questions.

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Clemson coach Dabo Swinney is open to the NCAA allowing more football practices after spring ball was cut short because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Tigers got in nine sessions after starting practice Feb. 26 before all spring activities, including their Orange and White scrimmage, were canceled.

Swinney is not in favor of extending fall camp, instead suggesting a sort of NFL-style mini-camp depending on how many spring workouts the team got before spring activities were canceled.

“Maybe if they said everybody could have 12 on-field sessions,” Swinney said. “So that means we would get only three just to make it equitable. But some of these schools who got none, they could get 12.”

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Texas Rangers manager Chris Woodward and his wife Erin, a trauma nurse, have recorded a message thanking first responders and health care workers.

The message was sent to the Texas Hospital Association and Medical City of Arlington and Dallas.

“We’re just trying to say thank you to all of these people on the front lines,” Woodward said Wednesday. “The first responders are first on the scene to a lot of these things. ... The doctors, nurses, everybody, they’re putting themselves at risk for all of us.”

Woodward said his wife isn’t currently working in a hospital. She finished a nursing contract at the end of February in Arizona, where they live, and is going back to school for another license.

The Woodwards are also joining Rangers general manager Jon Daniels and his wife, Robyn, to provide meals to health care workers at Medical City of Arlington and Dallas.

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The United Center is going to be turned into a logistics hub to help with Illinois’ response to the novel coronavirus.

The United Center and the surrounding area will be used for front-line food distribution, first responder staging and collecting medical supplies.

“On behalf of the Chicago Bulls, Chicago Blackhawks, our athletes, our front offices and our dedicated United Center personnel, our thoughts and support are with the people of this great city and state,” a spokesman for the United Center said in a release. “Together, we will get through this.”

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Mary Roman, a world-class senior athlete who held numerous national age records in track and field, has died of complications from COVID-19, the mayor of Norwalk said. She was 83.

Roman, who also served for 20 years as Norwalk’s city clerk in Connecticut, died Monday night at Norwalk Hospital, Mayor Harry Rilling said.

A childhood polio survivor, Roman began competing in senior track events in 1989 and won hundreds of medals, mostly in the throwing disciplines.

At various times, she held the American record in the shot put in the women’s 65-69, 70-74 and 75-79 age groups. She also was once the nation’s top-ranked thrower and ranked eighth in the world in the weight throw in the 75-79 age group.

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Argentine cyclist Max Richeze has been released from a hospital in the United Arab Emirates, where the UAE Team Emirates rider spent 18 days after testing positive for the coronavirus following the cancellation of the UAE Tour.

Richeze wrote on Instagram that two tests for COVID-19 had come back negative and he was discharged Wednesday.

That status of Richeze’s teammate, Fernando Gaviria, remains unknown after he also tested positive for the virus. Two staff members for UAE Team Emirates also tested positive, and the entire team remains in voluntary quarantine.

The second edition of the UAE Tour, a major early season stage race, was canceled with two stages left. Riders and support staff for all 22 teams were isolated, though nearly all of them now have been cleared to leave the country.

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The All England Club says it is still evaluating whether to postpone or cancel Wimbledon because of the coronavirus pandemic and plans to make a decision next week.

That’s when the club’s main board is scheduled to hold an emergency meeting.

Main-draw play at Wimbledon is slated to start June 29 and preparations for the tournament are supposed to begin in late April.

The club’s statement Wednesday says that postponing the two-week grass-court tournament would not come “without significant risk and difficulty” because of the surface.

Playing without fans has been ruled out. Wimbledon hasn’t been canceled since World War II.

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NASCAR says in a memo to teams that one of its employees at Atlanta Motor Speedway two weeks ago tested positive for the coronavirus.

The employee was not identified and NASCAR said the individual has been receiving medical care and all potentially exposed have been told to self-quarantine.

NASCAR was at Atlanta scheduled to race March 15 without spectators. But two days prior to the race, NASCAR postponed Atlanta and last weekend’s race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, which instead was converted into a virtual iRacing event broadcast on Fox Sports 1 with 35 drivers.

NASCAR has suspended its season through May 9 and will race at least five more iRaces, televised on Fox, during the stoppage.

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The NHL’s chief medical officer expects the coronavirus pandemic to get worse before it gets better.

Dr. Winne Meeuwisse says the virus is “really just entering the rapid acceleration phase” in North America. That makes it unclear when hockey might resume.

He says the league is thankful only two players have tested positive for COVID-19 so far and is hopeful weeks of isolation will prevent more from contracting the virus. Players and staff have been told to self-quarantine until at least April 4.

There is no timeline for when players might be able to start working out in small groups or report to team training facilities. Meeuwisse says the trajectory of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. and Canada will determine when that might be possible.

Varying recommendations and lockdown regulations across the league’s 31 markets could impact how the NHL proceeds. Meeuwisse and deputy commissioner Bill Daly are still unsure whether fans would be allowed in for potential games when they resume.

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Aqueduct has extended the suspension of live horse racing through at least April 5 because of the impact of the new coronavirus in New York.

As a result, the $750,000 Wood Memorial has been postponed. No make-up date has been determined yet for the major Kentucky Derby prep that was to be run on April 4.

Last Thursday, the New York Racing Association suspended racing at Aqueduct after confirmation that a backstretch worker who lived and worked at Belmont Park tested positive for COVID-19. The Belmont backstretch is home to 585 workers who tend to the daily care of more than 1,300 horses stabled on the property.

The pandemic has affected other prep races for the Kentucky Derby, which itself was postponed from May 2 to Sept. 5. The Sunland Derby in New Mexico and Blue Grass and Lexington stakes in Kentucky have been canceled, along with the UAE Derby. The Arkansas Derby was pushed back from April 11 to May 2.

For now, the Florida Derby on March 28 and Santa Anita Derby on April 4 are still scheduled.

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NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has instructed the 32 teams to close their facilities to all but a select few employees by 6 p.m. Wednesday.

In a memo to teams, Goodell said restrictions meant as a safeguard against the new coronavirus will be in force until at least April 8. Then the league will re-evaluate, using advice from medical experts and health authorities. The few exceptions include trainers and doctors treating players, security and technology personnel.

The NFL has gotten some pushback for not postponing the draft scheduled for April 23-25 while the rest of the sports world is largely shut down. The league is developing a new format because it has scrapped the public events set for Las Vegas.

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