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‘Serious judgment mistakes’ result in extra AUS suspensions in hockey brawl

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The Acadia hockey player who admitted to making an inappropriate comment during a university hockey game that triggered a brawl has been suspended for five additional games.

Axemen forward Rodney Southam of Saskatoon was informed Tuesday of the decision handed down following an investigation by Atlantic University Sport (AUS), the body that governs university sport in the region. 

Several fights broke out near the Axemen bench during the Acadia- St. F X game on February 2. (AUStv)

“The AUS supports the decisions made by the men’s hockey sport chair,” Phil Currie, AUS executive director, said in a statement issued Tuesday. 

“His review was thorough and included consultation with affected players, officials, former and current university coaches, athletic directors and sport administrators.”

The suspensions will take effect immediately and will carry over into the 2019-2020 regular season if necessary, AUS said.

Player admits making slur

Last week, AUS suspended 15 players and the head coaches for the Acadia Axemen and the St. Francis Xavier X-Men as part of its initial response to the melee that broke out Feb. 2 in Wolfville. Those suspensions totalled 39 games.  

Southam was one of three Acadia players to be suspended for additional games on Tuesday.

Two St. FX players were also suspended for additional games.

In a statement released late last Thursday, Southam admitted taunting St. FX forward Sam Studnicka by saying, “You look like a little f—ing rapist.”

Southam added he did not know Studnicka had a close link to a survivor of sexual assault. Southam also said he was once falsely accused of sexual assault when he played junior hockey in Western Canada. 

Acadia responds

Studnicka was the first player to publicly comment about the brawl when he issued a statement two days following the incident.

He said he was “the target of a derogatory comment related to a sexual assault survivor. It was this comment that instigated the altercation that followed.”

In a statement Tuesday, Acadia said it felt Studnicka’s public comments spurred “unfair” commentary on social media and in the mainstream media. It called Studnicka’s statement inaccurate and said it made a very difficult time “considerably worse.”

The university also called the word Southam used “inexcusable.”

“Our student-athlete and all of those associated from Acadia Athletics, regret and continue to be very apologetic for what was said and how it affected another student-athlete and his family,” said Kevin Dickie, Acadia’s executive director of athletics.

Extra suspensions for coaches

Studnicka, who fought Southam at centre ice, has not been suspended for any additional games. He was suspended for two games in an initial decision handed down Feb. 6.

Both coaches have also received additional discipline.

Darren Burns of Acadia and Brad Peddle of St. FX have both been suspended for an additional eight games. The coaches were previously suspended for the last two games of the regular season.

“These suspensions are significant, coming at a time of year where most sanctions will be served during the playoffs,” said AUS men’s hockey chair David MacLean.

“A lot of really fine young people made serious judgment mistakes. I know they will learn from it and move on to bigger and better things. I want to thank everyone for their full co-operation.”

‘Could have been handled much better’

Currie later told CBC News there were leadership issues on both teams.

“The bench side of things could have been handled much better,” Currie said in an interview. “You know we expect that in our regulations in terms of coaches’ conduct and how they handle these situations.”

Currie said AUS will likely strengthen its standard of conduct policies around “egregious comments” as a result of this incident.

“We have general statements that are in our policies, but I think we have to be a little more aggressive around those kind of things.”

Acadia and St. FX are set to begin their first round playoff series Wednesday night in Antigonish.

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List of Tourist Attractions Open Now in Ottawa

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With Ontario now in Step 3 of 2021 three-step plan for reopening, museums and other indoor attractions are allowed to reopen with capacity limited to not exceed 50 per cent capacity indoors and 75 per cent capacity outdoors.

Here is a list of Ottawa attractions you can visit starting July 16th.

Do remember to wear masks and buy tickets in advance.

Parliament Hill

Parliament’s Centre Block and Peace Tower are closed for renovation.

You can join for tours of the Senate of Canada Building (2 Rideau Street), House of Commons at West Block (111 Wellington Street) on Parliament Hill, and East Block at East Block (111 Wellington Street) on Parliament Hill.

When: Grounds open; guided tours of Parliament are suspended through the summer of 2021.
Where: 111 Wellington Street, Downtown Ottawa

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Ottawa performer leapfrogs from gymnastics to Broadway to TV

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A new AppleTV+ series set in a magical town that’s stuck in a neverending 1940s musical includes a pair of Ottawa siblings in the cast. 

Warren Yang and his sister, Ericka Hunter, play two of the singing, dancing residents of the village portrayed in Schmigadoon!, a small-screen series that takes its cues from classic musicals like Brigadoon, Wizard of Oz and Sound of Music, and skewers them with the offbeat comedic mastery of Saturday Night Live. 

In fact, you’ll recognize many of the names from SNL, starting with executive producer Lorne Michaels, creator of the late-night, live-comedy sketch show. Schmigadoon! also stars SNL cast member Cecily Strong and comedian Keegan-Michael Key, who hosted SNL in May. They play a New York couple who get lost on a hike and stumble into a strange town where everyone sings and dances. 

For Yang, a relative newcomer to show-biz, the series marks his television debut. For Hunter, the younger of his two older sisters, it’s the latest in a career path that began with dance lessons as a child more than 30 years ago. She attended Canterbury High School, Ottawa’s arts-focused secondary school. 

“Her dream was always to perform,” said Yang, 34, in an interview. “But that was never the path I thought was an option for me.” 

While his sister studied dance, Yang did gymnastics. He was an elite gymnast throughout his youth, ultimately leaving Merivale High School at 16 to train in Montreal, finishing high school through correspondence courses. He was a member of the Canadian National Team and received a scholarship to study at Penn State, majoring in marketing. 

A few years after graduation, Yang was working at an advertising agency in Toronto when he got a call from a Manhattan number. To his astonishment, they asked if he would be interested in auditioning for a Broadway revival of Miss Saigon.

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COVID-19: uOttawa to require vaccination for students living in residence

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Vaccination will be mandatory for students who want to live in residence at the University of Ottawa this year, with proof of vaccination and at least one dose required before move-in, or within two weeks of doing so if they can’t secure a shot before arriving.

Those who can’t receive a vaccine for “health-related reasons or other grounds protected under the Ontario Human Rights Code” will be able to submit a request for accommodation through the university’s housing portal, according to information on the university’s website.

Students with one dose living in residence will also have to receive their second dose “within the timeframe recommended by Ottawa Public Health.”

People who haven’t been granted an exemption and don’t get vaccinated or submit proof of having done so by the deadlines set out by the school will have their residence agreements terminated, uOttawa warns.

“Medical and health professionals are clear that vaccination is the most (effective) means of protecting people and those around them,” reads a statement provided to this newspaper by uOttawa’s director of strategic communications, Patrick Charette.

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“It is precisely for this reason that the University of Ottawa is requiring all students living in residence for the 2021-2022 academic year to be fully vaccinated. The University recognizes that some students may require accommodations for a variety of reasons and will be treating exceptions appropriately.”

Faculty, staff and students are also strongly encouraged to get vaccinated, the statement notes.

“Ensuring a high vaccine coverage in all communities is critical to ensuring an ongoing decline in cases and ending the pandemic. This will be especially important with the return of students to post-secondary institutions in our region in the fall of 2021.”

Neither Carleton University nor Algonquin College is currently mandating vaccination for students living in residence, according to the websites for both schools. But uOttawa isn’t alone in its policy – Western University, Trent University, Durham College and Fanshawe College have all implemented similar requirements. Seneca College, in the GTA, is going even further, making vaccination mandatory for students and staff to come to campus, in-person, for the fall term.

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