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'No intention' by any countries to pull out of Rio over Zika: IOC president

IOC Bach Zika

IOC President Thomas Bach says there is "no intention" by any countries to pull out of the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro over concerns about the Zika virus.


Drake, Michael Jordan fans line up in frigid weather for $300 sneakers


Sneaker fanatics spent hours (in some cases days) in frigid weather to drop hundreds on new sneakers at a Nike pop-up shop


Road to the Olympic Games: 5 things to watch this weekend


Here's what to look for on this weekend's Road to the Olympic Games show, featuring action from across the globe in speed skating, bobsleigh, snowboarding, aerials and biathlon.


NBA commissioner Adam Silver praises Toronto, but says no more Canadian teams


Toronto is humming ahead of this weekend's NBA All Star Game. For the first time ever, the league's all star festivities are in a city outside the United States.


How Canadian NHL teams fared last night


There were five Canadian NHL teams in action on Thursday night. Here's a quick look at how they fared.


All-stars descend on Toronto

Basketball's towering personalities and their larger-than-life celebrity friends are making Toronto party central as the NBA all-star weekend takes hold with a barrage of glitzy events.

Nearly every corner of the city will get some piece of the action, as restaurants dish out special menus, local clubs lure famous guests and a long list of retailers capitalize on the three-day wave of basketball fever.

It's the first time the NBA has taken its high-profile annual event outside the borders of the United States and anticipation is high for local sports fans and partygoers.

Toronto has hit its stride on a global scale with the Toronto International Film Festival, last year's Pan American Games and the local music scene's explosion on the Billboard charts, led by rapper Drake and the Weeknd.

"Toronto is becoming an international hub and this is just making it more so," said Ainsley Kerr, a local party expert who plans to hit the town with her friends in search of the biggest events. "We have so many people coming in from around the world."

Festivities officially begin Friday night with the all-star celebrity game. Drake will coach the Canadian squad while comedian Kevin Hart leads the U.S. team.

The main event is Sunday night at Air Canada Centre where 18-time all-star Kobe Bryant will take his final bow in the marquee matchup before retiring at the end of the season. The Lakers legend takes to the court alongside hometown favourites Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan of the Raptors and fellow NBA stars like LeBron James and reigning league MVP Stephen Curry.

Timed around the NBA showcase is a dizzying lineup of club nights and concerts. Some tickets won't come cheap, however.

A weekend pass for the Truth North venue, which gives fans access to a number of concerts including Usher and Gwen Stefani, costs $1,750 per person for the "VIP experience."

Across town, men's magazine Maxim will host one of the more ambitious club parties with its lofty promise of "500 of the hottest girls next door" handpicked through a recent contest. Those tickets will set you back $750 for the "VIP Baller" experience, which comes with a special coat check and an open bar.

"It will be a jam-packed evening of fun and frolic, I guess," said Joel Hock, president of Maxim's Canadian events.

The centrepiece of the wonderland will be a giant mirrorball slam-dunking into a 40-foot basketball hoop, Hock said, while host Shaquille O'Neal and Snoop Dogg (performing under his DJ name Snoopadelic) headline as the main celebrities.

Six staff members will be on site to welcome other "VVIP" — the very, very important people who might appear unannounced to the delight of partygoers.

"It's a smorgasbord of celebrity visuals," said Hock.

Other celebrities also expected around in town include Rihanna, Ben Affleck and Olivia Wilde.

NBA players will be staying at the Thompson Hotel, the official base of the National Basketball Players' Association.

Plans for the event have been underway for nearly a year. The hotel has even brought in super-sized bathrobes and slippers for their larger guests.

The hotel has also stocked up on Remy Martin Louis XIII, which it sells for $295 an ounce or $6,500 a bottle, said hotel manager Jeff Waters.

"Close to 200 bottles of champagne we've brought in and we've created a number of different cocktails we think will be appealing to the players and guests here over the weekend," Waters said.

Financial district mainstay Jump restaurant is serving up the Sir Charles burger, a towering feast of flavour inspired by Charles Barkley. The six-ounce burger is stuffed with pulled pork and topped with crispy pancetta, an onion ring and cheddar cheese.

Alongside a serving of fries, it will cost diners $34, a price pinned to Barley's number.

Retailers are also capitalizing on the attention.

In the heart of Toronto's tourist area, Michael Jordan's persona canvases a new Jordan Brand store. Doors will stay open around the clock all weekend.

Nike has created its own unique experience by renting a streetcar and turning it into a mobile sneaker store.

Toronto is expected to bring in somewhere between $90 million and $100 million this weekend, according to estimates from Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment based on the impact of previous all-star games.

Cotter playoff bound

UPDATE 9:45 p.m.

Jim Cotter can kick back and relax for the next day-and-a-half after qualifying Thursday for the playoffs at the Canadian Direct Insurance B.C. Men's Curling Championships going on this week in Nelson.

Cotter and his combined Vernon/Kelowna foursome were the first to qualify for the four rink playoff round after going through the first two days unbeaten.

The two time defending champion capped off a perfect first two days Thursday night with a 5-4 win over Michael Johnson from the Royal City Curling Club in New Westminster.

Cotter cracked deuces in the first and third ends to grab a commanding 4-1 lead. He cruised from there, allowing Johnson only singles in six, nine and 10 while picking up a single of his own in the seventh.

Cotter, third Ryan Kuhn, second Tyrel Griffith and lead Rick Sawatsky don't hit the ice again until Saturday afternoon when they take on the "B" event winner in the 1-2 Page playoff game.

Four teams remain in the hunt to qualify from the "B" event of the triple knockout including Kelowna Jeff Richard.

Richard won his third straight, beating Wes Craig 6-3 Thursday night. He took control with a steal of two in the fourth for a 4-0 lead then picked up two more in six for a 6-1 lead.

Richard will take on former Kelowna resident Glen Jackson in the "B: side semi-final Friday morning.

The championship game is set for Sunday afternoon.

Team Johnson and Team Cotter are literally the teams to beat at the 2016 Canadian Direct Insurance BC Men’s Curling Championship as neither has lost a match.

Michael Johnson’s Royal City rink of third Chris Baier, second Ty Dillelo and lead Mitch Young defeated Team Schneider, Team Joanisse and Team Craig to earn the chance to qualify for the playoffs.

They face the Vernon/Kelowna rink of five-times B.C Men’s champion Jim Cotter, featuring third Ryan Kuhn, second Tyrel Griffith and lead Rick Sawatsky.

The Cotter rink defeated Team House, Team Martyn and Team Jackson to earn the spot.

The two teams will play tonight at 7 p.m. with the winner advancing to the page playoff on Saturday at 2 p.m. The loser will drop down to the B event to fight for another playoff spot.

A total of 16 teams qualified for this year's provincial championship. The event is a triple knockout, with some teams facing elimination from the competition Thursday.

The overall winner of the event will represent B.C. at the Tim Hortons Brier in Ottawa March 5-13.

The semi finals and finals of this year’s championship, will be televised on Sportsnet on Sunday, Feb. 14. The semi finals will be televised at 11 a.m. on Sportsnet Pacific and the finals will be televised at 4 p.m. on Sportsnet 360.

For ticket information, and to find out more about the event, go to  this website.

You can view past scores and follow the championship event at this link.

With only one loss, Teams Craig, Jackson and Montgomery, all from Victoria Curling Centre are still in contention for a B event qualification. Also in contention is Team Richard from Kelowna, Team Ducharme from Creston, Team Wenzek from Langley/Royal City, Team Buchy from Kimberley and Team Geall from Royal City.

The other teams still playing for a spot include Team Longworth from Vernon Curling Club, Team Dangerfield from Victoria Curling Centre, Team Martyn from Royal City Curling Club, Team Joanisse from Royal City Curling Club, Team Schneider from Vancouver Curling Club and Team House from Richmond Curling Club.

Will Connor McDavid finish as NHL's top rookie?


Connor McDavid recorded a career high five points in the Edmonton Oilers 5-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday night and has now recorded 12 points in six games since returning from injury.


Canadians land 4 Big Air medals at Fenway

Max Parrot

Canadian snowboarders found the air above and inside Boston's Fenway Park to their liking with four World Cup medals Thursday night, led by a 1-2 finish by Max Parrot and Michael Ciccarelli.


Connor McDavid's career night leads Oilers past Leafs


Connor McDavid had two goals and three assists as the Edmonton Oilers came away with a 5-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday in a battle between the NHL's two lowest-ranked teams.


Canadian women dominate Guyana in Olympic soccer qualifying


Twenty-year-old Ashley Lawrence had a hat trick and 16-year-old Deanne Rose had two goals as Canada's women's soccer team cruised to a 5-0 victory over Guyana in its first game of the CONCACAF women's Olympic qualifying tournament in Houston.


Kenya under investigation by WADA for breaching anti-doping code


Kenya is being investigated for breaching the world anti-doping code, WADA said Thursday, and could be declared non-compliant in a matter of weeks.


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