The Latest: Former NHL enforcer Laraque tests positive

National Sports Headlines

FILE – In this March 26, 2020, file photo, Jason Hackedorn looks into Progressive Field, home of the Cleveland Indians baseball team, in Cleveland. With the distinct possibility of pro sports resuming in empty venues, a recent poll suggests a majority of U.S. fans wouldn’t feel safe attending games anyway without a coronavirus vaccine.(AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File)

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

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Former NHL enforcer Georges Laraque has tested positive for COVID-19.

The 43-year-old Laraque made the announcement on social media Thursday in a post showing him in a hospital gown.

“I guess I’m not invincible, just got diagnosed with Covid, since I’m asthmatic, not the best news, will fight it off!” Laraque said.

Laraque played 12 seasons in the NHL, including eight with the Edmonton Oilers and two with the Montreal Canadiens. He also suited up for the Phoenix Coyotes and Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Montreal native was selected by Edmonton 31st overall in the 1995 draft and made his NHL debut with the Oilers in 1997-98. Following stints with the Coyotes and Penguins, he retired with the Canadiens following the 2009-10 season.

He had 53 goals, 100 assists and 1,126 penalty minutes in 695 regular-season games.

Laraque has written an autobiography, done public speaking and devoted much of his time to charity work since retiring.

He was recently assisting with a campaign called “Give Protection” in Laval, Quebec, in an effort to get more Personal Protective Equipment to front-line staff, posting a video of himself April 1 outside a hospital.

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Denver Broncos star linebacker Von Miller says he tested negative for the coronavirus two weeks after announcing he had been diagnosed with COVID-19.

Miller tweeted that he got his results Thursday.

Miller went public with his diagnosis on April 16. He said he wanted to show that the virus could affect anybody, even someone such as a young, world-class athlete in tip-top shape.

Miller, who has asthma, was under the care of Broncos team doctors and quarantined at his Denver area home over the last two weeks.

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University of Iowa president Bruce Harreld tempered comments he made about the Hawkeyes hoping to start football practice June 1.

Harreld was asked at a board of regents meeting Thursday about the resumption of athletic activities in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Right now, June 1 is the date, we’re going to get back to practice and here we go,” he said.

In a statement to The Associated Press on Thursday night, Harreld said: “I would like to clarify my comments from earlier today. As I said, in conjunction with our fellow members of the Big Ten, we are exploring all options. But our first priority is the health and safety of our student athletes and fans.”

Harreld received some blowback on social media about his original comment. College athletics leaders have said there are doubts about whether the football season will be held as scheduled because of the pandemic.

Harreld told regents that the Big Ten has appointed a commission of medical experts to advise on how conference schools should go about resuming athletic activities and that schools were prepared for there being a “slight delay” to the football season.

“Our plan of record in the Big Ten is we need about six to eight weeks of good practice to keep our players safe,” he told regents. “I’m sure our coaches would love a lot more time so they can make them winners. But the key issue here is safety. We need six to eight weeks. We have a moratorium on all team related activities until June 1. So we are ever so hopeful this virus will be behind us at that point, we’ll be able to get back into what we normally do.”

Harreld pointed out that teams missed spring practice, then added: “If we got to the worst of the worst, would we let the players play with no fans? I don’t know, because if we’re at that stage with this virus, we’d have to do a lot of testing of the individual players, and I’m not going to go yes or no on that. I’m going to refer to the experts.”

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Six-time Grand Slam champion Boris Becker thinks the U.S. Open should not be held as scheduled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Becker, who won the title at Flushing Meadows in 1989, said: “New York was pretty much the worst city hit by the virus a couple of weeks ago. I don’t think it would be wise to have a tournament there.”

Becker spoke in an interview with Laureus.com; he is a Laureus Academy member.

The U.S. Tennis Association says it expects to decide by June whether to hold its Grand Slam tournament as planned from Aug. 31 to Sept. 13.

The professional tours have suspended competition until at least mid-July. Wimbledon was called off for the first time in 75 years.

That cancellation is “going to leave a big, empty void,” said Becker, who won titles at the All England Club in 1985, 1986 and 1989 and was the runner-up there four times.

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Churchill Downs’ spring meet without spectators will open May 16, with the historic track expected to release a revised schedule of stakes races online this weekend.

Last weekend’s scheduled opening was delayed because of concerns about the coronavirus pandemic, which already has forced the postponement of the Kentucky Oaks and Derby from this weekend to Sept. 4-5.

The track’s new opening will come five days after its stables and training center reopen in phases following approval Wednesday from state officials with strict guidelines to mitigate the impact of COVID-19.

Racing will be conducted Thursdays through Sundays with a Memorial Day card on May 25. The meet will be spectator-free until government officials approve their return.

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The Green Bay Packers have donated $250,000 to Green Bay-area health care systems to provide personal protective equipment for doctors, nurses and staff working in the fight against the new coronavirus.

This donation includes $83,333 grants to the Bellin Health Foundation, HSHS St. Vincent/St. Mary’s Hospital Foundation, and Aurora Health Foundation.

The donation is part of the Packers’ Give Back COVID-19 Community Relief Fund. The $1.5 million fund will provide $1 million in support to Brown County, which includes Green Bay. It also will direct $500,000 to initiatives in Milwaukee County.

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This year’s Little League World Series and the championship tournaments in six other Little League divisions have been canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Little League President Stephen Keener announced the cancellations in a Facebook Live broadcast Thursday afternoon from league headquarters in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, saying it would be “impossible” to hold the events amid ongoing restrictions on large gatherings and travel.

The Little League World Series has been held every August since 1947 and has never been canceled. Next year was to be the 75th playing of the tournament; that milestone has been pushed back to 2022.

Keener added that travel restrictions would make it equally impossible to hold qualifying tournaments for international teams and to bring those teams safely to the United States.

The annual major league game in Williamsport, which this year was to feature the Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles on Aug. 23, has also been canceled, MLB said.

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Portugal’s government says the country’s soccer league will be allowed to resume on May 30 following a stoppage forced by the coronavirus pandemic.

Prime Minister António Costa included the announcement in Thursday’s presentation of his government’s plan to roll back lockdown measures.

Costa said the resumption of play still depends on health authorities approving measures to make stadiums meet hygiene conditions.

The games will be played without fans.

Porto leads Benfica by one point at the top of the standings.

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Red Sox fans can still have their messages posted on the scoreboard at Fenway Park — even though the ballpark is closed and no games are taking place.

For a $50 donation to the team’s charity, fans can have a message posted on the 40-by-100 foot center field video board. For $100, they can have a message and a picture. The team will take a picture and send a picture of the scoreboard bearing the message.

The money will go to theRed Sox Foundation, which has been maintaining operations and programming during the coronavirus crisis to ensure consistent and necessary support and resources to hundreds of other non-profits and youth throughout New England.

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The Dodgers will soon give fans an account credit for home games scheduled in March and April.

The team hasn’t announced any plans for fans who have tickets to games later in the season.

The Dodgers were supposed to open the season on March 26; however, the start of baseball was postponed by the new coronavirus.

Dodger Stadium is set to host the All-Star Game in July. Officially, it has not been canceled, which the team noted in its information for fans.

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The Canucks for Kids Fund is donating $500,000 to Vancouver-area groups to help provide critical community needs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The money will be used to provide meals and care for seniors, youth and families, cleaning, security, emergency shelter, child care, and drop-in counseling sessions by voice, video and chat.

Groups receiving money include Feeding the Community, Greater Vancouver Food Bank, BC Care Providers Association, Senior Services Society of BC, Canucks Family Education Centre, Mackie’s Place, Foundry, YWCA, and Kids Help Phone.

Fans are also invited to participate if they can by donating online.

The Kids Fund normally dedicates its resources to assist charities which support children’s health and wellness, foster the development of grassroots hockey, and facilitate and encourage education in British Columbia.

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German chancellor Angela Merkel says a decision on whether the country’s soccer league can resume amid the coronavirus pandemic has been pushed back to Wednesday.

Soccer authorities had been hoping to receive the go-ahead to resume league games without fans as early as May 9.

Merkel met with the country’s 16 state governors and warned there is still a danger that numbers of COVID-19 infections could rise if strict containment measures are relaxed too soon.

Merkel says “we have to do all we can to ensure there is no regression.”

A ban on all large gatherings through the end of August will remain.

The Bundesliga was suspended on March 13 with nine rounds remaining.

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The Falmouth Road Race will go on as an “At-Home Edition.”

The 48th edition of the seven-mile run that usually winds along the Cape Cod seashore in Massachusetts will instead have participants running 7 miles in their own neighborhoods at some point in a two-week period at the end of August. The race was originally scheduled for Aug. 16, but the Town of Falmouth has implemented a “no large event” policy through the end of August because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Race organizers are buying $25,000 in gift cards to local businesses to hand out randomly to participants. The first 5,000 to register get guaranteed entry into the 2021 race.

First run in 1973, the Falmouth Road Race typically draws a field from Olympians to recreational runners. Past winners have included Boston Marathon champions Joan Benoit Samuelson, Bill Rodgers, Catherine Ndereba and Olympic marathon gold medalist Frank Shorter.

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Paris Saint-Germain has been declared French league champion after the soccer season ended early because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The move follows the French government’s decision to call off the soccer and rugby leagues in the country because of the virus.

The top two divisions in French soccer had 10 rounds of matches left to play. PSG led second-place Marseille by 12 points and played one game less.

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A new women’s soccer season has started in Belarus after it was initially delayed because of the coronavirus outbreak.

The season started with a game between Dynamo-BGUFK and the Belarus national under-19 team. The under-19 team competes in the league alongside club squads.

Fans were allowed to attend the game for free but fewer than 100 were in the stands at the stadium in Minsk.

Belarus is the only country in Europe playing professional soccer during the pandemic. The men’s league started last month and the women’s league had been scheduled to start on April 16 but was delayed by two weeks because of suspicions that players had contact with people who had the virus.

Belarus national soccer federation spokesman Alexander Aleinik tells The Associated Press that “tests did not confirm the virus for any of the players.”

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British boxing’s governing body says it hopes fights can be staged from July.

The British Boxing Board of Control says events would likely be held without fans initially and with an emphasis on “minimal numbers” of officials and broadcast personnel.

Anyone at the events will have to have been in pre-fight quarantine and had tests for COVID-19. There will initially be a maximum of five contests in a show.

The BBBofC says it continues to follow advice from government and medical authorities.

The biggest fight that could take place in Britain in July is Anthony Joshua’s defense of his world heavyweight belts against Kubrat Pulev in London.

The fight was initially scheduled for June 20 but was postponed. It could now be held on July 25.

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More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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