Coronavirus: Here's what happened in the sports world on Saturday
Rogers Cup women's tennis tournament in Montreal off schedule for 2020
The latest on how the coronavirus outbreak is affecting sports around the globe:
- Rogers Cup in Montreal postponed until 2021
- Hayley Wickenheiser launches PPE drive to help front-line workers
- MLB's virtual season gets underway
- Tour de France organizers focusing on postponement, not cancellation
Rogers Cup in Montreal off schedule for 2020
The Rogers Cup women's tennis tournament will not be played this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tennis Canada announced Saturday the event, scheduled for Aug. 7 to 16 in Montreal, is off the schedule.
Quebec's government announced Friday no sporting events could be held through Aug. 31, though it left the door slightly open for pro teams.
Tennis Canada says the women's event will return to Montreal in August 2021.
The women's and men's Rogers Cup traditionally rotate between Toronto and Montreal.
As of Saturday, the men's event still is on schedule for Toronto in August 2020. A Tennis Canada spokesperson said planning will continue for the Toronto event until Ontario or the city reach a similar decision as Quebec, or the ATP Tour continues its suspension of play.
Wickenheiser launches PPE drive in Toronto
Hayley Wickenheiser can't believe how quickly her drive for personal protection equipment has come together.
The Canadian hockey legend, Ontario premier Doug Ford and an army of volunteers joined forces at a storage facility in Toronto on Saturday to collect, organize and then distribute badly needed medical equipment to front-line workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Wickenheiser's medical training in Toronto was paused when her teachers joined the fight to stop the spread of COVID-19, so the Hockey Hall of Famer launched a social media plea for personal protective equipment last Sunday.
Canadian actor Ryan Reynolds amplified her request to his 35 million Instagram followers, boosting her call for 13,500 masks, 13,500 gloves and 1,350 chemo gowns.
Wickenheiser has aligned her PPE drive with the ConquerCOVID19 group. It's an organization of medical and business professionals that sprung up two weeks ago to find equipment to keep doctors, nurses and health-care workers safe while they treat people infected with the virus.
Ford joined Wickenheiser at XYZ Storage on Saturday morning for the first instalment of a weekly drive at the facility in the east end of Toronto. Reynolds called in to speak with Ford and Wickenheiser in a video that was posted to the premier's Twitter account.
MLB kicks off virtual season for charity
Texas Rangers slugger Joey Gallo won all four of his games Friday night as the MLB The Show Players League got underway.
The online tournament utilizing the "MLB The Show 20" game features one player from each of the 30 major league teams. The charity event is helping fill some time for players and fans with the baseball season shut down indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic.
All players will square off once in a 29-game round robin over the next three weeks. Each regular-season game lasts three innings.
The top eight players will reach the postseason, which culminates in a May 2 World Series. The playoffs will utilize a best-of-three format until the World Series, which will be best-of-five.
Sony Interactive Entertainment and Major League Baseball, in cooperation with the players association, will donate $5,000 on behalf of each player to a Boys and Girls Club in his community. A total of $175,000 will be donated, including the World Series prize of $25,000.
Gallo was the star on opening night, defeating Minnesota Twins right-hander Trevor May, Houston Astros right-hander Lance McCullers Jr., Tampa Bay Rays left-hander Blake Snell and Cincinnati Reds left-hander Amir Garrett by a combined 30-6 score.
Garrett posted a 3-1 record Friday while Snell and McCullers both went 2-2. May finished 1-3, and Boston Red Sox left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez wound up 0-4.
Tour de France organizers aiming for postponement
Tour de France organizers are focusing on a postponement of this year's race rather than a cancellation due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to an email seen by Reuters on Saturday which was sent to the publishers of the official Tour program.
The Tour's main publisher said in the email it was "freezing the administrative aspects of our collaboration" ahead of the sport's most prestigious race which is due to run from June 27-July 19.
"The unpredictable nature of the global crisis that we are all caught up in means that we will have to be patient until there's an official announcement of [Tour organizers] ASO about the 2020 race, bearing in mind that the current focus is on a postponement until later in the summer rather than a cancellation," the publishing arm of L'Equipe newspaper, which is owned by the same family as the Tour de France organizers, wrote.
With files from The Canadian Press, Field Level Media, Reuters