Yahoo Sports AM: Hockey scandal rocks Canada, NHL

In today's edition: A major update in the Hockey Canada scandal, LSU's superteam, our picks for Team USA, and more.

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🚨 Headlines

🏈 Harbaugh to Chargers: Jim Harbaugh is leaving Michigan to become the next head coach of the Chargers. Wolverines OC Sherrone Moore is the heavy favorite to replace him in Ann Arbor.

🏀 Doc to Milwaukee: The Bucks have hired Doc Rivers after abruptly firing Adrian Griffin. This will be Rivers' fifth head coaching gig following stops in Orlando, Boston, Los Angeles and Philadelphia.

⚽️ Nixed transfer: FC Dallas was set to accept a $13 million bid for forward Jesus Ferreira from Russian club Spartak Moscow, but MLS blocked the transfer, citing political concerns, The Athletic reports ($).

🏈 Big re-commitment: WR Ryan Williams, the No. 4 recruit in the Class of 2024, is staying with Alabama after briefly wavering when Nick Saban retired.

🏒 Sexual assault scandal rocks Canada, NHL

Team Canada poses after winning gold at the 2018 World Junior Championship. (Kevin Hoffman/Getty Images)
Team Canada poses after winning gold at the 2018 World Junior Championship. (Kevin Hoffman/Getty Images)

In the past 48 hours, five hockey players were mysteriously granted leaves of absence from their clubs, and five members of Canada's 2018 world juniors team were asked to surrender to London, Ontario, police on charges of sexual assault, per The Globe and Mail ($).

Connecting the dots: The five players asked to surrender have not been named. But considering the five players on leave — Carter Hart, Dillon Dubé, Michael McLeod, Cal Foote and Alex Formenton — were all members of that 2018 team, it's safe to assume it's them.

  • The Flyers cited personal reasons for Hart's leave on Tuesday. Swiss club Ambri-Piotta did the same for Formenton, a former NHL player.

  • The Flames cited Dubé’s mental health, and the Devils didn't give a reason for McLeod and Foote missing practice on Wednesday.

Catch up quick: In April 2022, a woman sued Hockey Canada claiming she'd been sexually assaulted by eight members of the 2018 world juniors team in a hotel room following a gala in London. Hockey Canada settled the lawsuit — then came three more bombshells.

  1. A third-party investigation found that Hockey Canada had maintained two secret slush funds to pay out settlements for sexual assault and abuse claims, with some of the money coming from children's hockey registration fees.

  2. A former official testified that Hockey Canada had paid $7.6 million (Canadian dollars) in nine such settlements dating back to 1989, illustrating the scope of the problem. And that didn't even include the 2022 payout to the London plaintiff.

  3. Another woman came forward claiming she'd been "gang raped" by members of the 2003 world juniors team in Halifax. According to reports, more than six players were recorded engaging in sex with the woman who was "naked and non-responsive."

The fallout: Hockey Canada's CEO and board of directors stepped down in the wake of the scandal, and Nike and other sponsors cut ties with the organization. The London police also re-opened their investigation into the 2018 assault claim, which brings us to today.

Any word from the NHL? The league opened its own investigation in 2022 and pledged to make those findings public, but has yet to do so. On Wednesday, deputy commissioner Bill Daily told AP that the NHL will issue a statement when it's appropriate.

🏀 LSU's superteam takes center stage

Mikaylah Williams (L), Aneesah Morrow, Angel Reese, Hailey Van Lith, Flau'jae Johnson. (Henry Russell/Yahoo Sports)
Mikaylah Williams (L), Aneesah Morrow, Angel Reese, Hailey Van Lith, Flau'jae Johnson. (Henry Russell/Yahoo Sports)

There are 699 D-I basketball teams, and only one is undefeated. That could change tonight in Louisiana, where 17-0 South Carolina faces its toughest test yet.

A superteam in Baton Rouge: Reigning champion LSU had quite the offseason, adding the top two transfers and the No. 2 recruit to an already-stacked roster.

  • Hailey Van Lith, one of the sport's best point guards and biggest names, transferred from Louisville.

  • Aneesah Morrow, a two-time All-American and 2022 Freshman of the Year, transferred from DePaul.

  • Mikaylah Williams, the No. 2 recruit, headlined the Tigers' top-ranked class.

Loaded lineup: Those three join Angel Reese (two-time All-American, 2023 NCAA Tournament MVP) and Flau'jae Johnson (2023 SEC Freshman of the Year) to form one of the most talented starting fives ever assembled.

  • A superteam like this would have never been possible before 2021, when the NCAA began allowing players to transfer once without sitting out a year.

  • You'll also never see a team quite like this in men's college hoops because the male equivalents of Reese and Morrow (and possibly Van Lith and Johnson) would have gone pro already.

  • So LSU fans can thank two controversial rules — the transfer portal and the WNBA draft's age restrictions — for allowing this juggernaut to be built.

Yes, but… While LSU looks unstoppable on paper, the ninth-ranked Tigers have already lost twice (to No. 3 Colorado and Auburn) and most expect another L against a Gamecocks squad that can also be called a superteam — albeit a homegrown one.

  • LSU is the home team this evening (with College GameDay in town) and the Tigers are a fun story.

  • But unbeaten South Carolina still feels like the star of tonight's entertainment (8pm ET, ESPN).

Fun fact: These teams are coming off nearly identical games. LSU opened with an 18-0 run in a 99-68 win over Arkansas, while South Carolina opened with an 18-0 run in a 99-64 win over Texas A&M.

🇺🇸 Team USA: 41 contenders for Paris

(Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
(Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

USA Basketball has unveiled the 41 players under consideration for the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris, where Team USA will go for a fifth straight gold against the strongest international competition yet.

The player pool: This star-studded list will be whittled down to 12 for the final roster. Who ya got?

  • A-B: Bam Adebayo (Heat); Jarrett Allen (Cavaliers); Paolo Banchero (Magic); Desmond Bane (Grizzlies): Scottie Barnes (Raptors); Devin Booker (Suns); Mikal Bridges (Nets); Jaylen Brown (Celtics); Jalen Brunson (Knicks); Jimmy Butler (Heat)

  • C-G: Alex Caruso (Bulls); Stephen Curry (Warriors); Anthony Davis (Lakers); Kevin Durant (Suns); Anthony Edwards (Timberwolves); Joel Embiid (76ers); De'Aaron Fox (Kings); Paul George (Clippers); Aaron Gordon (Nuggets)

  • H-J: Tyrese Haliburton (Pacers); James Harden (Clippers); Josh Hart (Knicks); Tyler Herro (Heat); Jrue Holiday (Celtics); Chet Holmgren (Thunder); Brandon Ingram (Pelicans); Kyrie Irving (Mavericks); Jaren Jackson Jr. (Grizzlies); LeBron James (Lakers); Cam Johnson (Nets)

  • K-Y: Walker Kessler (Jazz); Kawhi Leonard (Clippers); Damian Lillard (Bucks); Donovan Mitchell (Cavaliers); Chris Paul (Warriors); Bobby Portis (Bucks); Austin Reaves (Lakers); Duncan Robinson (Heat); Jayson Tatum (Celtics); Derrick White (Celtics); Trae Young (Hawks)

My picks:

  • Starters: Stephen Curry, Jayson Tatum, Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Joel Embiid

  • Bench: Kawhi Leonard, Bam Adebayo, Anthony Edwards, Paul George, Tyrese Haliburton, Anthony Davis, Devin Booker

What would your 12-man roster look like? Send me an email telling me how wrong I am! I look forward to seeing your picks.

💔 Photo of the night

(Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
(Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

The Warriors honored assistant coach Dejan Milojević on Wednesday in their first game since he suffered a heart attack at a team dinner last week and died at age 46.

"Deki's smile, his joy, his laughter was ever present. … So tonight, rather than a moment of silence, I would like for all of us to give Deki an ovation that he can hear up in heaven." — Steve Kerr

An inspired victory: The Warriors played one of their best games of the season, beating the Hawks, 134-112.

⚽️ Ivory Coast fires coach, advances

An Ivory Coast supporter during a group stage match. (Franck Fife/AFP via Getty Images)
An Ivory Coast supporter during a group stage match. (Franck Fife/AFP via Getty Images)

Ivory Coast fired its head soccer coach the same day the team qualified for the knockout stage of the Africa Cup of Nations, which the country is hosting.

  • Jean-Louis Gasset was terminated on Wednesday following a disappointing group stage (one win, two losses). He reportedly tendered his resignation after a 4-0 loss to Equatorial Guinea.

  • Hours after Gasset was fired, Ivory Coast snuck into the Round of 16 as one of the four best third-place finishers in the six groups. Morocco's 1-0 win over Zambia sent the host nation through.

What's next: Former midfielder Emerse Faé will serve as interim coach for Ivory Coast's game against defending champion Senegal.

Round of 16 matches:

  • Angola vs. Namibia

  • Nigeria vs. Cameroon

  • Equatorial Guinea vs. Guinea*

  • Egypt vs. Congo

  • Cape Verde vs. Mauritania

  • Senegal vs. Ivory Coast

  • Mali vs. Burkina Faso

  • Morocco vs. South Africa

*Geography lesson: Equatorial Guinea and Guinea are two of four nations on Earth with "Guinea" in their name. The other two: Guinea-Bissau (also in Africa) and Papua New Guinea (in Oceania).

📆 Jan. 25, 1998: Davis wins MVP

(Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
(Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

26 years ago today, Terrell Davis became the seventh and most recent running back to win Super Bowl MVP* after leading the Broncos past the Packers, 31-24, in Super Bowl XXXII, Jeff writes.

An exclusive club: The other six RBs to win Super Bowl MVP…

  • Larry Csonka: Dolphins def. Vikings, 24-7, in SB VIII (1974)

  • Franco Harris: Steelers def. Vikings, 16-6, in SB IX (1975)

  • John Riggins: Redskins def. Dolphins, 27-17, in SB XVII (1983)

  • Marcus Allen: Raiders def. Redskins, 38-9, in SB XVIII (1984)

  • Ottis Anderson: Giants def. Bills, 20-19, in SB XXV (1991)

  • Emmitt Smith: Cowboys def. Bills, 30-13, in SB XXVIII (1994)

More on this day:

  • 🥇 1924: The first Winter Olympics began in Chamonix, France, with 16 nations competing in nine events. Norway (17 medals) and Finland (11) went on to dominate the podium.

  • 🏀 1960: Wilt Chamberlain scored 58 points in a win over the Pistons, still the single-game rookie record.

*Super Bowl MVPs, by position: QB (32), WR (8), RB (7), LB (4), DE (2), S (2), CB (1), DT (1), KR (1). Yes, that's 58, despite there having been only 57 Super Bowls — there were co-MVPs for Super Bowl XII.

📺 Watchlist: Men's semifinals

Sinner and Djokovic shake hands after Sinner's semifinal victory at the 2023 Davis Cup. (Clive Brunskill/Getty Images for ITF)
Sinner and Djokovic shake hands after Sinner's semifinal victory at the 2023 Davis Cup. (Clive Brunskill/Getty Images for ITF)

The Australian Open men's semifinals are tonight (and extremely early tomorrow morning), as four of the world's six best players battle it out in Melbourne for a spot in the final, Jeff writes.

  • No. 1 Novak Djokovic vs. No. 4 Jannik Sinner (10:30pm ET, ESPN): Djokovic has won 33 straight matches* in Melbourne, but he'll have his hands full with Sinner, who beat him twice back in November and hasn't dropped a set this tournament.

  • No. 3 Daniil Medvedev vs. No. 6 Alexander Zverev (3:30am, ESPN): This is Zverev's fifth major semifinal since 2021, but he's lost the previous four. He'll need to be at his best against Medvedev, who has made the semis at seven of the last 10 hardcourt Grand Slams.

More to watch:

  • 🏀 NBA: Celtics at Heat (7:30pm, TNT); Kings at Warriors (10pm, TNT)

  • 🏀 NCAAW: No. 22 Syracuse at No. 15 Notre Dame (7pm, ACC); No. 1 South Carolina at No. 9 LSU (8pm ET, ESPN)

  • ⛳️ PGA: Farmers Insurance Open (11:45am, ESPN+; 3pm, Golf)

*Tournament record: Djokovic's 33-match winning streak matches an Australian Open record originally set by Monica Seles, his childhood idol.

🏈 College football trivia

(Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
(Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

With Jim Harbaugh leaving for the NFL, there are now just three active college football head coaches who have won an FBS national championship.

  • Question: Can you name all three?

  • Hint: Two are in the same conference.

Answer at the bottom.

🏒 Good karma

(Andy Cross/The Denver Post)
(Andy Cross/The Denver Post)

We began today's edition with deeply disturbing hockey news. We end with something a bit more hopeful.

This past weekend, Nathan MacKinnon was staring down an empty net and his seventh career hat trick. Instead, he dished the puck to Logan O'Connor so he could get his first.

  • "It's probably been 15 years since my last hat trick. Pretty unselfish play by Nate there," said O'Connor.

  • "I think he knows he's gonna get a lot more hat tricks than I will."

Fast-forward to Wednesday: In Colorado's very next game, MacKinnon didn't just score three goals — he scored four. Puck don't lie!

Trivia answer: Clemson's Dabo Swinney (won in 2016 and 2018), Georgia's Kirby Smart (won in 2021 and 2022) and UNC's Mack Brown (won with Texas in 2005)

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