Falmouth forward Charlie Adams, South Portland forward Cullen Adams, Portland/Deering goalie Ryan Becker and Thornton Academy forward Alex St. John are among eight semifinalists for the Travis Roy Award, given to the top senior boys’ hockey player in Class A.
The other semifinalists are goalie Jake Hirsch and center Cooper Ireland of Bangor, Edward Little forward Jack Keefe and Lewiston forward Evan Knowlton.
Finalists are scheduled to be announced next week after the semifinals, and the winner will be honored at the Class A hockey banquet in Auburn on March 19.
FRENCH OPEN: France is easing its vaccination rules later this month, which could pave the way for Novak Djokovic to compete at this year’s French Open.
French Prime Minister Jean Castex announced that people will no longer have to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 to access venues such as sports stadiums and restaurants from March 14. That means Djokovic, who is unvaccinated, could be allowed to compete at Roland Garros in May unless the restrictions are tightened again.
Djokovic was deported from Australia in January after a legal battle over whether he should be allowed to enter the country, forcing him to miss the Australian Open. He told the BBC last month that he was willing to miss upcoming Grand Slam tournaments as well if they required him to get vaccinated.
Djokovic has won the French Open twice and has a total of 20 major titles, one short of the record held by Rafael Nadal after the Spaniard won the Australian Open.
WTA: The WTA Tour has agreed to a multi-year, multimillion-dollar title sponsorship deal with Hologic, a medical technology company.
The agreement gives the women’s professional tennis tour its first title sponsor since a deal with Sony Ericsson ended in 2010.
The WTA declined to say how long its contract with Hologic runs or how much it is worth, but did call it the “largest global sponsorship” in tour history.
WORLD CUP QUALIFYING: Ukraine wants to postpone its World Cup qualifying playoff against Scotland, FIFA said, amid a shutdown in domestic soccer during the invasion by Russia.
Ukraine is scheduled to play Scotland in Glasgow on March 24, with the winner then taking on either Wales or Austria five days later for a place at this year’s World Cup in Qatar.
A large part of Ukraine’s team is typically made up of players playing for domestic clubs such as Dynamo Kyiv and Shakhtar Donetsk. They have been disrupted by the national league stopping last week and many players who are not from Ukraine left the country to seek safety.
FIFA said it was in talks with Scottish officials and European soccer body UEFA “to find an appropriate solution. FIFA expresses its deepest solidarity to everybody affected by what is happening in Ukraine.”
One option would be to postpone the games in the four-team playoff bracket until the next national-team match dates in June. The global World Cup qualifying program has already seen several delays because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The draw for the tournament is scheduled for April 1 in Doha, but at least two of the 32 entries will not be known by that date.
The final two places are set to be decided in June when four teams – from Asia, North and South America and Oceania – go to Qatar for the intercontinental playoffs.
BELARUS: UEFA barred all Belarus teams from hosting international soccer games, and the country could be expelled from European competitions for joining Russia’s war on Ukraine.
Belarus is still at risk of being banned from international competitions – as Russia was by UEFA and FIFA on Monday – before its next scheduled home game on April 7. Iceland was due in Belarus for a group-stage game in qualifying for the 2023 Women’s World Cup.
PGA: Rory McIlroy opened with a 7-under 65 to take the first-round lead at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in Orlando, Florida.
He had a two-shot advantage over Beau Hossler, J.J. Spaun and Billy Horschel.
LPGA: Patty Tavatanakit shot a 5-under 67 in Singapore to take a one-stroke lead after the first round of the HSBC Women’s World Championship, which includes nine of the top 10 female golfers.
Danielle Kang was tied for the lead before bogeying her final hole to drop into a tie for second with Inbee Park and A Lim Kim.
Top-ranked Jin Young Ko, Lydia Ko and Brooke Henderson were among those tied for third, two strokes behind.
FORMULA ONE: Formula One has terminated its contract with the Russian Grand Prix following the country’s invasion of Ukraine, saying that Russia “will not have a race” in the future.
F1 already canceled this year’s race, which had been scheduled to be held in Sochi on Sept. 25. But following further discussions this week, F1 went a step further and ended a contract which ran until 2025.
RUSSIA: A projected first-round pick in this year’s NHL draft is experiencing “serious health problems” that could mean he isn’t able to play for more than a year, the Russian Hockey Federation said.
Ivan Miroshnichenko, an 18-year-old left winger, was on the Russian team that finished runner-up to Canada at the under-18 world championships last year. He has 16 points in 31 games in Russia’s main minor league this year for a team in the Avangard Omsk organization.
“Forward Ivan Miroshnichenko has been diagnosed with serious health problems. At the moment, he is receiving medical treatment in Germany and might miss the entirety of next season,” the RHF wrote on Twitter. “We believe that you will overcome this illness and return to the ice!”
Avangard said it was covering all of Miroshnichenko’s medical expenses.
RUSSIA: Three Russian wrestlers were suspended by the International Testing Agency because of doping cases dating back 10 years.
The evidence was only recently revealed in a Moscow laboratory database that was withheld and tampered with in the possession of Russian state authorities from 2015-19.
Manipulating the database led to a two-year slate of sanctions against Russian sports, including athletes and teams being denied their national identity at last year’s Tokyo Olympics and last month’s Beijing Games. They competed as ROC, short for Russian Olympic Committee.
The ITA said data relating to wrestlers Daria Leksina, Aleksey Shchekov, Elena Vostrikova was “indicative of the presence of banned substances in samples provided by the athletes in 2012.”
None of the three went on to compete at the Olympics or win medals at world championships.