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Bombers to open vs. Als

THE Winnipeg Blue Bombers will play their 2013 home opener on June 27 against the Montreal Alouettes.

The CFL will release its entire schedule today, but the Free Press confirmed on Monday the Bombers will host the Als in their first home game of the season.

Bombers CEO Garth Buchko told Free Press reporter Bartley Kives last week he expects the new stadium to be ready for action this spring and the stadium is scheduled to have a "soft opening" on May 26 when church groups will hold a large prayer service. The prayer service will be followed on June 22 by a major concert by Taylor Swift, five days before the Bombers open against Montreal.

In other Bombers news, the club announced Monday they had released safety Brady Browne, who missed the second half of the 2012 season with a torn Achilles tendon.

Browne joined the Bombers in 2009 and served as the club's backup safety and a special teams specialist. A popular player with fans and teammates, Browne was nonetheless dogged by injuries during his stay in Winnipeg.

Browne missed four games in 2009 with an injury, another seven in 2010 and played in just one regular season and two playoff games in 2011 after tearing his biceps in the pre-season.

Browne was filling in for an injured Ian Logan as Winnipeg's starting safety last August when he tore his Achilles tendon during the fourth quarter of a 36-26 loss to the Montreal Alouettes. Browne did not play again in 2012.


Dunstone 4-2 at worlds

SOCHI, Russia -- Winnipeg's Matt Dunstone beat Italy's Amos Mosaner 5-4 Monday to improve to 4-2 at the world junior curling championship.

Dunstone scored deuces with the hammer in the first and fourth ends, then stole one in the seventh for a 5-1 lead. Mosaner answered with a deuce in the ninth. Facing two Italian counters in the 10th, Dunstone made the take-out, allowing a steal of one but earning the 5-4 win.

"We played great again. We got in our comfort zone right away and we got into a quick lead, just like we like," Dunstone said. "It was a real nice game for us. Going into the game they had the same record as us, so we knew we had to win this one. We know there's a little more to go, but this was a huge game. We'll celebrate for the five minutes we have but then we'll move onto the next one.

"As soon as we can get into that comfort zone we like to play our style of game. But all of the teams are great here and we know that we're not always going to get that early game lead like we'd like to."

The Canadian men are tied for second place in the standings with Eirik Mjoen of Norway, Evgeny Arkhipov of Russia, and Patric Mabergs of Sweden, and within reach of leader Kyle Smith of Scotland (5-1).

In women's action, Corryn Brown of Kamloops, B.C., won her first game of the tournament, defeating the Czech Republic's Iveta Janatova 9-4 on Monday. After seven draws, Canada sits 1-4 in the standings, tied with Switzerland's Michelle Gribi and Sweden's Sara McManus. Scotland's Hannah Fleming (6-0) remains the only undefeated skip on the women's side, with Denmark's Stephanie Risdal Nielsen and Japan's Sayaka Yoshimura (both at 4-1) close behind.

Dunstone faces the United States today while Brown takes on Switzerland and the U.S.


Votto steps up to plate

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Joey Votto wanted to say sorry, but only for making everyone wait on the best news Canada has had ahead of the World Baseball Classic.

The Cincinnati Reds first baseman will be in Canada's lineup after an uncertain spring training kept him from committing to the international tournament. Votto missed 48 games last season with a knee injury, but on Monday he finally put to rest fears that Canada would be without the heart of its offence.

"I was very clear to everyone that I needed the games to make sure my knee was healthy and heading in the right direction," he said at Reds training camp. "I feel confident in it and confident in my commitment. I feel I can comfortably play."

The news brought a sense of relief to Canada's training camp, which opened Monday morning.

Earlier in the day the team learned Chicago White Sox reliever Jesse Crain was out with a shoulder injury, leaving the bullpen without a veteran arm. Last week, Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Russell Martin opted out of the roster, which was already missing several veterans, including outfielder Jason Bay and pitchers Ryan Dempster and Jeff Francis.


Read stepping down

CALGARY -- Ken Read has stepped down as director of Canada's Own the Podium winter sports program.

Read said it was a good time for a change at the top with much of the leg work for the 2014 Sochi Games already complete.

He said Canada's Olympic and Paralympic winter programs currently have access to a record amount of funding from corporate partners.

Read became director of the program in May 2010 following Canada's successful showing at the Vancouver Olympics.

Since Read took over the Own the Podium program, Canadian winter athletes have performed consistently well in their respective competitions.


White House won't call

WASHINGTON -- The White House says North Korea's government should be focused on the well-being of its citizens, not on "celebrity sporting events" to entertain the country's elite.

White House spokesman Jay Carney made the comments in response to ex-NBA star Dennis Rodman's recent visit to North Korea. Rodman watched a basketball game with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Upon his return to the U.S., Rodman said Kim wants U.S. President Barack Obama to call him. Carney says the U.S. already has direct channels of communication to North Korea's government and those are the channels it will continue to use.


-- staff / from the news services

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 5, 2013 D4

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