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Ice hockey history was made on Sunday, December 27th when Shannon Szabados became the first female goaltender to ever post a shutout in a male professional league. Szabados is well known in her homeland of Canada as she led the country to a gold medal at the Olympic Games in 2010 in Vancouver, British Columbia and again in 2014 in Sochi, Russia. The 29-year-old has been playing in the Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL) for the past three seasons as a member of the Columbus Cottonmouths.
The young lady from Edmonton, Alberta turned aside a total of 33 shots in the game against the Huntsville Havoc for a 3-0 victory and a place in the history books. Szabados has appeared in a dozen games with the Cottonmouths so far this season and has a save percentage of 90.9 to go along with her goals-against average of 3.58. The SPHL isn’t the biggest North American men’s pro league, but it’s still quite an accomplishment for Szabados to make the Columbus squad and to then record a shutout. This is especially true considering he’s just 5-feet-9-inches tall and weighs less than 150 lbs.
Twenty-eight-year old goaltender Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens has been named the winner of the Lou Marsh Trophy and the Lionel Conacher Award as Canada’s best male athlete of the year for 2015. The Lou Marsh Trophy is handed out by the Toronto Star newspaper while the Conacher Award is voted on by members of the Canadian Press (CP). Price was named on 53 per cent of the ballots for the Conacher Award after his excellent NHL season in 2014/15. Price said it was an honour to win the awards especially since he was recognized as the best athlete for all sports not just hockey.
Serbian soccer player Marko Grujic is quite skilful at just 19 years old and has been drawing attention to himself due to his fine play in his homeland. The midfielder currently plays for Serbian side Red Star Belgrade, but has been approached by several other European clubs what are interested in acquiring his services. However, his father believes that a move to a bigger team could do some serious harm to his promising career. Therefore, he has hidden his son’s passport to make sure he doesn’t leave Belgrade.
Grujic is one of Red Star’s top players even though he’s still a teenager. He’s an accomplished goalscorer and playmaker and is known for his excellent work ethic and defending. The youngster has found the back of the net five times in 19 league matches so far this season and has also set up his teammates for eight more goals. He entered this season with a lot of momentum and confidence after playing in the Serbian squad which won this year’s Under-20 World Cup.
An amateur soccer player over in Turkey will be brought up on charges after deliberately and brutally booting an opponent in the head while he was down on the ground. It doesn’t appear that he has much of a defence since the entire incident was caught on video. The player named Mehmet Degirmenci plays for a Turkish club called Sanayispor and can be seen clearly in the video as he attacked an opponent named Kayhan Karakas from the Dallicaspor team. Reports out of Turkey say the player is now facing charges of attempted manslaughter for his savage actions.
The play started then Degirmenci tripped Karakas during the match from and was then shown a red card from the referee for the tackle from behind. However, Degirmenci didn’t leave the pitch. Karakas was still down on the ground after being tripped and Degirmenci walked over to him and appeared to kick him straight in the face as hard as he could. The Turkish Daily Sabah newspaper reported that Karakas was knocked unconscious and needed several stitches to repair the damage.
Christmas came early for millions of soccer fans across the world on December 21st when FIFA boss Sepp Blatter and his UEFA counterpart Michel Platini were finally banned from the sport. What’s even a better scenario for fans is that the pair has been suspended for eight years rather than a nominal slap on the wrist. Many critics believe the two got off lightly though and feel a jail sentence would have been more appropriate for violating FIFA’s ethics regulations. Blatter was also fined the equivalent to $40,000 while Platini was hit with an $80,000 fine.
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