The NHL is relaxing virus protocols for teams that have 85 percent of their traveling parties vaccinated, the league announced Saturday. For a team with 56 members in its traveling party, 48 would need to be fully vaccinated. The changes include loosened restrictions on indoor and outdoor dining, testing frequency and mask-wearing and quarantine requirements. The defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning are among the teams that have already reached the 85 percent threshold. Under the new regulations, fully vaccinated individuals can dine outdoors or inside (in a private section or room with masked servers), visit each other’s hotel rooms, go golfing and have other social gatherings without masking or distancing requirements. They also won’t have to quarantine for potential exposure or be subject to testing on off days, and in some cases rapid tests prior to games.
FCS championship game set
Mark Gronowski passed for two touchdowns and caught a 24-yard TD pass from Pierre Strong Jr. to help top-seeded South Dakota State beat visiting Delaware, 33-3, in the semifinals of the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs. South Dakota State, in its ninth consecutive FCS playoffs appearance, advanced to the championship game for the first time in program history. The Jackrabbits (8-1) will face Sam Houston State (9-0) in the championship game on May 16 in Frisco, Texas. The Bearkats rallied from a 21-point halftime deficit to beat James Madison, 38-35, in the other semifinal. Jequez Ezzard’s catch-and-run for a touchdown and punt return for a score were among two of three touchdowns the Bearkats scored in the last 2½ minutes of the third quarter to complete the comeback … Rado Parapunov had 13 kills, seven digs, two blocks and three aces, and the University of Hawaii won its first national championship in men’s volleyball with a dominating victory over BYU, 25-21, 25-19, 25-16, in Columbus, Ohio.
Thorns win NWSL’s Challenge Cup
Morgan Weaver buried her penalty kick after Portland goalkeeper Adrianna Franch stopped Nahomi Kawasumi’s attempt and the host Thorns won the Challenge Cup tournament on a penalty shootout after a 1-1 draw with Gotham. The Thorns did not drop a match in the National Women’s Soccer League preseason tournament … Bayern Munich clinched its record-extending ninth consecutive German Bundesliga title with a 6-0 rout of Borussia Mönchengladbach in Berlin … Neymar pledged to help Paris Saint-Germain finally win the ever-elusive Champions League trophy after signing a three-year contract extension, keeping the Brazil star at the ambitious club until 2025.
Super League rebels fire back
The three remaining European Super League rebels stepped up their criticism of UEFA, with Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus denouncing intolerable threats for their refusal to back down on the prospect of a breakaway competition. The other nine clubs who formed the ill-fated Super League three weeks ago accepted a settlement on Friday to be fined by UEFA and stay within the open Champions League structure. The trio risks being banned from the Champions League as UEFA pursues a disciplinary process against them for not disavowing the Super League and being reintegrated into the existing system. The Super League project imploded after the English clubs — Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool (owned by John Henry, who also owns the Globe), Manchester United, Manchester City and Tottenham — backed out inside 48 hours last month after a backlash from the fans and British government. The Premier League clubs along with Atletico Madrid, AC Milan and Inter Milan signed up to a settlement with UEFA to participate only in the existing open European competitions and accepted giving up 5 percent of revenue for one season playing in Europe.
Sabalenka upsets Barty in Madrid
Aryna Sabalenka defeated top-ranked Ash Barty, 6-0, 3-6, 6-4, to win the Madrid Open for her 10th WTA title and first on clay. The victory, coming two weeks after she was hurt in a loss to Barty in the Stuttgart final in Germany, will move the Belarus player to No. 4 in the world next week. In the men’s semifinals, sixth-ranked Alexander Zverev followed his triumph over Rafael Nadal with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Dominic Thiem to reach Sunday’s final against 10th-ranked Matteo Berrettini, who beat Casper Ruud, 6-4, 6-4.
Westbrook ties Robertson’s record
Russell Westbrook tied Oscar Robertson’s NBA record for triple-doubles with 181, finishing with 33 points, 19 rebounds and 15 assists, and made two free throws with a second left to give the Washington Wizards a 133-132 overtime victory against the host Indiana Pacers … Justin Allgaier held off JR Motorsports teammate Josh Berry in overtime to win the Xfinity event at Darlington Raceway in South Carolina. Allgaier didn’t move in front until the final 10 laps, when he passed Berry for the lead. Then the race’s eighth and final caution five laps later set up the two-lap overtime shootout for the win. Allgaier took the outside line and, while Berry edged in front briefly, he powered past him to take the checkered flag. A fourth JRM driver, Noah Gragson, had crossed the finish line fourth and appeared to win a $100,000 bonus. But he was disqualified after his car failed inspection and he dropped to 40th, last in the field … Lewis Hamilton reached another Formula One milestone when the British driver steered his way to a record-extending 100th pole position. Hamilton powered his Mercedes to the top time in qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix with a flying lap that beat out top rival Max Verstappen by just 0.03 seconds … Italian cyclist Filippo Ganna lived up to his billing as the favorite by storming to victory in the opening stage time trial of the Giro d’Italia in Turin, Italy, beating his closest rival by 10 seconds … The Carolina Panthers hired former star linebacker Dan Morgan to be their assistant general manager.