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| THE BALTIMORE SUN
Woods back, still expects to win
Return this week in Akron ends 12-week layoff
By Jeff Shain
JOE SORIERO/BALTIMORE SUN PHOTOS
Players from the Herring Run Recreation Center in action Tuesday during the council president’s first street hockey tournament.
Officials hopeful for youth street hockey tournament
Council president, Capitals back event to popularize game here
By Matt Castello
The Baltimore Sun
On Tuesday, on a court renowned for housing some of Baltimore’s best basketball, Kenyetta Riddick calmly moved into position between the plastic pipes. On her 11th birthday, the exceedingly polite girl with glasses strapped on goalie pads for the first time and was nearly unbeatable in net. Playing at The Dome — where, since the 1980s, the city’s elite basketball players have thrown down — Kenyetta and her sister, Kennisha, 13, helped lead the Mary E. Rodman Recreation Center team to a 3-0 victory against the Robert C. Marshall squad in the final of the inaugural NHL Street Hockey Tournament. The event, which featured approximately 60 kids between 8 and 13 years old from six Baltimore recreation centers, was designed to introduce the sport to a largely unfamiliar audience. Kenyetta allowed just five goals in six games, gobbling up any shot within arm’s reach. In the second half of the championship, less than a minute after Taja Horton had poked in a loose ball near the crease to give her team a 2-0 lead, Kennisha ripped the tournament’s final score, a top-shelf blast from the point. “Makes me want to play hockey,” Taja, 12, said after the tournament, her championship medal draped around her neck. Baltimore City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young organized the event in conjunction with the Washington Capitals and the Baltimore City Department of Recreation and Parks. Young, who was heavily involved in bringing the Capitals to the city for the Baltimore Hockey Classic on Sept. 20, said he feels it will leave a lasting impression on the city’s youth in a sport they might have been unfamiliar with. Hockey “is a sport that’s going to be wide open to them, a sport that they never were introduced to,” Young, who served as Mary E. Rodman’s honorary coach, said. “Now, I can see them wanting to go and play it on another level, going to the high school level and collegiate level. “Who knows? We might have the next Washington Capital playing right here.” Errol Rausse, who played for the Capitals from 1979 to 1983, was Marshall’s honorary coach during the finals and believes Washington is making a concerted effort to cultivate Charm City hockey fans. “I think this speaks volumes about the Caps’ commitment to draw more fans and to expose a lot more fans to this great game,” he said. “They have made a commitment to reach out to Baltimore. This is a potentially huge fan market for them, as well.” Along with the teams from the Rodman and Marshall centers, Madison Square, Herring Run, Chick-Webb and Roosevelt
AKRON, OHIO — The balky left knee and Achilles tendon are “good to go” — good enough that he almost teed it up last week. The swing, though, hasn’t been tested in a competitive arena in 12 weeks. He has fallen to 28th in the world rankings, lowest since the start of his first full season as a professional. His caddie is a temp, albeit someone who has known him as long as anyone outside his family. Amid the uncertainty that accompanies his return at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, Tiger Woods is most certain about his approach. “I’m excited,” Woods said Tuesday. “Excited to compete, to play — and, hopefully, win the golf tournament.” Even after one of the longest layoffs of his career, that last part still hasn’t wavered. “That’s one of the reasons why I took as long as I did to come back,” Woods said after nine holes of practice. “I wanted to get to this point where I can go ahead and start playing golf again like this. It’s been a very long time.” Woods hadn’t been seen with a golf club in his hand since The Players Championship, where he withdrew after nine holes after aggravating the injury suffered a month earlier at the Masters. He subsequently pulled out of four more tournaments, including the U.S. Open and British Open, to let the injuries fully rest and go through rehabilitation. Woods disclosed that he had been putting and chipping for several weeks but could cut loose on a driver only “two, three weeks ago.” Things have gone so well, he added, that he considered entering last week’s Greenbrier Classic before deciding to take one extra week of caution. But that statement comes with a grain of contradiction — swing coach Sean Foley told reporters he wasn’t brought in for a session until Friday. What it means in the red-and-black numbers of tournament golf can’t be determined until later this week and, truthfully, not even then. The journey resumes Thursday at 1:40 p.m., paired with a friend in new British Open champion Darren Clarke. “For us to have a chance to compete against him again can only be good for the game in general,” Clarke said. “I think it’s brilliant. Hopefully, I’m able to give him a little bit of stick and make him laugh a little bit the first couple of days.” Asked how long it has been since he felt as good physically as he does now, Woods responded: “Years.” Pressed for a more specific number, he replied: “Plural. … Just plural.” Woods also confirmed that longtime friend Bryon Bell will serve as his caddie both this week and at next week’s PGA Championship. Woods fired Steve Williams during the layoff, ending a 12-year working relationship.
Madison Square Recreation Center coach Timothy Johnson celebrates with his goalie, Alfonso White, 11, at The Dome.
had squads at the tournament. Assuming attendance for the Baltimore Hockey Classic, in which the Capitals will play the Nashville Predators in an exhibition at 1st Mariner Arena, is robust, Young hopes Washington “will reach out and express an interest in playing a regularseason game in Baltimore.” “If we can sell that out, I’m quite sure they’d be interested in doing a game here,” he said. “We don’t want to steal their team, but we would like to have them share their team with us and play a few games here, as well.” A throng of Baltimore kids, clad in red Capitals headbands, wristbands and BandAids, now agree. .
As Peter Robinson, the coordinator of amateur hockey and fan development for the Capitals, said, “The main goal is to make the sport of hockey accessible to everyone. “The NHL and USA Hockey have a saying, which is, ‘Hockey is for everyone.’ And it is. And we’re just trying to let everyone know that.” email@example.com
WHEN, WHERE: Thursday-Sunday, Firestone Country Club (South), Akron, Ohio COURSE: 7,400 yards, par 70 FORMAT: 72 holes, stroke play. No cut. Field is restricted to top 50 in world rankings, plus Ryder Cup participants and winners of PGA Tour events and other designated tournaments in the past year. DEFENDING CHAMPION: Hunter Mahan TV: Thursday-Friday, 2 p.m.-6 p.m. (Golf Channel). Saturday-Sunday, noon-1:30 p.m. (Golf Channel), 2 p.m.-6 p.m. (chs. 13, 9)
Lots to look at
To see a photo gallery and videos from the tournament, go to baltimoresun.com
Blast mainstays Aristodemo, Nelson announce retirements
By Glenn Graham
The Baltimore Sun
Two Blast mainstays — captain and midfielder Robbie Aristodemo and defender Billy Nelson — have announced their retirements. Aristodemo, 34, spent the past six seasons of his nine-year indoor career with the Blast, scoring 56 goals and adding 82 assists. He was captain the past two seasons and part of three Major Indoor Soccer League championship teams. A Toronto native, he also enjoyed a fine outdoor career and earned seven caps for the Canadian national team. Nelson, 31, a Bel Air and UMBC graduate,
spent all 10 seasons of his professional career with the Blast and played on five championship teams. The defender played in 292 games and registered 300 blocks, also Robbie Aristodemo contributing 48 goals and 41 assists. “Those were two players that helped us win a lot of games and championships,” Blast general manager Kevin Healey said. “They were both hard-nosed players that understood their roles, and our goal as an
organization now is to continue to find players like Robbie and Billy to help keep us on top.” Originally planning to play one more season, Aristodemo got an opportunity to coach and Billy Nelson teach at Montverde Academy, a prep school outside Orlando, Fla. He will coach the women’s soccer program and teach health. “My time in Baltimore was the highlight of my indoor career, and the Blast hold a special place in my heart,” Aristodemo said.
“It was a special run, winning three titles and playing in a fourth championship game, and the Blast fans are the best in the league. They are passionate and knowledgeable, and I always looked forward to playing home games here.” For Nelson, who is coaching a number of youth soccer club teams in the area, playing for the hometown team was a rewarding experience. “To make it to the professional level is incredible in itself, but to be able to play in front of family and friends was a dream come true,” he said. “It was also exciting to be so successful. To win five championships made it so much sweeter.” firstname.lastname@example.org
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