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German police officer Nick Hein acts and fights

German police officer Nick Hein ready to take on the Texecutioner in Austin
Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press

Actor, police officer and MMA fighter. No one can accuse (Sergeant) Nick Hein of not living life to the fullest.

As the 30-year-old German lightweight himself notes, most of the good stuff — his role on a hit German TV show and UFC contract — came in the last 18 months.

"It really gives me a shiver every time I think about it," he said in a interview. "It's a cool time right now."

Hein steps into the Octagon for a second time Saturday night when he faces James (The Texecutioner) Vick on a televised UFC card in Austin, Texas.

Bookie offers odds on Jermain Defoe's future

British bookie offers odds on Defoe's future, with Leicester and QPR favoured
The Canadian Press

TORONTO - If you're betting Jermain Defoe will stay at Toronto FC, Sky Bet will take your money.

The British bookmaker, whose full name is Sky Betting and Gaming, is offering 9-1 odds that the English striker will still be with his MLS club come Feb. 4 after the next transfer window.

England's Leicester City (5-6) and Queens Park Rangers (1-1) are the favoured Sky Bet destinations for Defoe followed by West Ham (10-1), Liverpool (12-1), Tottenham (16-1), Arsenal (25-1) and Crystal Palace (33-1).

FIFA official: WCup boycott would be 'nonsense'

FIFA's Valcke says boycotting Russia's World Cup would be 'nonsense'
The Associated Press

SOCHI, Russia - FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke said Friday a boycott of the 2018 World Cup in Russia would be "nonsense."

Some European politicians have suggested that European countries could boycott the World Cup over the conflict in eastern Ukraine, which many Western governments accuse Russia of provoking.

During a visit to Sochi, Valcke said talk of a boycott was an attempt to "provoke" discord rather than "to be realistic on what the world is today."

Dallas Stars sign Spezza to $30M, 4-year deal

Center Jason Spezza settling in with Dallas Stars, signs $30M, 4-year contract extension
The Associated Press

FRISCO, Texas - The Dallas Stars have signed centre Jason Spezza to a US$30 million, four-year contract extension.

The deal Friday came nearly five months after the Stars acquired the high-scoring forward in a trade from Ottawa just before the start of free agency.

Spezza has 18 points in his first 20 games in Dallas, with his 14 assists tops among the Stars and ninth in the NHL. He has 705 points (255 goals, 450 assists) in 706 career games.

Grigsby gives Ticats solid ground attack

Grigsby gives Ticats solid ground game heading into East Division final
Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press

HAMILTON - Nic Grigsby has quickly become a key part of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats' offence.

In just three games the five-foot-11, 195-pound Grigsby has emerged as a bona fide rushing threat in a predominately pass-oriented offence. And that's something the Montreal Alouettes must account for Sunday in the East Division final at Tim Hortons Field.

Hamilton 1, Rosberg 2 in both Abu Dhabi practices

Lewis Hamilton edges F1 title rival Nico Rosberg in both Abu Dhabi GP practice sessions
Jerome Pugmire, The Associated Press

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates - Lewis Hamilton edged Formula One title rival Nico Rosberg in the both practice sessions Friday for the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The British driver posted a best lap of 1 minute, 42.113 seconds in the second practice at the Yas Marina circuit to finish .083 faster than his Mercedes teammate.

Both drivers gave their super-soft tires a good run in the warm evening.

Former Toronto FC fullback settles in New York

Former Toronto FC fullback Richard Eckersley gets second chance in New York
Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press

Former Toronto FC fullback Richard Eckersley is finally getting his second chance.

Deemed surplus to requirements in Toronto due to his salary, Eckersley became a New York Red Bull this season only to find himself derailed by an ankle injury and, to a lesser degree, difficulties adjusting to his new surroundings.

Now healthy and happy, Eckersley is contributing on the field once again. The 25-year-old from England regained his right fullback position late in the season and started both playoffs games against D.C. United.

Humphries finds her groove in four-man bobsled

Olympic champion Kaillie Humphries finding her groove in a four-man bobsled
Donna Spencer, The Canadian Press

CALGARY - Kaillie Humphries is on track to make her World Cup debut in the four-man bobsled next month in Calgary.

The two-time Olympic gold medallist in women's bobsled has set Dec. 20 as the target date for her first World Cup race as a four-man pilot with an all-male crew.

Humphries and teammates D.J. McLelland, Dan Dale and Joey Nemet are competing Sunday in Calgary in a pair of races on the North America Cup developmental circuit.

Kesler, Ducks triumph in return to Vancouver

Kesler triumphs in return to Vancouver; Ducks down Canucks in 4-3 shootout win
Monte Stewart, The Canadian Press

VANCOUVER - Bo Horvat had a night to remember while Ryan Kesler had one to forget.

Kesler still had a reason to celebrate, though, as the Anaheim Ducks edged his former Vancouver Canucks squad 4-3 in a shootout on Thursday.

The loss, which prevented the Canucks from overtaking the Western Conference-leading Ducks, made rookie Horvat's first NHL goal and point bittersweet.

Kane continues to heat up in Blackhawks win

Patrick Kane continues to heat up in Blackhawks' 4-3 win over Flames
Darren Haynes, The Canadian Press

CALGARY - After a slow start, Chicago right-winger Patrick Kane is heating up offensively, which is good news for the Blackhawks and not-so-good news for everyone else.

Kane made it goals in three straight games Thursday night, scoring the winner in the Chicago Blackhawks' 4-3 victory over the Calgary Flames.

With the game tied 3-3, Kane's unassisted goal at 9:12 of the third period came after Flames goaltender Jonas Hiller turned the puck over behind his net.

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