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NHL Pens sign D’Aversa

The Pittsburgh Penguins have signed undrafted free agent defenseman Jonathan D’Aversa to a three-year NHL entry level contract.

D’Aversa, 21, has spent the last four seasons in the Ontario Hockey League with the Sudbury Wolves, recording 150 points (26 goals and 124 assists) in 259 games played. He ranked third on his team in scoring and third among OHL defensemen after recording career highs in goals (13), assists (47) and points (60). D’Aversa led his team with a plus-14 rating.

The 6-foot-2, 200-pound native of Richmond Hill, Ontario ranked second among OHL defensemen during the playoffs with 18 points (three goals, 15 assists). D’Aversa has registered nine goals and 22 assists in 50 career playoff games.

D’Aversa served as an alternate captain for his team in 2006-07 and was selected to play for the Eastern Conference All-Stars at the OHL All-Star Classic in each of the past two seasons.

Golf Dowd’s mother dies

Kelly Jo Dowd, a cancer-stricken mother whose dream of seeing her teen daughter Dakoda play in an LPGA event was realized last spring, has died. She was 42.

She spent years battling breast cancer, which her family said spread to her bones and liver, and then to her brain in the final months of her life. She died Thursday night at her home in Palm Harbor, Fla., a family spokesman said.

Her death came just over a year after seeing her daughter play in the Ginn Open in Reunion, Fla., when Dakoda, then 13, and her family went public with their story, even knowing Kelly Jo’s death was expected. Shortly before the tournament, the family was told Kelly Jo would have only a few months to live.

“She’ll die knowing that she was loved,” Dakoda said in an interview last year with The Associated Press.

Cycling Ex-champ admits doping

Bjarne Riis became the first Tour de France winner to admit using performance-enhancing drugs to win the sport’s premier race, further eroding cycling’s credibility after a series of doping confessions.

His admission Friday means the top three finishers in the 1996 Tour have all been linked to doping — and two have admitted cheating.

The retired Dane said he used the blood-booster EPO from 1993 to 1998, including during his 1996 Tour victory, confirming years of speculation that he benefited from banned substances. He also admitted taking cortisone and human growth hormone, but didn’t say when.

College Basketball Rush to play junior year

Brandon Rush, who led Kansas in scoring last year, has withdrawn from the NBA draft and will play his junior season at the school.

A two-time all-conference selection, the 6-foot-6 Rush averaged a team-high 13.8 points for the Big 12 champions.

Sophomore Julian Wright, another starter, has committed to the draft. But with Rush returning, Kansas will have all but one of the 14 players who went 33-5 and captured the Jayhawks’ third straight conference title.

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