Last Week around the Leagues
by Fran Stuchbury
September 15, 2020 - National Arena League (NAL)
This past week two American Hockey League teams changed affiliates as the Charlotte Checkers signed with the Florida Panthers and the Chicago Wolves joined up with the Carolina Hurricanes; the National Arena League Albany team named Rob Keefe their head coach; and the Indoor Football League Prescott Valley team named Dominic Bramante its head coach. Highlights from this week are from the Canadian Football League, Women's National Basketball Association, South Atlantic League, Major League Soccer, National Women's Soccer League, United Soccer League Championship, United Soccer League One, National Lacrosse League, Premier Lacrosse League and Major League Lacrosse.
American Hockey League
The Charlotte Checkers announced that they have reached a multi-year affiliation agreement with the NHL's Florida Panthers that will begin with the 2020-21 season. "We are very fortunate to have found a great partner in the Florida Panthers," said Checkers Chief Operating Officer Tera Black. "We feel confident that this relationship will allow us to continue producing a high-level product while providing a great environment for player development. We look forward to welcoming their players and staff to Charlotte as soon as possible."
The Chicago Wolves announced that the American Hockey League organization has signed a three-year partnership agreement with the National Hockey League's Carolina Hurricanes that begins with the 2020-21 season. The Wolves are linking with one of the NHL's fast-rising franchises. The Hurricanes advanced to the Eastern Conference Final in 2019, then swept the New York Rangers in the preliminary round of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs before falling to the Boston Bruins.
The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins announced that J.D. Forrest has been named head coach of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Additionally, Jason Karmanos will serve as Wilkes-Barre/Scranton general manager. Forrest replaces Mike Vellucci as Penguins head coach, who was recently named an assistant coach with the Pittsburgh Penguins, while Karmanos will assume the role of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton's GM in addition to his assistant general manager duties with the Penguins' NHL club.
National Arena League
Albany NAL announces that three-time Arena Football League Champion and Albany Empire head coach, Rob Keefe, has been named as the team's head coach effective immediately. Per League and team rules, terms not disclosed. Keefe was part of the AFL Philadelphia Soul 2008 championship team as a defensive back. At the age of 29 he became the youngest head coach in AFL history to win an Arena Football League Championship, when he led the Spokane Shock to an ArenaBowl victory in their first season in the AFL. In 2019 he led the Albany Empire to their first ArenaBowl title. He is the only person in Arena Football history to win an Arena Cup (AF2) and ArenaBowl (AFL) title as both a player and coach.
Indoor Football League
The new Prescott Valley Indoor Football Team announced that Dominic Bramante has been hired as the new head coach. Dominic has over 20 years of coaching experience and two back to back CIF championships in 2018 and 2019. Dominic is a Native American who understands how much history and culture mean to a community. He became a pillar of the New Mexico community and was all set to retire there when he was offered this coaching opportunity.
Canadian Football League
Chris Streveler makes his first NFL carry. The former Winnipeg Blue Bomber quarterback picks up the first down. Becomes first former CFL QB to register NFL statistic since 2009 when Jeff Garcia was with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Women's National Basketball Association
Phoenix Mercury guard Diana Taurasi is leading the league in made three pointers. Taurasi is averaging 3.3 made triples per game for a total of 56 made threes.
Rachel Banham tallies a career-high 7 3-pointers and 29 points to lead the Minnesota Lynx past the Indiana Fever 98-86.
Florida State League
After 38 years in professional baseball and 28 years with the Minor League Baseball office, Minor League Baseball President & CEO Pat O'Conner announced that he will retire on Dec. 31, 2020. O'Conner joined the Minor League Baseball staff in 1993 as chief operating officer and was named vice president, administration, following the 1995 season. In December 2007, O'Conner was named the 11 the president of Minor League Baseball, embarking on a 13-year run as president as he was re-elected in 2011, 2015 and 2019.
South Atlantic League
The Charleston RiverDogs are saddened by the passing of Dr. Gene A. Budig, 81, a part-owner of the RiverDogs since January 2007. He is survived by his wife Gretchen, his sister, brother, his 3 children and his 5 grandchildren. Gene retired in 1992 from the Air National Guard at the rank of Major General. A lecture hall at the University of Kansas, Budig Hall, is named in his honor. In recent years, he has also chaired the advisory committee for the New Era Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium.
Gene Budig, academic who ran American League, dies at 81. His death was announced by the commissioner's office and the Charleston RiverDogs, a minor league team he co-owned. No cause was given. He had been in hospice.
Milwaukee Milkmen OF Adam Brett Walker II has been voted the 2020 American Association Player of the Year, the league office announced. Walker, 28, slammed is way to player of the year honors with a league-high 22 home runs. He batted .268 with seven doubles, a triple, 50 RBIs and 42 runs scored while leading the Milkmen to the league's best record in the regular season and the club's first playoff appearance.
Ryan Voz, co-owner of the Willmar Stingers, has been named as the 4th President/Commissioner of the Northwoods League. Voz, who has spent 22 years in the Northwoods League, started as an intern with the St. Cloud River Bats in 1998, was General Manager of the Alexandria Beetles from 2001-06 and was Northwoods League Executive of the Year in 2002.
Major League Soccer
The Seattle Sounders FC became the quickest team to score five goals in an MLS game, requiring only 33 minutes to do so, and also came within touching distance of the MLS records for largest margin of victory and most goals scored in a league match in their 7-1 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes.
National Women's Soccer League
North Carolina Courage and Houston Dash played to an epic seven-goal thriller as Debinha led the way with a pair of goals for North Carolina in the 4-3 victory.
United Soccer League Championship
USL Championship Goal of the Week 11 Winner Charleston Battery Stavros Zarokostas
United Soccer League One
USL League One Save of the Week Winner - Week 8 - Joe Rice New England Revolution II:
National Lacrosse League
What makes Jeff Teat such a standout on the floor? Devan Kaney and NLL Draft Analyst Stephen Stamp discuss the projected first overall NLL Draft pick.
Premier Lacrosse League
Chaos goalie Blaze Riorden 2020 highlights:
Major League Lacrosse
Not only did New York Lizards attack Connor O'Hara get our first ESPN Sports Center Number One play. He finished third in the MLL in goals with 14.
Did we miss anything newsworthy or downright fun? Have a nomination for next week's column? Contact us today and let us know.
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National Arena League Stories from September 15, 2020
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- Last Week around the Leagues - OSC Original by Fran Stuchbury
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