Last Week around the Leagues
by Fran Stuchbury
December 1, 2020 - North American Hockey League (NAHL)
This past week Major League Soccer Supporters' Shield winners the Philadelphia Union were eliminated in round one of the MLS Cup Playoffs; the National Women's Hockey League revealed it will play its entire upcoming season and Isobel Cup Playoffs at the 1980 Rink-Herb Brooks Arena in Lake Placid, New York and the Canadian Premier League named Forge FC captain Kyle Bekker its Player of the Year. Highlights from this week are from Major League Soccer, the Canadian Premier League, North American Hockey League, Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, Indoor Football League, Women's National Basketball Association, Major League Lacrosse and Major League Rugby.
Major League Soccer
New England Revolution move on after SHOCK win over top-seeded Philadelphia Union. The 2020 Supporters' Shield winners are out after the New England Revolution's convincing 2-0 victory vs. Philadelphia Union. Goalkeeper Andre Blake was no match for either Revolution goal as Adam Buksa and Tajon Buchanan booked New England's ticket in the Eastern Conference semifinals. With the victory, head coach Bruce Arena extends his record as the manager with the most wins in MLS Cup Playoff history with 33.
Canadian Premier League
The Canadian Premier League (CPL) announced that Forge FC Captain Kyle Bekker has been named the 2020 Player of the Year, awarded to the Most Valuable Player in the CPL based on their overall play and importance to their Club. Bekker, 30, led the CPL in appearances (tie-11) and minutes played by an attacking player (879) in 2020, while posting a team-high three goals and adding one assist with five shots on target.
Forge FC Captain Kyle Bekker on being named Canadian Premier League Player of the Year.
FC Edmonton has hired Alan Koch (KAWCH) as Head Coach and Director of Football Operations, the club announced. Koch was hired after a two-month search to replace former head coach Jeff Paulus who stepped down from his position in late September. Koch has coaching experience at every level of the North American soccer pyramid, including head coaching positions in Major League Soccer (MLS) and the United Soccer League (USL), in both leagues with FC Cincinnati where he was with that club from late 2016 to 2019. In 2018, he guided the club to its best-ever record for wins (23) and total points (77) on their way to a USL Regular Season Championship and a spot in the USL Playoffs.
National Women's Hockey League
The National Women's Hockey League announced a plan to present the upcoming season and 2021 Isobel Cup Playoffs at the 1980 Rink-Herb Brooks Arena in Lake Placid, NY between January 23 - February 5, 2021. The goal of the NWHL bubble season is to play in a protective environment that prioritizes the health and safety of the players, staff, and surrounding community. The entire season will be conducted in Lake Placid with regular COVID-19 testing provided by Yale Pathology Labs.
Southern Professional Hockey League
Craig Simchuk has been named the second head coach of the Birmingham Bulls during the Southern Professional Hockey League era. Simchuk, 31, captained the Bulls during the 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons, then retired and served as an assistant coach with the organization last season. He succeeds Jamey Hicks, who will remain with the Bulls as a team consultant while dealing with a family matter in his native Canada.
North American Hockey League
NAHL Plays of the Week
Quebec Major Junior Hockey League
QMJHL Plays of the Week
Indoor Football League
IFL Commissioner Todd Tryon joins IFL reporter Fred Shaffer to discuss the exciting growth the league has incurred during the offseason, including the addition of three new franchises. The commissioner also discusses the league's vision around future expansion, the 2021 IFL schedule that was recently released, and how the league is preparing for the upcoming season despite the COVID pandemic.
National Arena League
The National Arena League is proud to announce their official schedule for the 2021 season. This season the NAL will host seven teams from across the United States to play 14 games over a 17-week regular season. Each team will receive seven home and seven away games during the regular season. The NAL teams for 2021 include the defending NAL Champion Jacksonville Sharks, the Columbus Lions, Carolina Cobras, and Orlando Predators. In addition, three expansion franchises will see their first NAL action in 2021, those teams include the Albany Empire, Jersey Flight, and Ontario Bandits. The first game is scheduled for Saturday, April 3 followed by 16 consecutive weeks of NAL action that will decide the teams moving into the postseason for a chance to play in the 2021 NAL Championship game. The Championship game will be played in the city of the highest remaining playoff seeded team and is scheduled for the weekend of August 14th.
The 2018 National Arena League Champion Carolina Cobras announce a key signing as Quarterback Jalan McClendon has officially signed with the Cobras for the 2021 season. McClendon enters his fifth year of professional football and first season in arena football. Jalan McClendon (6'5, 216) last played in the XFL with the Los Angeles Wildcats. During his time in the XFL he saw action in five games serving as the backup to current San Francisco 49ers quarterback Josh Johnson.
Canadian Football League
The BC Football Hall of Fame announced that due to the COVD-19 pandemic, it will defer this year's induction class to 2021. "The football community in B.C. is a family and, while we considered potential options to hold a downscaled or virtual event, we felt the only way we could appropriately honour our next class would be to do it together with our entire football family," said Tom Malone, CEO of the BC Football Hall of Fame.
National Lacrosse League
The New York Riptide announced that the team has acquired defender Matt Marinier and a second-round pick in the 2023 NLL Entry Draft from the Philadelphia Wings in exchange for defenseman John Ranagan and a fourth-round pick in the 2023 NLL Entry Draft.
Major League Lacrosse
Chesapeake Bayhawks goalie Brian Phipps continued his stellar play between the pipes during the 2020 Major League Lacrosse season.
Women's National Basketball Association
Seattle Storm point guard Jordin Canada assists from the bubble.
Major League Rugby
Major League Rugby has revealed the team kit lineup for the 2021 season. Thanks to Paladin Sports, the 13 MLR teams are geared up and looking good for Season Four.
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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North American Hockey League Stories from December 1, 2020
- Ott Makes Division I Commitment - Janesville Jets
- Schedule Update - Minot Minotauros
- Gormley Signs with Sharks - Bismarck Bobcats
- Bruins Announce Newly Scheduled Games against Minot and Bismarck - Austin Bruins
- Last Week around the Leagues - OSC Original by Fran Stuchbury
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer(s), and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.