Last Week around the Leagues
by Fran Stuchbury
December 29, 2020 - National Women's Hockey League (NWHL)
This past week the National Women's Hockey announced that the 2021 Isobel Cup Semifinals and Final will air live exclusively on NBC Sports Network; in Major League Soccer Real Salt Lake midfielder Kyle Beckerman announced his retirement after playing 21 seasons; and the Women's National Basketball Association's Los Angeles Sparks announced head coach Derek Fisher was given the role of General Manager for the team. Highlights from this week are from National Women's Hockey League, ECHL, North American Hockey League, Major League Soccer, Indoor Football League NBA G League and Premier Lacrosse League .
National Women's Hockey League
BC Sports and the National Women's Hockey League (NWHL) have announced that the 2021 Isobel Cup Semifinals and Final will air live exclusively on NBCSN on February 4-5 from historic Herb Brooks Arena in Lake Placid, N.Y. The agreement between NBC Sports and the NWHL is a historic chapter for women's professional hockey in the United States, marking the first-ever women's professional hockey games to be shown live on a major national cable network in the U.S.
Want More. The Isobel Cup, February 2021 on NBC Sports
With the help and guidance from USA Hockey, the NWHL's upcoming season will have an all-female officiating staff. The league's regular-season contests, as well as the 2021 Isobel Cup Playoffs, will be staged at the iconic Herb Brooks Arena in Lake Placid, N.Y., from Jan. 23-Feb. 5, 2021.
ECHL Plays of the Week
Southern Professional Hockey League
The Birmingham Bulls and Head Coach Craig Simchuk are pleased to announce the addition of Jerome Bechard to the staff as an assistant coach. Bechard, currently the head coach of the Columbus River Dragons in Columbus, Georgia, is awaiting the delayed start of the River Dragons season in the Federal Prospects Hockey League. Bechard is a familiar face to the Birmingham area. Before beginning his coaching career, Bechard played and captained the Bulls from 1992-1996 scoring 61 goals and adding 121 assists during his four-year tenure with the team.
North American Hockey League
NAHL Plays of the Week
The North American Hockey League (NAHL) has announced that its Board of Governors has voted to extend the 2020-21 season. As a result, the ongoing 2020-21 regular season will now end on Sunday, May 16th. The opening round of the 2021 Robertson Cup Playoffs will take place from May 20-30 with the best of 5 Division Semi-Finals.
Ontario Hockey League
After meeting with our Board of Governors and General Managers, the OHL has made the decision to delay the start of the 2020-21 season. Training camps had been scheduled to begin in mid-January, many players were set to report to their teams in early January, and games were scheduled to commence on February 4, 2021. This decision follows Premier Ford's announcement of a province-wide shutdown in Ontario commencing on December 26, 2020. The League will continue to consult and work closely with Governments and health authorities to determine potential start dates in the new year.
Major League Soccer
Real Salt Lake midfielder Kyle Beckerman announced that after 21 seasons in Major League Soccer and 14 with Real Salt Lake, he will be retiring from professional soccer. The nine-time MLS All-Star, four-time club Most Valuable Player, three-time Jordan Guernsey Humanitarian of the Year award winner and captain of the 2009 MLS Cup champion RSL team is the league's all-time leader in career MLS regular-season games played (498), games started (461) and minutes played (41,164) among field players.
Kyle Beckerman retires from soccer
The Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC) fell 2-1 to Tigres UANL in the 2020 Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League Final at Exploria Stadium, ending the Club's historic run in the region's top club tournament.
Who had the best long range goal in 2020?
National Women's Soccer League
Canadian goalkeeper Stephanie Labbe has signed a contract with FC Rosengard of the Damallsvensken Swedish league. Labbe played two seasons for the North Carolina Courage and was a member of the 2019 NWSL Championship team. Labbe started 22 matches for the Courage over two seasons, 18 matches in 2019, and four matches during the shortened 2020 season. The goalkeeper had 11 clean sheets. During the 2019 season, she had a 76% save success rate.
Indoor Football League
The Indoor Football League is devastated to learn of the passing of John Pettit. John, the Vice President/Chief Operating Officer of the Iowa Barnstormers, and a member of the team's ownership group, passed away on Christmas Eve.
The IFL's Fred Shaffer met with Duke City Gladiator's head coach Martino Theus and Director of Public Affairs Matthew Avila. Martino has high expectations for his team and the upcoming 2021 season. They discuss how close their organization is with the community of Albuquerque, and how their social media presence has attributed to bringing in additional talent.
Canadian Football League
The EE Football Team announce that they have worked with quarterback Trevor Harris to restructure his contract in order meet new salary cap requirements, keeping him in Green and Gold through 2022. In 13 games (13 starts) in 2019, Harris completed 343-of-478 passes (71.8%), for 4,027 yards with 16 touchdowns. He also recorded 48 rushes for 139 yards with six touchdowns. In the East Semi-Final, Harris set a playoff record for consecutive completions (22) and completion percentage (92.3%).
Women's National Basketball Association
The Los Angeles Sparks announced a reorganization of the basketball operations department, including the appointment of Derek Fisher to the position of General Manager and the renewal of his contract as Head Coach. In two seasons as Head Coach, Fisher guided the Sparks to a 37-19 record and two postseason appearances, second to only Bill Laimbeer for regular seasons wins in that span.
NBA G League
Ignite center Kai Soto - Part One
Ignite center Kai Soto - Part Two
Charlie Barbeisch, a long-time member of the Long Island Ducks and Atlantic League family, passed away after a brief illness at St. Charles Hospital in Port Jefferson. Barbeisch was a season ticket holder since the team's inception in 2000 and has been a photographer for the team for over a decade, traveling to ballparks all over the Atlantic League to enjoy his hobby while supporting Long Island's hometown team.
Premier Lacrosse League
The Future is now Premier Lacrosse League + Major League Lacrosse
Archers midfield Christian Mazzone 2020 Highlights:
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 Women's Hockey League Stories from December 29, 2020
- Last Week around the Leagues - OSC Original by Fran Stuchbury
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