Last Week around the Leagues
by Fran Stuchbury
February 2, 2021 - National Women's Soccer League (NWSL)
This past week the ECHL added an expansion team in Savannah, Georgia for the 2022-23 season; suspended NFL wide receiver Martavis Bryant signed with the CFL's Toronto Argonauts; and tennis superstar Naomi Osaka invested in the NWSL's North Carolina Courage. Highlights from this week are from ECHL, National Women's Hockey League, American Hockey League, North American Hockey League, Western Hockey League, Canadian Football League, Indoor Football League, Major League Soccer, National Women's Soccer League, United Soccer League One, NBA G League, Eastern League, Major League Rugby and Premier Lacrosse League.
The ECHL announced that the League's Board of Governors has approved the expansion application of Savannah, Georgia for admittance into the League. Savannah, which will be owned by Andy Kauffman who also owns Jacksonville Icemen, will begin play in in the 2022-23 Season at the new Savannah Arena, slated for completion in Spring 2022, which will hold 7,300 fans for hockey.
Savannah lands ECHL Expansion Team
ECHL Plays of the Week
National Women's Hockey League
The Metropolitan Riveters have withdrawn from the 2021 NWHL season after several members of the organization tested positive for COVID-19. The decision to withdraw the Riveters from competition follows the League's medical protocols established for the season. The priority of the NWHL is the health of our players, coaches, officials, and staff. The season will move forward with five teams, and the League will continue to strictly adhere to the medical protocols to protect everyone's safety.
The Metropolitan Riveters have left the NWHL bubble after multiple members of the organization tested positive for COVID-19. Lindsay Dunn speaks to one of the players from the Toronto Six about the fragility of playing during a pandemic.
American Hockey League
American Hockey League President and Chief Executive Officer Scott Howson announced today that the Stockton Heat have requested a provisional relocation for the 2020-21 season to play their home games in Calgary, Alta. The Heat will join the Belleville Senators, Laval Rocket, Manitoba Moose and Toronto Marlies in the AHL's Canadian Division for 2020-21.
The American Hockey League is making changes to the COVID-altered schedule after the Stockton Heat announced they will stay in Calgary this season.
Iowa Wild made it on Jeopardy!
North American Hockey League
NAHL Plays of the Week
Western Hockey League
The Western Hockey League announced today it has been granted approval by the Government of Alberta and Alberta Health to return to play, which will enable the WHL's Alberta-based teams in the Central Division to open their season on Friday, February 26. Five WHL Clubs, which operate in Alberta, will form the Central Division, including the Red Deer Rebels, Edmonton Oil Kings, Lethbridge Hurricanes, Medicine Hat Tigers, and Calgary Hitmen.
WHL Saskatoon Blades second round draft pick forward Lukas Hansen making most of suspended season.
WHL Next Step - Tri-City Americans defenseman Marc Lajoie
Canadian Football League
The Toronto Argonauts announced the team has signed American WR Martavis Bryant and re-signed American DB Alden Darby. Bryant, 6'4 and 210-pounds, was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the fourth-round of the 2014 NFL Draft and had an impressive rookie season hauling in 26 receptions for 549 yards and eight touchdowns in 10 games. His 21.1 yards per reception that year led the NFL and his six receiving touchdowns in his first four games was an NFL record at the time.
Martavis Bryant, Toronto Argonauts WR, on Coming to the CFL, His NFL Career and Goals for CFL.
Edmonton Football Team head coach Scott Milanovich has resigned from the club to pursue NFL opportunities. Milanovich was hired as the club's 22nd head coach on Dec 12, 2019. Prior to his appointment, he was the QB coach for the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars from 2017-2019 with a brief stint as the team's offensive coordinator in 2018.
Scott Milanovich resigns from Edmonton Football Team
The Hamilton Tiger-Cats announced the football club has re-signed American quarterback Jeremiah Masoli who returns for his ninth year and eighth season in Hamilton in 2021. Masoli, 32, started the first-six games of the 2019 Canadian Football League schedule for the Tiger-Cats before suffering a season-ending injury July 26 against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. He completed 125 of 175 pass attempts (71.4%) for 1,576 yards, nine passing touchdowns and seven interceptions, adding 17 carries for 79 yards and four rushing touchdowns.
It is with great pride that the Montreal Alouettes organization announced that Anthony Calvillo is back in the nest in the position of team ambassador. Calvillo arrived in Montreal in 1998, as he joined the Alouettes following stops in Las Vegas and Hamilton, which marked the beginning of a love story with Quebecers. The quarterback then went on to lead the Alouettes to eight Grey Cup games, including three that ended with parades in the streets of Montreal, all while rewriting the CFL's record book.
Former DC Defenders head coach and general manager Pep Hamilton was named quarterbacks coach for the Houston Texans. Hamilton served as quarterbacks coach for the Los Angeles Chargers this NFL season.
Indoor Football League
Arizona Rattlers head coach Kevin Guy joins the IFL's Fred Shaffer for an episode of Coach Speak. Coach Guy looks ahead to the 2021 season, talks about his strategy for building a roster, and discusses his expectations for the players he brings into his program.
IFL Commissioner Todd Tryon provides an update from Day 2 of the IFL Owners Meetings.
IFL Commissioner Todd Tryon provides an update from Day 3 of the IFL Owners Meetings.
Major League Soccer
Major League Soccer announced the 2021 MLS season will begin on Saturday, April 3 and feature 34 matches for each of the league's 27 clubs. MLS' 26th regular season will conclude on MLS Decision Day, November 7, and the Audi 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs will begin November 19. MLS Cup will be played on Saturday, December 11. Clubs will be permitted to open preseason training on February 22, six weeks prior to MLS is Back opening weekend.
There were some gorgeous set piece strikes this past MLS season. Take a look at some of the best perfectly placed free kicks!
Welcome to Q2 Stadium - Austin's Biggest Backyard and Official Home of Austin FC.
National Women's Soccer League
The National Women's Soccer League announced the Medical Task Force has approved play in home markets for the 2021 NWSL Challenge Cup set to begin on April 9, 2021. The NWSL has also released updated medical protocols and key dates for the new and expanded 2021 competition framework. Players will report to camp on Feb. 1, 2021. Following the Challenge Cup, the NWSL's 10 teams will face off in a 24-game regular season beginning May 15, 2021.
Global sports icon and tennis superstar Naomi Osaka has invested in the North Carolina Courage. Naomi is the first investor in the Courage since Steve Malik acquired and relocated the team to North Carolina in 2017. In terms of competitive achievements, parallels can be drawn between Naomi and the team in which she has invested. The two are no strangers to success, as Naomi has won three Grand Slam titles (2018 US Open, 2019 Australian Open, 2020 US Open) and the Courage have won six trophies in four years (two NWSL Championships, three NWSL Shields, and the Women's International Champions Cup).
Three-Time Grand Slam Champion Naomi Osaka Invests in North Carolina Courage Women's Professional Soccer Team.
Sky Blue FC has signed midfielder McCall Zerboni to a new two-year contract ahead of the 2021 National Women's Soccer League season. The Club also has a third-year option on the contract. Zerboni, 34, joined Sky Blue in January of 2020. During the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup, Zerboni played the full 90 in all five of her starts.
Commissioner of the National Women's Soccer League Lisa Baird announced that Sacramento will be the next expansion team for the league in the 2022 season. Expansion Draft on Dec. 16, 2021 will be featuring Angel City FC and Sacramento.
United Soccer League One
USL League One announced following the league's Board of Governors meeting that the 2021 regular season will begin on or about May 8 and will feature a 28-game slate running through October and culminating in a six-team playoff to take place in November.
The Greenville Triumph Soccer Club has signed head coach and sporting director John Harkes to a multi-year extension. Harkes, recently named the USL League One Coach of the Year following the club's title-winning run in 2020, has been with the Triumph since the club's inception in 2018. The newly-agreed upon extension between the Triumph and Harkes runs through the 2023 season.
Greenville Triumph SC Head Coach John Harkes Interview. It's been a journey...but we're only scratching the surface!
NBA G League
The NBA G League released its game and telecast schedules for 2021 play, which will tip off on Wednesday, Feb. 10. The full 135-game schedule will be played at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Fla. Eighteen teams, including 17 NBA G League teams and NBA G League Ignite, will each play 15 games from Feb. 10 - March 6. The top eight teams will advance to a single-elimination playoff, which will begin on March 8 and conclude with the NBA G Final presented by YouTube TV on March 11.
Mike Schmitz joins The Jump and shares his biggest takeaways from watching Jalen Green and Jonathan Kuminga and other top NBA draft prospects during practice with the G League Ignite.
Ignite forward/center Princepal Singh - Part One
Ignite forward/center Princepal Singh - Part Two
The LA Clippers have announced the Agua Caliente Clippers coaching staff for the 2021 NBA G League season. Agua Caliente will be led by new head coach Paul Hewitt and assistant coaches Natalie Nakase, Chris Holguin, Darryl LaBarrie and Doug Martin. Hewitt, a Clippers player evaluator for the past four seasons, comesto Agua Caliente with 18 years of head coaching experience. He spent four seasons as the head coach at George Mason University (2011-15) and 11 as head coach at Georgia Tech (2000-11).
Top Plays of the 2019-20 G League Season
Pacific Coast League
Rick Sweet will be the manager of the Nashville Sounds for the 2021 season. Sweet is joined by pitching coach Jim Henderson, hitting coach Al LeBoeuf, coach Ned Yost IV, athletic trainer Lanning Tucker and strength and conditioning specialist Andrew Emmick. Sweet, 68, returns to the Sounds seven years after he managed the club for the first time in 2014. He becomes the third person in team history to be appointed manager multiple times, joining George Scherger (1978, 1988) and Trent Jewett (1998-2000, 2003-04). He led the Sounds to a 77-67 record in 2014.
The Boston Red Sox have named Corey Wimberly the new manager of the Portland Sea Dogs. Wimberly, 37, is the 15th manager in team history and in his third season as a manager in the Red Sox organization. Wimberly went 37-38 in 2018 managing the Lowell Spinners, then led the Salem Red Sox to a 67-70 record and a Carolina League playoff berth in 2019.
Portland Sea Dogs have new coaching staff
The Milwaukee Brewers announced that Joe Ayrault will return as the manager of the Carolina Mudcats for the 2021 season. Ayrault's 2021 staff will consist of Pitching Coach Fred Dabney, Hitting Coach Bobby Spain, Coach Liu Rodriguez, Athletic Trainer Matt Deal and Strength and Conditioning Specialist Jonah Mergen.
The Tri-City ValleyCats organization is excited to announce that it has reached an agreement with Pete Incaviglia to become the team's Field Manager for the 2021 and 2022 seasons. Incaviglia brings over 35 years of experience in professional baseball, including a twelve-year, playing career in Major League Baseball.
The Clinton LumberKings announced that Jack Dahm will be the Field Manager leading the LumberKings into their inaugural year in the Prospect League. The LumberKings recently joined the Prospect League, a collegiate wood bat league after Major League Baseball contracted the team, along with 42 other former Minor League Baseball teams. Dahm is currently starting his seventh season as the Head Coach of the Mount Mercy University Mustangs baseball team.
The Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (ALPB) announced its teams may begin offering 2021 Championship Season contracts to new and returning players on February 1, and may begin announcing player signings at any point that day or after. Atlantic League officials said the league is confident it will play a Championship Season as it crafts the 2021 schedule.
The Salem-Keizer Volcanoes have announced the creation of a new Independent Baseball League to begin play this spring at Volcanoes Stadium in Keizer. The Mavericks Independent Baseball League will feature top level non-drafted and released players who hope to someday reach the Major Leagues. The 4-Team League will feature the return of the Portland Mavericks, a notorious and iconic team from the 1970's. In addition to the Portland Mavericks, the League will be highlighted with the return of the Salem Senators a historic and legendary team that originally began play in 1940. The Volcanoes and Campesinos de Salem-Keizer, will also become founding members of the new League.
Major League Rugby
The San Diego Legion will be playing its home games in Las Vegas this season.
As MLR hits 50 days out from the start of its fourth season, we look back at the story to now. For those new to MLR - or those anxious for its return - follow the story of MLR from its first ever match, up until now.
National Lacrosse League
The Panther City Lacrosse Club has named Tracey Kelusky Head Coach. Kelusky previously served as the Offensive Coach for the Philadelphia Wings, where he oversaw the highest-scoring offense in the league during the 2019-2020 season. Before coaching with Philadelphia, Kelusky was an assistant coach for the New England Blackwolves following a 14-year playing career.
Premier Lacrosse League
Chrome faceoff Connor Farrell 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 Soccer League Stories from February 2, 2021
- 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.