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Last Week around the Leagues

by Fran Stuchbury
March 16, 2021 - ECHL (ECHL)

This past week the Lakeland Magic won its first NBA G League Championship, the Canadian Football League announced it will explore opportunities for alignment with the XFL, and the man who brought an ECHL hockey team to Norfolk in 1989, Blake Cullen, passed away at the age of 85. Highlights from this week are from NBA G League, Women's National Basketball Association, Canadian Football League, National Women's Hockey League, American Hockey League, ECHL, North American Hockey League, Western Hockey League, Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, Major Arena Soccer League, Major Arena Soccer League 2, National Lacrosse League and Major League Rugby.


NBA G League

The Lakeland Magic, NBA G League affiliate of the Orlando Magic, defeated the Delaware Blue Coats, 97-78, in the NBA G League Finals. It's Lakeland's first championship in franchise history. Lakeland guard Devin Cannady scored 22 points, grabbed six rebounds, and had four assists on the way to being named Finals MVP, becoming the first undrafted player to do so in league history.

A cinematic recap of the NBA G League Final on March 11th with exclusive behind the scenes content.

Jeremy Lin averaged 19.8 PTS, 6.4 AST, 3.2 REB, and shot 50.5% from the field in nine regular season games for the 2020-21 Santa Cruz Warriors of the NBA G League. Lin also shot 42.6% from 3PT, as the Warriors went 11-4 but lost in the semifinals to the Lakeland Magic.

David Lane has been named the General Manager of Business Operations for Birmingham. They will begin play in the 2021-22 season.

Women's National Basketball Association

The Las Vegas Aces announced that Cambage a three-time WNBA All-Star who sat out the 2020 season due to COVID-19, will re-sign with the team for the 2021 season.

WNBA Champion Natasha Cloud joined The Shotclock hosted by Mina SayWhat on International Women's Day. Here she talks about the possibly of a WNBA team coming to Philadelphia.


Canadian Football League & XFL

The Canadian Football League (CFL) and XFL owners Dany Garcia, Dwayne Johnson, and RedBird Capital have agreed to work together to identify opportunities for the leagues to collaborate, innovate, and grow the game of football.

Commissioner Randy Ambrosie shares insight into alignment potential between the CFL and XFL.

TSN football insider Dave Naylor discusses the possibility of CFL and XFL teams playing against one another following the announcement on formal discussions between league officials on a possible alignment.


National Women's Hockey League

The completion of the National Women's Hockey League (NWHL) Isobel Cup Playoffs, will take place March 26-27 at Warrior Ice Arena in Brighton, Massachusetts with four teams competing for the championship live on NBCSN. These telecasts will mark the first women's professional hockey league championship games to air on a major national network in the U.S. The announcement was made today by NWHL Commissioner Tyler Tumminia.

The Isobel Cup is coming to Boston. The National Women's Hockey League (NWHL) will complete its championship competition at Warrior Ice Arena in Brighton later this month, the league announced. Katie Johnston reports.

American Hockey League

Pat Nagle's 17 saves and a franchise-first for Riley Barber powered the Grand Rapids Griffins to their 1,000th regular season victory, a 3-1 triumph over the Rockford IceHogs at the BMO Harris Bank Center.

John Stevens gave the Utica Comets a win with this shootout goal.


Hampton Roads Admirals original owner Blake Cullen dies at age 85. In 1989, he had this crazy idea that minor league hockey would work in Hampton Roads. Not so crazy after all.

ECHL Plays of the Week

ECHL Saves of the Week

Southern Professional Hockey League

The Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL) announced that it will be expanding to Danville, IL following a unanimous vote of approval by the board of the David S. Palmer Arena and the SPHL Board of Governors. As the Vermillion County Bobcats, the team will take to the ice for the upcoming 2021-2022 SPHL season. The Bobcats are solely owned by Ellen Tully, whose family has a long and successful business history in the area. Tully was born and raised in Danville and has over 20 years experience working at all levels of the sport, from youth hockey to the NHL.

North American Hockey League

NAHL Plays of the Week

Western Hockey League

WHL Top 10

Medicine Hat Tigers defenseman Cole Clayton with a hat trick against the Calgary Hitmen.

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

Top 10 Goals of the Month

Top 10 Saves of the Month


National Women's Soccer League

The National Women's Soccer League today announced the full schedule for the 2021 NWSL Challenge Cup. The 21-game tournament kicks off on April 9, 2021 with a rematch of the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup final between Houston and Chicago at BBVA Stadium on CBS Sports Network, followed by Kansas City's first match since joining the league in December 2020 against Portland Thorns FC at Providence Park at 10:30 p.m. EST on Paramount+, the premium streaming service from ViacomCBS.

Canadian Premier League

The Canadian Premier League is pleased to announce they have awarded the exclusive rights to a CPL expansion club to Living Sky Sports and Entertainment Inc. (LSSE), a Saskatchewan based company. The launch of an expansion club is contingent upon LSSE delivering a soccer-specific stadium to League standards, and to that end, LSSE has identified Prairieland Park in Saskatoon as a preferred site for a stadium.

Major Arena Soccer League

The Ontario Fury had their path to the #1 Playoff Seed in their own hands when they visited Cable Dahmer Arena and held a 6-3 lead headed to the 4th quarter. The Comets rallied for four straight goals including the game winner with 1:41 left to play to edge out a 7-6 victory. Lucas Sousa netted a hat trick, including the game-tying and game-winning goals.

Major Arena Soccer League 2

Another iconic franchise in the history of professional indoor soccer will be coming back to the field in Major Arena Soccer League 2. The Cleveland Crunch, which won three championships during its 14 seasons in both the Major Indoor Soccer League and National Professional Soccer League, will become M2's newest franchise.


Triple-A East League

The Toronto Blue Jays today announced that they have named Casey Candaele the next manager of the Buffalo Bisons. The former Herd infielder and American Association All-Star becomes the 22nd manager the Bisons modern era. Candaele is the fourth former Bisons player to also manage the team in the modern era, joining Joel Skinner, Torey Lovullo and Bobby Meacham.

The Nashville Sounds Baseball Club announced that General Manager and Chief Operating Officer Adam Nuse is leaving the organization to accept a role with the Tennessee Titans. Nuse was hired in May of 2016 and has overseen all day-to-day operations of the organization since then. Nuse's final day with the Sounds will be Friday, April 9.

Double-A Northeast League

The Toronto Blue Jays have announced the 2021 coaching staff for their Double-A affiliate, the New Hampshire Fisher Cats. After leading the Advanced-A Dunedin Blue Jays to a first-place finish (80-55) in 2019, Manager Cesar Martin and Pitching Coach Jim Czajkowski will make the move to New Hampshire this year. Former Blue Jay Matt Hague will serve as Hitting Coach in his debut on a minor league staff. Martin, 41, was voted 2019 Florida State League Manager of the Year for his work at the Advanced-A level.

High-A West League

The Vancouver Canadians, in conjunction with the Toronto Blue Jays, have announced Donnie Murphy as Manager for the 2021 Season. This will be Murphy's first season with the Canadians. He was previously slotted as the Manager for the Dunedin Blue Jays for the 2020 Season. Prior to 2020, he spent the previous four years as a hitting coach, most recently with the Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats.

Low-A Southeast League

The Toronto Blue Jays have announced the on-field coaching staff for the Dunedin Blue Jays 2021 season. Luis Hurtado named Manager in the Blue Jays system for the third straight season, first in 2019 with the Bluefield Blue Jays and last season with the Lansing Lugnuts before the season was canceled.

The St. Lucie Mets are pleased to announced their coaching staff for the 2021 season. Reid Brignac will become the 19th manager in club history. Brignac, 35, was set to begin his Mets coaching career as the Columbia Fireflies manager in 2020, but the Coronavirus pandemic cancelled the minor league season. Now Brignac shifts to St. Lucie, the new Low-A affiliate of the Mets.


National Lacrosse League

The National Lacrosse League, the largest and most successful professional lacrosse property in the world, announced that the NLL Board of Governors has officially approved the start of the 2021-22 season for the weekend of December 3rd-4th. The schedule will call for 18 regular season games followed by Playoffs and a Championship Series.

After 10 seasons in the NFL, Chris Hogan has decided to return to lacrosse. Hogan dives into his preparation & how the game has changed since he last played. He has entered the Premier Lacrosse League Entry Draft that will take place on March 23rd.


Major League Rugby

Rugby superstar Matt Giteau is bringing his trophy-winning ways to the LA Giltinis. Australia's three-time World Cup star adds a huge marquee name to LA's already-impressive roster of players from seven countries. The unveiling is the biggest recruitment news of the off-season for both the go-ahead Giltinis and Major League Rugby's fourth season.

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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