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Last Week around the Leagues

by Fran Stuchbury
December 14, 2021 - Canadian Football League (CFL)

This past week the Winnipeg Blue Bombers won back to back CFL Grey Cups; New York City FC won its first MLS Cup; MLS NEXT Pro announced the 21 clubs which will compete in the new professional league's inaugural 2022 season and NWSL San Diego Wave Futbol Club announced the signing of Alex Morgan. Highlights from this week are from the Canadian Football League, Major League Soccer, National Women's Soccer League, United Soccer League Championship, MLS NEXT Pro, Canadian Premier League, National Lacrosse League, American Hockey League, ECHL, North American Hockey League, Western Hockey League, Ontario Hockey League, United States Hockey League, Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, NBA G League, Major League Rugby and American Ultimate Disc League.


Canadian Football League

After suffering through a 29-year Grey Cup drought, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers have given their fans a new streak. The Bombers downed the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 33-25 in overtime on Sunday night at Tim Hortons Field, winning back-to-back Grey Cup championships, with the distinction of it happening in three years. It's the Bombers' first consecutive championship-run since the 1961 and 1962 seasons. Game MVP Zach Collaros made 21 of 32 passes for 240 yards with a pair of touchdowns and interceptions. Most Valuable Canadian Nic Demski had four catches for 27 yards and scored a touchdown in the fourth quarter, where the Bombers out-scored the Ticats 15-6.

The Tiger-Cats held a 12-point lead in the fourth quarter but a Nic Demski touchdown and a pair of field goals by Sergio Castillo helped the Blue Bombers send the game into overtime, where a Darvin Adams touchdown and a wild Kyrie Wilson interception sealed back-to-back Grey Cup wins for Winnipeg.

TSN's James Duthie announces Zach Collaros as the Most Outstanding Player of the game, Nic Demski as the Most Outstanding Canadian and the Blue Bombers lift the Grey Cup following their triumph over the Tiger-Cats.


Major League Soccer

New York City FC were aiming to make more history as they participated in their first ever MLS Cup Final against Portland Timbers at Providence Park. The deadlock was broken in the 41st minute when Taty Castellanos powered a header past Steve Clark. The Boys in Blue were on course for the win when a dramatic equaliser arrived in the 94th minute for Felipe Mora. That took the game to extra time and then penalties. After nine kicks Alex Callens was presented the chance to win the game. Stepping up confidently, he smashed the ball past Steve Clark to crown NYCFC 2021 MLS Cup Champions.

Alexander Callens converts the winning penalty to seal a 4-2 penalty shootout win for NYCFC over the Portland Timbers. The visiting side took the lead in the first half through Valentin Castellanos, but the Timbers would fight back with an equalizer in second-half stoppage time. The penalty shootout would feature a pair of decisive saves from NYCFC goalkeeper Sean Johnson to help the club lift its first MLS Cup.

The moment NYCFC won it all!! NYCFC watch party at the Hammerstein Ballroom

Major League Soccer announced that New England Revolution midfielder Carles Gil has been named the 2021 Landon Donovan MLS Most Valuable Player, after driving the Revolution to their first Supporters' Shield and the all-time MLS single-season points record. Gil led Major League Soccer with 18 assists in 2021, equaling the 10th-most in a single season in the league's 26-year history. Gil recorded eight game-winning assists on the campaign, tying the MLS record set three times previously, while also netting four goals on the season. His combined 22 goals and assists for the year tied for eighth-most in the league.

Carles Gil Named 2021 Landon Donovan MLS Most Valuable Player

Charlotte FC unveils its first ever primary kit. The club officially unveils its Primary Kit, known at the Carolina Kit. It is set to be worn by Charlotte FC's players for the 2022 and 2023 MLS seasons.

National Women's Soccer League

In one of the most high-profile deals in NWSL history, San Diego Wave Futbol Club announced the signing of the world-renowned forward Alex Morgan from Orlando Pride. The prolific goal scorer and inventive playmaker makes the move back to Southern California, where she grew up and began her trailblazing career, and will make an immediate impact for the franchise both on and off the field.

San Diego Wave FC Welcomes Alex Morgan

Racing Louisville FC has tapped European title winner Kim Björkegren, who led multiple teams within the UEFA Women's Champion League, as its next head coach. The 39-year-old Björkegren - a native of Sweden in his 15th year coaching - most recently led Cyprus' Apollon Ladies FC to an undefeated season. The club took 64 of a possible 66 points and advanced to the Champions League's second round. Cyprus' players association awarded Björkegren its Coach of the Year award as a result.

Racing Louisville announces new head coach

United Soccer League Championship

El Paso Locomotive FC is excited to welcome John Hutchinson to the club as its new Head Coach and Technical Director as it enters its fourth USL Championship campaign. Hutchinson's professional soccer career spans over 25 years as both a player and on coaching staffs across seven leagues. Hutchinson, 41, has six years of technical staff experience spanning over five leagues, including abroad in the Japanese and Australian top-flight leagues as well as here in the United States.

Locomotive FC tabs John Hutchinson as head coach and technical director.

New York Red Bulls II announced that John Wolyniec had elected to step down from his position as the club's Head Coach. Wolyniec had been the lone Head Coach in the Red Bulls II's history since it joined the USL Championship in 2015, and he had been part of the Red Bulls organization in a coaching capacity since his retirement from playing in 2010.


MLS NEXT Pro announced the 21 clubs that will compete in the new professional league's inaugural 2022 season. Adidas will serve as MLS NEXT Pro's first corporate sponsor. Established in June by Major League Soccer, the new professional league will complete an integrated player pathway from MLS NEXT through to MLS first teams. The new league will offer young players and experienced professionals the opportunity to develop and showcase their talents while competing for an MLS NEXT Pro championship. The 21 clubs competing in MLS NEXT Pro's inaugural season include 20 teams affiliated with MLS clubs and one independent club, Rochester NY FC.

Established in June by Major League Soccer, the new professional league will complete an integrated player pathway from MLS NEXT through to MLS first teams. The new league will offer young players and experienced professionals the opportunity to develop and showcase their talents while competing for an MLS NEXT Pro championship.

Rochester New York FC to join new MLS NEXT Pro soccer league, launching spring 2022

Canadian Premier League

The Story of the 2021 CPL Final

Major Arena Soccer League

The Tacoma Stars have announced Mike Jennings as the head coach of the team ahead of the 2021-22 season. Jennings has been with the Stars since the 2016 season and has served under previous head coaches Darren Sawatzky and Nick Perera as part of the technical and medical staff. Jennings joined Tacoma Stars owner Lane Smith in ownership roles with the Seattle Sounders U23, Seattle Sounders Women, beginning with the PDL's Tacoma Tide in 2006.


National Lacrosse League

LET THE BEARS FLY! Robert Church and the Saskatchewan Rush Teddy Bear Toss

Can he be stopped? No, he cannot. Lyle Thompson scored five goals and five assists for the Georgia Swarm over the New York Riptide


American Hockey League

Cue the teddy bears!

HAT TRICK for Toronto Marlies Joey Anderson!


Plays of the Week

North American Hockey League

Top Plays of the Week

Western Hockey League

Put it in the history books as the fastest Brandon Wheat Kings Teddy Bear Toss goal ever - Brett Hyland sends the bears flying just 20 seconds into the game!!

Teddy bear toss after a goal scored by the Regina Pats.

Top 10 Plays of the Week

Ontario Hockey League

OHL Plays of the Week

United States Hockey League

Sioux City Musketeers fans toss teddy bears onto the ice after Owen McLaughlin's first period goal against Omaha, to benefit Toys for Tots.

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

Top 10 Plays of the Month - November 2021


NBA G League

The Grand Rapids Gold, the NBA G League affiliate of the Denver Nuggets, announced that the team has acquired two-time NBA All-Star Isaiah Thomas. Thomas is a 10-year NBA Veteran, having played with the Boston Celtics, the Denver Nuggets, and the Los Angeles Lakers among other. He most recently played with the New Orleans Pelicans. Thomas averaged 18 points per game while shooting 43.5% from the field, 36.3% from the three point line, and 87.2% percent from the foul line. He is a two-time NBA All-Star (2016 and 2017) and a five-time NBA Player of the Week.

Top Plays of the Week

Women's National Basketball Association

The Phoenix Mercury announced that the team and head coach Sandy Brondello have mutually agreed to part ways and that her contract, which expired after the 2021 season, would not be renewed. Sandy Brondello: "I am very grateful for the opportunity and time that I have had with the Phoenix Mercury and would like to thank Robert Sarver and Jim Pitman, my staff and players who I have worked with throughout my time. Thank you also to the X-Factor for your support and for making the atmosphere at our games so memorable."

Minnesota Lynx head coach and general manager Cheryl Reeve, who as an assistant coach for the USA Basketball Women's National Team helped the U.S. claim gold medals at the 2016 and 2020 Olympic Games and 2014 and 2018 FIBA World Cups, will take the reins of the program as USA National Team head coach through 2024.

The WNBA released its game schedule for the 2022 regular season, which will feature a record-high 36 games per team. The expanded regular season will tip off on Friday, May 6 with a weekend of action showcasing all 12 teams. The league's 26th regular season will conclude on Sunday, Aug. 14, followed by the WNBA Playoffs presented by Google, which as previously announced, will have a new format this season.

The New York Liberty and coach Walt Hopkins parted ways, less than two years after he was hired. Hopkins led the Liberty to the playoffs this season after going 2-20 his first year. New York improved to 12-20 this season before losing to Phoenix 83-82 in the opening round of the playoffs on a free throw in the last few seconds.


Triple-A West League

Tim Federowicz, a former Major League catcher in parts of nine seasons, has been named by the Seattle Mariners as Manager of the Tacoma Rainiers (Triple-A West). Federowicz, 34, becomes the 11th manager of the club in the "Rainiers" era and Seattle affiliation (since 1995), following his retirement as a player over 13 seasons and 1,000 professional games played. 2021 Rainiers manager Kristopher Negron will assume first base coaching duties for Seattle this season.

Atlantic League

The Lexington Legends announced that P.J. Phillips will return to manage the Legends for the 2022 season. The Lexington front office also announced that 2021 Charleston Dirty Birds manager, Mark Minicozzi, will manage the yet-to-be-named second Atlantic League team playing at Lexington Legends Ballpark in 2022. P.J. Phillips is returning after managing the Legends to an Atlantic League Championship in 2021, his first season in the Atlantic League. Mark Minicozzi will take the helm for the team presently known as "The Kentucky Professional Baseball Team." In his first season managing in the Atlantic League, Minicozzi led the Charleston Dirty Birds to a 2021 Atlantic League playoff berth by winning the second-half Atlantic League South Division title.

The Charleston Dirty Birds announced that Billy Horn will be the Manager of the Dirty Birds for the 2022 season. Horn comes to Charleston from the High Point Rockers where he was the Bench Coach and Director of Player Procurement. During his time at High Point, Billy promoted 22 players to Major League Baseball organizations, with Jake Petricka (RHP), David Robertson (RHP), Tyler Ladendorf (INF), and Alberto Baldonado (LHP) reaching MLB and helped the club become the first expansion team in Atlantic League history to clinch the playoffs in 2019.


Major League Rugby

Utah Warriors top 5 moments from the 2021 season.

American Ultimate Disc League

The TOP 10 CATCHES from the 2021 AUDL 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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Canadian Football League Stories from December 14, 2021

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