Last Week around the Leagues
by Fran Stuchbury
November 21, 2023 - Canadian Football League (CFL)
This past week the Montreal Alouettes won their eighth Canadian Football League Grey Cup, the Premier Lacrosse League revealed its eight home markets for the 2024 season, and the South Atlantic League's Rome Braves rebranded as the Rome Emperors. Highlights from this week come from the Canadian Football League, Arena Football League, Premier Lacrosse League, South Atlantic League, Appalachian League, Eastern League, NBA G League, American Hockey League, ECHL, Southern Professional Hockey League, Professional Women's Hockey League, Western Hockey League, North American Hockey League, Ontario Hockey League, United States Hockey League, Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, Major League Soccer, National Women's Soccer League, United Soccer League Championship, MLS NEXT Pro and American Ultimate Disc League.
Canadian Football League
The Montreal Alouettes come out on top as they defeat the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the 28-24 in the 110th Grey Cup. The Alouettes won their first Grey Cup since the 2010 season. Montreal Alouettes quarterback Cody Fajardo passed for 290 yards, 3 touchdowns and claimed the game MVP honors.
Here are the highlights.
Here is the trophy presentation.
Toronto Argonauts quarterback Chad Kelly has finished his first regular season as a Canadian Football League (CFL) starter by being named its top performer. Kelly was one of five members of the Double Blue to claim trophies as the league's best were celebrated at Fallsview Casino & Resort. The CFL's highest individual honour has been renamed the George Reed Most Outstanding Player Award in memory of one of its greatest running backs of all-time, who sadly passed away in October. Reed - who will forever be remembered for the many records he held and the countless community members' lives he uplifted - will now have his lasting legacy imprinted on all future winners of the league's most coveted individual award.
Marshall Ferguson breaks down the big winners from the 2023 CFL Awards, capping off a great season for so many
Former Arlington Renegades quarterback Drew Plitt has been signed to the Cincinnati Bengals practice squad. Plitt, 25, signed with the National Football League's Bengals. He appeared in four games for the Renegades in the 2023 XFL season, completing 63 of 99 pass attempts (63.6 percent) for 668 yards with 3 touchdowns and 5 interceptions.
Arena Football League
The Arena Football League is relaunching after it folded back in 2019. That means the return of the Chicago Rush, the 2006 Arena Bowl champions, which is back under new ownership. Before the team's official announcement on Friday, CBS Sports Director Marshall Harris got an exclusive interview with the Rush's new owner who hails from the south suburbs, and learned he has plenty of experience entertaining the masses.
National Arena League
The National Arena League announces major news by naming arena football executive Todd Walkenhorst its new Commissioner. Walkenhorst will serve as the commissioner for the 2024 season and beyond, as he becomes the third commissioner in league history, since the league formed in 2017. With heavy momentum and unprecedented growth leading to the 2024 season, fans are witnessing the league's largest footprint to date. "This has obviously been an unprecedented off-season for our business and the National Arena League," Walkenhorst said. "I am looking forward to directing the NAL through this journey as we set the foundation for further growth. As one of the most established leagues in this industry, with some of the most tenured teams in the country, we are committed to providing the best experience for our players, coaches, fans and sponsors."
Premier Lacrosse League
The Premier Lacrosse League (PLL) powered by Ticketmaster has partnered with Whirlpool Brand to welcome its eight teams to home cities, marking the league's biggest investment since its inception in 2018. After evaluating fan voting, broadcast viewership, historical ticketing performance, public census data, and venues, the PLL has assigned its teams to the following locations: Boston Cannons, New York Atlas, Philadelphia Waterdogs, Maryland Whipsnakes Carolina Chaos, Denver Outlaws (formerly Chrome Lacrosse Club), Utah Archers and California Redwoods. "Our eight lacrosse clubs are coming home," said Paul Rabil, co-founder and president of the Premier Lacrosse League. "This is the biggest moment in our league's history. We couldn't be more excited about the incredible growth and enthusiasm we're witnessing in these vibrant lacrosse communities. A big thank you to our players, investors, partners and colleagues for their continued commitment, belief, and work ethic in making this possible. Sports fans have professional lacrosse from the world's best players to look forward to in their hometowns next season."
"The first game of North America comes home" - PLL HOME CITIES ANNOUNCEMENT with Anish Shroff
Welcome to a special edition of State of the League where President and Co-Founder, Paul Rabil, breaks down how each of our eight home markets were selected and explains how each brand was redesigned.
National Lacrosse League
The National Lacrosse League the largest and most successful professional lacrosse property in the world, and ESPN today announced the schedule of 10 games to be broadcast on its ESPN2 and ESPNU linear platforms during the 2023-24 season. The slate begins on NLL Faceoff Weekend when Philadelphia visits New York (7:30 p.m. ET/ESPN2). The Defending Champion Buffalo Bandits will appear twice, including a rematch of the 2022-23 Finals against the Colorado Mammoth on April 5 at 9 p.m. ET/7 p.m. MT at Ball Arena. "The continued success of our ESPN linear broadcasts demonstrates the appeal of our league across diverse demographics and fan bases nationwide," said NLL Commissioner Brett Frood. "These carefully selected matchups highlight our world-class athletes and rivalries within our new Unified Standings format, and the exposure on ESPN2 and ESPNU helps us retain and grow new interest in our sport."
The National Lacrosse League, North America's premier professional lacrosse league, today announced the first-ever NLL UnBOXed© Series marquee event game scheduled for Friday, February 16, 2024, at 7 p.m. ET in Laval, Québec, outside of Montréal. The League's newest tentpole showcase features the NLL's two largest markets as the Toronto Rock and New York Riptide will clash in a pivotal midseason showdown. "Interest in box lacrosse, from the grassroots to the professional level, continues to skyrocket in Québec, and we are proud to be able to take this next step in bringing the NLL and our elite athletes to Laval and the greater Montréal area," said NLL Commissioner Brett Frood. "We are thankful to the leadership of the Canadiens, especially France Margaret Bélanger, in working with us to host the game at Place Bell, and to both the Riptide and the Rock for their enthusiasm to move to a neutral site so that we can expand our regular season audience in Montréal for the first time in more than 20 years."
South Atlantic League
When the 2024 season opens in April, the Atlanta Braves' High-A affiliate will proudly take the field as the Rome Emperors, a name that is unique and distinctive to professional baseball in Rome.
When deciding on the new name, we were equally inspired by our city's history and connection with ancient Rome as well as ideas from the community. We believe the Emperors is a name Rome can uniquely claim as its own and one the community can take great pride in. Rome is one of the most unique and beautiful cities in all of Georgia. It is a city filled with people who embody the spirit of what it truly means to be a community. It was imperative to give this city a brand and identity that it could claim and call its own.
Rome Baseball Club reveals new name: The Rome Emperors
The Appalachian League announced that Marshall University, in Huntington, W.Va., will host an Appy League team beginning with the 2024 season. Huntington was a member of the Appy League from 1990-1995 and served as a Minor League affiliate for the Chicago Cubs from 1990-94. The new Appy League team will play home games at Marshall's new baseball stadium, Jack Cook Field, which is scheduled to open for the 2024 spring season and is named after the long-time Marshall baseball coach. "We are thrilled that the Appy League will be returning to Huntington and looking forward to partnering with Marshall University and the rest of the Huntington community on this new team. Marshall's new baseball facilities will provide players with one of the best summer collegiate experiences in the country and further our goal of making the Appy League the destination for elite college players in the summer," said Brian Graham, Executive Director of the Appalachian League.
Huntington getting Appalachian League baseball team
Akron RubberDucks raise awareness for pediatric cancer
NBA G League
Rip City Remix hosts inaugural game with 114-110 loss to South Bay Lakers
Mac McClung explodes for 44 points in Osceola Magic comeback win
American Hockey League
Goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic scored an empty-net goal in the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins' 4-2 win against the Providence Bruins at Amica Mutual Pavilion. Nedeljkovic's empty-net goal with 1:04 left in regulation became the 22nd goalie goal in AHL history and carved him his own special place in the record books, as well. The 27-year-old from Parma, Ohio became the first goalie in league history to be credited with two goals in his career. Nedeljkovic previously scored for the Charlotte Checkers in a game on Mar. 10, 2018 against the Hartford Wolf Pack.
Oilers goalie Jack Campbell has been sent down to the Edmonton Oilers AHL team, and there his play has argubaly regressed even further.
This is the most ECHL story. The Toledo Walleye hosted the Kalamazoo Wings who had to wear Toledos practice jerseys due to them being left behind in Kalamazoo.
Southern Professional Hockey League
Week 4 SPHL goals
Professional Women's Hockey League
The Professional Women's Hockey League recently unveiled jerseys they will wear in each market for the league's inaugural season. As training camp begins, CBC Sports discusses the excitement surrounding the PWHL and weighs in on pay equity.
Western Hockey League
WHL Top 10
WHL Power Rankings - November 10-16
North American Hockey League
The top plays in the NAHL from November 6-12, 2023
Ontario Hockey League
OHL Saves of the Week
United States Hockey League
USHL Goals of the Week
Quebec Major Junior Hockey League
Top 5 Plays of the Week
Major League Soccer
Major League Soccer announced FC Cincinnati center back Matt Miazga as the 2023 MLS Defender of the Year. Miazga becomes the first Cincinnati defender to receive the honor and the 17th different U.S. International to capture the accolade. The 6-foot-4 defender has been an anchor on Cincinnati's back line since arriving at the club on August 5, 2022, starting 37 regular-season matches and logging over 3,100 minutes. When on the field, the Miazga-led defense allowed just 28 goals (1.03 goals per game) in 2023, and he started 10 games in which the club held their opponents scoreless, tied for the fourth-most clean sheets among outfield players in the league.
Matt Miazga: Best Defender in MLS 2023
After overcoming a significant knee injury that forced him to miss the entire 2022 season, Sporting Kansas City forward Alan Pulido has been named the 2023 MLS Comeback Player of the Year. The Mexican international produced an MLS career-best and club-high 14 goals in 2023 alongside three assists as SKC returned to the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs.
National Women's Soccer League
Bay FC, the new women's professional soccer franchise representing the Bay Area in the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL), today unveiled plans for its training facility to be located at San José State University (SJSU). The facility, which was designed by Bay FC's Co-Founders and United States Women's National Team (USWNT) Legends Danielle Slaton, Aly Wagner, Brandi Chastain, and Leslie Osborne will serve as the team's dedicated home space heading into its inaugural 2024 season, as the team continues to plan for its own standalone training facility and stadium in the future. "Our goal with Bay FC is to leave a legacy, not only for the team but for the fans and Bay Area community supporting our team," said Jen Millet, Chief Operating Officer at Bay FC. "We are continuing to strategize and plan for our long-term stadium and training facility locations but investing in this training facility now is incredibly important, not only for our players but as a lasting Bay FC legacy for SJSU and the soccer community to enjoy for years to come."
The first player in Bay FC history has officially signed. Alex Loera, a defensive midfielder, will be joining the Bay Area's new professional women's soccer team.
The Chicago Red Stars have appointed accomplished sports executive and attorney Karen Leetzow as the club's new president. Leetzow joins the Red Stars after serving as the chief legal officer of the U.S. Soccer Federation, where she oversaw the independent investigation into abuse and sexual misconduct in women's soccer and also helped lead the successful negotiations for an agreement to ensure equal pay for the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team. "Karen is a committed advocate for women in sports and her work with the U.S. Soccer Federation leadership team to create a new culture is beyond compare," said Laura Ricketts, Chicago Red Stars principal owner. "In her distinguished career she has gone beyond barriers and blazed a path for women to have a seat at the table of the C-suite of major sports enterprises and she has assured our athletes are protected and have a level playing field."
United Soccer League Championship
Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC's Bob Lilley was named the 2023 USL Championship Coach of the Year with the legendary Head Coach claimed the honor for the second time in the USL Championship era after leading the Hounds to the Players' Shield with the best record in the 2023 regular season. Now in his third decade on the sidelines, Lilley guided the Hounds to the top of the Eastern Conference standings for the second time in the past five seasons. Pittsburgh suffered a league-fewest five defeats in the regular season, conceded the fewest goals in the Eastern Conference (29), and recorded 67 points - an average of 1.97 per game across the 34-game schedule.
The Miami Football Club (Miami FC) announced the signing of Antonio Nocerino as the club's next head coach ahead of the 2024 USL Championship season. The former AC Milan and Italian National Team star is set to become the 5th Head Coach in club history, bringing tremendous experience and credibility to the 305. "I am extremely excited to bring in an individual like Antonio Nocerino to lead this next phase of Miami FC's future," said Miami FC Owner and Founder Riccardo Silva. "Antonio's incredible experience, knowledge and character are the perfect fit for The Miami Football Club as we pursue our mission to become a destination for players domestically and internationally. Our commitment to this city has never been stronger."
The Miami Football Club announced the signing of Antonio Nocerino as the club's next head coach ahead of the 2024 USL Championship season.
Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC's Arturo Ordóñez was announced as the 2023 USL Championship Defender of the Year, with the Spanish center back earning the honor after a standout season in which he anchored the best back line in the Championship's Eastern Conference while also contributing to the side in the attacking third.
Sacramento Republic FC's Danny Vitiello was announced as the 2023 USL Championship Goalkeeper of the Year, with the two-time USL Championship Golden Glove winner adding to his accolades in the league after a standout campaign for the side with the best defensive record in the Championship's regular season.
United Soccer League One
Spokane Velocity FC announced the appointment of Leigh Veidman as its inaugural head coach ahead of its first season.
Veidman, most recently an assistant coach with the Charleston Battery in the USL Championship, brings to Spokane a wealth of coaching experience at the collegiate and professional levels. "We were very fortunate to have a large and highly competitive applicant pool for this head coach position," said Ryan Harnetiaux, Spokane Velocity FC club owner. Leigh is a talented and well-respected coach, and his methodology and coaching style is a natural fit within our technical department and new organization. We are looking forward to welcoming Leigh to Spokane and building an incredible community asset."
Spokane Velocity hire first head coach
MLS NEXT Pro
MLS NEXT Pro announced the addition of an independent club that brings 15 years of history to the League. Chattanooga FC will join MLS NEXT Pro in 2024, becoming the second independent team to begin play next season. Pending sanctioning approval by the U.S. Soccer Federation, Chattanooga FC will join fellow independent club Carolina Core FC and 27 MLS-affiliated clubs for the League's third season in 2024. Chattanooga is the fourth independent club to join MLS NEXT Pro since its inaugural season, following Jacksonville Armada FC, which was announced earlier this month, and the previously announced Cleveland. "Since its founding, Chattanooga FC has been a pillar in the community through its efforts both on and off the field. We are thrilled to welcome the Club to our League," said Charles Altchek, President of MLS NEXT Pro. "We look forward to partnering with Davis Grizzard and making a significant and lasting impact in Chattanooga and the Tennessee Valley."
NEXT CHAPTER: Chattanooga FC to join MLS NEXT Pro in 2024
The CFC will now compete in a league under the MLS banner as they make their biggest move since becoming a professional club.
Pro Volleyball Federation
Professional quarterback Joe Burrow and his parents Jimmy and Robin Burrow have joined the ownership group of Pro Volleyball Federation's Columbus Fury. The Burrows previously joined the League as equity partners soon after its launch in November 2022. Since then, the family has played an integral role in the League's growth and development, including attracting team owners and other Founding Partners. "I have been watching the growth of Pro Volleyball Federation since my parents and I joined the League, and it has been very impressive to see," said Joe Burrow. "It seems like every day more great news is announced about the League, whether it's the great players who continue to sign with the League, the outstanding coaches who are involved, or the new ownership groups and markets that are added. I am very proud to be a part of it, and I am now excited to say that my family is involved in the Columbus Fury ownership group."
American Ultimate Disc League
After helping lead New York to thee consecutive championship game appearances, two titles, back-to-back perfect seasons, and a 42-3 record since 2021, Empire Co-Head Coach Charlie Hoppes is stepping away from the team in 2024 to focus on his personal health.
In a post shared on Twitter/X, Hoppes expressed deep gratitude for the New York franchise, and his coaching peer Anthony Nuñez, for the last three years with the team.
The Top Plays From The New York Empire 2023 Championship Season
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Canadian Football League Stories from November 21, 2023
- Roughriders Add Five Canadians to Roster, Including Three from 2023 Draft Class - Saskatchewan Roughriders
- Alouettes Host Grey Cup Champions Parade - Montreal Alouettes
- 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.