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Last Week around the Leagues

by Fran Stuchbury
December 5, 2023 - ECHL (ECHL)


This past week FC Cincinnati midfielder Luciano 'Lucho' Acosta was named the 2023 Landon Donovan MLS Most Valuable Player, the ECHL expansion team in Lake Tahoe announced it will be known as the Tahoe Knight Monsters, the Pioneer League placed an expansion team in Oakland called the Oakland Ballers for the 2024 season, and Major League Rugby's Toronto Arrows ceased operations. Highlights from this week come from Major League Soccer, the Canadian Premier League, Major Arena Soccer League, ECHL, American Hockey League, SPHL, Professional Women's Hockey League, Western Hockey League, North American Hockey League, Ontario Hockey League, United States Hockey League, Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, Pioneer League, National Lacrosse League, NBA G League, Canadian Football League, Pro Volleyball Federation and the American Ultimate Disc League.

SOCCER

Major League Soccer

FC Cincinnati midfielder Luciano 'Lucho' Acosta has been named the 2023 Landon Donovan MLS Most Valuable Player. After leading FC Cincinnati to the club's first MLS trophy - the Supporters' Shield - the dynamic attacking midfielder becomes the first player in club history to earn the highest individual honor in Major League Soccer. Acosta led MLS with 31 goal contributions in 2023 (17 goals, 14 assists), becoming just the sixth player in league history to record three or more seasons with at least 10 goals and 10 assists. He also became the 14th player in MLS history to record at least 50 goals and 70 assists in their career and the first player to reach the milestone since fellow Argentine Diego Valeri did so in 2019.

Felipe Cárdenas joins Box 2 Box and reacts to the breaking news that Lucho Acosta has been named MLS MVP.

Luciano Acosta 2023 MLS MVP Sizzle

Luciano Acosta unboxes his 2023 MLS MVP award

The MLS Disciplinary Committee has suspended FC Cincinnati defender Matt Miazga for three matches and issued an undisclosed fine for his misconduct following FC Cincinnati's match against the New York Red Bulls on November 4. Additionally, Miazga will undergo a behavioral assessment through the Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health (SABH) Program and may petition for a reduction in suspension based on continued commitment and compliance with any recommended treatment programs.

Columbus Crew headed to MLS cup

Home win for LAFC over Houston Dynamo to advance to the MLS Cup Final.

National Women's Soccer League

Utah Royals FC added forward Imani Dorsey to its expansion 2024 roster via free agency, as the former Gotham FC player inked a new deal for the 2024/25 NWSL seasons. Dorsey was selected fifth overall in the NWSL Draft by Sky Blue FC in 2018 - honored as that season's NWSL Rookie of the Year - and has played 72 games in the NWSL over the last five years for New York-based Sky Blue, which rebranded as Gotham FC prior to the 2021 season. Dorsey scored six times for reigning NWSL champions Gotham, a total which includes four goals during that 2018 Rookie of the Year campaign. "When I heard about URFC return, I was intrigued about the possibility of playing here," said Dorsey, acknowledging the level of investment and thought and care across all aspects of the new era for Utah Royals FC. "I came into the league in 2018, so during those first few seasons, traveling to Salt Lake City, this was a place I was very excited to experience. From the outside looking in, the amenities this Club built up for women's soccer was to be admired - setting the League standard even then."

Canadian Premier League

Every goal from the 2023 Canadian Premier League playoffs

United Soccer League Championship

Detroit City FC has appointed former Premier League striker and Sacramento Republic FC Assistant Coach Danny Dichio as the club's next Head Coach. Dichio becomes the fourth Head Coach in the history of the men's senior side, dating back to 2012, and joins on a two-year contract. In Dichio's two seasons on the Sacramento coaching staff, Republic FC would have great success on the field. In 2022, Sacramento finished as the 4th seed in the West and saw an improbable run to the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final, where they lost to Orlando City of Major League Soccer. In 2023, Sacramento would enter the playoffs as the #1 seed in the West, making it to the Western Conference Final, where they would lose 2-1 to the eventual champions, Phoenix Rising FC.

Major Arena Soccer League

Check out all the action from Week 1 on MASL In 5, starring Alex Bastyovanszky!

HOCKEY

ECHL

The ECHL's newest team, the Tahoe Knight Monsters, revealed its name and logo at a special event held at the Tahoe Blue Event Center. The team's colors are teal, gold and black. The Knight Monsters team name and logo is portrayed by a dragon-like creature that resides and rules Lake Tahoe. The inspiration of the name and logo originated from local input and nominations from over 1000 fans. The area has a long-standing folklore of a creature called "Tahoe Tessie," a fictional creature that resides in Lake Tahoe. These logos also incorporate the amazing Lake Tahoe and the mountains that border it to pay homage to the area and its world-renowned natural beauty. The Knight Monster is unique and iconic, blending the mystique and honor of a Knight with the ferocity of a lake monster creating a distinct visual identity for the team. This Knight Monster is majestic and fierce with a towering presence. The Knight Monster is a protector and fights for those who can't fight for themselves.

Tahoe Knight Monsters Name & Logo Unveil

Lake Tahoe Minor League Hockey Team Reveals Name and Logo

The Icemen's Riley Fiddler-Schultz scored the goal at the 7:30 mark of the second period that ignited the furry and fuzzy celebration. Over 14,000 teddy bears and stuffed animals were tossed onto the ice to celebrate the goal. All of the teddy bears are rounded up and distributed to local children's charities across the area for the Holidays.

American Hockey League

A record crowd of 8,994 threw 6.771 stuffed animals on the ice, bringing the Bakersfield Condors all-time Teddy Bear Toss total to 159,916. It was memorable not only for the record crowd, but for goal scorer Matvey Petrov, who netted his first pro goal while unleashing the bears.

SPHL

The Southern Professional Hockey League and its member teams mourn the loss and express their condolences to the family and friends of former Columbus Cottonmouths owner John "Shelby" Amos II, who passed away on Thursday at the age of 71. Amos co-owned the Cottonmouths from 2001-2017 with wife and former SPHL governor Wanda Amos and were founding members of the Southern Professional Hockey League. Under their leadership, the Cottonmouths won the SPHL champi- onship in 2005 and 2012 and together they were instrumental in developing the league's early commitment to community involvement.

Week 6 SPHL goals

Week 6 SPHL saves

Professional Women's Hockey League

Top Professional Women's Hockey League (PWHL) players will participate in NHL All-Star Thursday on Feb. 1 at Scotiabank Arena, in the Canadian Tire PWHL 3-on-3 Showcase©, part of 2024 NHL All-Star Weekend. "We can't wait to showcase our new league and our incredible athletes on NHL All-Star Thursday," said Jayna Hefford, PWHL Senior Vice President of Hockey Operations. "We're delighted to be collaborating with the NHL, and we appreciate the opportunity to grow the game through the All-Star platform. "Over the years, the inclusion of women's hockey in NHL events has created some very special experiences for players and fans," Hefford said, "and we're certain NHL All-Star Thursday will provide even more memorable moments."

The Professional Women's Hockey League (PWHL) has announced its official 2024 regular-season schedule that begins on Monday, January 1, and concludes on Sunday, May 5, 2024. The inaugural PWHL season consists of 72 games, with each of the league's six teams competing 24 times. "Our inaugural season schedule features games being played at exceptional venues, at a variety of times, across all seven days of the week - offering multiple options for our fans," said Stan Kasten, PWHL Advisory Board member. "We are excited to drop the puck on New Year's Day and launch a new era of professional women's hockey."

Minnesota's PWHL team still doesn't have a name, but it has a lot of local talent and will play games at the Xcel Energy Center.

Western Hockey League

WHL Top 10

2023 Calgary Hitmen Teddy Bear Toss

North American Hockey League

NAHL Top Plays - November 20-26, 2023

Ontario Hockey League

Best Plays of October

United States Hockey League

USHL Top Plays of the Week

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

Top 5 Plays of the Week

BASEBALL

Pioneer League

The Pioneer Baseball League presented by TicketSmarter announced that in 2024 it will be expanding to Oakland, CA with the launch of its first team, the "Oakland Ballers", in its newly planned "Pacific West Division". "I am so excited to usher in the next chapter of the Pioneer League's future with our expansion to Oakland, California," said PBL President Mike Shapiro. "Launching our first club in Oakland underscores the PBL's spirit of innovation and commitment to providing the very best fan and player development experiences. The richly diverse Oakland community, with its historic baseball heritage, is a perfect first step for the PBL's expansion beyond its foundational roots in the Mountain West states."

We Are The Oakland Ballers

The Oakland Ballers: Fans start B's, an independent baseball team

LACROSSE

National Lacrosse League

Ryan Barnable hits a no-look over-the-head breakaway goal late in the game for the Saskatchewan Rush! Absolute sorcery!

Callum Crawford went off for 5 goals in Panther City Lacrosse Club's 11-7 win over Vancouver. Crawford ties Mark Steenhuis for 10th all-time in goals scored with 406.

Connor Fields scored 4 goals and 2 assists in Rochester's comeback win over Calgary.

BASKETBALL

NBA G League

The Iowa Wolves, the NBA G League affiliate of the Minnesota Timberwolves, have agreed to a multi-year lease extension with Polk County and OVG360, operators of Wells Fargo Arena. "The Iowa Wolves and Minnesota Timberwolves are excited to announce our lease extension at Wells Fargo Arena with tremendous partners in Polk County and OVG360," said Drew Van Meeteren, Iowa Wolves President of Business Operations. "Our coaches and players love playing at Wells Fargo Arena as it is undoubtedly one of the best home court advantages in the G League with an incredible environment for our fans and partners alike. It is truly a one-of-kind experience to see the amazing talent across the NBA G League."

Osceola Magic guard Trevelin Queen Named NBA G League Player Of The Week. Queen averaged 32.3 points, 9.3 rebounds and 3.0 steals for the Osceola Magic.

FOOTBALL

Canadian Football League

Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager Jeremy O'Day has announced today that Corey Mace has been named the 48th Head Coach of the Saskatchewan Roughriders. "From the get-go, Corey blew me away with his strong vision to lead the Saskatchewan Roughriders, his exceptional communication skills and his laser-focus on winning," said O'Day. "But beyond his proven record as a top coach in the CFL, he also demonstrated a deep understanding of Saskatchewan and its people and a commitment to give back to our community. I am thrilled to welcome him and his family to the Roughriders and to get to work on a successful 2024 season." Mace, who hails from Port Moody, B.C., joins the Roughriders after spending the last two seasons (2022-23) as the defensive coordinator of the Toronto Argonauts, winning a Grey Cup with the team in 2022, and helping the team go an incredible 16-2 in the 2023 season.

"We're going to be a blue collar, hard working football team."

- Head Coach, Corey Mace

The Canadian Football League (CFL), the BC Lions and the City of Victoria are proud to announce an exciting next step in growing the game across Canada: Touchdown Pacific. "This is a special day for Canadian football," said CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie. "Our great game is for all Canadians - it brings us together and it unites us as a country. The Touchdown Series is about opening our game to new fans and new communities, and showing them that the CFL is their league, too. "From the cheers of the crowd and the impact in the community, to the fun, fast and entertaining action on the field - we can't wait to deliver the full CFL experience to everyone in Victoria!" The 2024 edition of Touchdown Pacific will see the BC Lions play host to the Ottawa REDBLACKS on Saturday, August 31 as part of OK Tire Labour Day Weekend. Royal Athletic Park, located just outside downtown Victoria, will be home to the contest. The popular community stadium will be expanded to welcome approximately 10,000-14,000 guests, including standing room.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers announce a two-year contract extension for General Manager Kyle Walters. Assistant General Manager/Director of U.S. Scouting Danny McManus and Senior Assistant General Manager/Director of Player Personnel Ted Goveia will also remain with the Club. All three men have played instrumental roles in the success of the franchise, particularly over the last seven years during which the club has posted double-digit win campaigns and advanced to four consecutive Grey Cup games, with championships in 2019 and 2021.

Henoc Muamba and Donnovan Bennett break down how Cody Fajardo was able to lead the Montreal Alouettes offence to a second half comeback and win the 110th Grey Cup.

Henoc Muamba and Donnovan Bennett break down the mistakes that cost the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the 110th Grey Cup game at Tim Hortons Field, including some regrettable defensive calls on the games final drive.

XFL

Former Seattle Sea Dragons quarterback Ben DiNucci has been activated by the Denver Broncos of the National Football League. DiNucci, 27, originally signed with the Broncos on May 15, 2023, the first day XFL players could officially sign NFL contracts. He was waived on Aug. 29, 2023, and re-signed to the practice squad. The 6-foot-3, 210-pound quarterback started all 10 regular season games for the Sea Dragons last season, going 7-3. He led the XFL in passing yards (2,671), attempts (374), completions (272), quarterback rushing yards (305) and finished second in passing touchdowns (23). In his sole postseason game, he went 31-for-48, throwing for 295 yards and three touchdowns as the Sea Dragons fell to the D.C. Defenders, 37-21.

OTHER SPORTS

Major League Rugby

Major League Rugby (MLR), which represents the highest level of rugby competition in North America, has announced the Toronto Arrows will cease operations, effectively immediately, and not compete in the 2024 MLR season. MLR and the Arrows organization, together, explored all avenues in an effort to maintain the club's presence in the League. Unfortunately, after exhausting all options, Toronto was left with no choice but to voluntarily withdraw from the league. "It is with heavy hearts we formally announce that the Arrows will not participate in the 2024 MLR season," said Tim Matthews, General Manager of the Toronto Arrows. "Despite extensive efforts, carrying on following the passing of Bill Webb was simply too great a challenge for the club to overcome. We are working with the League office and contracted players regarding next steps - and in the spirit of the club's co-founder, we are also working with partners regarding the Arrows Academy and the continued development of Canadian rugby talent. To our fans, friends, partners and the broader rugby community, thank you for your support over the years."

As the Chicago Hounds continue to build out their performance staff for the 2024 Major League Rugby season, the team announced the appointment of Matt Wagner as the Team Manager. Wagner's presence has been felt throughout the Chicago rugby community since 2012 when he began playing for the Chicago Lions club. He captained the 7s program before retiring as a player in 2018. During that time, Wagner coached the Purdue University 7s program and led the Boilermakers for four and a half years. He was named as the Big 10 7s Coach of the Year in 2015.

Pro Volleyball Federation

Las Vegas' home team in the newly established Pro Volleyball Federation, Vegas Pro Volleyball, officially revealed the name for its world-class volleyball team - the Vegas Thrill. The team also announced its official home court, The Dollar Loan Center in Henderson, Nevada, and the launch of the season ticket deposit campaign via the team website, VegasThrill.com. "We are excited to join the group bringing the Vegas Thrill and the Pro Volleyball Federation to The Dollar Loan Center," said Foley Entertainment Group President and CEO Kerry Bubolz. "This perfectly fits our commitment to give families in Henderson and the Las Vegas Valley access to a variety of exciting sports in our state-of-the-art arena, and we are especially proud to add a women's team to the FEG portfolio and our venue."

Pro Volleyball Federation reveals 'Vegas Thrill' name, other team details

Relive the historic day of Volleyball Day in Nebraska on Aug. 30, 2023 through the eyes of our Omaha Supernovas players. Join Nia Reed, Tori Dixon, Natalia Valentín-Anderson and former Husker herself Gina Mancuso-Prososki throughout their unforgettable day in Lincoln, NE.

Pro Volleyball Federation, North America's premier women's professional volleyball league, has announced a multi-year agreement with Franklin Sports, a leading manufacturer in the sporting goods industry. As part of the partnership, Franklin's newly designed REAL Pro Volleyball will become the exclusive volleyball of the League. "We always aimed to be able to design and produce our own ball for Pro Volleyball Federation that would stand up to any other ball in the world, and our partners at Franklin have helped us accomplish that goal," said Dave Whinham, co-founder of Pro Volleyball Federation. "From the start Franklin expressed a desire to disrupt the status quo in the volleyball space and become a real leader in the production and development of the highest quality volleyballs. That commitment to excellence, and its desire to disrupt, made Franklin the perfect partner in developing this new ball for our League."

American Ultimate Disc League

Evan Swiatek was one of the most dangerous strikers in the league in 2023 for the Austin Sol, leading the league in receiving yards and helping the Sol to their first Championship Weekend appearance as a franchise.

Did we miss anything newsworthy or fun? Have a nomination for next week's column? Contact us today and let us know.


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ECHL Stories from December 5, 2023


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.


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