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Last Week around the Leagues

by Fran Stuchbury
February 6, 2024 - ECHL (ECHL)


This past week Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry and WNBA guard Sabrina Ionescu announced they compete in the first-ever NBA vs. WNBA 3-Point Challenge, the United Football League released its 2024 schedule and set Rice Stadium as the home of the Houston Roughnecks, and the ECHL's Savannah Ghost Pirates fired head coach Rick Bennett. Highlights from this week come from the Women's National Basketball Association, NBA G League, United Football League, Canadian Football League, Arena Football League, ECHL, American Hockey League, Southern Professional Hockey League, Professional Women's Hockey League, Western Hockey League, North American Hockey League, Ontario Hockey League, United States Hockey League, Major League Soccer, National Women's Soccer League, Major Arena Soccer League, National Lacrosse League, Midwest League, Pacific Coast League, Atlantic League, Pro Volleyball Federation, and Ultimate Frisbee Association,

BASKETBALL

Women's National Basketball Association

NBA all-time 3-point leader and Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry and WNBA single-season 3-point record holder and New York Liberty guard Sabrina Ionescu will compete in "Stephen vs. Sabrina," the first-ever NBA vs. WNBA 3-Point Challenge, which will take place on Saturday, Feb. 17 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis during State Farm All-Star Saturday Night. "Stephen vs. Sabrina" will follow standard STARRY 3-Point Contest rules. Curry will shoot from the NBA 3-point line with NBA basketballs, and Ionescu will shoot from the WNBA 3-point line with WNBA basketballs. Ionescu challenged Curry to a 3-point competition after she recorded 37 points (out of a possible 40 points) in the final round of the STARRY WNBA 3-Point Contest at AT&T WNBA All-Star 2023, setting a WNBA and NBA single-round event record and winning the contest for the first time. Curry raised the challenge once again when he was mic'd up during Golden State's Jan. 25 game against the Sacramento Kings on TNT. Ionescu responded on social media officially accepting the challenge.

Stephen Curry Talks Facing Sabrina Ionescu in 3-Point Challenge. NBA on TNT Postgame.

When Sabrina Ionescu's Broke The All-Time 3-Point Challenge Record! Look back at Sabrina Ionescu's ridiculous all-time 3-point challenge record performance from July where she made 25 of 27 threes!

The Los Angeles Sparks announced the acquisition of All-Star guard Kia Nurse in addition to Seattle Storm's number four overall pick in this year's draft in exchange for the Sparks 2026 first round pick. Nurse was drafted by the New York Liberty 10th overall in 2018, and has averaged 9.7 points, 2.7 rebounds and 1.8 assists in five seasons in the league with the Liberty from 2018-2020, Phoenix Mercury in 2021 and the Storm in 2023. In her second year, she was voted to be a starter in the WNBA All-Star game and was selected to participate in the 3-point contest. "I am excited that we were able to acquire Kia and welcome her to our Sparks family," said head coach Curt Miller. "Kia is a versatile veteran guard who can play multiple positions and brings a toughness and physicality that will fit in perfectly with our team."

NBA G League

The Memphis Hustle (8-7), the NBA G League affiliate of the Memphis Grizzlies, defeated the G League Ignite (1-17) 107-89 as Head Coach Jason March won his 100th game. Adonis Arms led the Hustle with his first double-double of the season, scoring a season-high 27 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. Cameron McGriff added 18 points off the bench. DeJon Jarreau contributed 17 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. Michael Devoe totaled 17 points. Loudon Love chipped in 12 points and seven rebounds.

NBA G League Ignite has signed veteran NBA G League guard Gabe York, Ignite General Manager Anthony McClish announced. York, who led the NBA G League in steals while playing for the Fort Wayne Mad Ants in 2022-23, joins Ignite after spending the past eight seasons playing professionally overseas and in the NBA G League. York appeared in five NBA games over the course of two seasons (2021-22 and 2022-23) with the Indiana Pacers. Following a standout career at the University of Arizona, York has appeared in 146 games over four seasons with the Erie BayHawks, Lakeland Magic and Mad Ants, holding career averages of 18.4 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.6 steals.

Alondes Williams Named Kia G League Player Of The Month - January 2024. He led the team with 25.7 points on 56.5 percent shooting (46.2 percent from beyond the arc), 5.3 rebounds, 6.6 assists and 1.5 steals per 39.9 minutes in 10 starts during January.

Luka Garza's Best Plays Of The Season So Far

FOOTBALL

United Football League

The United Football League announced the schedule for its inaugural season. Key details: 43 UFL games (40 regular season games, two Conference Championship games, one Championship game). The League is divided into two conferences: USFL (Birmingham Stallions, Houston Roughnecks, Memphis Showboats, Michigan Panthers) and XFL (Arlington Renegades, D.C. Defenders, San Antonio Brahmas, St. Louis Battlehawks). Each team will play six in-conference games and four inter-conference matchups. - The Conference Championships will pit the top two teams with the best records in their respective conferences against each other. UFL games will be broadcast on ABC, FOX, ESPN, FS1 and ESPN2. Games on ESPN and ABC will be streamed on ESPN+ and FOX games will stream on the FOX Sports App. All games will be streamed via TV Everywhere

72% of all UFL games will air on broadcast television (ABC or FOX).

United Football League Schedule Release: Key Takeaways

The United Football League today announced that the Houston Roughnecks will play the 2024 UFL season at iconic Rice Stadium, on the campus of Rice University. Rice Stadium will be a great home for our Roughnecks, and we can't wait to deliver a phenomenal football product and fan experience that is uniquely H-Town," said Russ Brandon, president/CEO of the UFL. Rice Stadium has served as the home field for the Rice Owls since it opened in 1950 and has a rich history in professional football as well. The Houston Oilers played their home games on campus from 1966-68 and six years later, the stadium Super Bowl VIII between the Miami Dolphins and Minnesota Vikings, becoming one of only four on-campus venues to host the NFL's championship game. The facility also served as a practice facility for the Atlanta Falcons before Super Bowl LI in 2017.

Houston Roughnecks to play games at Rice Stadium in 2024

Canadian Football League

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers announce the club has agreed to terms on a one-year contract with quarterback Chris Streveler. Streveler (6-1, 216; South Dakota/Minnesota; born: January 6, 1995, in Naperville, IL.) returns to the Blue Bombers after spending the last four seasons in the National Football League, suiting up for nine regular season games and starting one during his days with the Arizona Cardinals and New York Jets. Streveler also spent brief stints with the Baltimore Ravens and Miami Dolphins. Streveler first signed with the Blue Bombers on May 4th, 2018, and was the club's starter to open the season just a few weeks later following the sudden retirement of Darian Durant and an injury to Matt Nichols near the end of training camp. That made him the first straight-from-college quarterback to start Week 1 for a CFL team since Anthony Calvillo with the Las Vegas Posse in 1994 and the first for the Blue Bombers since John Schneider in 1968. He threw for 11 touchdowns in his first season in Winnipeg while rushing for 10 more, making him the first Winnipeg QB since Matt Dunigan to hit double-digit touchdown totals through the air and along the ground.

Winnipeg Blue Bombers general manager Kyle Walters sits down with Donnovan Bennett to discuss the construction of a successful football team and how the Blue Bombers have remained consistently among the top teams in the CFL

Arena Football League

Making its national return to arenas across the country, the AFL begins a new chapter as a league. Minnesota will be front and center with a brand-new team, mission, and organization: The Minnesota Myth. The Myth will kick off the season Week 1 with an away game against the Nashville Kats, followed by their home debut Week 2 hosting the Philadelphia Soul on May 5th. The Myth's season consists of 10 games - 5 away and 5 home games to be played at the iconic Target Center, also home to the NBA's Minnesota Timberwolves and the WNBA's Minnesota Lynx. Regular season games will be played on Thursdays, Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays.

New arena football team coming to Council Bluffs the Iowa Rampage

Indoor Football League

Defensive back Marquise Bridges is the latest example of using his IFL experience as a springboard to bigger things after signing with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League following a season with the Bay Area Panthers. "I'm 20 times better as a football player than I was when I was coming out of college because of the IFL," said Bridges. "The level of competitiveness we have in that league and the mentality of those involved make that league so worth it. I'm very appreciative of what the IFL has done for me."

Bridges played his best ball down the stretch of the championship run and ended the year with a team-leading seven interceptions. Two of those were in the championship win over Sioux Falls. "We are extremely happy for Marquise. It's awesome to see all his hard work and efforts pay off," said Panthers Head Coach Rob Keefe.

The San Diego Strike Force is excited to announce the appointment of Duke Little as the new Team President. A results-driven executive with decades of experience in sponsorships, marketing, sales, and leadership, Duke brings a proven track record of building strategic partnerships and generating revenue. Duke's extensive career highlights include negotiations for Founding Partners and Sponsorships for Snapdragon Stadium in collaboration with Legends, JMI Sports, and San Diego State Athletics. He successfully led the renegotiation of Qualcomm Stadium's Naming Rights on behalf of the City of San Diego in 2017. Duke has also been an integral part of numerous NCAA host committees for various championships, showcasing his commitment to sports excellence. In his most recent role as Principal at DLA Connect LLC, a sports and entertainment marketing agency, Duke served as a sales agent for the 7,600-seat Frontwave Arena in Oceanside, CA, opening September 2024.

HOCKEY

ECHL

The Savannah Ghost Pirates announced the team has relieved Rick Bennett of his coaching duties and named assistant coach Alex Loh as interim head coach. Nick Tuzzolino will remain on the coaching staff as the club's assistant coach. "We want to thank Rick for his work in establishing the Ghost Pirates team from its inception," Zawyer Sports president Bob Ohrablo said. "We look forward to Alex and Nick leading our team upward in the tough South Division." Loh, 39, has spent the past two seasons in Savannah as an assistant coach and was named the first assistant coach in franchise history on August 1, 2022. The Morrisville, VT, native served as the head coach of the Adirondack Thunder for three seasons from 2019 to 2022.

Loh joined the Thunder in 2015 as the club's assistant coach before being promoted to associate coach in 2017. His first coaching job in professional hockey came in 2012 when the AHL's Portland Pirates hired him as the club's video coach.

Ghost Pirates fire head coach Rick Bennett during second season.

The Reading Royals of the ECHL, affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers of the National Hockey League, today announced that James Henry has been relieved of his duties as the team's Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations. Jason Binkley who has served as the Royals' assistant coach since October of 2022, will serve as the team's interim head coach. Royals' Team President David Farrar stated, "We thank James for his service with the team, and we wish him the best in his future endeavors."

Daniel Amesbury, better known as "Diamond Hands," made his ECHL debut Sunday with the Fort Wayne Komets. The noted enforcer who has been a bit of a viral sensation did not waste time in his first ever ECHL game. He had a massive hit in the first 10 seconds of the game, got into a fight a few minutes later and then cut a promo between periods, closing it with "Nobody's messin' with the Komets."

American Hockey League

Cleveland Monsters have highest attendance average in AHL-for good reason. Averaging above 10,000 fans per game. Going to a Cleveland Monsters game comes with the promise of fierce competition. Explosive offense, edge-of-your-seat defense and, of course, the thrill of a violent fight here and there.

Southern Professional Hockey League

Week 15 Goals

Professional Women's Hockey League

Best on Best in the PWHL 3 on 3 Showcase! It was Team King squaring off against Team Kloss in the PWHL's 3 on 3 Showcase, as Team King muscled their way to a 5-3 victory behind Savannah Harmon's hat-trick!

Western Hockey League

WHL Top 10

North American Hockey League

NAHL Top Plays - January 22-28, 2024

NAHL Heart Month: Wear Red Day. February is American Heart Month. We encourage everyone to practice heart healthy habits and speak up if you or someone you know is at risk!

Ontario Hockey League

The Mississauga Steelheads are excited to announce a significant development in our team's history. After careful consideration and extensive discussions, we are in the process of conducting the necessary due diligence to relocate our team to Brampton for the 2024/2025 Ontario Hockey League season. This move marks a strategic decision aimed at enhancing our team's growth and expanding our fan base. Brampton's vibrant diverse community and its growing hockey fan base present a thrilling new chapter for the Steelheads, offering our players, staff, and fans a fresh and dynamic environment.

Mississauga OHL team to leave city

OHL Plays of the Week

OHL Saves of the Week

United States Hockey League

Waterloo Black Hawks forward and 2024 NHL Draft prospect John Mustard scored four goals en route to a 6-2 Waterloo victory over the Sioux City Musketeers.

SOCCER

Major League Soccer

Sebastian Salazar and Herculez Gomez debate the impact of Major League Soccer's most high-profile team being beaten by a Saudi Pro League side.

ESPN's Luis Miguel Echegaray reacts to Lionel Messi's Inter Miami losing 6-0 to Cristiano Ronaldo's Al Nassr.

National Women's Soccer League

The crew are pleased to be joined by former Barcelona striker Asisat Oshoala to discuss her newly announced move to National Women's Soccer League expansion side Bay FC!

As part of Nationwide's "Experience Nationwide" program, five NWSL players explored career opportunities in marketing, communications, corporate sustainability, talent acquisition, DEI and more! Kudos to Nationwide for championing holistic athlete development

United Soccer League One

Brooklyn Football Club announced it has signed a multi-year agreement to play its home games at Maimonides Park, the longtime home of the New York Mets minor league affiliate Brooklyn Cyclones. The news coincides with Brooklyn Football Club and United Soccer League (USL) agreeing to begin playing in the USL Championship, the highest level of competition in the USL, beginning in 2025. "We are honored to welcome the Brooklyn Football Club to Maimonides Park," said Steve Cohen, Vice President of the Brooklyn Cyclones. "The fans of Brooklyn have long waited to have their own professional soccer franchise, and we look forward to being a warm and hospitable host for many years to come." "Coney Island is one of the most iconic places in the world and it has played an important role in the landscape and culture of Brooklyn for many generations," said Matt Rizzetta, Chairman of North Sixth Group, principal owner of Brooklyn Football Club. "No city in the United States is built for professional soccer like Brooklyn, and what better place than Coney Island to call home."

Major Arena Soccer League

Take a look back at a wild week that was on this week's episode of MASL in 5

LACROSSE

National Lacrosse League

NLL Week 9: Top 5 Plays

Dane Dobbie posts four goals including his 1100th career point as the San Diego Seals rout the Colorado Mammoth.

Premier Lacrosse League

ESPN platforms will exclusively present the 2024 PLL Championship Series, Wednesday - Monday, Feb. 14-19. The four team, five-day, nine-game event will be played at The St. James just outside of Washington, D.C. The top four teams from the regular season - California Redwoods, Boston Cannons, Philadelphia Waterdogs, Utah Archers - will compete in the round-robin, six-on-six tournament inspired by the Lacrosse Sixes game format recently added to the Los Angeles Olympic in 2028. The format is marked by fast-paced play on a condensed field with a shortened shot clock, and faceoffs limited to the start of each quarter. All nine games of the Championship Series will be available on ESPN platforms, with every game available on ESPN+. Round-robin play begins on Wednesday, Feb. 14 and continues through Saturday, Feb. 17. The semifinals are set for Sunday, Feb. 18 at 1 and 3 p.m. on ESPN+ and the championship game will be played at 11:30 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 19 on ESPN2 and ESPN+.

BASEBALL

Midwest League

The San Diego Padres announced the coaching staff for the 2024 Fort Wayne TinCaps season. Mike Daly, who's been the Padres' Assistant Director of Player Development since the fall of 2021, is set to become the TinCaps' new manager, while Jonathan Mathews, who managed the team last year, is now one of San Diego's minor league hitting coordinators. Daly will lead a staff that's experienced in the Padres' organization and in Fort Wayne. "As we enter our 15th anniversary season at Parkview Field, we also celebrate our 25th anniversary as an affiliate of the Padres," said TinCaps President Mike Nutter. "We've been blessed over the years to have had amazing people here from Jake Peavy to Fernando Tatis Jr. and dozens more who've made it from Fort Wayne to San Diego, including staff members. It's been a pleasure working with Mike Daly the past two seasons and we're incredibly excited to have him and the rest of this group leading the latest wave of Padres prospects. We're also glad that we'll still see our friend Jonathan Mathews as a roving coordinator and wish the best to those from last year's staff who have new assignments."

Mike Daly named TinCaps manager, team's 2024 coaching staff announced

Pacific Coast League

Pete Zamora has been named the new manager of the El Paso Chihuahuas, the Chihuahuas and San Diego Padres announced. Zamora becomes the eighth manager in Chihuahuas history. "I couldn't be more honored to be given this opportunity by the San Diego Padres," Zamora said. "It's a responsibility that I don't take lightly and with the help of a great supporting staff of fine coaches, trainers and other professionals, I'll be determined to consistently put a great product out on the field for the awesome and dedicated fans of El Paso!" "We're excited to welcome Pete Zamora as the new Chihuahuas manager," said MountainStar Sports Group President Alan Ledford. "Pete has lengthy experience in the game and a great reputation in the Padres organization. I'm sure our fans will give him and his coaching staff a terrific Opening Day welcome on April 2nd."

Chihuahuas hire new manager for 2024

Florida State League

The Toronto Blue Jays have announced the on-field coaching staff for the Dunedin Blue Jays 2024 season. Jose Mayorga will be the Dunedin Blue Jays' Manager for the upcoming season. Matt von Roemer joins the team as the Dunedin Bench Coach and Nash Knight as the Hitting Coach. The team brings back Cory Riordan as the Pitching Coach, Yoel Hernandez as Bullpen Coach, and Petr Stribrcky as the Development Coach, all are returning to their roles from the 2023 season. Jose Mayorga served as Bench Coach for the Vancouver Canadians in 2018 and the FCL Blue Jays in 2021 then went on to manage the FCL Blue Jays for the 2022 and 2023 season. In the 2022 and 2023 off-seasons, Mayorga has acted as Manager for the Federales de Chiriqui and the team won back to back league titles in the 2022 and 2023 Panama's Professional Baseball League (PROBEIS).

California League

The San Diego Padres announced the members of the 2024 Lake Elsinore Storm Coaching Staff. Manager: Lukas Ray. Lukas Ray is in his 4th year with the San Diego Padres and this will be his 3rd year managing inside of the organization. In the past two seasons, he has managed the ACL Padres to a combined 59-51 record, going four games over .500 in both seasons. Before joining the organization, he gained coaching experience at Middle Tennessee State, Charleston Southern University, Florence-Darlington Technical College, and the University of South Carolina - Lancaster. "It's an absolute honor for our Padres leadership to provide me with this opportunity. We have a dynamite staff and it's our job to develop players and win games, but we can only do that with the support of the fans in this Lake Elsinore community. We look forward to meeting the fans, serving in the community, and developing players in a way that helps us produce a quality level of on-field performance. Go Storm and Go Padres."

Atlantic League

Gastonia to announce new team for baseball stadium. The Honey Hunters are amid bankruptcy lawsuits with the city.

OTHER SPORTS

Pro Volleyball Federation

The Atlanta Vibe, the city's newest professional sports team, announced today that four-time NBA All-Star Paul Millsap has joined the team as an investor. Millsap joins the group comprised of Colleen Craig, Sinjin Smith and Edwin Moses as the Vibe continues the beginning of their inaugural season. "I've been closely observing the recent surge in women's sports, and joining the exciting initiative that the Vibe is cultivating here in Atlanta felt like the natural progression in my career," said Millsap. "Being a father of girls, it holds great significance for me to ensure that they recognize the plethora of opportunities we are shaping for them in athletics. Having navigated the challenges myself as a retired professional athlete, I truly understand the dedication and effort required for these players to achieve success." Millsap spent 16 years in the NBA, entering the height of his career when he came to Atlanta. He earned all four of his All-Star nods in his time with the Hawks, where he led the Hawks to their best record in nearly 10 years in the 2014-15 season and an Eastern Conference Finals appearance.

Former Hawk becomes new investor in Atlanta VIBE Pro volleyball team

The Omaha Supernovas recorded its first win in franchise history with a dominant 25-17, 25-19, 25-22 sweep of the San Diego Mojo at the CHI Health Center. Omaha's offense was in a groove from the very start eventually finishing with a .373 hitting percentage led by the match-high 13 kills of two-time Dominican Republic Olympian Bethania de la Cruz. After team captain Brooke Nuneviller went down with an injury, rookie Paige Briggs stepped up to fill that role, totaling eight kills on a .438 clip.

Major League Rugby

Major League Rugby (MLR), which represents the highest level of rugby competition in North America, is pleased to officially announce Gilbert as the new official ball of the league. Additionally, thanks to a collaboration with Sportable, the leader in the development of wearable tracking technology and data analytics, each nationally broadcast game ball will be outfitted with a unique data tracking device that will measure speed, distance traveled and other unique metrics. This partnership represents one of the first technology integrations between an official game ball and a data tracking device for a professional sports league in North America. The device will provide valuable information across various metrics in real time to offer a unique perspective that will aid media and broadcast partners in their match coverage - enhancing the experience for new and existing MLR fans.

Ultimate Frisbee Association

Welcome to the Ultimate Frisbee Association! New look. New name. Same great game!

Welcome to the home of the Ultimate Frisbee Association (UFA)!

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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