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 United Football League

Last Week around the Leagues

by Fran Stuchbury
June 11, 2024 - United Football League (UFL)


This past week the Florida Everblades made ECHL history with their third consecutive Kelly Clark Championship, the Birmingham Stallions and San Antonio Brahmas advanced to the United Football League Championship game, and the Chicago Red Stars broke a National Women's Soccer League attendance record with 35,083 fans at Wrigley Field. Highlights from this week come from the ECHL, American Hockey League, Federal Prospects Hockey League, Professional Women's Hockey League, United Football League, Canadian Football League, Indoor Football League, National Women's Soccer League, Canadian Premier League, MLS NEXT Pro, Women's National Basketball Association, Pioneer League, Southern League, South Atlantic League, Premier Lacrosse League and Ultimate Frisbee Association.

HOCKEY

ECHL

The Florida Everblades made ECHL history on Saturday, capturing the 2024 Kelly Cup title with a 4-3 overtime win over the Kansas City Mavericks in Game 5 of the 2024 Kelly Cup Finals in front of a standing-room only crowd at Hertz Arena. Florida becomes the first team in ECHL history to win three consecutive titles. The Everblades fourth overall title (2012, 2022, 2023 and 2024) also sets in ECHL record, while the team's 12 consecutive series wins is also the most all-time. The Everblades have defeated the Brabham Cup champion (best record during the regular season) in each of their three consecutive Finals victories (Toledo in 2022, Idaho in 2023 and Kansas City in 2024).

The Florida Everblades secured their spot in hockey history with a thrilling overtime victory against the Kansas City Mavericks, clinching a 4-3 win in Game 5 and claiming the series 4-1 to capture the Kelly Cup at home.

The ECHL announced that the 2024-25 season opens with eight games on Friday, Oct. 18 and continues with 11 games on Saturday, Oct. 19 with Opening Weekend concluding with four games on Sunday, Oct. 20. Formed in 1988-89 with five teams in four states, the ECHL has grown into a coast-to-coast league that will have 29 teams in 22 states and one Canadian province playing 1,044 games from Oct. 18, 2024 to April 13, 2025. It marks the most games in the League since 31 teams played 1,116 games during the 2003-04 season. Two expansion teams join the ECHL for the 2024-25 season with the Bloomington Bison opening their home schedule on Saturday, Oct. 19 against Toledo and the Tahoe Knight Monsters hosting their first-ever home game on Thursday, Oct. 24 versus Jacksonville. The Indy Fuel move into the newly-constructed Fishers Event Center, and following a season-opening 15-game road trip, will play their first game in the new venue on Friday, Dec. 6 against Iowa.

American Hockey League

Buffalo Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams and Rochester Americans general manager Jason Karmanos announced the appointment of Michael Leone as head coach of the American Hockey League franchise. "I am pleased to welcome Mike Leone as the head coach of the Rochester Americans," said Adams. "The Amerks head coach plays a crucial role in the overall success and growth of our organization, and after a rigorous interview process, it became clear that Mike was the right individual for the job. His development mindset and professional versatility over the course of his career were just some of the many qualities that stood out as we searched for an individual to continue focusing on combining both winning and development in Rochester.” Leone amassed a 66-41-10-7 record in his two seasons with Green Bay, leading the Gamblers to back-to-back 30-plus win seasons as well as consecutive playoff appearances for the first time in over a decade. Leone piloted Green Bay's resurgence through the 2022-23 campaign, helping the team finish with the most wins (32) and points (71) since 2016-17. The following year saw the Gamblers capture two more wins and earn a third-place finish in the USHL's Eastern Conference standings, culminating with a return trip to the postseason for the second straight year.

Mike Leone has been named the 34th head coach of the Rochester Amerks

Federal Prospects Hockey League

Perkin Hockey Group today announced the formation of the Monroe Moccasins, a professional hockey team in The Federal Prospects Hockey League ("FPHL"). The team was announced at a Press Conference today with Team Chairman and CEO, Nicolas Perkin, alongside Mayor Friday Ellis of Monroe, Louisiana and FPHL Commissioner Don Kirnan. The Monroe Civic Center will be the team's home ice arena for the upcoming 2024/25 FPHL Season, with the Moccasin's home season opener tentatively scheduled for Friday, October 11th, 2024. The Monroe Moccasin's Managing Partner and President, Parker Moskal, was also in attendance while signing their first player, Marquis Grant-Mentis, at the Press Conference. The Perkin Hockey Group has been working with local and state officials for the better part of a year to bring a professional hockey team back to Northeast Louisiana. The exciting and growing FPHL is the perfect league for the Moccasins and has another professional team in Baton Rouge. The Perkin Hockey Group is already in the works to bring additional professional hockey teams to other cities in Louisiana, where the sport is flourishing, and there's a strong desire by communities to embrace the entertainment that high level professional hockey can bring. The Perkin Hockey Group is also laying the foundation to bring an NHL Expansion Team to New Orleans, LA in the near future.

After 23 years, the Moccasins are back in Monroe!

Professional Women's Hockey League

PWHL New York today announced that Greg Fargo has been hired as the team's head coach. Fargo joins PWHL New York from Colgate University where he has spent the past 12 seasons as head coach of the women's hockey program. Prior to his time at Colgate, Fargo served as the head coach for the women's hockey team at Elmira College. His all-time NCAA head coaching record sits at 334-170-39, which includes a 255-147-34 record at Colgate. "I am very proud to welcome Greg Fargo to our family," said PWHL New York General Manager Pascal Daoust. "His track record of repeated successes and honors, both individually and through team victories and titles at Colgate, speaks for itself. The discipline and consistency demonstrated by his athletes on the ice reflect the high standards we aim to present to New York fans: a committed, dedicated group that competes with passion, focusing our collective efforts towards a single, unified goal.”

With the first overall pick in the 2024 PWHL Draft, New York selects centre Sarah Fillier from Princeton University.

FOOTBALL

United Football League

The United Football League announced Birmingham Stallions quarterback Adrian Martinez as the 2024 UFL Most Valuable Player. Martinez led the league in rushing with 528 yards through the regular season. He was No. 3 in passing with 1,749 yards and tied for second in passing touchdowns with 15. He was also No. 2 in the UFL in total offense with 2,277 yards. Martinez was responsible for 18 touchdowns (15 passing, 3 rushing), which tied for most in the UFL. Martinez holds the UFL single-game mark for touchdown passes with four against Memphis on May 4. He was responsible for five touchdowns, another UFL best, vs. Houston on May 18. Martinez was the only UFL quarterback to throw for more than 300 yards twice during the UFL regular season, putting up a UFL-best 369 yards at Memphis on May 4 after throwing for 334 against the Showboats on April 13.

2024 UFL MVP: Stallions QB Adrian Martinez Season Highlights

San Antonio rushed for a season-best 213 yards and racked up nine tackles for-loss and four sacks Sunday night at The Dome at America's Center, as the Brahmas defeated the St. Louis Battlehawks 25-15 in the XFL Conference Championship Game. The victory advances San Antonio (8-3) to the United Football League Championship Game. Anthony McFarland Jr. rushed for 115 yards for the Brahmas and his running mate John Lovett added another 83. McFarland's 69-yard touchdown run early in the second half put San Antonio on top 19-3. The United Football League Championship Game is slated for Sunday, June 16 at The Dome at America's Center in St. Louis. The Birmingham Stallions (10-1) will face off with San Antonio. The Brahmas are the only team to defeat the Stallions in the regular season, taking an 18-9 win in San Antonio just three weeks ago in Week 9 of the UFL season.

The Birmingham Stallions scored 28 unanswered points and shut out the Michigan Panthers in the second half en route to a 31-18 victory in the USFL Conference Championship Game Saturday in front of 10,287 fans at Protective Stadium. Matt Corral, who took over in relief of Martinez in the third quarter, tossed a 7-yard touchdown pass to Amari Rodgers with 2:37 remaining in the third quarter to put Birmingham in front for the first time, 24-18. That score was set up by Corral's 43-yard completion to Gary Jennings on the first play of the fourth quarter. Michigan was forced to settle for another field goal opportunity on its ensuing possession. But Bates' 44-yard attempt was blocked by Armani Taylor-Prioleau. Corral then went back to work, passing for 51 yards on a 64-yard scoring drive that was capped by a Corral-to-Ricky Person 15-yard touchdown pass. A 1-point conversion pass from Corral to Thomas accounted for the final score of 31-18.

UFL Top 5 Plays from Conference Championships

The United Football League today announced St. Louis Battlehawks wide receiver Hakeem Butler as the 2024 UFL Offensive Player of the Year. Butler led the United Football League with 652 receiving yards on 45 receptions. His average of 14.5 yards per catch was also tops in the league. He ranked No. 4 in total receptions and was tied for No. 2 with five receiving touchdowns. He was tied for No. 6 in the league in scoring with 31 points (5 touchdowns, 1 1-pt PAT) and No. 7 in all-purpose yards.

The United Football League today announced Michigan Panthers defensive end Breeland Speaks as the 2024 UFL Defensive Player of the Year. Speaks led the UFL with 9.5 sacks during the regular season. He also led the league with 13 tackles for-loss. Speaks recorded the most single-game tackles for-loss in a game this season with four at Houston on May 26. He recorded three sacks in two games, the only UFL player to do so, reaching that mark against Memphis on April 28 and against Houston on May 26.

The United Football League announced Michigan Panthers head coach Mike Nolan as the 2024 UFL Coach of the Year. In Nolan's second season with the Panthers, his team improved from 4-7 during the 2023 USFL season to a 7-3 regular season record in the inaugural UFL season. The Panthers have shown a balance between offensive and defensive success in 2024. Michigan is ranked No. 3 in total offense and No. 3 in scoring defense through the regular season. The Panthers also boast the league's No. 1 rushing defense and the No. 2 rushing offense. Michigan also led the league in rushing touchdowns. Defensively, the Panthers have been disruptive, ranking No. 1 in tackles for loss and No. 2 in sacks.

Canadian Football League

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats announced today, the football club has signed American quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa to the practice roster. Tagovailoa, 24, most recently attended NFL mini-camps with the Seattle Seahawks (2024) and Arizona Cardinals (2024). The 5'11, 200-pound native of Ewa Beach, Hawaii, played 41 games over his four seasons at the University of Maryland, completing 955 of 1,424 pass attempts (67.1%), for 11,256 yards and 76 passing touchdowns while adding 13 rushing touchdowns. He began his collegiate career at the University of Alabama (2019), before transferring to Maryland.

CFL Plays of the Week

Arena Football League

The Arena Football League (AFL) is thrilled to announce the appointment of Gary Compton as the new Director of Football Operations. Gary brings a wealth of experience and a dynamic vision to the league, aiming to elevate the AFL to new heights. In his role, Gary will oversee all aspects of football operations, including team management, game scheduling, and player development. His strategic leadership will be instrumental in enhancing the competitive edge and operational efficiency of the league. Gary's responsibilities will also encompass the implementation of advanced training programs, ensuring the highest standards of performance and safety for all players. Gary Compton is a veteran in the field, both as a player who has won an AFL Championship and as a coach, with over 25 years of experience in football operations and management. He has previously held key positions with prominent sports organizations, where he demonstrated exceptional capability in fostering team growth and operational success.

G6 Sports Group is proud to announce the appointment of Jerry Kurz as General Counsel and Senior Advisor of Player Operations for the Arena Football League. Kurz will oversee legal compliance, player contract management, regulatory affairs, risk management, and player welfare. His role will ensure adherence to legal standards, negotiating and managing player contracts, maintaining regulatory compliance, mitigating legal risks, as well as supporting player development and well-being. With his extensive expertise, he is poised to elevate the league's operational excellence and uphold the highest standards in professional sports. Kurz will also be tasked with reinstituting the AFL's Hall of Fame and continuing the storied tradition of inducting an annual class.

Indoor Football League

IFL Plays of the Week - Week 12

SOCCER

National Women's Soccer League

The Chicago Red Stars set a new National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) attendance record with the historic 'Red Stars Take Over Wrigley Field' match, the club announced today. 35,083 fans flocked to Wrigley Field to witness the Chicago Red Stars take on Bay FC. "On behalf of the Red Stars, I would like to thank all fans and every person who helped us welcome this record-breaking crowd to Wrigley Field," said Chicago Red Stars president, Karen Leetzow. "Chicago has truly shown the country what's possible when we level the playing field with a centrally located stadium that is easy to access, and give these world-class athletes the support they deserve. Our club could not be prouder to call Chicago home tonight.

The Chicago Red Stars soccer match at Wrigley Field Saturday broke NWSL's attendance record in the the venue's first women's sports event in 80 years.

Sandra Herrera joins Attacking Third to recap the historic night in the NWSL as Bay FC beat the Chicago Red Stars at Wrigley Park.

Canadian Premier League

Benjamín Mora is the new Head Coach of York United FC. The 44-year-old Mexican arrives at The Nine Stripes after an illustrious number of years in high-profile management roles. Previously, he took charge of Liga MX powerhouse Atlas between 2022 and 2023 and, prior to that, he spent a hugely successful and historic time in Malaysia with Johor Darul Ta'zim F.C.

He is the third Head Coach in York United FC's history. "I feel extremely happy and privileged to take on this role," Mora said. "The project is an incredibly interesting and attractive one. I didn't hesitate because I love my work. I've been in different football cultures and my development as a coach has been very rich and rewarding.” "I've taken some time to analyze the Canadian Premier League. It's very new, it's growing very fast, it's beginning to reach its potential and I want to be somebody who gives something to the league and establishes some fundamentals so it can grow even faster. And I want to develop the young talent in Canada too.”

Here are the best moments from matchweek nine!

MLS NEXT Pro

Carolina Core FC has started the season playing on the road while their stadium, Truist Point has been renovated. Roy Lassiter sits down with Michelle Montaine on this week's Coaches Corner to talk about the excitement building around the club and much more!

BASKETBALL

Women's National Basketball Association

Caitlin Clark was not included on the Women's Team USA roster, and said “they woke a monster." Nick Wright, Chris Broussard, and Kevin Wildes discuss her omission and if she was snubbed.

Caitlin Clark Named May Rookie of the Month. Clark notched 17.6 PPG, 5.1 RPG and 6.6 APG in May to lead first year players.

NBA G League

Rock Entertainment Group (REG) and the City of Cleveland announced a multi-year agreement to move the Cleveland Charge's home to the historic Cleveland Public Auditorium. The civic landmark has hosted the Beatles, Frank Sinatra, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremonies and political conventions over its 102-year history and will now welcome Charge fans beginning with the 2024-25 NBA G League season. "We are extremely excited for the new home arena of the Cleveland Charge to be at the historic Public Auditorium in the heart of downtown Cleveland," said Mike Ostrowski, President of Franchise Properties (Charge and the AHL's Cleveland Monsters) for Rock Entertainment Group. "Our move to Cleveland three years ago positioned us for what turned out to be three successful seasons at the Wolstein Center. We now look forward to our franchise's next chapter and the continued growth of the Charge at this historic, city-owned venue. We can't wait for next season.”

BASEBALL

Pioneer League

Fans pack Raimondi Park for Oakland Ballers' home opener

Southern League

When a fan interferes with a home run ball, they must be ejected, so... Blue Wahoos broadcaster Erik Bremer laid down the law with an "ejection" after the postgame fireworks show and a meeting with -- and autographed baseball from -- Marlins prospect Jake Thompson, who hit the ball in question.

South Atlantic League

Brooklyn Cyclones secure first no-hitter! Mets prospect Joshua Cornielly induces a groundout to cap the first nine-inning no-hitter in High-A Brooklyn history

LACROSSE

Premier Lacrosse League

TOP 10 PLAYS From Week Two

OTHER SPORTS

Ultimate Frisbee Association

The Top 10 plays from Week 6 of the 2024 UFA regular season!

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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United Football League Stories from June 11, 2024


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