Obscure Sports Report (1/31/18)

yu-yangyi
Yu Yangyi Leads The PRO Chess League

XFL TO RETURN IN 2020

The reports are true.   The XFL is planning to make a return in 2020 with eight teams to play a 10-game schedule in the spring.  The original XFL appeared in 1999 only to last one season before folding.  The original league also had eight teams:  New York-New Jersey Hitmen, Orlando Rage, Chicago Enforcers, Memphis Maniax, Birmingham Thunderbolts, Los Angeles Xtreme, San Francisco Demons and Las Vegas Outlaws.   There is no word if the same teams will return in the XFL reboot.  XFL boss Vince McMahon is hoping to give fans a better quality of football.

AFL UNVEILS NAME OF NEW ALBANY TEAM

The Empire strikes back in Albany, New York to join the Philadelphia Soul, Baltimore Brigade and Washington Valor in the dwindling Arena Football League.  Albany originally played as the Firebirds in the AFL from 1990-2000.  The Firebirds were very successful during their first time in the AFL winning six division titles and won the 1999 ArenaBowl title.   The Empire will begin play this season.

TAYOU LEADS MASL IN GOALS

Sonora Forward Franck Tayou leads the Major Arena Soccer League with 47 goals.   Sonora is currently 10-6 and in second place behind Monterrey in the Southwest Division.  Monterrey remains the league’s only undefeated team at 15-0 and the first team to clinch a playoff spot.

GEORGIA SWARM STING VANCOUVER

The defending National Lacrosse League champs broke up a close game against the Vancouver Stealth to notch a 16-12 win last week.  The Swarm scored five goals in a span of 6:11 in the fourth quarter.  Georgia now improves to 3-3 and dropped the Stealth to 1-6.  Toronto and Saskatchewan continue to lead their divisions.

TWO GOALIES ARE NWHL PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

Amanda Leveille  (Buffalo Beauts) and Brittany Ott (Boston Pride) were named the National Women’s Hockey League’s players of the week because of their performances in goal when Buffalo played Boston.  The Beauts beat the Pride 1-0 after ten rounds of the shootout. Leveille got the win stopping all 25 shots she faced.  She is 7-4-0 with a 2.77 GAA and .911 save percentage.   Here are the current NWHL standings:

  1. Metropolitan Riveters (11-0-0)
  2. Buffalo Beauts (7-4-0)
  3. Boston Pride (2-6-3)
  4. Connecticut Whale (2-7-2)

PRO CHESS LEAGUE EARLY DIVISION LEADERS

The Estonia Horses (East), Stockhold Snowballs (Central), Minnesota Blizzard (Atlantic) and Chengdu Pandas (Pacific) are off to an early lead in their divisions.   Round 3 of the season is this week.   Yu Yangyi (Chengdu) is the leading player with 7.5 points and a rating of 2750.

NBA’S CHRIS PAUL TO HEADLINE NINTH STATE FARM BOWLING TOURNAMENT

Houston Rockets All-Star guard and tournament host Chris Paul will try to defend his doubles title with a new partner in the ninth State Farm® CP3 PBA Celebrity Invitational presented by Go Bowling! Super Bowl Sunday at 2 p.m. ET on ESPN from Bowlero The Woodlands in the Houston suburb of Conroe, Texas.

Paul will be joined by several celebrities and PBA Tour stars who will compete in the multi-format event which benefits the Chris Paul Family Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting youth, education, health, sports and social responsibility.

In addition to Paul, who is the defending champion of the doubles event (with PBA partner Chris Barnes), other participating celebrities include former NFL All Pro and former Celebrity Invitational winner Terrell Owens, Boston Red Sox All-Star outfielder Mookie Betts, and Paul’s All-Star Rockets teammate James Harden.

NEW MIXED-GENDER ULTIMATE DISC LEAGUE PLANNED

The new semi-pro mixed-gender United Ultimate Disc League (UUL) plans to start play in April 2019 with eight teams and will be competition for the more-established American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL). The UUL will feature six-on-six competition (three men and three women per team) on a smaller field rather than the traditional seven-on-seven style and larger field used by the AUDL. The mixed-gender aspect of the league is a new and timely concept, as the AUDL recently faced a boycott by players due to its lack of female representation. The first-year teams are listed in a North Division with the Boston Whalers, New York Kraken, Philadelphia Pride and Washington Generals, and a South Division with the Carolina Cutlass (Raleigh, NC), Nashville Tristars, Atlanta Hounds and Florida Gulls (Jacksonville). The UUL season is short (three games per team) with each team playing the other teams in its division only once. The UUL will operate all teams and it plans to add four additional regional divisions of teams over the next few years.

 

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Obscure Sports Report

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The Saskatchewan Rush remain unbeaten in the NLL

1/17/18

Let’s take a look at some alternative sports leagues that you won’t see in your local sports pages:

AMERICAN ULTIMATE DISC LEAGUE (AUDL) – The only professional ultimate disc league is going through some growing pains as teams have moved or folded during the offseason.  The latest move involved the Jacksonville Cannons who have moved to Tampa and will begin play there in the upcoming 2018 season.   The Nashville Nightwatch changed ownership in the offseason and plans to make some significant changes in the 2018 season.  A new franchise will be added in Portland, Oregon to play in the West Division.

MAJOR ARENA SOCCER LEAGUE (MASL) –  Here are the current league standings:

  • Eastern Division
    • Baltimore 10-2
    • Florida 6-6
    • Syracuse 5-5
    • Harrisburg 5-9
  • Central Division
    • Milwaukee 12-2
    • Cedar Rapids 6-8
    • Kansas City 4-8
    • St. Louis 2-11
  • Southwest Division
    • Monterrey 12-0
    • Sonora 6-6
    • El Paso 5-7
    • Rio Grande Valley 2-10
  • Pacific Division
    • San Diego 10-0
    • Ontario 6-6
    • Tacoma 6-7
    • Turlock 2-12

AMERICAN BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION (ABA) –  The Richmond (VA) Elite are atop the ABA Power Rankings with a record of 10-0.  They are followed by the Kentucky Enforcers (11-0), South Florida Gold (12-1), Jacksonville Giants (9-1) and Worcester 78s (10-1).

NATIONAL LACROSSE LEAGUE (NLL) – The Saskatchewan Rush won the battle of the unbeatens when they defeated the Colorado Mammoths 17-12 in Denver.  The Rush took over sole possession of first place in the West at 4-0 while the New England Black Wolves lead the East at 3-1.

NATIONAL WOMEN’S HOCKEY LEAGUE (NWHL) – In their third meeting of the season, the Buffalo Beauts edged the Connecticut Whale 4-3 at a game played in Pittsburgh.  Buffalo’s Lisa Chesson scored her first goal of the season and the game winner with less than four minutes remaining.  The Beauts are now 5-4 and currently in second place behind the Metropolitan Riveters at 8-0.  With the loss, Connecticut drops to 2-7.

2016-2017 Hockey Champions

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It is the middle of June and the ice has finally melted on the 2016-2017 hockey season.  Here is a recap on the champions of each league:

National Hockey League (NHL):  Pittsburgh Penguins

  • The Penguins are the first team to repeat as Stanley Cup champions since the Detroit Red Wings did it in 1997 and 1998.  The Penguins defeated Columbus (4-1), Washington (4-3), Ottawa (4-3) and Nashville (4-2) to win their 5th cup in franchise history.  Sidney Crosby was named the MVP.

American Hockey League (AHL):  Grand Rapids Griffins

  • The Griffins defeated the Syracuse Crunch in six games to win their second Calder Cup.  They defeated Milwaukee (3-0), Chicago (4-1) and San Jose (4-1) on their way to the Cup final.    Griffins’ forward Tyler Bertuzzi was named the finals MVP.  The Griffins are the top farm team for the Detroit Red Wings.

ECHL:  Colorado Eagles

  • The Eagles won their first Kelly Cup championship in team history.  Defenseman Matt Register was named the MVP to become the first defenseman in the ECHL’s 29-year history to receive the award.   The Eagles defeated Idaho (4-1), Allen (4-2), Toledo (4-1) and South Carolina (4-0) to win the Cup.  The Eagles are affiliated with the Colorado Avalanche.

Federal Hockey League (FHL):  Danville Dashers

  •  The Dashers completed the best season in Danville history by winning the Commissioner’s Cup after setting a new league record with 129 points in the regular season.  The Dashers defeated Watertown (2-1) and Berlin (3-2) to win their first championship.  Danville forward Gehrett Sargis was named the MVP of the Commissioner Cup playoffs with four goals and four assists.

Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL):  Macon Mayhem

  • The Mayhem won their first President’s Cup title in just their second season.  They defeated Columbus (2-1), Pensacola (2-0) and Peoria (2-0).  Goalie Jordan Ruby was named the MVP.

North American Hockey League (NAHL):  Lone Star Brahmas

  • The Brahmas were crowned Robertson Cup National Champions.  Drake Glover was named the tournament MVP to lead the Brahmas their first title.   Lone Star defeated Wichita Falls (3-0), Corpus Christi (3-2), Janesville (2-0) and Aston (1-0) on their way to the Robertson Cup.

United States Hockey League (USHL):  Chicago Steel

  • The Steel won the Clark Cup Championship beating the Sioux City Musketeers 3 games to 2 for their first title.  Eduards Tralmaks was the MVP with 10 goals and two assists in the playoffs.    His 10 goals are tied for the most in USHL playoff history.  Chicago defeated Youngstown (3-2) and Dubuque (3-1) in the playoffs.

Western Hockey League (WHL):  Seattle Thunderbirds

  • The Thunderbirds captured the Ed Chynoweth Cup for the first time in the team’s 40-year history.  Mathew Barzal was named the MVP.   Seattle defeated Tri-City (4-0), Everett (4-0), Kelowna (4-2) and Regina (4-2).    The Thunderbirds won a dramatic Game 6 at Regina in overtime to win the cup.

National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL):  Buffalo Beauts

  • The Beauts stunned heavily favored Boston Pride to win the Isobel Cup.  Despite a third place finish in the regular season, Buffalo defeated the Pride 3-2 to win the title.  Buffalo goalie Brianne McLaughlin was named MVP with 60 saves in the game.  The Beauts defeated New York (4-2) and Boston (3-2) in the playoffs.

Obscure Sports Report

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Atlanta’s Major League Soccer (MLS) expansion team won their first game on Sunday when they blasted Minnesota 6-1 in a snow flurry in front of over 35,000 fans.  Atlanta United’s Josef Martinez scored a rare hat-trick while Miguel Almiron scored twice and Jacob Peterson scored once.  Atlanta dropped a 2-1 home opener to the New York Red Bulls a week ago in front of 55,000 fans.

The New England Black Wolves (5-6) became the first team in the Eastern Division to defeat the Georgia Swarm (7-3) on Sunday in the National Lacrosse League (NLL).   Shawn Evans and Kyle Buchanan each had three goals and four assists in a 13-8 win.  It was the fourth hat trick of the season for Evans.

Tony Spredeman of the United States is at the top of the World Foosball Player rankings.   He is first in Open Combined and Open Singles rankings.  He is also second in Open Doubles.   Spredeman is from Milwaukee, Wisconsin and has won several World Championships.

The Baltimore Blast are looking at elimination from the Major Arena Soccer League (MASL) playoffs.  They were upset by the Harrisburg Heat 5-4 on Saturday in Baltimore.  The Milwaukee Wave edged the Kansas City Comets 3-2 when Marcio Leite scored the series winner 2:26 into overtime of the mini-game to win their series 2 games to 1 and advance to the MASL semifinals.   Sonora blasted Baja 17-3 in game two on Saturday to complete their sweep of the Southwest Division final.  In the Pacific Division, the San Diego Sockers beat Ontario 9-4 in the first game of their series, Ontario evened the series with an 8-4 win to force a mini-game.  The Sockers scored nine seconds into the tie-breaker and held on to advance to the league semifinals.

The Boston Pride finished the regular season in the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) with the best record at 16-1.  New York finished second at 8-7-3, Buffalo Beauts third (6-10-1) and the Connecticut Whale (5-12-1).  All four teams qualify for the Isobel Cup Playoffs which begins on Thursday and Friday.   Winners will advance to the final on Sunday, March 19th.

The DMV Warriors, based out of Woodlawn, Maryland, leads the American Basketball Association (ABA) power rankings with a record of 18-0.   The Jacksonville Giants (20-2), Orlando Waves (17-2), Austin Bats (15-1) and Mobile Bay Tornados (14-1) finish out the top five.   The league was founded in 1999 as a nationwide semi-pro basketball league.  The Jacksonville Giants are the defending league champions.

The Wichita Falls Nighthawks defeated the Cedar Rapids Titans this weekend, 42-23, to remain undefeated in the Indoor Football League (IFL).  Quarterback Charles McCullum finished the game completing 20 of 30 passes for 186 yards and two touchdowns.  The Nighthawks will have the week off before they face the six-time defending United Bowl Champions, Sioux Falls Storm.

In the second week of playoffs in the Professional Rapid Online (PRO) Chess League, the stakes were huge as teams battled to advance to the quarterfinals.  Magnus Carlsen (Norway), Wesley So (St. Louis) and Fabiano Caruana (Montreal) were all in tight battles by lesser-known opponents.  Hikaru Nakamura (Miami) had one of the worst chess days of his life, scoring 1.5/4 and losing in a do-or-die final round.   In this week’s quarterfinal round:  Norway Gnomes vs. Gorky Stormbringers, Montclair Sopranos vs. Miami Champions, Marseille Migraines vs. Stockholm Snowballs and Webster Windmills vs. St. Louis Arch Bishops.

Have a sport you’d like me to write about next week?  Leave me a comment and I will post it next Wednesday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Obscure Sports News

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Here are some sports stories you probably won’t see on SportsCenter….

The Major Arena Soccer League (MASL) regular season is winding down and gearing up for the playoffs.  The defending champions – Baltimore Blast – have clinched the Eastern Division title and will face the Harrisburg Heat in the division final.  The Kansas City Comets have won the Central Division and will play the Milwaukee Wave.  Soles de Sonora has won the Southwest Division and will play Atletico Baja.  The Pacific Division will feature the San Diego Sockers who will play either the Ontario Fury or Tacoma Stars in the playoffs.  Eight teams make the playoffs with the two top teams of each division qualifying for the postseason.  The playoff series will consist of a 2-game series for each round.  If the series is tied, a mini-game at the end of game 2 will be played.

The surprising Georgia Swarm still leads the National Lacrosse League (NLL) with a record of 7-1.  They lead the league with goals scored with 119 goals.  Forward Lyle Thompson leads the team with 25 goals.   The season concludes on the last weekend in April.

The New York Riveters will host the No. 3 seed in the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) one-game semifinal on March 17th.  The Buffalo Beauts and Connecticut Whale are currently tied for third place in the league.  The Boston Pride will play the fourth place finisher in the other semifinal matchup.  The Isobel Cup final will be played on Sunday, March 19th in Lowell, Massachusetts.

The 2017 season of Major League Soccer (MLS) will kick-off this weekend at the Portland Timbers will host Minnesota United FC on Friday.  Minnesota and Atlanta are the two new expansion teams this season.  The defending MLS Cup champions, Seattle Sounders, will began their title defense at Houston on Saturday.

The Indoor Football League (IFL) kicked off their season with the addition of the Salt Lake Screaming Eagles and the Arizona Rattlers who defected from the sinking Arena Football League (AFL).   Former AFL-Alum, Iowa Barnstormers, spoiled the Rattlers’ debut in the new league with a 51-47 win.

Speaking of the Arena Football League, they are still planning to play this season with five teams.   Their season kicks off on April 7th as the league’s two new teams – Baltimore Brigade and Washington Valor meet in D.C.   The league still plans to expand but no news at this time where they plan to place new teams.

The Montreal ChessBrahs (6-1), St. Louis Arch Bishops (6-1), Marseille Migraines (5-2) and Delhi Dynamite (5-2) lead their respective divisions in the PRO Chess League.  Wesley So lost his first game since his loss to Magnus Carlsen last summer.  In one of the best games of the week, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov overmatched So’s queen with a rook and minor pieces in the endgame.  So’s defeat, however, had little impact on the match as both teams (St. Louis and San Jose) still secured playoff berths.

Minor league hockey playoffs will be starting soon.  The top teams are Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (American Hockey League), Toledo (ECHL), Macon (Southern Professional Hockey League) and Danville (Federal Hockey League).  Of course, there are other junior leagues also getting ready for the postseason as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A (Hockey) League Of Their Own

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Did you know that there is a women’s professional hockey league?

The National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) was formed in 2015 and has four teams:  Buffalo Beauts, Boston Pride, New York Riveters and Connecticut Whale.   The league placed teams in these markets because they are considered to be strong traditional markets for hockey.

The NWHL is the first U.S. women’s professional hockey league.  The league operates with a salary cap of $270,000 per team and a minimum of $10,000 per player.   Into the second season, the league cut salaries in an attempt to strengthen the league.

The Boston Pride won the first Isobel Cup Championship over the Buffalo Beauts.   The Isobel Cup is named after Lord Frederick Arthur Stanley’s daughter who shared his love of the game and was one of the first female hockey players in Canada.

Boston is currently undefeated at 8-0-0 and in first place.

Brianna Decker (Boston) and Kelly Babstock (Connecticut) are the league’s leading scorers with six goals apiece.   Brittany Ott (Boston) is the leading goalie with a 1.14 Goals Against Average.

In recent news, the NWHL became the only professional sports league in North America with an openly transgender player.  The league is establishing policy on how they will address transgender players in the future.

The league has no plans for expansion anytime soon but rather focusing on strengthening the teams they have and working to secure a national television contract.  Right now, the league has limited exposure on regional cable networks but needs more exposure to generate more interest.  It would probably be a good thing if the National Hockey League (NHL) offered some support.  Maybe a few double-header games with the men’s teams would be a boost for the league.