Obscure Sports News

masl

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

nwhl

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.