NWHL All-Star captain’s hope for future? Combined league
NASHVILLE, TENN. >> On a day the NWHL wanted to keep the focus on its All-Star celebrations and a record crowd for a professional women’s hockey game in the United States, Lee Stecklein couldn’t help but look beyond to what the future might hold.
It was a vision of one combined league, as opposed to the current reality of splitting the best women in the world between two competing North American leagues: The U.S.-based National Women’s Hockey League and the Canadian Women’s Hockey League.
“We have so much talent, I think it’d be really fun if we got to play each other all the time,” Stecklein said.
The NWHL All-Star game Sunday featured 11 women who competed in the 2018 Winter Olympics, including Canadian goalie Shannon Szabados who captained the winning team. But Marie-Philip Poulin and Hilary Knight, who left the NWHL, are among the stars currently playing with the CWHL.
Stecklein and other members of the U.S. team will see Canada’s best starting Tuesday in a three-game “Rivalry Series” starting in Canada, and ending in a week in Detroit.
Nantes fans say final goodbye to Sala on day of mourning
PARIS >> On a day of mourning for Emiliano Sala, Nantes players walked onto the field dressed all in black with Sala’s name on their backs as the crowd chanted for him over and over again.
“La la la la la la la la, Emil-ia-no,” fans sang, before breaking out in a minute’s applause. This was observed at all stadiums in the top two divisions in France this weekend in memory of the Argentine striker who was killed in a plane crash at the age of 28.
Players from both sides, some with their heads down in pensive thought, stood in a circle and applauded at the Stade de la Beaujoire before Sunday’s game.
Then the chanting returned, with a different refrain.
“Emiliano Sala, Emiliano, Emiliano, Emiliano Sala,” the 37,000-strong crowd sang with same unrelenting intensity Sala showed throughout his career with Nantes, Caen and Bordeaux — the club he joined nine years ago after leaving Argentina to forge a career in France.
Nimes players wore black armbands on their red jerseys.
The referee stopped the game after nine minutes — nine being the jersey number worn by Sala — and the fans chanted his name again as they applauded. Nantes has now retired the No. 9 as a tribute to Sala.
Border collie named Verb wins Westminster agility contest
NEW YORK >> The Verb is “win.”
A border collie named Verb won the Westminster Kennel Club’s agility contest Saturday night, tearing through an obstacle course like it was a walk in the dog park and leaping into owner Perry DeWitt’s arms at the end.
“He is the epitome of a good partner,” said DeWitt, a professional dog trainer from Wyncote, Pennsylvania. She said she gets nervous before they compete, but 5-year-old Verb doesn’t.
As Verb came out on top of the pack of 330 canine contestants, an Australian cattle dog mix called Plop got a special award for the top mixed-breed dog after turning in a performance that mixed gusto with speed.
The agility contest, which ushered in the club’s storied annual dog show, featured accomplished canine athletes as big as a 98-pound Bernese mountain dog and as small as a Chihuahua.
Team Szabados forward Audra Richards, center, is congratulated after scoring a goal against Team Stecklein in the NWHL All-Star Hockey Game Sunday in Nashville, Tenn.