Monty McCutchen to oversee NBA referees' development, training – ESPN

NEW YORK — Longtime NBA referee Monty McCutchen is the league’s new vice president and head of referee development and training.

McCutchen replaces Bob Delaney, who stepped down in October after 30 years with the NBA. The league said Friday that McCutchen will oversee the day-to-day management and on-court performance of the officiating staff.

McCutchen, 51, spent 25 years as a referee, working his final game Thursday night in Minnesota. He worked more than 1,400 games in the regular season and 169 more in the playoffs, including 16 in the NBA Finals.

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NHL marks 100 years out on the ice – Washington Post

The pro hockey league started with just four teams and no helmets.

By ,

There’s an important sports birthday next week. The National Hockey League (NHL) played its first games 100 years ago, on December 19, 1917. The Montreal Canadiens beat the Ottawa Senators, 7-4, while the Montreal Wanderers (a weird name for a hockey team) edged the Toronto Arenas, 10-9.

The NHL, which grew out of an earlier professional league called the National Hockey Association, started its first season with four teams. But it finished with only three.

The Montreal Arena, home to both the Canadiens and the Wanderers, burned down on January 2, 1918. The Canadiens moved to a smaller space, called the Jubilee Rink, and the Wanderers disbanded after only six games.

The Toronto Arenas won the NHL’s first championship and then played the champion of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association, another professional league, for the Stanley Cup. The Arenas beat the Vancouver Millionaires (another weird name for a team) in a five-game series, three games to two.

The NHL struggled for the next few years, adding and losing teams along the way. The Boston Bruins became the first American team in the NHL in 1924. Teams from New York (the Rangers and Americans), Chicago (Blackhawks) and Detroit (first the Cougars and later the Red Wings) soon followed.

By 1942, the NHL had six teams that are familiar to hockey fans: the Boston Bruins, the Chicago Blackhawks, the Detroit Red Wings, the Montreal Canadiens, the New York Rangers and the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The NHL stayed with those six teams until 1967, when six more joined. The league added teams as the years went on.

The Washington Capitals arrived in 1974. The first Washington team was truly awful. The Caps’ record was 8-67-5 (eight wins, 67 losses and five ties), and they were outscored by an amazing margin, allowing 446 goals while scoring only 181.

The early NHL was different from today’s league in several ways. For example, the players generally did not wear helmets until the league passed a rule before the 1979-1980 season requiring new players to wear them.

For years, the goaltenders did not wear masks. In 1959, Jacques Plante of the Canadiens became the first goalie in the NHL to wear a mask after he got hit in the face with a puck and was badly cut. He refused to go back onto the ice without the mask he wore in practices, according to Red Fisher, a hockey reporter covering the game.

Another difference is that almost all the players in the early NHL were from Canada. Now, fewer than half of the players are from Canada, with many coming from such countries as the United States, Sweden and Russia.

And there are 31 teams in today’s NHL, including teams in such warm-weather places as Florida, Arizona and Nevada.

Yes, the NHL is different from the 1917 league — and looking pretty good for 100.

Bowen writes the sports opinion column for KidsPost. He is the author of 22 sports books for kids.

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Blue Jays auctioning VIP tickets for charity – MLB.com

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — The Blue Jays are stepping up to support the Katharine Feeney Memorial Scholarship Fund by auctioning off a unique game experience for the 2018 season.

Toronto is accepting bids on a four-ticket package to a mutually agreed upon game in 2018. The package also includes four passes to watch batting practice and four customized jerseys.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — The Blue Jays are stepping up to support the Katharine Feeney Memorial Scholarship Fund by auctioning off a unique game experience for the 2018 season.

Toronto is accepting bids on a four-ticket package to a mutually agreed upon game in 2018. The package also includes four passes to watch batting practice and four customized jerseys.

The Katharine Feeney Memorial Fund was created in memory of the pioneering baseball executive whose career spanned 40 years. Feeney was the senior vice president of scheduling and club relations for Major League Baseball until she passed away in April, several months into her retirement.

The Blue Jays, along with all the 29 other MLB teams, launched the charity auction in her memory. An annual scholarship will be awarded to a female student at the University of San Francisco who “most exemplifies her character and intelligence as well as someone who possesses the ability to succeed and the willingness to mentor others.”

The recipient of the scholarship is someone who expects to pursue a career in sports management and demonstrates a financial need to attain an advanced degree. The full list of items to be auctioned off can be found at www.MLB.com/wintermeetingsauction.

This marks the sixth consecutive year that MLB, MLB Advanced Media, MLB Network and all 30 clubs organized a charity auction during the Winter Meetings. This year’s auction is live through Thursday at 10 p.m. ET. Some of the other items up for grabs include a 2018 MLB All-Star Experience, Spring Training photo day, a private catching session with Atlanta’s Kurt Suzuki and lunch with Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig.

The Winter Meetings charity auction has raised more than $900,000 since its inception. MLB also honored Feeney’s legacy by hosting the “Katy Feeney Leadership Symposium” during the Winter Meetings. The career-minded event focused on leadership education and the advancement of female executives from throughout the game.

“Katy was always willing to offer a helping hand, particularly to those in need,” Feeney’s brother Stoney said. “This scholarship commemorates her memory, particularly her devotion to helping others as well as her passionate love of the game. We are looking forward to awarding a young woman who most closely resembles Katy’s character, intelligence, ability to succeed, and the willingness to mentor other young people interested in a similar career path. The entire Feeney family wishes to thank MLB and all the teams and staffs for helping to create and support this legacy in Katy’s memory, which is so richly deserved.”

Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Let's look back at the history of Japanese players in MLB – MLB.com

By Gemma Kaneko |

Back in 1964, Masanori Murakami became the very first Japanese baseball player to play for an American team. He pitched for the Giants for parts of two seasons before returning to the Nanaki Hawks, and it wasn’t until 1995 that another Japanese player made his way stateside. Hideo Nomo signed with the Dodgers that year, and up until 2017, at least one Japanese player per year debuted in MLB. 

Shohei Ohtani will make his debut in 2018 with the Angels (and perhaps, submariner Kazuhisa Makita will get his chance). As we await that day, let’s look back at the history of Japanese baseball players in MLB (click to enlarge): 

Japan graphic

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Enough is enough: stopping alcohol-related fraternity deaths – The Daily Campus

by Daniel Muehring

Matthew Ellis was a newly initiated Phi Kappa Psi member at Texas State Nov. 12. Only hours after his initiation into the brotherhood, he was pronounced dead by medical authorities.

Preliminary investigations suggest alcohol poisoning as the cause of death. Ellis was the fourth pledge or newly initiated member to die from an alcohol-related fraternity event this year.

Previous deaths this year included Andrew Coffey at Florida State, Maxwell Gruver at LSU and Tim Piazza at Penn State.

I was going to write this article about Andrew Coffey, who passed away earlier this month from a similar cause, but Ellis’ death has solidified the need to make this statement. 2017 is now the deadliest year for alcohol-related fraternity deaths since 2008, when four pledges died from alcohol poisoning. In the past decade, over 25 pledges have died either during or shortly after their pledge process — almost all of them due to alcohol poisoning.

Two main goals of fraternity life are developing lifelong bonds and encouraging members to become better men through fulfilling various principles. As a member of a fraternity, I can say that fraternities can, and in some cases do, live up to this goal.

My fraternity brothers are some of the best people I’ve met on campus, and they hold me accountable daily to constantly improve my self-image as a man and student.

However, Greek life – more specifically, fraternity life, as fraternities undoubtedly cause the majority of Greek-related deaths – can be a harsh environment where young, impressionable students looking for a place to belong to are thrust into situations where their eligibility to join an organization depends on forced alcohol consumption.

Who can point to the principle of brotherhood that forced alcohol consumption fulfills? Is it constructive to have associate members poison themselves under the guise of a “bonding experience which will make them closer in the end?”

Alcohol is not the only thing that should be withdrawn from the pledge process – paddling, humiliation and servitude come to mind – but any activity that introduces alcohol into an environment where pledges are incentivized to prove themselves worthy of membership is inherently wrong. Shame on any chapter that believes this a viable way to turn their associate members into better men.

For those in the SMU community involved with organizations that participate in such acts, please do not be afraid to report this behavior to the appropriate authorities.

It may not be this year or the next, or even within your undergraduate career. I can assure you, though, that inaction to report this behavior will cause harm to someone down the line who wishes to join your organization.

Of course, most, if not all, of the schools involved in these events have suspended or banned Greek life, as others have in the past. Some new rules surrounding new member education processes will be proposed and accepted.

However, this is not enough; the continuing deaths prove as much. It is time for a radical change in the way fraternities educate and accept new members into their brotherhoods. Labeling these deaths as tragic, isolated incidents is inappropriate.

The deaths are a result of our collective inaction and lack of accountability toward our brothers, chapters and ourselves.

While hundreds of thousands of undergraduate men run responsible, honorable chapters and organizations, a significant minority of the fraternal community conducts itself inappropriately and subjects its new members to activities that end up costing lives.

We can and must do better if fraternity life should exist and thrive in the future. Universities can only do so much, considering these continuing tragedies, before the logical outcome is to ban all Greek life indefinitely.

If that day comes, we should be mad not at college presidents and student life administrators, but ourselves.

Daniel Muehring is a senior majoring in Economics, Public Policy and Statistical Science. He is a brother of SMU’s Mu Delta Chapter of Sigma Lambda Beta International Fraternity, Inc.

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