WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Follow our sports on Twitter at @WWAYSports
FAYETTEVILLE, NC (WWAY) — For the second night in a row the Wilmington Sharks started late due to rain. In both cases the Sharks lost. On Thursday in a late start the Wilson Tobs shutout Wilmington 3-0. On Friday the Fayetteville SwampDogs beat Wilmington 10-8.
WILMINGTON, NC (HAMMERHEADS) — Wilmington Hammerheads FC and Cape Fear Soccer Club announced today a long-term strategic partnership to support the growth and development of youth soccer throughout the region. This partnership between the area’s only professional soccer team and the largest youth soccer club will focus on developing players and creating a top club that can compete at the highest level in not only the state, but the country.
“This is an exciting partnership for the Hammerheads organization,” said Wilmington Hammerheads General Manager Jason Arnold. “It creates a direct pathway for young players in our community to reach their potential as soccer players, while supporting our first team and their success.”
The agreement will go into effect beginning August 1, 2014. Cape Fear Soccer Club will publicly become Hammerheads FC and their current logo will be replaced by the existing Wilmington Hammerheads FC crest, matching the professional team. The youth club structure of Classic, Academy and Recreation will remain unchanged while improving development opportunities for players and staff through new and existing resources.
“This is an unbelievable opportunity for our community and the youth soccer players in Wilmington,” said Kenny Bundy, Executive Director of Cape Fear Soccer Club. “This partnership will only increase the soccer culture in Wilmington and build the Wilmington Hammerheads brand throughout this country. Our players, parents, coaches and volunteers could not be more excited to wear Hammerheads blue.”
The partnership between CFSC and the Wilmington Hammerheads will consist of several new joint initiatives, including tournaments, youth camps, tickets, education and outreach support. All registered youth will have the opportunity to learn from the professionals on a continual basis while being exposed to the professional environment.
“We look forward to the day we sign our first player to a pro contract who has gone through our new system,” said Arnold.
BLADEN COUNTY, NC (USA FOOTBALL RELEASE ) — Indianapolis Colts assistant strength and conditioning coach RICHARD HOWELL will host a USA Football FUNdamentals clinic for children ages 7-11 on Saturday, June 28, at West Bladen High School in Bladenboro, N.C. The free, one-day clinic is designed to introduce children to football by teaching basic skills in a fun and energetic environment and is supported through a grant from the NFL Foundation.
FUNdamentals incorporates a series of drills to teach passing, catching and running skills in a non-contact setting. All skills and drills selected are based on USA Football’s Player Progression Development Model, ensuring children are learning in an age-appropriate manner, based on their cognitive and physical maturity. Participants also will be introduced to the basics of USA Football’s Heads Up Tackling techniques through non-contact drills. USA Football programs are supported and endorsed by leaders in medicine, child advocacy and sport for a safer, better game.
USA Football is the official youth football development partner of the NFL, the Colts and the league’s other 31 teams.
WHO: Indianapolis Colts assistant strength and conditioning coach and Bladenboro native Richard Howell
Children ages 7-11 from throughout the Bladenboro area
WHAT: Richard Howell Youth Football Camp in partnership with USA Football FUNdamentals
WHEN: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, June 28
WHERE: West Bladen High School
1600 NC 410 Hwy
Bladenboro, NC 28320
HOW: Registration is available at www.usafootball.com/fun
WILMINGTON, NC (HAMMERHEADS) — Wilmington Hammerheads FC is set to host the Richmond Kickers on Saturday, June 28 at 7:30 p.m. ET at Legion Stadium. This will be the second of three scheduled matches between the two clubs this season.
The Hammerheads are currently undefeated through their last eight regular season matches following a 2-2 equalizer against the Chicago Fire Reserves at Legion Stadium last weekend. Forward Jordan Hamilton leveled the score with Chicago early in the second half before dropping again to a deficit of one goal minutes later. It was midfielder Will Heaney with the final goal in stoppage time to secure the draw, further extending the Hammerheads’ unbeaten streak.
The Hammerheads also overcame a deficit two weeks prior at City Stadium during their first match of the season versus the Kickers. Matthew Delicâte added two goals for the Kickers in the first half of the match leaving the Hammerheads scoreless until forwards Jordan Hamilton and Mickael Oliveira brought the equalizer with back-to-back goals in the final 10 minutes of play.
Richmond is currently ranked second (8-1-6) in the league behind league-leader Orlando City SC (12-0-3). The Hammerheads have been fluctuating in the middle of the standings with a current overall record of 5-1-5 as they have tallied three draws from their last three matches.
The Kickers are entering back-to-back road games following their 3-1 victory in Pittsburgh last weekend. They will travel to Wilmington following their match at Blackbaud Stadium on Friday, June 27 against the Charleston Battery.
Fans are encouraged to attend the match showing their national pride in light of the 2014 World Cup. Miller-Motte College is the presenting sponsor for Saturday’s match and a jumbotron will be on site streaming World Cup highlights.
RALEIGH, NC (HURRICANES) — Though the 2014 NHL Draft wasn’t as stacked as others with top-end defensive talent, there were two blue-liners that caught scouts’ attention, and one was taken first overall. The other was Haydn Fleury, selected seventh overall by the Carolina Hurricanes.
“I really don’t have many words to say,” Fleury said in his first media scrum as a member of the Canes. “It’s an unreal experience, and I’m very excited to be in Carolina.”
As the team’s first selection of a defenseman in the first round since Ryan Murphy was picked 12th overall in 2011, the Canes are happy to have Fleury.
“He’s a big, mobile defenseman who has a lot of upside to his game because of the way he skates,” said Canes Executive Vice President and General Manager Ron Francis. “He can skate the puck out of traffic and move it out of trouble. In the U-18 tournament in Finland, he was quarterbacking the power play. There are a lot of parts of his game that we like.”
“We did have our eye on him,” said Tony MacDonald, the Canes head amateur scout. “He’s a guy with that kind of size, and he skates extremely well. He’s got a lot of poise with the puck, and he moves the puck.”
The 2013-14 season was Fleury’s second full season with the Red Deer Rebels of the Western Hockey League. As an alternate captain, he led his team in defensive scoring with 46 points (8g, 38a) in 70 games. That output was more than double the 19 points (4g, 15a) he recorded in 66 games as a WHL rookie, still be for third among team defensemen.
Additionally, the 6-foot-3, 203-pound defenseman finished at a team-high plus-15 on a Red Deer squad that had a minus-10 goal differential and failed to qualify for the postseason.
“Brent [Sutter] has treated me like a pro,” Fleury said. “He’s had high expectations for me and has given me a great opportunity in Red Deer.”
“The thing that we like about this guy is that his upside is significant,” MacDonald said. “His offensive game is still evolving. He’s still developing. He’s still getting better in that regard, and we expect that he’ll continue to get better. He’s a very coachable kid and eager to learn.”
Typically, the development process for a defenseman can be more extended than others. But Fleury, 17, will attend Prospects Development Camp in a month before going to Traverse City for the annual rookie prospects tournament and then training camp. A decision on his status for the 2014-15 season – whether he remains with the big club or returns to Red Deer – will be made then.
“You always want to be careful with young defensemen. They do take a little longer [to develop]. A lot of times you don’t know what you have until they are about 22 or 23, quite frankly,” Francis said. “Ultimately, you want to do what’s best for Haydn and our franchise in the long-term, not the short term.”
“It’s a steeper learning curve for the defensemen. At the NHL level, it’s tough for these guys to come in and make an impact right away. It takes them a little longer,” MacDonald said. “It’s a challenging position to play, and there are a lot of things to learn. But when a player has the signs and the tools … you can do a lot with that kind of player.”
Fleury is that kind of player with a varied and skilled toolbox. He compares his game to that of Jay Bouwmeester.
“He’s a solid, two-way defenseman who plays in all situations of the game,” Fleury said. “He plays big minutes, generates offense and is very strong defensively, as well.”
And Fleury’s self-described game?
“I consider myself a two-way defenseman who can play in all situations of the game,” he said. “I can play on the power play, I can play on the penalty kill and play against other teams’ top lines.”
After over a year’s worth of scouting work and long days and weeks of compiling lists, the Canes had Fleury, who projects as a rock-solid two-way NHL defenseman, pegged as their guy.
“We talked about trying to get a little bit bigger. He’s 6-foot-3 and 200-plus pounds, but he skates extremely well. It’s not like he’s a big, slow guy,” Francis said. “This guy is very mobile, and in today’s game, you need D that can skate it and move it out of trouble, and this kid can do that.
“At the end of the day, you’re just trying to get a comfort level that you think he’s a good kid, which he did. And we felt that he was a good player,” Francis said of the process. “We’re glad to have him.”