The American Hockey League will not crown a Calder Cup champion for a second consecutive season amid pandemic scheduling concerns. The trophy had been awarded every year from 1937 to 2019. The AHL allowed each of its five divisions created for this season to decide a playoff format. Only the Pacific Division will have a postseason tournament. “While we are disappointed that we will not be able to award the Calder Cup this spring, we are grateful to have been able to provide a safe and competitive environment for more than 1,000 players to play AHL hockey and continue their development,” said Scott Howson, the league’s president and CEO. The AHL, the top developmental hockey league for the NHL, said Thursday it plans to start next season on Oct. 15.
Ducks’ goalie Miller to retire
Anaheim Ducks goalie Ryan Miller will retire at the end of the season, ending his 18-year NHL career and a decorated tenure in international hockey as one of the greatest Americans to play the position. With a career 390-289-87 record and a .914 save percentage, Miller is first in NHL history in victories by an American-born goalie while ranking second in shutouts (44) and games played. He is 14th overall on the NHL’s victories list, ranking 12th in saves (21,621) and 19th in games played. Miller also had an accomplished international career highlighted by his impressive play in the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, where he was named the tournament’s most valuable player and best goaltender … Byron “B.J.” Seaman, one of the founding owners of the Calgary Flames, died Saturday in Calgary. He was 97. James and late brother Daryl “Doc” Seaman were co-owners of the NHL franchise for 30 years. They were among six Calgary men along with Nelson Skalbania who bought the Atlanta Flames and moved the club to Alberta in 1980.
Chicago teams to welcome fans
The Chicago Bulls and Blackhawks will allow fans at 25 percent capacity starting with the Bulls against the Celtics on May 7 and the Blackhawks against the Dallas Stars on May 9. They will also allow a few hundred player family members and team-invited guests starting with the Blackhawks’ game against the Florida Panthers on Saturday. Tickets will be sold in groups of two to four adjacent seats. No two groups of seats throughout the arena will be closer than 6 feet apart, and there will be no need to cross over other parties in the same row. Fans over age 2 will be required to wear masks except when eating and drinking.
United closes in on Europa League final
Manchester United beat visiting Roma, 6-2, in the first leg of the semifinals of the Europa League. United now looks set to end its struggles in the semifinals of major competitions under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, having lost at this stage on four occasions in the past 16 months. In the other semifinal, host Villarreal defeated Arsenal, 2-1, The second legs are next week. Both teams finished the game with 10 men … Jesse Marsch will take over at German soccer team Leipzig next season in one of the most prominent jobs for an American coach in European club soccer. The Bundesliga club said that Marsch will switch from sister club Red Bull Salzburg on a two-year contract until June 2023. Marsch, a former player who made two appearances for the US national team, was the first American to coach a team in the Champions League. He helped Salzburg win the Austrian league and cup double last season and could repeat the feat this year … Major League Soccer’s Seattle Sounders said their entire first team roster and team support staff are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and the team will begin offering vaccinations to eligible fans at home games beginning Sunday against the LA Galaxy. The Sounders said all eligible players and staff for the Tacoma Defiance, the club’s USL franchise, are also fully vaccinated.
Doncic has elbow issue
Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic missed Thursday night’s game at Detroit because of a left elbow issue. Doncic is third in the NBA in scoring at 28.6 points per game. He is coming off a 39-point performance in a win over Golden State on Tuesday night. This will be the sixth game he’s missed this season … Chris Paul scored 28 points, Devin Booker added 21 and the Phoenix Suns beat the Los Angeles Clippers, 109-101, on Wednesday night to clinch a spot in the playoffs for the first time in 11 years.
Silva-Chávez match set
Mixed martial arts great Anderson Silva agreed to take on veteran boxer Julio César Chávez Jr. in an eight-round light heavyweight boxing match June 19 in Guadalajara, Mexico. The $39.95 pay-per-view card also will include a six-round exhibition bout between 58-year-old Julio César Chávez Sr. and 42-year-old Héctor Camacho Jr., organizers told the Associated Press … Iran was suspended by judo’s world governing body from international competition for four years as punishment for refusing to let its athletes face opponents from Israel. The International Judo Federation’s ban — backdated to start in 2019 and run into September 2023 — is provisional and can be lifted if the Iranian judo federation respects the IJF’s rules on discrimination and accepts to compete with Israel. The ban does not affect Iranian judokas going to the Tokyo Olympics because that team is sent by the national Olympic body and not the national judo federation. Iranian officials can challenge the IJF verdict at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.