Pro Hockey News

Sunday, July 31, 2022

Training Camp Report: Jaguars Back to Work Sunday in Full Pads

Photos by Nancy DeLander Beecher/Sportsday

By Mike Bonts

JACKSONVILLE  (SportsTicker) – The Jacksonville Jaguars were back in training camp Sunday morning. The first practice with full pads.

Head coach Doug Pederson met with the media before the session began.

“Yesterday, I went with the shoulder pads. And full pads today. For the first time in pads, the number one thing is player safety and protecting each other, practicing hard, practicing fast, being smart about it,” Pederson said. “Nobody's going to the ground. We try to stay off the ground, no live tackling, things like that. But you’re kind of getting used to wearing the extra gear now. We're kind of getting into that part of training camp where things get ramped up.”

The Jaguars made seven selections in the NFL draft, starting with Travon Walker and Devin Lloyd in Round 1. Camp began last Monday with 21 rookies on the roster.

Pederson is looing forward to seeing the entire team perform in full pads, not just the crop of rookies.

"I not only think of them (rookies), but I think everybody really, you get to learn a little bit about your football team and the physicality that we talked about,” added Pederson. “But for the rookies, too, sometimes the eyes can be a little wider open in situations like this, because it was the first time, but these guys are pros, and they've been doing it a long time going back to college and high school, so they should be okay.”

Training camp continues Monday at Episcopal High School,

JAGA: Jason Duff Wins the win 61st Jacksonville Amateur Championship

Jason Duff fired a final-round 64 at Deerwood Country Club to totally distance himself from the rest of the field and win the 61st playing of the Jacksonville Amateur Championship conducted by the Jacksonville Area Golf Association.

Duff, who is about to enter his sophomore year at the University of North Florida, carded 66-71-64—201 for his three trips around the 7,093-yard, par-72 layout, and in so doing, set and then reset his previous competitive low round of 67.

“It was as close to a flawless round of golf as I’ve ever seen,” said co-runner-up Johnny Watts of Jacksonville.

Watts, who recently regained his amateur status after a stint on PGA TOUR Latinoamerica, and Luke Cusick of St. Augustine shared second with 4-under-par 212 totals.

Another shot back at 213 were UNF assistant men’s golf coach Jeff Dennis and Uruguay’s top amateur Agustin Tarigo, who is on his way to Chicago to compete in this coming week’s 120th Western Amateur.

Defending champion Smith finished at even-par 216, good for a tie for ninth.

Duff entered the final round with only a two-shot lead over Watts and Osborn Theam of Jacksonville, with Dennis three back. The lead was three when Creekside grad Andrew Riley eagled the par-5 seventh. Playing in the group behind Riley, Duff countered with a birdie.

From there, the champion stepped on the gas and left his fellow competitors in the rearview mirror, adding birdies on Nos. 8, 11 and 12 and an eagle on No. 13, before closing with five straight pars for a bogey-free 32-32—64.  

Duff did not miss a fairway and only missed two greens – the ninth by two paces and the 18th, where he got it up and down from a back bunker.

The championship was blessed with three days of excellent mid-summer weather – sunny, light breezes, 90-degree temperatures, and most importantly, no pop-up storms.

The contestants raved about the condition of the Deerwood layout, with the consensus being, “Deerwood was in the best shape I’ve ever seen it.”

Since 2000, the collective performance in the Amateur of current and former University of North Florida golfers has bordered on domination, particularly in the last four years. Only Mike Smith’s win last year interrupted the Osprey run (Jordan Batchelor/2019, Cody Carroll/2020, Duff/2022). Dating back to 2000, golfers with UNF roots have won the Amateur seven times in the last 12 years, and 10 in all.

While complete records are not available, Duff’s 15-under-par winning score is the lowest since Sean Dale won in 2011 at the Ponte Vedra Inn and Club with 17-under played over 72 holes. The largest winning margin in recent years was nine by A.J. Crouch at Sawgrass Country Club in 2012.

Duff’s 64 is believed to be the second-best round in Jacksonville Amateur history, bettered only by Smith’s 63 at the Ponte Vedra Inn and Club’s Lagoon course in 2012.

Though just 20, Duff is no stranger to his fellow competitors on the Northeast Florida golf scene. While attending Pedro Menendez High School in St. Augustine, he captured the State 2A individual title in 2019. As a freshman at UNF this past year, the Elkton resident earned ASUN Conference freshman of the year honors.

One of the area’s more distinguished golfers, Bob Dickson of Ponte Vedra Beach and TPC Sawgrass, served as honorary starter on Saturday. Among his accomplishments on both the amateur and professional levels, the Oklahoma native is one of only four men to win the U.S. Amateur and British Amateur in the same year (1967). As a TOUR professional, he made six Greater Jacksonville Open starts at Deerwood, with a T8 in 1975 and a T12 in 1969 his best.

The championship featured 81 players, with 15 coming from outside JAGA’s footprint of Northeast Florida. Fifty-four players in the field had handicap indexes of 0 or less.

The Amateur is one of three JAGA-conducted events in which the top finishers are awarded World Amateur Golf Ranking points. The JAGA First Coast Amateur and the JAGA Match Play Championship are the other two.

The Jacksonville Amateur moves to San Jose Country Club next year, with Timuquana Country Club making its debut in the host club rotation in 2024. Jacksonville Golf and Country Club returns as host in 2025.

To review the complete summary of scores, click here 

Jumbo Shrimp Recap: Encarnacion Homers but Jacksonville Falls to Gwinnett, 6-3

LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. (Florida Sports Wire) – Jerar Encarnacion homered but the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp fell to the Gwinnett Stripers 6-3 Saturday night at Coolray Field.

File Photo by Jim Brady/SportsDay
Gwinnett (47-51) took the early lead in the bottom of the first. With one out, Preston Tucker singled and Taylor Motter (9) clubbed a two-run home run against Jacksonville (54-44) starter Cody Mincey (L, 0-1) putting the Stripers in front 2-0. Chadwick Tromp (11) followed with another home run to give Gwinnett a 3-0 lead.

Jacksonville got on the board in the top of the third against Gwinnett starter Bryce Elder (W, 6-4). With one out, Erik González singled and Bubba Hollins walked. Two batters later, Brian Miller smacked a single, scoring González to cut the deficit 3-1.

The Jumbo Shrimp plated another run in the top of the fourth. Encarnacion (11) led off the inning with a solo home run, making the score 3-2.

Gwinnett stayed hot taking a four-run lead in the bottom of the sixth. With one out, Alex Dickerson and Pat Valaika singled. Ryan Casteel (11) smacked a three-run home run to put the Stripers ahead 6-2.

Jacksonville scored their final run in the top of the seventh. Ryan Lavarnway led off with a single and two batters later, Hollins walked. With runners on first and second, Bryson Brigman was hit by a pitch, loading the bases. Miller grounded out but Lavarnway scored from third to make it a three-run deficit.

Jacksonville wraps up their series with the Gwinnett Stripers Sunday at 1:05 p.m. LHP Matthew Kent (6-7, 5.28) will start on the bump for Jacksonville and Gwinnett will turn to LHP Tucker Davidson (3-7, 4.42) Coverage begins at 12:50 p.m. on ESPN 690 and

Friday, July 29, 2022

Tampa Bay Bucs: Robert Hainsey on Stepping In At Center, Offseason Training

Tampa Bay Buccaneers tackle Robert Hainsey spoke to the media following the third day of training camp.

Thursday, July 28, 2022

NASCAR Returns to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course

For the second consecutive season, the NASCAR Cup Series will return to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course for the Verizon 200 at the Brickyard on Sunday, July 31 at 2:30 p.m. ET (NBC, IMS Radio and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) as part of an action-packed tripleheader weekend with the NTT IndyCar Series and the NASCAR Xfinity Series (on Saturday, July 30).

Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) has existed since 1909, and is considered the original "Speedway", the first racing facility to incorporate the word into its name. 

With a permanent seating capacity for more than 250,000-plus people and infield seating that raises capacity to an approximate 400,000, it is the largest and highest-capacity sporting facility in history. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course was completed in 2000 and it incorporates part of the famous four-turn oval. 

The original length upon completion of the road course measured 2.605-miles. In 2008, and again in 2014, the road course layout was modified to improve competition. This weekend’s event will compete on the 14-turn, 2.439-mile paved version of the road course.

The first NASCAR Cup Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (oval) was August 6, 1994. Hendrick Motorsport’s driver Jeff Gordon (Chevrolet) won the inaugural event at the 2.5-mile speedway. 

The NASCAR Cup Series made its historical debut on the 14-Turn, 2.439-mile asphalt paved road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway last season with 40 competitors battling it out for 200 miles (82 laps). It was Kaulig Racing’s road course ace, A.J. Allmendinger, who knabbed the checkered flag in the event, by passing Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin and leading just the final two laps en route to the victory. 

The inaugural NASCAR Cup Series race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course was filled with competitive excitement, producing 13 lead changes among 11 different leaders. But it was Hendrick Motorsport’s driver Kyle Larson (28 laps led) and Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin (27 laps led) who commanded the lion’s share of the laps led in the event.

This weekend’s Verizon 200 at the Brickyard is scheduled for 82 total laps and will be broken up into three stages. The first stage will be 15 laps, the second will be 20 laps and the final stage will be 47 laps. 

All the on-track NASCAR Cup Series activity will begin with practice on Saturday from 9:35 a.m. – 10:35 a.m. ET, directly followed by Busch Light Pole Qualifying at 10:35 a.m. ET. Both events will be televised on the USA Network at 9:30 a.m. ET.

Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp Homestand Highlights August 2-7

JACKSONVILLE  The Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp 2022 season presented by FIS continues Tuesday, August 2 with a six-game series against the Memphis Redbirds, Triple-A affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals, that runs through Sunday, August 7 at 121 Financial Ballpark. The homestand features a promotional lineup that includes the following highlights: 
Tuesday, August 2, 2022, 7:05 p.m. (Gates open at 6 p.m.) 
Community First Credit Union Two for Tuesday presented by Community First Credit Union: Community First Credit Union members using their CFCU credit or debit card can receive two-for-one tickets at the box office, and non-CFCU members can learn more about memberships on the concourse. 
Shrimps on a Plane: Every fan who enters 121 Financial Ballpark before third inning will receive a piece of paper. Fans will write their name, phone number and email address on that piece of paper, then turn the paper into a paper airplane and whoever flies it the farthest from the bleachers at the end of the game will receive both 40,000 Breeze Points ($400 travel credit) from Breeze Airways and a $500 prize. 
Wednesday, August 3, 2022, 7:05 p.m. (Gates open at 6 p.m.) 
Forever Vets Animal Hospital Canines and Crustaceans Dog Day presented by Forever Vets Animal Hospital, Jacksonville Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram Arlington and Jacksonville Jeep: The Jumbo Shrimp, Forever Vets Animal Hospital, Jacksonville Chysler Jeep Dodge Ram Arlington and Jacksonville Jeep welcome fans and their canine companion to 121 Financial Ballpark! Canines get in free as long as their human companion buys a ticket. Please note that dogs will not be allowed in Section 119, the Wheelhouse Lounge or the Haskell Suite Level. 
VyStar BOGO Tickets presented by VyStar Credit Union: VyStar Credit Union members using their VyStar credit or debit card can receive a Buy-One, Get-One-Free ticket offer. This special is valid for a ticket of equal or lesser value, and ticket offers cannot be combined. 
Good Is Everywhere Wednesdays presented by VyStar and the Jim & Tabitha Furyk Foundation: VyStar Credit Union is partnering with the Jim & Tabitha Furyk Foundation to raise funds and awareness via ticket sales and promotions throughout the night. 
Thursday, August 4, 2022, 7:05 p.m. (Gates open at 6 p.m.) 
Budweiser Thirsty Thursday: Thursday home games are happy hour days, and fans can purchase $2 (12 oz. draft) and $3 (24 oz. draft) Budweiser products at the left field berm, Oasis concession and right field bleachers. Plus, you never know when live music will appear at the Coors Light Tiki Terrace on Thursdays. 
Military Appreciation Night presented by Ascension St. Vincent’s: As a thank you to our military, Ascension St. Vincent’s will provide free tickets to all active, retired, Veterans and former military members and their dependents (subject to availability). Complimentary tickets may be received at the Miller Electric Box Office in advance or the day of the game. 
Patriotic Jerseys: The Jumbo Shrimp will be on the field wearing their 2022 Patriotic Jerseys. The jerseys are currently up for auction on and will be awarded at the end of the season. 
Friday, August 5, 2022, 7:05 p.m. (Gates open at 6 p.m.) 
Red Shirt Friday: Jumbo Shrimp players and staff will wear red on each Friday to support the military, and fans wearing red can save $1 on their tickets at the box office or donate that $1 to charity. 
Friday Night Lites presented by Miller Lite: Friday Night Lites shine on the Jumbo Shrimp with $2-12 oz. Miller Lites and $1 off craft beers at both the Craft Cave near the Third Base gates and Brown Canopy near the Coors Light Tiki Terrace until the seventh inning! 
Friday Night Fireworks presented by Union Home Mortgage and Big D Building Center: Stick around after the game for a Friday Night Fireworks spectacular! 
Salute to the Great Outdoors: Grab your hiking boots and fishing pole, because the Jumbo Shrimp are celebrating the great outdoors.  
Saturday, August 6, 2022, 6:35 p.m. (Gates open at 5:30 p.m.) 
Back to School Lunchbag Giveaway presented by Baptist Health & Wolfson Children’s Hospital: The Jumbo Shrimp and Baptist Health are preparing fans for school with a back-to-school game and lunchbag giveaway filled with school items. Bags will be given away to the first 2,000 fans through the gates.  
Sunday, August 7, 2022, 6:35 p.m. (Gates open at 5:30 p.m.) 
Baptist Health Sunday Family FUNday presented by Baptist Health: Each Sunday home game starts with a pregame catch on the field from 5:30-5:50 p.m., and fans may receive complimentary pregame face painting and balloon animals. Plus, kids can feel like the pros by running the bases after the game. Also, as part of Sunday Family FUNday, Wolfson Children’s Hospital will be saluting the heroes of healthcare with a special night at the ballpark!  
Heroes of Health Care presented by Wolfson Children’s Hospital: As part of Sunday Family FUNday, Wolfson Children’s Hospital will be saluting the heroes of healthcare with a special night at the ballpark!  

Jaguars Get Day Off Friday Before Resuming Practice Saturday; Sign Kicker

By Mike Bonts

JACKSONVILLE (Florida Sports Wire)
Day four of Jaguars training camp was Thursday. The team is expected to begin working in pads Sunday.

Head coach Doug Pederson continues to be cautious as more physical drills appear on the horizon.

“In this acclimation phase, we must limit the amount of contact we’re doing. Once the pads come on, it’s game on at that point,” he added.

Pederson said to look for more of the one-on-one pass rush games when the pads come on and more of the offensive and defensive lines working together.

“We put the pads on for the first time on Sunday and player safety, again, we don’t tackle. We don’t go to the ground. We stay up. We don’t cut guys. We practice fast. It’ll be the first time in pads for these guys since really in several months since the end of the regular season,” Pederson said.

Pederson sees the addition of pads an extension of what they have been doing. Practice may be a little bit longer.

“It’s much easier for an offensive lineman to hang onto a shoulder pad than a sweaty jersey at that time too. It does make a difference to put the pads on. Little more weight, again, we’re conditioning the bodies. I think the guys are excited to do that,” he said.

The team is set to have Friday off before getting back on the field Saturday.

Roster News

The Jaguars have signed kicker Elliott Fry. Additionally, the team waived kicker Andrew Mevis.

Fry has appeared in three NFL games with Atlanta (2020), Kansas City (2021) and Cincinnati (2021) and made five of six field goals and five of seven extra points.

Fry attended South Carolina and finished his career as the Gamecocks’ all-time leading scorer with 359 points, connecting on 161 extra points and 66 field goals.


ECHL: Rookie Forward Sternschein Returns to Jacksonville

The Jacksonville Icemen, ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s New York Rangers and the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack announced today that the team has agreed to terms with forward Sam Sternschein for the 2022-2023 season.   

Sternschein, 24, joined the Icemen this past March and posted eight points (4g, 4a) in 11 games.  In addition, he also made three postseason appearances with the Icemen.  

Prior to Jacksonville, Sternschein (pronounced Stern-Shine) concluded his senior season at Boston College where he posted three assists in 24 games.  The 6-2, 205-pound rookie forward also played four seasons at Penn State University from 2017-2021, totaling 42 points (28g, 14a) and winning a Big-10 Regular Season Championship in 2020.  

From 2015-2017 Sternschein played for the USHL’s Tri-City Storm, Cedar Rapids RoughRiders and Lincoln Stars totaling 47 points (27g, 20a).   

Sternschein joins fellow forwards Jake Hamacher, Luke Keenan, Mike Szmatula, Matt Salhany, and Brendan Harris, defensemen Jacob Panetta, Victor Hadfield and Tim Theocharidis as well as goaltender Charles Williams as players who have agreed to terms with the Icemen for the 2022-2023 season.      

The Icemen open the 2022-2023 season at home on October 22 against the Orlando Solar Bears.  Full and partial season ticket packages are currently available!   Contact the Icemen office at 904-602-7825, or visit www.ja

NFL SportsDay: Miami Dolphins Running Back Chase Edmonds

(Florida Sports Wire) Miami Running Back Chase Edmonds meets with the media following the second day of Dolphins Training Camp at Baptist Health South Florida Training Complex.

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Jaguars Camp Notebook: Former USFL QB Added to Camp Mix

 By Mike Bonts

JACKSONVILLE (SportsTicker) - Quarterback Kyle Sloter is in the Jaguars training camp after being added to the roster on July 24.

He played in nine games with the New Orleans Breakers in the USFL in 2022 and completed 168 of 291 passes for 1,798 yards and nine TDs. The Jaguars released QB EJ Perry with a non-football injury designation.

“I had watched him a little bit in the USFL this year in some of the spots he’s been in. He’s a young guy that, with EJ, again with an injury this summer, we had to decide because he needed another arm in here to keep throwing and all of that,” said head coach Doug Pederson on Monday. “This is a great opportunity for him to really embrace this chance, embrace this opportunity, get some time in maybe these first couple of games, and get some meaningful reps and tape out there not only for us but also for other teams.”

Sloter, 6-5, 218, most recently spent time in the NFL with the Vikings during the 2021 season.

A Johns Creek, Ga. native, Sloter attended Northern Colorado from 2015-16 and in 2016, he completed 198 of 319 passes for a school-record 29 TDs.

Jaguars training camp resumes Wednesday.

Recap: Jacksonville Sneaks Away with 4-3 Road Win over Gwinnett

File Photo by Tim Davis/Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp

LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. – Jerar Encarnacion homered while Matthew Kent tied a season-high with six strikeouts as the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp took the first game against the Gwinnett Stripers 4-3 Tuesday night from Coolray Field.

The Jumbo Shrimp (51-43) got on the board first in the top of the first against Gwinnett starter Tucker Davidson (L, 3-7). With two outs, Charles Leblanc doubled and scored on a two-run home run from Encarnacion (10).

Jacksonville didn’t wait long to add to their lead, plating a run in the top of the third. Peyton Burdick led off with a triple and two batters later Encarnacion continued to provide the offense as he doubled, scoring Burdick to increase the Jumbo Shrimp lead to 3-0.

Gwinnett (46-48) plated their first run in the bottom of the fourth inning against Jacksonville starter Matthew Kent (W, 5-7) With one out, Braden Shewmake tripled and scored on a single from Chadwick Tromp to cut the deficit to 4-1.

Both offenses were held scoreless until the ninth frame. With one out, Brian Miller entered as a pinch hitter and doubled. During the at-bat of Erik González, Miller advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on a groundout, pushing the lead to 4-1.

The Stripers made things interesting in the bottom of the ninth. With one out, Alex Dickerson doubled and Ryan Casteel (9) followed with a two-run home run making it a one-run game, 4-3. Joe Dunand doubled for the third consecutive hit of the inning but Jumbo Shrimp reliever Andrew Nardi (S, 4) struck out Ryan Goins and got Delino DeShields Jr. to fly out to end the game.

Kent’s performance was huge for Jacksonville, pitching six strong innings and tying a season-high with six strikeouts en route to his fifth win of the season. Tommy Eveld followed with 1.2 shut down innings and two strikeouts out of the bullpen.

Jacksonville continues their series with the Gwinnett Stripers that starts on Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. The Jumbo Shrimp will hand the ball to LHP Jesús Luzardo (0-0, 0.00) who will be making his second rehab start while RHP Nolan Kingham (3-2, 3.74) will toe the rubber for Gwinnett.  Coverage begins at 6:50 p.m. on ESPN 690 and

Monday, July 25, 2022

NFL: Jacksonville Jaguars Begin Training Camp at Episcopal High School

By Mike Bonts

JACKSONVILLE (SportsTicker) - It was a hot and muggy beginning to the Jacksonville Jaguars 2022 training camp Monday morning at Episcopal High School. 

But nobody seemed to mind.

Especially new head coach Doug Pederson.

“It’s exciting. Emotions are high. We’re looking forward to having a really good camp, a good, competitive, physical camp. But for me, personally, it’s exciting to be back out on the grass with these guys for another training camp and seeing where we go,” Pederson said following the first day.

Not to dwell on the recent past. But the Jaguars are coming off a miserable season. The Jaguars finished 3–14, improving slightly upon their 1–15 record from 2020. They failed to make the playoffs for the fourth straight year.

Fast forward to 2022. The mood in the camp on Monday was lively and positive.

Quarterback Trevor Lawrence is enthusiastic about Pederson's reputation for working with QBs.

"It’s cool seeing the way he approaches things. He’s definitely a player’s coach, in the sense of he takes care of us, but there’s an expectation. He knows what it takes to win and what it takes to win championships,” Lawrence said. “There’s that expectation that you need from your head coach. There’s a standard you have to uphold, but he also knows how to take care of players, what players are feeling." 

Pederson said he thought Sunday will be the full-padded day. Training camp continues Tuesday morning.

Sunday, July 24, 2022

Recap: Neidert, Quintana, Jumbo Shrimp Takes Series with 8-3 Win over Knights

Photo by Nancy Beecher/SportDay
By Mike Bonts

JACKSONVILLE - The Jumbo Shrimp and Charlotte Knights wrapped up their three game weekend series Sunday with a 8-3 Jacksonville win.

Lorenzo Quintana's two-run homer in the seventh made it 8-2.

Earlir in the fifth, his triple drove in Charles Leblanc and Jerer Encarnacion to make it 6-0.

Jacksonville starter Nick Neidert pitched seven innings, gave up five hits, two runs and struck out eight in picking up his third win of the season.

Jake Fishman came on in the eighth and struck out the side. He gave up a solo home run to Adam Hasely in the ninth.

The visitors got in the board when Yolbert Sanchez smashed a two-run homer to left off of Neidert.

With Erik Gonzalez on base, Peyton Burdick's two-run homer off starter Mike Wright gave Jacksonville a 2-0 lead in the third.

Declan Cronin came on in relief of Wright. The Jumbo Shrimp added to their lead with two out. Leblanc scored on Luis Aviles, Jr.  infield single. 

Wright ran into some trouble earlier with one out in the second. He gave up a single to center by Aviles, Jr.  

Aviles went to third on Norel Gonzalez base hit. But Bryson Brigman hit into a double play to end any Jumbo Shrimp threat.

It was Wright's first loss of the season. He gave up three runs on five hits.

Jacksonville goes on the road Tuesday for a six-game series against Gwinnett.

Notes: Former Jumbo Shrimp outfielder JJ Bleday made his MLB debut Saturday for the Miami Marlins against the Pirates at PNC Park. Bleday entered the game as a defensive sub in the bottom of the seventh inning for Brian Anderson. His first plate appearance came in the top of the ninth, when he worked a seven-pitch walk against Pittsburgh's David Bednar...

Moeller: Sunday Baseball Fun with the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp

Photo by Nancy Beecher/SportsDay

By Jeff Moeller

It was my first Jumbo Shrimp game , and I was already impressed.

Roughly an hour before the scheduled Sunday night game, an array of Star Wars characters strolled in front of the Jumbo Shrimp dugout and made their way to the outfield. R2D2 kept his slow pace and made his way to the outfield and back, as he captivated the assembling crowdin the process.

What really stirred me was a large contingent of children who entered the field from an outfield gate and began a pitch and catch with their friends or their fathers.

In covering minor league baseball for the better part of 25 years, this was a first for me. And it was refreshing to step back and see “Sunday Family Fun Day.” 

Appreciate the moments. We often forget it is a game, and it also has bonded families together  with the town or city.

Step back from the wins and losses and take a different look. 

I’ve seen running the bases for children after both minor and major league games. Over the years, I’ve spent a lot of nights in Pennsylvania minor league parks for the Lehigh Valley IronPis, Reading Fightin’ Phils, and Scranton/ Wilkes-Barre Railriders. 

All three teams always would have a full slate of effective promotions and activities, yet none of them have a “Kids Zone.”

Catcher Ryan Lavarnway had a chat with a local youth team behind home plate before the group jumped on him in a friendly scrum.

All of these actions aren’t any ground-breaking events for minor league baseball, which prides itself on keeping the fan more interested than a major league park with a series of gimmicks.

However, it is a reminder that pure baseball on a professional level can still be found. Jacksonville is a good example of it.

MLB, the NFL, and the NBA have been tainted with the shadow of gambling hanging over them. You hear the ads on the radio and see the betting segments built into the pregame shows. Based on its rising success and interest, it isn’t going away anytime soon.

Both baseball and football also have worked a segment of a reality show into their broadcasts, having former baseball players interviewing current players, having players miked up in the field, or former players sharing football war stories. If you watched the MLB All-Star game or ever seen the Manning brothers during an ESPN telecast, you know what I mean.

Yet, baseball on any level is still ingrained as a piece of Americana. You can still feel like a kid when you take your seat.

Appreciate it, Jacksonville fans.

Jacksonville began play Sunday night in second place in the International League East with a 49-43 record, just a game behind first-place deadlocked Durham and Lehigh Valley. If they can solve their home record problems – a 20-24 mark - they can be a player in the postseason.

But putting the numbers aside, baseball in Jacksonville is alive and well.

As a long-time friend and sportswriter used to tell me, “it’s a simple game.”

In Jacksonville, it is still simple and pure. Watch it while you can. 

(Jeff Moeller is a columnist and senior writer for SportsDay)

Recap Ninth Inning Slips from Jacksonville’s Grasp in 8-6 Loss

Photo by Tim Davis/Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp
JACKSONVILLE – Jerar Encarnacion launched a home run and Daniel Castano delivered six solid innings on Saturday, but the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp coughed up a ninth-inning lead in an 8-6 loss to the Charlotte Knights in front of a crowd of 6,876 fans at 121 Financial Ballpark.

The Knights (34-58) saved themselves by the skin on their teeth in the top of the ninth inning. Down 6-5 and with two outs on the board, Laz Rivera singled against Jumbo Shrimp reliever George Soriano (1-2), then advanced to third off another single by Zach Remillard. A third single by Mark Payton plated Rivera to tie the game at six. Consecutive base hits by Lenyn Sosa and Adam Haseley brought in two more runs to finalize the score at 8-6.

Charlotte wasted no time in getting on the board in the top of the first inning. The first pitch of the game was blasted by Payton (13) to the right field stands to give the Knights an initial 1-0 advantage.

The Jumbo Shrimp (49-43) responded in the bottom of the first inning. Brian Miller singled to center field, then advanced to second on a ground out. Miller then stole third and after a walk by Lewin Díaz, a line drive by Encarnacion sent Miller home, tying up the score 1-1.

Charlotte broke the tie in the top of the third inning. With two outs on the board, Carlos Pérez smacked a two-run homer out to left field to make it 3-1.

Jacksonville reduced the deficit in the bottom of the fourth inning. Charles Leblanc started the inning with a line drive single. Leblanc stole second then scored on a single by Ryan Lavarnway.

Jumbo Shrimp brought it back in the bottom of the fifth inning. Demetrius Sims walked, then advanced to second on a line drive single by Peyton Burdick. Later in the frame, another walk by Leblanc loaded the bases with two outs. A wild pitch plated Sims, tying up the game again 3-3.

Jacksonville finally took their first lead in the bottom of the seventh inning. After Díaz walked, Encarnacion (9) blasted a two-run homer out to right field, putting the Jumbo Shrimp ahead 5-3.

Charlotte responded in-kind in the top of the eighth inning. With two outs on the board and Sosa on first, Pérez smacked another two-run homer out to left field, tying the game once again 5-5.

 The Jumbo Shrimp responded right away in the bottom of the eighth. Lavarnway walked with one out. After another out, consecutive walks by Bryson Brigman, Sims, and Burdick sent Lavarnway home to once again crack the tie 6-5. Anderson Severino (1-3) came on to get Charlotte out of the jam.

Jacksonville hosts Charlotte at 6:35 p.m. on Sunday in a rubber match. RHP Nick Neidert (2-0, 2.18 ERA) starts for the Jumbo Shrimp against Knights RHP Mike Wright (3-0, 3.81 ERA). Coverage begins at 6:20 p.m. on, ESPN 690 and


Saturday, July 23, 2022

NHL: Florida Panthers Acquire Forward Matthew Tkachuk

SUNRISE – Florida Panthers General Manager Bill Zito announced that the club has acquired forward Matthew Tkachuk and a conditional fourth-round draft selection from the Calgary Flames in exchange for forward Jonathan Huberdeau, defenseman MacKenzie Weegar, Panthers prospect Cole Schwindt and Florida’s lottery-protected first-round selection in the 2025 NHL Draft. 

Additionally, Tkachuk agreed to terms on an eight-year contract through the 2029-30 season.

“Matthew is a tenacious, physical competitor who possesses a tremendously unique skillset,” said Zito. “He is a consistent elite offensive contributor and has emerged as one of the most complete and dynamic young players in the National Hockey League. We are thrilled to be able to add a generational talent to our lineup.”

“On behalf of the entire Florida Panthers organization, we would like to thank Jonathan and MacKenzie for their immense contributions to the Florida Panthers, both on and off the ice, during their tenures in South Florida,” said Zito. “They have both blossomed into exceptional athletes and people. Their contributions as players and people made an indelible mark on our franchise and we wish them both continued success in their future. 

Tkachuk, 24, skated in 82 regular season games with Calgary in 2021-22, amassing a career-high 104 points (42-62-104), the eighth-most among NHL skaters. He led the Flames with 12 power-play goals and 29 power-play points, while his 42 tallies tied for the club lead and tied for ninth-most in the League. 

His 62 assists, 104 points, 75 even-strength points and 26 multi-point performances each ranked second on Calgary, while his 17 multi-assist outings in 2021-22 were tied for the fifth-most by a Flames player in one season in club history. Following the regular season, Tkachuk was named to the NHL Second All-Star Team.

Over 12 Stanley Cup Playoff games with Calgary in 2021-22, he produced 10 points (4-6-10), including his first career playoff hat trick in Game 1 of Round 2 at Edmonton on May 18, becoming the sixth-ever Flames skater to score a postseason hat trick. Tkachuk has skated in 27 career Stanley Cup Playoff games, logging 15 points (7-8-15).

The 6-foot-2, 201-pound native of Scottsdale, Ariz., has appeared in 431 career NHL games over six seasons (2016-17 to 2021-22), all with Calgary, recording 382 points (152-230-382) and a plus-85 rating. 

He has surpassed the 30-goal mark twice in his career, potting 42 in 2021-22 and 34 in 2018-19, and has scored at least 20 goals four times. The 2019-20 NHL All-Star has posted 91 career multi-point games and holds the Flames record for the latest overtime goal in regular season franchise history, scoring at 4:58 on Oct. 31, 2019 at Nashville.

During his rookie campaign in 2016-17, Tkachuk ranked fourth among rookies in even-strength points (35), while his 35 assists were the ninth-most by a Flames rookie in franchise history. At 21 years of age and in his third NHL season, he became the youngest Flames player in franchise history to reach the 100-point mark.


Recap: Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp Shut Sown Charlotte Knights 9-0

JACKSONVILLE - Peyton Burdick lashed three hits, Lorenzo Quintana drove in four and four Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp pitchers combined to shut out the Charlotte Knights 9-0 in Friday’s series opener in front of 6,960 fans from 121 Financial Ballpark. 

The Jumbo Shrimp (49-42) jumped on Knights (33-58) starter John Parke (2-10) from the very beginning of the game. Erik González and Peyton Burdick began the bottom of the first with singles. Two batters later Jerar Encarnacion drew the first of his career-high four walks to load the bases. After a foul out, Quintana cleared the bases with a double for the game’s first runs. 

With the same score in the third, Encarnacion drew another walk with one out. After a double by JJ Bleday, Quintana lashed an RBI single to make it 4-0. Charles Leblanc followed with an RBI ground out to widen the gap to 5-0. 

In the fifth, González singled and Burdick doubled with one out. Two batters after that, Encarnacion drew another free pass to load the bases. Bleday then registered a two-run base hit. 

Leblanc jumpstarted the fifth inning with a hit by pitch before scoring on a double by Luis Aviles Jr. Lewin Díaz added a solo home run in the sixth inning to cap the scoring at 9-0.

In a rehab start, Jesús Luzardo pitched 4.0 hitless innings with three strikeouts. Will Stewart (4-3) followed with 3.0 innings and three more punchouts. Aneurys Zabala and Andrew Nardi each tossed a scoreless frame to complete the ninth shutout of the season for Jacksonville, matching an International League-high. 

The Jumbo Shrimp send LHP Daniel Castano (3-0, 4.82 ERA) to the mound in Saturday’s 6:35 p.m. contest against Knights RHP Davis Martin (3-3, 4.06 ERA). Coverage begins at 6:20 p.m. on, ESPN 690 and 

Gates open at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, and the first 2,000 fans will receive a Jax Red Caps jersey presented by Florida Blue & VyStar Credit Union on the Jumbo Shrimp’s Red Caps Negro League Night. Sean Gibson, great-grandson of Negro leagues legend Josh Gibson, will throw out a ceremonial first pitch and be on hand for a meet-and-greet with fans. Following the game, fans can enjoy a postgame fireworks show.  

Thursday, July 21, 2022

MLS: Torres Scores Highlight-Reel Goal in Orlando City Loss to Arsenal FC

 ORLANDO (SportsTicker) - Orlando City SC dropped a 3-1 decision to English Premier League side Arsenal FC on Wednesday night at Exploria Stadium. The friendly was part of Arsenal’s US Tour in conjunction with Florida Cup’s FC Series. 

Following a brief rain delay, the two sides finally met for the first time on the pitch. The Gunners struck early when Gabriel Martinelli found the back of the net in the fifth minute, but the Lions answered later in the first half with a sensational goal from Facundo Torres. 

Torres brought down a gorgeous pass from Antonio Carlos and kept his composure by finding his footing, cutting on his left foot and firing the ball past a diving Aaron Ramsdale. 

The Arsenal was backed by two goals in the second half coming from Eddie Nketiah and Reiss Nelson to seal the victory for the London-based side. 

The match saw a plethora of players enter the match with each side allowed 10 substitutions each, including OCB product Moises Tablante earning his first minutes with the senior side. Nineteen-year-old Homegrown Mikey Halliday earned the start at right back, playing 63 minutes in the match. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Moeller: Huge Part of the Jaguars’ Success this Fall will Hinge on Etienne and Robinson

 By Jeff Moeller

It was the anticipated match the Jaguars believed would solidify their backfield.Two 2021 first-round draft picks making a difference in the starting lineup.  

Clemson teammates Trevor Lawrence and running back Travis Etienne were drafted and slated to make each other’s transition to the NFL easier. 

However, it never came to fruition for both of them. Lawrence worked his way through the season, but Etienne could only watch from the sidelines.

Etienne was shelved early for the year due to a Lisfranc injury. He was supposed to be part of the tandem with James Robinson, one that presumably would solve the Jags’ running problem. Etienne also could prove to be valuable, swinging out of the backfield to catch passes, while Robinson would run north and south.

Robinson, whose capability was muzzled by former head coach Irwin Meyer, began to show his worth after Meyer was fired. But Robinson’s good fortune ended when he went down with a torn achilles. The second-year back still managed 989 yards and eight rushing touchdowns.

The Jags’ 2021 running back woes added to Meyer’s antics, overall injuries, the inconsistent play from the offensive line, and Lawrence’s growing pains that quickly deflated any anticipated extended success.

That was then, this is now. Most of the Jags’ problems should be able to be put behind them.

Doug Peterson’s hire brought a feeling of instant stability to the franchise. Lawrence understood his mistakes and how to correct them. The overall offensive and defensive units seemed to play with a better sense of commitment and discipline.

Yet, a huge part of the Jaguars’ success this fall will hinge on Etienne and Robinson. 

Jags’ new offensive coordinator Press Taylor has praised Etienne’s speed, footwork, flexibility, and versatility in OTA’s, and he expects him to have a breakout year. 

“The speed’s real,” said Taylor about Etienne. ” I mean that was obviously something everybody knew coming out of college not having a chance to see a lot of the stuff he was able to do last year because he wasn’t able to play, so the speed’s very real. He did a good job of just showing understanding of the different roles we’re trying to see.”

Eteinne’s early showing has alleviated the pressure from Robinson to return to the lineup from his Achilles injury. Robinson has shown progress, but he admittedly will take his time to get back in the lineup.

 With training camp scheduled to begin within the next two weeks, Etienne will be the spotlight. He is the Jags’ feature back until Robinson returns. Other running backs on the current roster are fifth-round pick Snoop Carter along with Ryquell Armstrong, Nathan Cottrell, and Mekhi Sargent.  

Etienne rushed for 4,995 yards and had 1,155 receiving yards over his four years at Clemson. He’ll be expected to produce similar numbers with the Jags. Etienne has the capacity to be the same type of back Fred Taylor was back in the day.

It may be a lot to ask for someone who hasn’t had an NFL carry.

Still, a healthy and effective Etienne can turn the tide. 

Monday, July 11, 2022

Jacksonville Icemen Acquire Defenseman Theocharidis from Adirondack

The Jacksonville Icemen, ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s New York Rangers and the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack announced that the team has acquired defenseman Tim Theocharidis from the Adirondack Thunder in exchange for forward Vladislav Mikhalchuk.   

Theocharidis, 24, concluded his collegiate career last season posting 15 points (4g, 11a) In 35 games played at Arizona State University (NCAA).  This past spring, Theocharidis (pronounced Theo-chair-dis) logged an assist in ten outings with Adirondack, while also making nine appearances with the Utica Comets of the American Hockey League.    

From 2018-2021, the 6-1, 183-pound blueliner recorded 39 points (12g, 27a) in three seasons at Bowling Green State University (ECAC).  Prior to college, the Scarborough, Ontario resident played three seasons with the Carleton Place Canadians where he posted 103 points, was named CCHL Defenseman of the Year and won two league championships in 2016 and 2017.   

Mikhalchuk now joins the Thunder after registering 23 points in 49 games played with the Icemen last season.   

Theocharidis now joins an Icemen roster that is currently comprised of defenseman Jacob Panetta and forwards Jake Hamacher, Luke Keenan, Mike Szmatula and Matt Salhany. 

The Icemen open the 2022-2023 season at home on October 22 against the Orlando Solar Bears.  Full and partial season ticket packages are currently available!   Contact the Icemen office at 904-602-7825, or visit

NISL Announces Tampa Bay Strikers Expansion Team Coming to Yuengling Center

TAMPA – At a press conference this morning held at Yuengling Center, the National Indoor Soccer League (NISL) officially announced an expansion team coming to Tampa.

The new team, Tampa Bay Strikers, will play at Tampa’s Yuengling Center starting December 2022, operating both a men’s and women’s team.

Andrew Haines, Executive Board of Directors, as well as Managing Partner for the Tampa Bay Strikers said, “The National Indoor Soccer League is coming to Tampa, and we couldn’t be more excited! It’s an incredible opportunity to bring the Tampa Bay Strikers to the Tampa Bay Area this December. We look forward to announcing more details about the team as soon as possible, especially the Men's & Women's 20-game regular season playing at Yuengling Center. You won’t want to miss this past-paced, high-scoring, family-friendly entertainment.”

More details about the Tampa Bay Strikers will be released in the upcoming months including head coach, assistant coach, home season schedule, ticketing information, and more.

“We’re very excited to welcome the Tampa Bay area’s newest sports franchise, the Tampa Bay Strikers, to Yuengling Center,” said Kelli Yeloushan, Sr. Director of Event Management at Vinik Sports Group. “We are always looking for ways to bring new, exciting events to Tampa, while offering a world-class experience. The Strikers coming to Yuengling Center will add yet another great entertainment option for our community. We can’t wait for kick off.”

Sunday, July 10, 2022

Jumbo Shrimp Recap: Jacksonville Takes Series Finale Behind Díaz, Bullpen

 JACKSONVILLE (SportTicker) – Lewin Díaz homered and drove in three to lead the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp to a 3-1 triumph over the Norfolk Tides at 121 Financial Ballpark. 

Bryson Brigman led off the top of the first with a single and two batters later, Díaz went yard off Norfolk (41-43) starter Kirk McCarty (2-2) to give Jacksonville (45-39) a 2-0 lead. 

Erik González led off the third with a base hit before moving to third base on a Brigman single. After a ground out, Díaz lifted a sacrifice fly to increase the advantage to 3-0. 

The lone Tides run came in the seventh. Kelvin Gutierrez singled to begin the frame. Two batters after that, he advanced to third on a Gunnar Henderson base hit. Jordan Westburg’s ground out brought in Gutierrez to put the margin at 3-1. 

Parker Bugg pitched 2.0 scoreless innings in a spot start before ceding to Will Stewart (2-3), who fanned six in 3.2 shutout frames. Stewart combined with Tommy Eveld, Robert Garcia, George Soriano and Andrew Nardi for Jacksonville relievers to work 7.0 innings of one-run ball.

After an off day Monday, the Jumbo Shrimp begin at six-game series at 6:35 p.m. on Tuesday at the Syracuse Mets. 

ECHL: Florida Everblades, Florida Panthers Enter Affiliation Agreement

ESTERO — Hertz Arena President and Florida Everblades General Manager Craig Brush announced today that the ECHL Kelly Cup Champions have entered into a multi-year affiliation agreement with the NHL’s Florida Panthers, recipients of the 2021-22 Presidents’ Trophy, awarded to the team with the NHL’s top regular-season record. 

The Everblades will serve as a developmental affiliate for the Panthers and their primary developmental affiliate, the American Hockey League’s Charlotte Checkers, starting with the 2022-23 season.

“We are thrilled to have the Florida Panthers as our new NHL affiliate,” Brush said. “Florida’s General Manager Bill Zito and Assistant General Manager Brett Peterson have done an outstanding job and we are looking forward to becoming an integral part of the development of players for the Panthers and Charlotte Checkers.”

"We are pleased to announce a new affiliation with the Florida Everblades," said Brett Peterson, Assistant General Manager of the Florida Panthers. “We wish to thank the Swamp Rabbits for two great seasons and look forward to beginning a new partnership just down the road in Estero, Fla. We look forward to the development of our young players in Florida and many opportunities together with this new pipeline plan.”  

Founded in 1993, the Panthers won the organization’s first-ever Presidents’ Trophy in 2021-22, after capturing a third division championship. In addition to posting the NHL’s top record in 2021-22, the Panthers have advanced to the postseason each of the last three seasons. Winners of the Atlantic Division in 2015-16 and 2021-22, the Panthers also won the Southeast Division in 2011-12. The Panthers previously won the NHL’s Eastern Conference Championship and a spot in the Stanley Cup Finals in 1995-96. 

The Everblades and Panthers have been affiliated previously, with the Sunshine State clubs partnering in 2001-02, 2005-07 and 2008-10 seasons. During each of those stretches, the Everblades were entered into affiliation agreements with both the Panthers and the Carolina Hurricanes.  

Originally founded in 1998, the Everblades will be celebrating the organization’s 25th season in 2022-23. Owned by David Hoffmann and the Hoffmann Family of Companies, the Everblades won the 2022 Kelly Cup Championship after posting a 42-20-6-4 regular-season record and then winning 16 of 20 games in the playoffs. The Kelly Cup was the Blades’ second in franchise history, having previously hoisted the cup in 2012. Additionally, the Everblades have won five conference championships, eight division championships and four Brabham Cups, awarded to the ECHL’s team with the top regular-season record. In 24 seasons, the Everblades have qualified for the Kelly Cup Playoffs every year but one, and 39 former Everblades players have advanced to play in the NHL.

The Everblades have been affiliated with the Nashville Predators the past three seasons, compiling a 127-52-15-9 regular-season record, good for a .685 winning percentage under the guidance of head coach Brad Ralph. The ECHL’s all-time coaching leader in postseason victories (63), Ralph will be behind the Everblades’ bench for his seventh season in 2022-23. 

“We are incredibly grateful to the Predators for their support over the past three seasons,” Brush said. “The mutually beneficial relationship played a key role in winning our second Kelly Cup championship, and we cannot thank the Predators enough for being such a great partner with the Everblades.”

En route to three straight playoff appearances for the first time in franchise history, the Panthers have posted a 130-58-19 record over that span. The 2021-22 Presidents’ Cup winners won a franchise-best 58 games last season and collected 122 points over 82 games.

The Panthers have been part of a development model that has seen a multitude of players advance to the NHL from the ECHL since the League’s inception in 1988. In total, 727 ECHL alumni have gone on to play in the NHL, including 29 who made their debut in 2021-22. Of those players, 63 have played for the Panthers. Over the years, five Everblades alumni have suited up for the Panthers, including David Brine, Ty Jones, Drew Larman, Martin Lojek and Kenndal McArdle.

Jumbo Shrimp Recap: Jacksonville Falls to Norfolk Tides, 5-1

JACKSONVILLE - The Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp fell to the Norfolk Tides 5-1 on Saturday in front of 5,984 fans at 121 Financial Ballpark.

Norfolk (41-42) drew first blood in the top of the fifth inning. With two outs on the board, Brett Cumberland, Cadyn Grenier, and Terrin Vavra drew three consecutive walks against Jacksonville starter Max Meyer (3-4), loading the bases. A line drive to left field by Jordan Westburg off reliever Jordan Holloway plated Cumberland and Grenier to make it 2-0. 

The Jumbo Shrimp (44-39) responded in the bottom of the fifth inning. Ryan Lavarnway was hit by a pitch by Norfolk starter Cody Sedlock (4-1) and then advanced to second on a fielder’s choice. A single by Bryson Brigman moved Lavarnway to third and a walk by Brian Miller loaded the bases. Peyton Burdick notched a fielder’s choice to bring in Lavarnway, setting the score 2-1. 

The Tides increased their deficit in the top of the sixth inning. After two consecutive walks of Kyle Stowers and Yusniel Diaz, Robert Nuestrom blasted a three-run homer out to left field, pushing the tally to 5-1.

Huascar Brazoban tossed three scoreless innings out of the Jumbo Shrimp bullpen, striking out five. Jacksonville hosts Norfolk at 6:35 p.m. on Sunday to wrap up their six-game series. 



MLS Recap: Orlando City Takes Down Inter Miami in Heineken Rivalry Week Matchup

ORLANDO - Orlando City SC (8-7-4, 28 points) earned a 1-0 victory over intrastate rival Inter Miami CF (6-8-4, 22 points) on Saturday night at Exploria Stadium. With the victory, the Lions are now unbeaten in five-straight matches against their neighbors to the south across all competitions.

The two sides had to wait quite some time to take part in their first regular season matchup of 2022, with a near three-hour rain delay pushing the match to a 10:25 p.m. kickoff. Following 90 minutes of play, the sides remained scoreless, until a cross from Jake Mulraney whipped in from the left side deflected off Inter Miami’s Damion Lowe for an own goal to decide the match in stoppage time. 

With the clean sheet, goalkeeper Pedro Gallese matched his single-season high with his seventh shutout of the campaign. In addition, defender Robin Jansson set a new Club-record with his 92nd start for the Lions in league play, surpassing former City goalkeeper Joe Bendik, while teammate Benji Michel became the first Homegrown in Club history to reach 100 appearances in all competitions.

The Lions return to the field on Wednesday, July 13, traveling to take on the Colorado Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in a 9 p.m. ET kickoff.