The Greene King IPA Championship Player of the Year Award recognises the outstanding player from the Championship during the 2017-18 season, as voted by the Championship club captains. The Greene King IPA Championship Player of the Year Award recognises the outstanding player from the Greene King IPA Championship during the 2017-18 season, as voted by the Championship club captains.Dan Thomas said: “I am very humbled to be nominated by the club captains, it’s great recognition, and I’m really thankful for their support. It’s been a really positive season in the Championship, we have been exceptional as a club and we’re all massively excited to be back in the Premiership next year.”Ian Madigan added: “It’s an absolute privilege to be nominated by my peers for this award. I would like to thank my Bristol teammates and coaches for making it possible for me to perform this season, because without their hard work it wouldn’t happen. A big thanks goes to Pat Lam and my teammates for making my job so easy.” Former Leinster fly-half, Madigan – who has 32 caps for Ireland – is the league’s leading points scorer with 235 points, with a remarkable record of 99 kicks this season (67 conversions, 32 penalties) and looks set to win the golden boot award with his total of 235 points.. But away from the kicking tee, Madigan has been hugely influential in Bristol’s season, orchestrating the title-winning charge with a series of dominant displays in the number ten shirt.Thomas, who joined Bristol Rugby from Gloucester in the summer, has enjoyed a rapid rise to prominence in Bristol colours, nailing down the number seven shirt for the majority of the season. The industrious flanker has made eighteen appearances in the GKIPA Championship this season and has quickly become a fans’ favourite at Ashton Gate.
League of Legends developer Riot Games has named David Higdon the newest Global Head of Communications for the esports division. David Higdon, Riot Global Head of Communications – EsportsHigdon has previously worked in prestigious positions such as Chief Communications Officer for the LPGA, Vice President of Integrated Marketing Communications for NASCAR and most recently as Head of Strategy on a fitness training project with his father called Hal Higdon Digital. He has also worked as a business and marketing consultant on esports projects such as a workshop with The University of Oregon.Higdon posted the announcement on LinkedIn and said: “Headed to LA as Global Head of Communications, Esports for Riot Games. Yes, Riot Games – developer and publisher of League of Legends. More later…”This adds to Riots recent hires along with Hans Christian Dürr as Head of Esports DACH. Christopher Tom is currently Communications Lead for Esports with Riot and will most likely work under Higdon.Higdon will officially begin with Riot at the end of the month and make his first appearance on behalf of the developer at the North American League of Legends Champions Series (NALCS) summer finals in September. Esports Insider says: This is a strong global hire for Riot as Higdon has vast experience in communications in a non-endemic space along with consulting experience in esports. Riot has been under scrutiny lately with a recent Kotaku expose on the sexist environment within the company. A new approach to how they handle communications could be just what they need.Sign up to our newsletter!
Middletown High School South’s hockey team has stolen the thunder around town over the years, but Middletown High School North is making some noise this season in a 4-1 start.The Lions won their first four games, but they dropped a 5-1 loss to Freehold Township High School on Dec. 16 at Jersey Shore Arena in Wall when two starters were away with a travel team and the goalie suffered an injury.Prior to that, Middletown North rolled up a 21-8 goal-scoring margin while sweeping past Marlboro High School, Manalapan High School and Howell High School in a pair of victories over the traditionally strong Rebels.It’s not the level of competition a year ago, when Middletown North played the likes of powerhouses Red Bank Catholic High School and Brick Township High School while starting 1-3 and ending the season 7-14-1, but coach Matt Clemente sees some reassuring strides.“We were really young last year with five freshmen who played every game,” Clemente said. “We had no bench for them to learn. It was just, ‘Go out and play.’”“We’re looking forward to making noise in the Shore Conference. We’ve come out on fire,” said defenseman James Felice, one of the few seniors and one of three brothers on the team, along with sophomore Tim, a wing on the first line, and freshman Kevin, a backup forward. Sophomore Nick Kirch starts on defense with James.Five players graduated off last year’s team, including high-scoring Joe Dickinson, and the roster remains very young but a bit more experienced.How much they’ve grown will come to light this week when Middletown North plays Robbinsville High School on Dec. 19 at the Lawrenceville School and then a Dec. 23 game at 4 p.m. at Jersey Shore Arena against Christian Brothers Academy, Clemente’s alma mater before he went on to play junior hockey and then for Franklin Pierce College. Middletown North renews its Shore Conference A North rivalry with Middletown South at 6 p.m. on Jan. 6 at Jersey Shore Arena. Middletown South won last year’s games, first by a 6-3 score and then 13-4 at the Prudential Center. They may play again on Feb. 13 at the new arena in town, which is currently under construction and is nearing completion.“A lot of players have come into their own, like sophomore wing Tom Terranova and sophomore center Zach Gazette,” Clemente said. They’ll be on the second line with freshman Khristian Acosta, who Clemente said is one of the best shooters on the team.Joining Tim Felice on the first line is senior center Andrew Lipari, who leads the team with six goals, two of them shorthanded, and junior wing Scott Harker. They’ll look to make up for the loss of sophomore Craig Evans, the second leading scorer last season who is sidelined this season with a shoulder injury.“We’re getting scoring from everybody,” James Felice said. “The whole line is playing well together. And the freshmen are surprising.”Brendan Lipari, Andrew’s twin brother, is the goalkeeper. He had a .950 save percentage in the first four games. Penalty killing has been good, said Clemente, with only two shorthanded goals allowed in those first four games. The backup defensemen are senior Brad Bock and junior Jack Meyer, whose older brother, Rick, was a captain about four seasons ago and is playing in college these days with Manhattanville College.“It’s defense first. Lock it down and then the offense takes care of itself with the skills we have,” Clemente said. “The power play has really been clicking and that wins games. We’re very quick with a relentless forecheck and working the corners. It’s been pretty much a work in progress.”“It’s not the talent but how much work you put in and grinding out the wins,” the elder Felice said.Clemente only hopes that work in progress comes to full fruition soon. BY WAYNE WITKOWSKI Correspondent