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Sports briefs for June 25, 2013

By BDN Staff and Wire Service Reports, Special to the BDN

EL’s Sterling, So. Portland’s Stinson named Lobster Bowl coaches

Dave Sterling of Edward Little of Auburn and Steve Stinson of South Portland have been named head coaches for the 24th annual Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl Classic football all-star game slated for 4 p.m. Saturday, July 20, at Waterhouse Field in Biddeford.

The game features the top high school senior football players from the previous season.

Sterling will serve as head coach of the East squad, heading up a staff that includes assistant coaches Bill County of Lewiston, Matt Friedman of Skowhegan, Josh Barajas of Edward Little, Mike Hathaway of Leavitt of Turner Center, Dan O’Connell of John Bapst of Bangor, Chris Bartlett of Belfast, Danny White of Foxcroft Academy and Mike Marston of Winslow.

Assisting Stinson, the West head coach, will be Matt Perkins and Phil Rossetti of Windham, Jeff Guerette of Westbrook, Pete Bolduc of Winslow, Kevin Cooper and John Suttie of Bonny Eagle of Standish, Lance Johnson of Scarborough and Bert Rich.

UNE coach resigns to take ice hockey job at Merrimack

BIDDEFORD, Maine — University of New England women’s ice hockey coach Erin Hamlen has resigned her post to become head coach of the Merrimack College women’s hockey team, UNE Director of Athletics Kim Allen announced Tuesday.

Merrimack College will begin club play in 2013-14 with plans to compete at the NCAA Division I level by 2016-17.

Hamlen was hired at UNE in March of 2012 and assembled a roster of 20 players as the Nor’easters began their inaugural season as a NCAA Division III ice hockey program in October of 2012. UNE played a mixed schedule of 11 games against varsity competition and five contests against club teams during the 2012-13 campaign.

Two months ago, UNE was accepted into the ECAC Women’s East and will commence play in that league beginning with the 2014-15 season. The Nor’easters will feature a 25-game varsity schedule next season, once again competing as a NCAA Division III independent.

Minor-pitcher pitcher draws 50-game suspension

Minor-league pitcher Michael O’Connor was suspended for 50 games without pay on Tuesday after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance, the office of the commissioner announced.

The free-agent left-hander’s drug test showed metabolites of Trenbolone, which is a banned substance.

O’Connor, 32, had signed a contract with the Minnesota Twins in December but was released in May after pitching for Triple-A Rochester. He last pitched in the major leagues for the New York Mets in 2011, going 0-1 with 2.70 ERA in 6 2/3 innings.

The suspension will take effect once he signs with an organization.

Cubs release Stewart after Twitter tirade

The Chicago Cubs released Ian Stewart on Tuesday, two weeks disgruntled third baseman’s Twitter tirade.

Stewart has about $1 million left on a $2 million guaranteed contract. He suspended him without pay two weeks ago after a series of harsh tweets expressing his anger over his status within the organization.

In response to fan questions regarding his potential call-up, he said the team is “going to let me Rott in AA all season then non tender me after.” He followed that with “I think (Cubs manager) Dale (Sveum) doesn’t like me and He’s running the show.”

The former first-round pick of the Colorado Rockies was viewed as the favorite to be the starting third baseman, but he suffered a quad injury early in spring training, and was optioned to Triple-A Iowa after batting .091 during a rehab stint.

When a fan asked why he didn’t just quit, Stewart tweeted, “why would i quit? I’m making 2 mill in AAA like u would give that up by quitting.”

Stewart later apologized to the team and through the social medium, saying “I let my frustrations get the best of me and in no way want to be a distraction.”

Val Ackerman to become Big East commissioner

NEW YORK — Val Ackerman has agreed to become commissioner of the Big East conference, adding to a basketball- heavy resume that includes being the first president of the Women’s National Basketball Association, a person with direct knowledge of the hiring said.

The 53-year-old Ackerman was chosen by the presidents of the conference’s 10 universities, according to the person, who requested anonymity because the contract hasn’t been signed.

Other female conference commissioners include Bernadette McGlade of the Atlantic 10 and Robin Harris, executive director of the Ivy League.

NBA Commissioner David Stern, who appointed Ackerman to start up the women’s league, praised her choice as conference chief.

“She brings all of that experience with intelligence, a keen analytical ability, an intense work ethic and a winning management style,” Stern said in an email.

Ackerman didn’t immediately return an email or voice message at home seeking comment on the Big East job.

The Big East is set to begin business in its new form in six days. It is comprised largely of Catholic colleges and universities from the old Big East, which is now called the American Athletic Conference.

Jalabert gives up TV job following doping allegations

PARIS — Former Tour of Spain champion Laurent Jalabert has temporarily given up his consultancy job with French television and radio on the Tour de France following a report that he used banned substance erythropoietin in 1998, his employers said on Tuesday.

“Laurent Jalabert wants to suspend his commentator activities until light is shed on the accusations he’s facing,” French public broadcaster France Television and private radio RTL said in statements.

“France Television take note of his decision with regrets, hoping to be able to renew its confidence in him soon.”

French sports daily L’Equipe said a 1998 Tour de France sample from Jalabert, which was re-tested in 2004, showed traces of the blood-booster EPO.

Jalabert, who on Monday expressed suprise at the report, said he was trying to protect the reputation of the Tour de France, the 100th edition of which begins in Corsica on Saturday.

No charges for Jaguars’ Jones-Drew

Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew avoided charges in connection with an alleged Memorial Day weekend bar fight when he was accused of punching a bouncer.

The Florida state attorney’s office announced Tuesday that not enough evidence existed to charge Jones-Drew with simple battery.

“Based on the facts and the law, the state cannot establish the charge beyond and to the exclusion of all reasonable doubt,” the state attorney’s office said in the statement, which was obtained by News4Jax.com in Jacksonville.

In a brief news conference earlier this month, Jones-Drew declined to answer any questions or offer any details about what happened at last month’s altercation.

Flames goalie Kiprusoff to retire

Veteran goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff has decided to retire, ending an era in Calgary, according to the Finnish newspaper, Urheilusanomat.

The 36-year-old will forfeit the last season of his contract, which includes a $5.833 million hit to the salary cap.

Kiprusoff had already publicly stated his intentions during the season. The Flames also weren’t surprised by the news, according to the paper.

Kiprusoff joined Calgary in a trade with San Jose during the 2003-04 season, and started at least 70 games each year since becoming the starter in 2005-06. He battled injuries this season and appeared in 24 of 48 games, while posting a 3.44 goals against average and a .882 save percentage.

He went 319-213-71 in 623 career games, and retires with a .912 save percentage and a 2.49 goals against average. He led the Flames to the 2004 Stanley Cup Finals, where they lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

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