Jokiharju could be headed to pros
Hawks defenseman Henri Jokiharju very well may be headed for professional hockey next season, after signing his entry-level NHL contract with the Chicago Blackhawks.
The agreement to the three-year contract comes as no surprise, as the 18-year-old from Finland was the Blackhawks' first-round selection in the 2017 NHL draft (29th overall) — hosted by Chicago.
If Jokiharju (who turns 19 on Sunday) was a North American, odds would be higher he returns to Portland. Players younger than 20 who don't make the NHL — which Jokiharju will be given a chance to do — must go back to junior hockey.
But Jokiharju will have the option of playing in a pro league in Europe if he does not make the Blackhawks — and Chicago likely will want him to gain experience against older players if that is an option.
Nothing is for certain. But the Winterhawks will select two players during the Canadian Hockey League import draft on June 28 with the expectation that Jokiharju and 20-year-old San Jose Sharks prospect Joachim Blichfeld will be playing pro hockey in 2018-19.
Wednesday's announcement that the 2026 FIFA World Cup will be in North America does not mean it is coming to Portland.
Providence Park is not among the sites being considered to host matches. Seattle, and the San Francisco area, are the nearest potential venues.
That's not a knock on Portland's soccer passion. The World Cup is a large-venue event, and at about 25,000 seats once the east-side expansion is complete, the home to the Timbers and Thorns is smaller than most of the sites being considered. The lack of a grass surface — challenges such as the depth of the field below ground level, a lack of consistent sunlight and shared uses of the stadium — have so far prevented the Timbers from using grass at Providence Park.
FIFA announced on Wednesday that the United States, Canada and Mexico will jointly host the 2026 tournament — the first with an expanded field of 48 teams. Among the 80 games, 10 group-stage matches will be in Canada and 10 in Mexico. The other 60, including all knockout phase games, will take place in the United States.
U.S. sites under consideration to play host are: Seattle, Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Cincinnati, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville, New York/New Jersey, Orlando, Philadelphia, the San Francisco Bay Area and Washington, D.C.
Oregon State senior Luke Heimlich has been named National Pitcher of the Year by the College Baseball Foundation.
Five Beavers have received All-America honors from Baseball America and the American Baseball Coaches Association.
Outfielder Trevor Larnach was a first-team choice of Baseball America.
Catcher Adley Rutschman made the second team.
Infielder Nick Madrigal was selected to the third team. All three players were first-team all-West region selections of the ABCA.
Right-hander Bryce Fehmel was named honorable mention All-American by Perfect Game, and shortstop Cadyn Grenier made ABCA's second team.
Additionally, the Beavers received more All-America honors from D1baseball.com and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association.
Larnach was named a first-teamer by both D1baseball.com and the NCBWA.
Heimlich was a first-team choice of the NCBWA and Rutschman the same of D1baseball.com.
The NCBWA named Madrigal to its second team and left-hander Jake Muholland to the third team.
Grenier was selected to D1baseball.com's third team.
Larnach and Rutschman now have five All-American selections, while Madrigal has three. Heimlich, Grenier and Muholland have been recognized twice.
Fehmel's honorable mention selection gave OSU a single-season record seven All-Americans.
No. 3 seed OSU opens the College World Series at noon PT Saturday versus sixth-seeded North Carolina.
• University of Oregon sophomore Kenyon Yovan has been named to the USA Baseball Collegiate national team for the second year in a row.
Yovan, from Westview High, started and closed games for the Ducks this season. He posted a 6-4 record and a 2.98 ERA with five saves.
The team will play three series this summer, beginning with the 18th USA vs. Chinese Taipei International Friendship Series from June 28-July 2 in North Carolina.
COLLEGE MEN'S BASKETBALL
University of Oregon coach Dana Altman will be inducted into the Creighton University Athletics Hall of Fame on August 25.
Altman coached the Blue Jays for 16 years, compiling a 327-176 record. He is the school's all-time wins leader and took the program to seven NCAA tournaments.
Altman has led UO to a winning season in each of his eight years and is one of six active coaches with 21 consecutive winning seasons. The Ducks have made the NCAA Tournament in five of his seasons.
NBA shooting guard Kyle Korver will be inducted into the 51st Hall of Fame Class alongside Altman.
• Concordia University has added Garrett Thibodeaux and David Wheeler to its 2017-18 letter-of-intent class.
Thibodeaux, a 6-8 sophomore from Seminole State College, averaged 5.7 points and 4.4 rebounds per game. He played his freshman season at University of Texas San Antonio. He is a native of Tyler, Texas.
Wheeler is a 6-3 guard from San Diego. He played his first two seasons at Grossmont College and averaged 11.9 points and 3.1 rebounds per game.
Former Portland Pilots star Megan Rapinoe scored on a first-half header and Portland Thorns standout Tobin Heath struck the winning goal in the second half as the U.S. defeated China 2-1 at Cleveland.
Christen Press had two assists for the U.S., which completed a two-game sweep of the Chinese over a one-week span.
The U.S. led in shots, 16-9.
OKC Energy 2, PORTLAND 1
The OKC Energy handed Portland Timbers 2 their first home-field loss of the United Soccer League season, in front of 4,147 fans at Providence Park.
It was the first road win of the season for the Energy, who came into the match at the bottom of the Western Conference.
Portland (8-4-2, 26 points) fell to fourth in the conference. OKC (3-10-1, 10) moved up to 15th.
T2 played from behind most of the night and as a result had trouble creating high-quality looks at goal.
Foster Langsdorf scored his sixth goal of the season for T2, converting a penalty kick early in the second half to tie the score.
The team from Oklahoma City scored the winner from a corner kick in the 68th minute. Defender Christian Ibeagha put away an uncontested header after drifting into open space at the far post.
Jaime Siaj scored for OKC in the sixth minute, receiving a pass from former Timber Kalif Alhassan and splitting the T2 center backs. The goal came off a Portland giveaway in midfield.
Langsdorf scored in the 49th minute to tie the score at 1-1. Langsdorf was fouled by OKC's Drew Beckie as the rookie forward tried to attack a cross from Jack Barmby. Beckie pulled down Langsdorf by grabbing Langdorf's shoulder as he tried to jump.
Langsdorf had a couple of looks for a second goal after OKC took the lead but sent a difficult one-timer well high and in the 90th minute had his close-range header saved by Energy goalkeeper Matt Van Oekel. A cross delivered by Marco Farfan created that opportunity.
T2 created several chances in the first half — the best for Langsdorf, who did not make solid contact on a left-footed attempt from seven yards off a feed from Barmby. Augustine Williams also saw a shot from 16 yards curl just outside the post moments after the OKC goal.
T2 plays another home match at 2 p.m. Sunday, this one at Merlo Field against ninth-place Colorado Springs (5-8-2, 17).
Farfan went 90 minutes at left back, and Barmby played 71 minutes on the left side of midfield. Langsdorf, who has yet to appear for the MLS Timbers, was the only other first-team player to see action for T2.
The Timbers play a Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup match at 8 p.m. Friday at Providence Park.
Another tough break for Alex Green, the former Benson High and NFL running back.
Green, who had injury problems during his years with the New York Jets, will miss at least the first two weeks of the Canadian Football League season for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats after suffering a hand injury.