Bus trip, receptions set for Maine fans at UMass Lowell series

There will be a University of Maine hockey fan bus going to UMass Lowell for the first two games in this week’s best-of-three quarterfinal series against the River Hawks at the Tsongas Arena.

The bus trip will be for the games on Thursday and Friday at 7 p.m. and the price will be $85, which will cover transportation and tickets to both games. There will also be hotel discounts for those who are part of the bus trip.

The bus will leave Orono late Thursday morning and return after Friday night’s game.

Those interested in the trip may call 581-4849 or email your name, phone number and number of people in your group to GoBlackBears@yahoo.com by Tuesday at 4 p.m.

There will also be pre-game receptions for Maine fans.

On Thursday, it will be held at the Lowell Beer Works at 203 Cabot Street from 5-7 p.m. On Friday, it will be held in the North Room in the Tsongas Center at 300 MLK Jr. Way from 5-7 p.m. If the teams split the first two games, the deciding game will be Sunday at 4 p.m.

Bowdoin names Wiercinski men’s soccer coach

BRUNSWICK — Scott Wiercinski has been hired as head coach of the Bowdoin men’s soccer team, the school announced in a press release Monday.

A native of Brunswick and graduate of Brunswick High School, Wiercinski will return to Maine after seven years as head coach at the University of Chicago. His resume also includes assistant coaching jobs at Brown and Bowdoin. He is a 1999 graduate of Middlebury.

“In my conversations with Scott, it was clear that he has an equal passion for working with students within our campus community and on the soccer field. That, combined with his experience as a student in the NESCAC and as a coach in the Ivy League and the UAA, makes him a perfect fit for Bowdoin,” Director of Athletics Tim Ryan said.

Wiercinski wrapped up his seventh season as head men’s soccer coach at University of Chicago in 2012. The Maroons posted an 8-4-5 overall record in 2012, bringing Wiercinski’s career record to 58-47-20. In 2009, Wiercinski guided the Maroons to the University Athletic Association championship and an automatic berth in the NCAA Division III tournament.

Former Bowdoin head coach Fran O’Leary stepped down in January to become director of player recruitment for Toronto FC of Major League Soccer.

Yankees ask Lee, Jones to come out of retirement

New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told reporters Monday that he talked to Derrek Lee about coming out of retirement to replace the injured Mark Teixeira at first base.

Cashman also said he spoke to the agent for free agent third baseman Scott Rolen and said he is interested in luring former Atlanta Braves third baseman Chipper Jones out of retirement.

“If Chipper wants to come back, I would love to have Chipper,” Cashman said via ESPN New York.

Jones’ agent, BB Abbott, said Jones chuckled after seeing Cashman’s comments on Twitter and intends to stay retired. Jones called it a career last October after 19 seasons with the Braves.

The Yankees are without Teixeira (strained right wrist), third baseman Alex Rodriguez (hip surgery) and outfielder Curtis Granderson (broken forearm). Teixeira and Granderson are out until May and Rodriguez until at least the All-Star Break.

Lee, 37, who did not play last year, is reportedly interested but has not made a decision. He batted .267 with 19 home runs in 113 games in 2011.

The Yankees are using Juan Rivera at first base for now but designated hitter Travis Hafner has also been practicing the position at Yankees camp.

Maine’s Conner earns All-American honor

ORONO — University of Maine women’s track and field standout Corey Conner has been named a United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Second Team All-American.

Conner, a senior from West Townsend, Mass., earned the honor after placing 12th in the 5,000 meters on Friday at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships. Her time of 16 minutes, 2.44 seconds ranks among the top three in school history.

It is the third All-American honor for Conner, who also garnered the honor for the 2012 outdoor season and the 2011 indoor season.

Between track and cross country, it was Conner’s fifth NCAA Championship meet.

Cyclist Jalabert seriously injured in accident

Former cyclist Laurent Jalabert has been seriously injured in a road accident, French media reported on Monday.

Jalabert, who won the Tour of Spain in 1995 and was world time trial champion in 1997, was on his bike when he was hit by a car travelling in the opposite direction.

Reports said the Frenchman suffered several fractures and was unconscious when the emergency services arrived, but did regain consciousness later.

Ex-NBA player banned in Philippines for “choking” teammate

Former NBA player Renaldo Balkman has been banned from the professional basketball league in the Philippines for grabbing a team mate around the neck during a game.

The former New York Knicks and Denver Nuggets player has also been slapped with a fine of 250,000 Philippine pesos ($6,100) over the incident, Philippine Basketball Association commissioner Chito Salud said in a statement on Monday.

Balkman, who was playing for the Petron Blaze Boosters against the Philippines-based Alaska Aces, assaulted Arwind Santos while his team mate tried to stop him from venting his frustration at a referee’s decision.

Salud said he took into consideration Balkman’s past record as a player, which included a head-butting incident during a FIBA-Americas game between his Puerto Rico side and Venezuela.

“I also took into consideration Balkman’s evident disregard for local and the host country’s sensibilities highlighted by his choking act on-court in full public view of his own teammate who was trying to pacify him,” Salud said.

Giants sign DT Jenkins to three-year deal

Defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins signed a three-year, $8 million deal to join the New York Giants.

The Giants announced the signing on Monday.

Jenkins, 32, was released in February by the NFC East rival Philadelphia Eagles two years into a five-year deal. Because he was released, Jenkins was free to sign with any time before the signing period officially begins Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET.

Jenkins was owed $5 million if he was on the roster at the start of the league year, but the Eagles released him before that payment was due.

The Giants gave Jenkins a $2 million signing bonus and $3 million guaranteed in the new deal.

Veteran QB Garrard, Jets agree to contract

Veteran quarterback David Garrard signed a one-year contract with the New York Jets.

The 35-year-old Garrard has not appeared in a game since the 2010 season with Jacksonville but had a strong training camp with the Miami Dolphins before he was injured, cutting short a bid for a comeback from back surgery.

He suffered a knee injury in Miami’s training camp last season when it appeared he might contend for the starting job that was won by rookie Ryan Tannehill.

Earlier Monday, Jets offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said Mark Sanchez has a “leg up” on the other quarterbacks on the roster.

Sanchez also has the advantage in salary — he’s owed $8.25 million for 2013 and would be next to impossible to cut because of the large cap charge the Jets would absorb.

The Jets already had four quarterbacks — Mark Sanchez, Tim Tebow, Greg McElroy and Matt Simms — on the roster. But Sanchez struggled last season and Tebow is expected to be released soon.

Belarus forward Mikhalyov suspended for doping

Belarus forward Andrei Mikhalyov has been provisionally suspended after failing a drugs test at last month’s Olympic qualifying tournament, the International Ice Hockey Federation said on Monday.

The 35-year-old tested positive for the stimulant methylhexaneamine on Feb. 8, the IIHF said on its website (www.iihf.com).

Mikhalyov, who plays for Dynamo Minsk of the Continental Hockey League (KHL), “is barred from club and international play pending a final disciplinary decision”, the IIHF said in a statement.

Belarus failed to qualify for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi after finishing second behind Slovenia in Group F.

Joe McLaughlin

McLaughlin (right) is a Stearns High School and University of Maine graduate who worked for three years at the Aroostook Republican and News in Caribou as a reporter and editor. He has worked on the BDN...