The importance of free agency

Kevin Durant’s move to the Warriors exemplifies the purpose of free agency

The importance of free agency

In July 2016, NBA superstar Kevin Durant became an unrestricted free agent. After eight seasons with Oklahoma City Thunder without winning a title, Durant wanted to play elsewhere.

In the history of the NBA, it’s rare for a player of Durant’s calibre to become an unrestricted free agent in the middle of his prime.

The entire free agency process — from his four-hour meeting with the Boston Celtics to a two-hour meeting with almost the entire Golden State Warriors team, and so on — was covered minute-by-minute by the media.

With Durant’s ultimate decision and without games on the horizon, his free agency gave fans something to talk about.

Durant joined the Warriors on July 4, 2016, and we all know how that went: the team won two straight NBA championships. So, how did this whole ‘free agency’ fiasco even start? And how has player mobility empowered stars like Durant?

Free agency, along with the NBA’s salary cap increase from $70 million to $94 million in 2016, has allowed stronger NBA franchises to pay multiple superstars at one time, creating a top-heavy league. As an additional caveat, many superstars like Durant have signed on below market value to increase their mobility and play where they want.

For example, DeMarcus Cousins signed a relatively cheap short-term deal with the Warriors in July after an Achilles injury. ‘Cheap’ is the operative word, as he will make only $5.3 million this season, a substantial decrease from $18.1 million in 2017–2018.

While four all-stars playing on one team is infuriating for fans outside of Oakland, maintaining player rights and freedoms is more important than allowing teams to own players.

Sports leagues have not always allowed players to become free agents.

In 1975, pitchers Dave McNally and Andy Messersmith refused to sign their contract with the MLB’s Oakland Athletics and demanded freedom in the open market. Baseball contracts used to include a reserve clause, which meant that players were bound to their team in perpetuity and the team had the right to extend a contract without a word from the player.

The arbitrator’s decision that November ruled in favour of free agency, allowing players to sign on the open market once a contract expires.

Up until 1988, NBA players could only be drafted or traded as their teams essentially owned them.

In 1987, the Seattle SuperSonics drafted two frontcourt rookies, making six-foot-ten forward Tom Chambers a hindrance to their lineup. Chambers, a proven NBA star, needed a franchise that would make the most out of his talent. Head of the NBA player’s union Larry Fleisher told Chambers that he may be able to “get this unrestricted free agency thing done.”

A few days later, it was official. Players whose contracts had ended could freely join any team as long as they had been in the league for over seven years and had finished two contracts. Chambers immediately joined the Phoenix Suns and led them to the Western Conference Finals in consecutive seasons.

Durant’s move to the Warriors wouldn’t have been possible without Chambers and Fleisher.

Free agency has allowed players to choose where they want to work, a freedom that all citizens are rightfully allowed.

Players are no longer treated as a small piece of a larger business. Their talent, coupled with the freedom of free agency, allows them to make the demands necessary to nearly run an organization. After all, shouldn’t those who produce the entertainment reap the most benefits from their skill?

In Duke Canada Tour, Toronto plays host to talented freshman class

Top recruit RJ Barrett makes his homecoming

In Duke Canada Tour, Toronto plays host to talented freshman class

What a week it had been for Canadian basketball. When last month’s Duke Canada Tour came to an end, the impact the event had on basketball development in Canada cannot be overstated. Canadians in Toronto and Montréal had the opportunity to witness the top two ranked players in the country, Zion Williamson and our homegrown talent, RJ Barrett.

As fortunate as these two cities were to host the Duke Blue Devils on their international tour, this event almost didn’t happen. The National Collegiate Athletic Association only permits college basketball teams to travel internationally once every four years during the summer to test themselves against competition abroad.

Initially, the Blue Devils were supposed to travel to the Dominican Republic last summer, but head coach Mike Krzyzewski fell ill, and their tour was postponed to this year, where RJ Barrett had the opportunity to play his first few games as a Blue Devil in the city he was raised in.

For the Varsity Blues, this provided another opportunity for international competition. They finished with a bronze medal in a tournament in Taiwan earlier this summer, and now they had another opportunity to build team camaraderie before their regular season begins in October.

The Blue Devils arrived in Toronto on August 24 for a media day presser at the Westin Harbor Castle. Coach K opened up with high praise for Canada and the amazing relationship he’s had with Jay Triano, head coach of the Canada basketball team. When asked about his first time in Toronto, he had this to say: “I didn’t realize what a great city Toronto was. So multicultural. A world city. Not just a great Canadian city, but a world city. It really opens its arms to all different types of cultures.”

Before tip-off on Friday evening, the atmosphere was electric. The parking lot was filled with school buses that carried students and families travelling from Duke University. The crowd looked like a sea of royal blue, filled with fans from across Ontario, here to witness this rare opportunity. Former Varsity Blues athletes were also in attendance to support the current roster, as well as NBA Hall of Famer David Robinson and Canadian track star Andre De Grasse.

Streamed on ESPN and TSN, this was likely the first time our Varsity players competed on national television, and while the nerves were likely there, they didn’t show. The Blues came out strong and hung around the far more talented Blue Devils. Leading the way was fourth-year forward Nikola Paradina, who finished with a team-high 15 points alongside three assists and three baskets from the perimeter.

While some fans came to support RJ Barrett, there were many fans in the arena waiting for Duke forward Zion Williamson to get off on a fast break and showcase his vertical ability. That opportunity came minutes into the first quarter, when Williamson stole the ball, glided in the air for what seemed like an eternity, and dunked, which sent the crowd into a frenzy.

The final score was 96–60 for the Blue Devils as they separated themselves in the second half, but that wasn’t truly indicative of how competitive the matchup was. As the buzzer sounded, our Varsity Blues did not hang their head in defeat; the team put forth their best effort against the top-ranked school in the US.

“I think it was a tremendous experience for our players. It’s once in a lifetime to play against a program that is so historically significant. Their current roster is really quite something so for our guys to compete against them is really special,” said head coach John Campbell.

Krzyzewski also spoke highly of the Varsity Blues, saying “Toronto does what they need to do with their talent, that is to kind of spread you and get shuffle cuts off the high post… they keep their spacing well.”

The Blue Devils finished the week 3–0 after defeating the Ryerson Rams and the McGill Redmen as well. As the Duke Canada Tour concluded, Coach K had this to say about their time spent here: “The guys loved it. My players loved it, they didn’t like it, they loved it… As good as we thought we’d feel about the whole experience, it’s exponentially better… The three coaches and theirs teams, they were fabulous in preparing and testing us.”

For Canadian programs to have the opportunity to go against one of the most respected basketball programs in the world comes with invaluable experience to prepare them for the season ahead. The Varsity Blues will be back in preseason action on September 28 against the Dalhousie Tigers.

What’s behind the increase of vegans in the NBA?

Basketball players are joining the animal-free wave

What’s behind the increase of vegans in the NBA?

One of the rising nutritional trends among athletes today is veganism. This is especially pronounced in the the world of basketball, where more and more players are turning toward vegan diets and lifestyles.

A vegan is defined as someone who doesn’t eat animals or any animal products, which includes all meat, poultry, fish, seafood and dairy products.

As athletes continue to devise strategies to increase performance, ideas around diet and nutrition have also evolved, whether that be hiring personal chefs or even nutritionists to watch what they put into their bodies. The amount that NBA players invest into themselves has dramatically increased over the past decade, with keeping track of their diets and what caused them to be injured being among the leading forces in the so-called revolution.

“I had a recurring injury in my knee,” free agent Jahlil Okafor told SB Nation. “I just kept getting hurt and my knee was always inflamed. The main cause of my knee being swollen was dairy. I cut dairy, watched a few documentaries. Then, I cut out steak, cut out chicken, then gradually started cutting out every animal-based product.”

“Now I’m just an all-out vegan,” added Okafor.

Okafor is not alone in the NBA’s latest growing trend, with Kyrie Irving, Damian Lillard, Enes Kanter, Victor Oladipo, and Wilson Chandler taking up the vegan way of life.

The changing nature of basketball play coincides with this trend. According to Bleacher Report, the NBA has been leaning toward playing ‘small ball,’ a style of play in which the emphasis is placed on leaner athletes who play a variety of positions to outpace and ultimately outrun their opponents. The rise of small ball has seen a decrease in the weight of players since 2013.

It’s important that NBA players on vegan diets have still been able to maintain strength training during the offseason. Performance-wise, players want to increase muscle mass to increase weight, making them more likely to overwhelm an opposing defender when posting up or finishing through a contact at the rim on a layup attempt. Putting on this muscle weight has traditionally been done through high-carbohydrate, high-protein diets.

However, if players add too much muscle, they’ll become too slow to keep up with the faster, more agile players, and they will have endurance issues throughout the game, making them less effective. This can lower minutes on the court in the short term, and, in the long term, it will affect a player’s market value. Vegan diets can allow players to put on enough muscle to stay competitive on the court without running the risk of being too heavy in an increasingly fast game.

Veganism also isn’t unique to the NBA. Despite the rigorous training and dietary requirements in the NFL, 11 members of the Tennessee Titans followed in linebacker Wesley Woodward’s footsteps and adopted a plant-based diet.

Woodward told AP Sports, “My energy level’s gone up… It’s just putting in good fuel to your body. And of course, it’s always hard to keep weight on this time of the season. But it’s worth it for me staying on top of my health.”

NFL quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady both enjoy near vegan diets; Rodgers has cut out dairy from his diet but still indulges in red meat and fish, while Brady credits not consuming dairy or inflammatory foods like peppers, mushrooms, and eggplants to his career’s longevity as he continues to play at a high level at 41.

All things considered, it appears that the traditional idea of bulking up with lots of meat is waning in popularity, and new ideas are being tried, both for competitive purposes and for personal health. It will be up to the players to decide what is right for them.

And while professional athletes are on a different level from the average person, for those of us who are more health conscious, the same benefits on a micro level can be applied here. For example, due to the lower amount of saturated fats and cholesterol consumed in a vegan diet, cardiovascular health is improved, reducing the risk of heart disease. And eating anti-inflammatory foods like kale, spinach, tomatoes, and blueberries can increase energy levels.

In the end, though we aren’t professional athletes, let alone elite basketball players, the fact that more athletes are gravitating toward health conscious options underscores an important emphasis on health and well-being. That should push us toward the ultimate goal of a better lifestyle, on our own terms.

The NBA’s competitive balance conundrum

Can anyone beat the Golden State Warriors?

The NBA’s competitive balance conundrum

After the Golden State Warriors won their second consecutive NBA title against the Cleveland Cavaliers — their third title in four years — many NBA fans are growing restless with the lack of parity in the league.

In the past two seasons, the Warriors have lost once in the NBA Finals, which is especially concerning given that the Finals are usually set up to be the most competitive matchup in the playoffs.

One of the main critiques of these ‘superteams’ is that they have offset the competitive balance the league once had, but I’m not quite sold on the idea that superteams offsetting the competition is a recent development. If you take a look at the history of the NBA, there has never been much parity.

The NBA was built on dynasties. In the ‘60s, you had the Boston Celtics winning nine times; in the ‘80s, the Los Angeles Lakers won five times and the Celtics three; in the ‘90s, the Chicago Bulls won six times; and from 2000–2015, you had the Lakers, San Antonio Spurs, and Miami Heat winning 12 of 15 championships.

There has never been any distinguishable movement in terms of who gets to hoist the Larry O’Brien trophy at the end of the season. This is not a new problem for the league, and trying to eliminate superteams won’t solve it.

In an effort to deter player movement like the league is experiencing now, the NBA created a designated veteran contract — in other words, an incentive for players to re-sign with their team, and which allows them to sign a much larger contract.

So far, the top two teams in the NBA, the Houston Rockets and the Golden State Warriors, have each managed to sign a superstar — Chris Paul and Kevin Durant, respectively. They have decided to forego the designated veteran contract, along with the extra millions that would go along with it, and instead compete for the championship.

The largest competitive problem the league has right now is not superteams: it’s that the majority of NBA talent is stacked in the Western Conference. With LeBron James now moving out west to the Lakers, arguably, the top 10 players in the league are located in the same conference. The disparity in competition between the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference is a serious problem.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has announced that he will look into a reformed playoff structure to ensure the two best teams meet in the NBA Finals. The proposed new structure would lead to having the top 16 teams overall make the playoffs, regardless of which conference they came from.

In other words, the exciting seven-game series that the Rockets and the Warriors had this year could have been for the NBA championship, instead of the lackluster four-game series with the Cavaliers.

It’s very clear that the top teams in the NBA are on a different level than the rest of the league. So where does that leave teams who are on the outside looking in, like the Toronto Raptors?

As it turns out, the Raptors are in a tough spot. To compete in this league, they’re going to have to make bold moves, and that can come from big free agent signings or blockbuster trades. With LeBron moving to the west, the door seems to have opened for the Raptors once more. Under the tutelage of their new head coach, Nick Nurse, the Raptors are looking to retool, which may put them among the top few teams in the east ready to compete for a spot in the finals.

The signing of DeMarcus Cousins to the Warriors sent the league into a frenzy, with many coming to the conclusion that the NBA season is already over, and while that may be true, his signing itself isn’t simply the problem.

As fans, we tend to judge star players’ free agency decisions based off of what seem to be their reasons for signing. It’s either that they’ve signed for the money, in which case we criticize them for choosing money over championship rings, or that they’ve signed with a major contender, and we accuse them of taking the easy way out.

Fans can’t have it both ways. If players are judged solely on NBA championships, we can’t blame them for joining the top contenders.

The NBA is still about competition, and the Warriors are simply competing at a higher level than everyone else. After they lost the NBA Finals in 2015, the team replaced Harrison Barnes with Durant. They faced elimination twice this past postseason against the Rockets and have added Cousins, a perennial All-Star. The Warriors have refused to stay complacent, and other teams should follow suit.

Despite all the criticism the league is facing, ratings are the highest they’ve ever been, with fans tuning in hoping to see Goliath fall. The NBA has always been about dynasties, and true parity has never existed. As the saying goes, don’t hate the player, hate the game.

The sweeper diaries

A Varsity Blues event staff member details his experiences cleaning the Goldring court

The sweeper diaries

This year, I was lucky enough to be a part of the Varsity Blues event staff for the men’s and women’s basketball teams. Every time I received the staffing schedule before the first basketball double header at the Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport, I remember feeling slightly disappointed that I was always assigned to be a sweeper. Back then, I couldn’t wait to eventually graduate to the scoring table, but, fortunately for me, that time never came. I quickly realized that sweeping the sweat off the court was the best possible gig I could ask for.

When I was growing up, I would watch those few young volunteers at NBA games pass the balls to players at shootaround, give them water on the bench, or sweep the floor during the game. I would always wonder how in the world those kids got so lucky — I was so envious that they got to be so close to the action every single night. Somehow, I stumbled upon the same position.

Although Blues basketball is not quite the NBA, each game is extremely well programmed, and everyone playing, working, or in attendance is fully invested in the game. This environment made the sweeper job truly fun.

Watching the game from under the hoop is probably the best view in the gym. I felt much more secure in my chair with my mop than I would have felt sitting at the scoring table, which seemed intimidating.

From under the hoop I could get a close look at the coaches, bench, players, and referees. Whenever there was a rough play under the hoop, I could see it first hand. I could judge whether I thought there was a foul and anticipate an argument between player and referee. I could catch every missed box out or defensive rotation, guess whether a player would be subbed out, and look to see the coach’s reaction.

Since basketball players are among the most visually exposed athletes with their light outfits and lack of headgear, I could read each player’s mood and engagement throughout each contest. The unique insight my position gave me allowed me to predict which direction a game would go. Confident stature, smiles, and a loud cheering bench showed me that they weren’t going to lose the lead, while blank faces and arguing with referees was a sign they might be vulnerable.

Each time a player fell down, I would jump out of my seat, weasel my way between players, and wipe up the wet spot left by the player. Sometimes, the referee would even look directly at me and point to the wet spot.

One night, after sweeping up a really big wet spot, the referee looked at me and asked, “Hey, do you do houses or apartments?” I responded, “Of course. Cash only though!”

Another night, the ball was wedged between the backboard and the rim, causing an awkward pause in the game. I assumed the referee or one of the girls would jump up and poke it out of the rim, but about 30 seconds had passed and no one had done anything. Fifth-year guard Rahshida Atkinson then yelled, “Isaac! Get the ball!” So I jumped up and released the ball from the rim with my hand and received a round of applause.

I quickly sat back down, feeling like I was overstepping my job description.

I had plenty of flattering interactions throughout the season. One referee told me that I was the best sweeper in Ontario University Athletics, and I even had the pleasure of goofing around with the mascot when they would come, grab my mop, and help clean up the court.

These were just some small anecdotes of my vital, yet often unnoticed, position with the Blues events staff — a true honour.

Keyira Parkes: more than just an athlete

The Blues star talks academics, life, and hoop dreams

Keyira Parkes: more than just an athlete

Being a university student isn’t easy. Students have to grind it out during the year for assignments, quizzes, midterms and the most dreadful of them all: final exams. The workload is already hectic enough for students, but imagine trying to add sports to the stack, another massive time commitment. It takes a lot of effort and dedication to handle the busy schedules of varsity athletes. University of Toronto Varsity Blues basketball guard Keyira Parkes is one of those brave few willing to sacrifice precious time to play a sport they love.

Growing up, Parkes was avidly involved with sports. She started playing sports when she was just seven years old. Her first love was, surprisingly, soccer, not basketball. “[I played] soccer, but not for a rep team or anything,” says Parkes. “[I played] mostly in school. I actually wanted to play soccer before basketball. It was my favourite sport.”

Parkes already found success on and off the court before joining the Blues program. Graduating with honours from the International Baccalaureate program at St. John Paul II CSS, she was also MVP of her basketball team. She won another MVP award in a basketball tournament outside of high school. Parkes is currently pursuing a double major in Criminology and English.

Now a prolific scorer on the Varsity Blues women’s basketball team, it’s no surprise the player from whom she takes inspiration. “Growing up, the most influential basketball player to me would have to be Allen Iverson. He was one of my idols growing up,” says Parkes. Like Iverson, Parkes is quick and can slash her way to the rim. She is a very impressive scorer despite her relatively small stature. Iverson is listed at just six feet, while Parkes is 5’1″ tall.

“I’d have to say my strengths as a player is my shooting ability,” notes Parkes. This season, Parkes is leading the team in points with 16.8 points per game on an efficient 46.6 field-goal percentage. She also leads the team in three-point percentage, with a staggering 45.8 mark. “I really take pride in being a great shooter,” she adds, while also emphasizing the importance she places on creating opportunities for her teammates.

Most athletes generally have some sort of weakness. LeBron James, for example, has been a below average free-throw shooter for his entire career. Parkes, however, claims that there is no true physical weakness to a player. In her mind, mental weakness is what separates good players from great players. “I think that when you doubt yourself, that’s the only weakness you can possess. I truly believe that when you believe in yourself and have confidence in yourself, you can do anything.”

Parkes notes that her only ‘weakness’ would be when she doubts herself. “I don’t doubt myself often though,” she adds.

Despite being a talented basketball player, Parkes doesn’t come from a family with a history of sports. “I’d love to lie and tell you that they do, but they don’t. They never really pursued sports, at least not in a serious way.”

When it comes to balancing school and sports, it can get confusing and challenging. A typical week could begin with a women’s basketball team practice at 6:30 am on Monday morning. These practices often last until 9:00 am. Then, players proceed to the weight room, where they lift for another hour.

Her own personal schedule begins with going back to the gym to practice shooting and ball-handling, since she doesn’t have class until the afternoon. After she’s finished with extra reps, she heads to physiotherapy to focus on physical health and rehabilitation. Her final step of the day is academics, going to classes until roughly 7:00 pm. “Then the next day is just wash, rinse and repeat,” she laughs.

Being a varsity athlete can be difficult, as time management is one of the biggest aspects of maintaining a healthy workload. “It’s pretty tough, especially coming into university as a first-year student,” says Parkes. Having to represent your school as an athlete is similar to a full-time job. The demand of constant workouts, practices, meetings, and weekly games can take a toll on body and mind.

“We tend not to have a social life because it’s just basketball and school back and forth,” she adds. “But it’s a comfortable rhythm, and I think I adjusted to it pretty well.”

Before upcoming games, players participate in shootarounds, drills, and practices in preparation for their next opponent. Players and coaches go through the other team’s offense and focus everyone on their defense.

“For me personally, I usually like to get up shots during the week,” says Parkes. “The day of the game I sleep a lot, just to get my mind and everything calm, because I don’t like being tired before the game.”

At the end of the day, it’s all worth it to Parkes. The opportunity of being a varsity athlete at one of Canada’s most prestigious schools is rewarding for her. “The feeling that I get when [I play basketball] is feeling free, and there’s just not a care in the world.”

After graduation, Parkes plans on going to law school. She prefers Harvard University, or any of the top schools in the US. She also wouldn’t mind staying at U of T to become a lawyer. When it comes to her future in professional basketball, Parkes says that “if it comes, it comes. I would love to play pro if the opportunity came about.”

Reilly Reid explains his basketball philosophy

The Blues guard leads the team in points and rebounds

Reilly Reid explains his basketball philosophy

Reilly Reid has played sports his entire life. Starting with his dad being drafted into the NHL by the St. Louis Blues to watching the Toronto Maple Leafs growing up to being named the most valuable player on his high school basketball team, the University of Toronto Varsity Blues shooting guard has been immersed in sport for as long as he can remember.

“I was definitely around the sports culture a lot from an early age,” wrote Reid to The Varsity. “Whether it was watching sports or playing sports, my dad was always introducing me to new skills and habits. He has the best sports mind I’ve ever met and he’s taught me so much more than just the basics.”

This season, Reid is averaging 13.9 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 2.1 assists, and he is on 40/33/77 shooting splits. He’s first on the team in points and rebounds, and he still maintains an efficient field goal percentage. He takes inspiration from the play style of Cleveland Cavaliers guard Dwyane Wade.

“We both prefer attacking the rim and using our body over shooting outside jumpers, but will still shoot the open ones.” He is also the team’s most relied-upon player when it comes to playing time, logging in 31.4 minutes per game. Reid said he doesn’t let himself get affected by the pressure.

“I don’t necessarily feel pressured to put up points because we have a lot of guys who can score the ball in a variety of ways,” he said. “So if I’m struggling during a game, we have a lot of guys that can pick me up, which is great. However, sometimes when the offense is struggling I think it is part of my role to be aggressive whether it is scoring myself, or finding others for open looks. I think when I am aggressive it opens up other people and allows us to be in a nice rhythm offensively.”

Reid, a St. Michael’s College student, is currently enrolled in Urban Studies and Human Geography. When it comes to balancing school with basketball, Reid said that the biggest challenge “is not being able to seek out extra help as much as a regular student might be able to.” He sees visiting professors at office hours as a challenge, due to most of them being at the same time as the team’s practices. He stresses that time management is one of the most important skills involved in being a student athlete.

Nonetheless, Reid values this time with the team and the camaraderie that accompanies his involvement.

“Everyone is around each other for the whole time we’re away, it makes for a lot of good stories and laughs… You get to learn a lot about the personal side of teammates you might not have known before and it brings everybody closer together.”

Blues defeat rival York Lions 73–56

University of Toronto men’s basketball improve record to 8-7

Blues defeat rival York Lions 73–56

The University of Toronto men’s basketball team were in action against rival York Lions on Friday night. Defense dominated the game early, as Lions forward Nana Adu-Poku was the first to put points on the board 1:40 minutes into the first quarter. The Blues managed to tie the game at 2–2 with 6:15 remaining. Toronto’s lockdown defense earned a whopping seven steals, while their offense allowed one turnover compared to the Lions’ seven in the first quarter.

Toronto’s offence picked it up in the second quarter, outscoring their opponent 21–18. Guards Reilly Reid and Sage Usher led the way with eight and seven points respectively.

Toronto’s defence were unable to contain York Lions guard Chevon Brown, who dominated the first half with 13 points. The Blues took advantage of turnovers by scoring 11 points on York’s 10 turnovers. The Lions did dominate the glass with 26 total rebounds with guard and forward Gianmarco Luciani leading the way with six rebounds. The Blues also shot 87.5 per cent from the free throw line and entered the second half with a close 33–29 lead.

Blues defense remained consistent in the third quarter, allowing only 10 points. The Blues maintained a 49–39 lead with guard Nikola Paradina finishing an exceptional quarter with 10 points and four rebounds. The Blues defense also managed to slow down Chevon Brown and keep him at two points. Toronto won the game with a final score of 73–56.

Paradina finished the game with 22 points, 10 rebounds, and one assist. Usher also played a good, consistent game, with 12 points, and he came just one assist shy of a double-double. Brown had 23 points, seven rebounds, and four assists. He also was perfect from the free throw line going 8-8.

The Blues came into Friday’s game sixth in the Eastern Division standings with a 7-7 record. York’s defeat leaves them in last place in the Eastern Division.