New York Knights Defeat Nashville Crushers to Lift Inaugural NSL Title

The Nashville Crushers (Left) and New York Knights (Right)

The New York Knights defeated the Nashville Crushers to claim the inaugural National Squash League (NSL) title Saturday, June 21 at the Arlen Specter US Squash Center in Philadelphia.

The inaugural NSL season was modeled off a new team and city-based league similar to other major league sports in the United States. Formed in part by American professionals Timmy Brownell and Spencer Lovejoy, the NSL features an innovative 3 vs 3 team match format with substitutions and power players over three periods of timed squash. Four match weeks were held over the course of the spring to determine the two teams vying for the NSL Championship title.

The Knights–the only undefeated team in the league–went in as slight favorites over the Crushers. They made light work of both the Chicago Grizzlies and the Newport Dragons on their way to the finals. The Crushers topped the South division with a dominating win over the Atlanta Tornadoes, but then had a surprise loss against the Derby City Colts. Though the Crushers went 1-1 on the season, they were able to go through on points, being the team with the most periods won in the South Division.

Sebastien “The Flash” Bonmalais, Matias “The Spin Bender” Knudsen, and Rory “The Tartan Trailblazer” represented the Knights, taking on Timmy “Slim Tim” Brownell, Simon “The Ginger Bread Man” Herbert, and Ronald “El Parcero” Palomino, who represented the Crushers in the highly anticipated final match.

The Knights went off to a blistering start, utilizing their power play specialist, Matias Knudsen, to build an early lead. Timmy Brownell and the other Crusher’s players did their best to diffuse the Knights’ momentum, but the lead was too much to overcome. New York took the first period by a convincing scoreline, 25-16, to go up 1-0.

In the second period, the Crushers came out with more urgency, reversing the scenario from the first period by calling their power play first. Brownell was able to build a 5-point lead, followed by a great shift from Palomino, who continued to build on the lead against Knights’ Bonmalais. The Crushers closed out this period 23-18, leveling out the score at 1-1.

This Championship was poised to be decided in the third and final period–10 minutes longer and worth 2 points. The Knights rocketed off to a fast start similar to the first period, using both their 1 minute and 2 minute power plays in the first 10 minutes. This put them up 13-5, but meant they would have no power plays to use for the rest of the period, while Nashville still held both of theirs. At this point, Nashville was fighting an uphill battle, but began to claw their way back into the match. With seven minutes remaining, both teams made their last substitutions. It was Brownell vs Bonmalais, with New York leading 24-18, for the final portion of the Championship match. Brownell was forced to press up in order to close the gap with minimal time remaining, as Bonmalais used his rapid movement to retrieve. Brownell began to inch back point-by-point, getting within 1 point of Bonmalais at 25-26, until he lost his balance slightly in the back right corner and his lob squeezed out of court. This was enough for Bonmalais to run out the rest of the clock and secure the First NSL Championship for the New York Knights. Bonmalais’ efforts earned the Frenchman the inaugural MVP accolade following the final.

Presenting Sponsor, Shanin Specter, from the Kline and Specter Law Firm, presented the Championship trophy to team owners Elisabeth Hill and Lu Valdizan. Quoting his father Arlen Specter, “I look at the words up here on the girder next to the scoreboard ‘You’re never too far behind to win, and never too far ahead to lose’ and I’m sure everyone in here felt that way today.”

During the trophy ceremony, League Commissioner Fernando Valdizan announced plans to expand with three new men’s team and four new women’s teams in 2025.

For more information on the NSL visit

The 2023-2024 New York Knights, (L-R): Rory Stewart, Sam Scherl, Mathias Knudsen, Sebastian Bonmalais