by Dan Krieger
September 30, 2016 - United States Hockey League (USHL)
Canadian Hockey League: The three major-junior leagues (Ontario Hockey League, Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and Western Hockey League) that comprise the CHL organization all started play this week with the same teams and alignment as last season. The OHL has 20 teams with 3 based in the United States and the rest in Ontario; the QMJHL has 18 teams located in Quebec and the Maritime Provinces; and the WHL has 22 teams with 5 based in the United States and the rest in the western provinces of Canada.
United States Hockey League: The junior-level Tier-I USHL, which is the highest level junior hockey league under USA Hockey, started its 2016-17 season this week with the same 17 teams aligned into a nine-team Eastern Conference and an eight-team Western Conference. The owner of the National Hockey League's Minnesota Wild has again expressed interest in owning and operating a USHL team in Racine (WI), if a proposed new arena can be built.
United States Premier Hockey League: The Michigan Wild (Farmington Hills) from the Midwest Division of the Tier-III junior-level USPHL recently announced the team will not operate in the 2016-17 season. The Wild joined the USPHL last season.
Canadian Premier Junior Hockey League: The new Ontario-based CPJHL, which operates under the United Hockey Union of the Amateur Athletic Union, recently started its inaugural 2017-18 season with nine teams. The league was to have 11 teams, but teams called the Akwesasne Chiefs and Coldwater Falcons were unable to get off the ground as planned.
United Soccer Leagues "" Premier Development League: The PDL announced a new team called the Nashville SC U23 will start play in the 2017 season. The team will be an affiliate of the new higher-level United Soccer League team called the Nashville SC, which is supposed to start play in the 2018 USL season. The ownership group that started the new indoor soccer team called the Florida Tropics (Lakeland) in the Major Arena Soccer League announced plans to start a new outdoor PDL team called the Lakeland Tropics for the 2017 season.
North American Soccer League: The Division-II NASL could lose some teams after the 2016 season, as the league's Ottawa Fury and Tampa Bay Rowdies are rumored to be moving to the Division-III United Soccer League for next season. The NASL's Fort Lauderdale Strikers and Ray OKC (Oklahoma City) teams are having financial problems and might not return, while the Minnesota United is leaving to move up to Major League Soccer.
American Rugby Premiership: The men's elite-level ARP, which is sponsored by USA Rugby, started its 2016 season earlier this month with five teams. The Boston Irish Wolfhounds, Boston Rugby, New York Athletic Club and Old Blue of New York returned from last season, while the Mystic River Rugby (Malden, MA) club replaced the Life University Running Eagles (Atlanta) club, which is scaling back its schedule.
Women's Premier League Rugby: The USA Rugby-sponsored WPL started its 2016 season earlier this month with the same eight teams as last season. The Red Conference features eastern teams called the Atlanta Harlequins, D.C. Furies (Washington), New York Rugby and Twin Cities Amazons, while the Blue Conference has four western teams called the Berkeley (CA) All-Blues, Glendale (CA) Raptors, Oregon Sports Union and San Diego Surfers. Teams play six games through the month of October.
Dan Krieger is the creator of the Leagues, Teams & Nicknames 2015-16: "The Leagueology Almanac" , which tracks the changes in league alignments, franchise movements and team nicknames in today's sports world. The publication is available for sale at www.amazon.com.