Weekly Sports League & Franchise Report

by Dan Krieger
January 2, 2017 - National Basketball League of Canada (NBL Canada)

BASEBALL

Pecos Spring League: The independent Pecos League announced its sixth season of the Pecos Spring League will operate in Houston during the month of March 2017. The league is a developmental showcase for undrafted free agents and other new players trying to join a Pecos League team or other independent league team for the summer season. The league had five participating teams last season.

California Winter League: The instructional showcase CWL, which is billed as the official winter league of the independent Frontier League, has posted its 2017 season schedule that will feature 12 teams playing from January 19 to February 7, 2017. The league is a showcase for players trying to latch on to a Frontier League team or other independent league teams that have representatives scouting talent for the 2017 summer season. The CWL plays all games at a complex in Palm Springs (CA).

Can-Am League: The independent Can-Am League announced its 2017 season schedule that will feature the same six teams as last season. Teams include the New Jersey Jackals (Little Falls), Ottawa Champions, Quebec Les Capitales (Quebec City), Rockland Boulders (Ramapo, NY), Sussex County (NJ) Miners and Trois-Rivieres Aigles (Quebec). Each team will again play extra home games against two yet-to-be-named international travel teams during the month of June. Last season, each Can-Am League team played games against the Cuban National Team and the Japanese Shikoku Island team.

BASKETBALL

National Basketball League of Canada: The NBL-Canada started its 2016-17 season this week with a five-team Central Division of Ontario-based teams and a five-team Atlantic Division with two teams in New Brunswick, two teams in Nova Scotia and one on Prince Edward Island. The league had eight teams in four-team divisions last season, but it added the KW Titans (Kitchener-Waterloo) to the Central Division and the Cape Breton Highlanders (Sydney, Nova Scotia) to the Atlantic Division. In addition, the St. John Mill Rats (New Brunswick) were renamed the St. John Riptide for the 2016-17 season. The NBL-Canada season runs from late December 2016 through April 2017. The league started play in the 2011-12 season.

Premier Basketball League: The PBL started its 2017 season this weekend with eight teams. The league ended last season with 12 teams, but only five teams called the Chautauqua (NY) Hurricane, Jamestown (NY) Jackals, Kentucky Mavericks (Owensboro), Providence (RI) Sky Chiefs and Rochester (NY) RiverSharks returned. The PBL added three new teams called the Washington (DC) Warhawks, Ohio Bootleggers (Columbus) and Pennsylvania Dream (DuBois). Non-returning teams included the Western NY Thundersnow (to the American Basketball Association), New England Shamrocks (Boston), Danville (IL) Riverhawks, Grand Rapids (MI) Cyclones, Lake Michigan Admirals (St. Joseph), Indianapolis Diesels and Buffalo 716ers. A team called the Cincinnati Tigers was listed on the 2017 player draft, but is not part of the 2017 standings. The PBL played its first season in 2008.

Canadian Basketball League: The men's CBL started its inaugural 2016-17 season this week with four Ontario-based teams called the Durham United Basketball Club, the Scarborough Basketball Club, the Hamilton United Basketball Club and the Wellington Basketball Club. The CBL will play by international FIBA rules and a 52-game schedule will run to April 1, 2017. The CBL has been trying to get off the ground for a couple of years and originally wanted to focus on Western Canada with cities like Winnipeg, Edmonton, Vancouver and Calgary mentioned as possibilities. The league switched to developing Ontario-based teams even though the National Basketball League of Canada has a division of teams established in Ontario. Depending on its success, the league could still add a division of western teams in the future.

Central Basketball Association: The men's CBA recently announced its 2017 season schedule that will feature eight teams each playing an eight-game schedule from late March to early May. The league had nine teams in two divisions last season, but the Columbus Condors, Peoria Panthers, Springfield (IL) Sentinels and Memphis Rail Runners did not return. The league added a new team called the Illinois Coal Miners (Danville), along with two former American Professional Basketball League teams called the Baltimore Shuckers and Washington (DC) Stars, formerly the Metropolitan All-Stars. Another APBL team called the Rockville (MD) Victors was announced as part of a new East Division, but did not materialize and all eight teams are listed in one table for the 2017 standings. The CBA started play in the 2014 season when several teams left the former Central Basketball League.

FOOTBALL

Arena Pro Football: The proposed new APF, which was originally called the National Arena Football League, has added the River City Raiders team based in the St. Louis suburb of St. Charles for the league's inaugural 2017 season. The River City Raiders were part of last season's American Indoor Football and were announced as a 2017 member of Champions Indoor Football, but were then dropped by that league. The APF lists six other team members that are located in the southeastern United States.

HOCKEY

Central One Hockey League: The previously announced six-team C1HL, which will be a new 2017-18 Tier-I junior-level league under the Amateur Athletic Union's United Hockey Union, is now down to five teams as the Ogden (UT) Mustangs team is no longer listed as a member. The Colorado Junior Eagles (Fort Collins), Casper (WY) Coyotes, El Paso Rhinos, Oklahoma City Blazers and Springfield (MO) Express from the UHU's current Tier-II Western States Hockey League will be the initial C1HL members.

World League of Roller Hockey: The Major League Roller Hockey's new international World League will start play with a schedule running from late January through April 2017. The no-check league replaces the MLRH Pro Tour that has operated the past few seasons. The league will have a Pro Division and a Junior Division (Minor) of teams in Europe and the United States.

SOCCER

North American Soccer League: If the current Division-II NASL makes it to a 2017 season, it is now reported to be considering possible new California teams in Orange County and San Diego that could join for the league's fall portion of the 2017 season starting in July. The NASL will face competition from Major League Soccer as the MLS will be adding the Los Angeles FC in 2018 and a group has been trying to build a new stadium in San Diego for an MLS expansion team. The NASL is hoping to return with 8 to 10 teams next season, but its Division-II status is still uncertain. A previously announced NASL expansion team called the San Francisco Deltas has been added for 2017 as the first West Coast team. Even though a new MLS team is coming to Atlanta in 2017, a group is trying to bring a men's NASL team and a National Women's Soccer League team to a proposed new complex in Atlanta. The Atlanta Chiefs is being considered as a possible name for the NASL team. This was the name of a team in the original NASL that folded in 1985.

National Premier Soccer League: A new Los Angeles-based team called the City of Angels FC plans to join the men's elite-level NPSL for the 2017 season. The team will be part of the league's Southwest Conference of teams and is looking at the San Fernando Valley as its home. The NPSL announced several other new teams this month called the Boca Raton FC (Florida), Minneapolis City FC and the Duluth (MN) FC, also known as the BlueGreens. The NPSL team in Lowell (MA) known as the Greater Lowell United FC Dragons is now the Greater Lowell NPSL FC with Rough Diamonds as its new nickname.

OTHER

National Lacrosse League: The men's indoor NLL started its 2017 season this week with the same nine teams as last season aligned into a five-team East Division and a four-team West Division. The East Division has the Buffalo Bandits, Georgia Swarm (Atlanta), New England Black Wolves (Uncasville, CT), Rochester Knighthawks and Toronto Rock, while the West Division includes the Calgary Roughnecks, Colorado Mammoth, Saskatchewan Rush (Saskatoon) and Vancouver Stealth. Each team will play an 18-game schedule running through April 2017.

American Ultimate Disc League: The men's professional AUDL could benefit from the recent folding of its competing eight-team league called Major League Ultimate (MLU). The AUDL competed with the MLU in the six markets of Philadelphia, Washington (DC), Seattle, San Francisco, New York and Vancouver. Of the eight markets occupied by MLU teams, only Boston and Portland (OR) did not have competing AUDL teams. The AUDL could try to put teams in these two markets, but it would most likely not happen until the 2018 season. The AUDL had granted a Portland expansion franchise during its inaugural 2012 season, but the Portland owner decided to switch to the MLU, which began play in 2013, and the AUDL was blocked from the market for five years. The owner of the AUDL's Philadelphia Spinners left with the team to organize the MLU after the 2012 season, so an AUDL team called the Philadelphia Phoenix was created for the 2013 season. This past 2016 season, the AUDL operated with 26 teams in regional East, Midwest, South and West divisions, while the MLU operated all four of its seasons (2013-16) with four-team Eastern and Western conferences..

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.


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