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Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report

by Dan Krieger
June 17, 2019 - ECHL (ECHL)

BASEBALL

New York-Penn League: The short-season Class-A NYPL started its 2019 season this week with the same 14 teams as last season aligned in four-team McNamara and Stedler divisions and a six-team Pinckney Division. The league’s Connecticut Tigers (Norwich) are seeking fan input to rename the team for the 2020 season with “Norwich” to be part of the name.

Northwest League: The short-season Class-A Northwest League started its 2019 season this week with the same eight teams aligned in two four-team divisions. The North Division includes three teams from the state of Washington and one Canadian team in British Columbia, while the South has three Oregon-based teams and one team in Idaho. The league is the same level of play as the New York-Penn League.

Pioneer League: The advanced short-season Rookie-level Pioneer League started its 2019 season this week and again has eight teams aligned in four-team North and South divisions. The only change from last season was the relocation of the league’s Helena (MT) Brewers to Colorado Springs (CO) as the Rocky Mountain Vibes. A name-the-team contest listed the team’s five potential nicknames as the Happy Campers, Lamb Chops, Punchy Pikas, Throttle Jockeys and Rocky Mountain Oysters, but the team’s ownership decided to go with a totally different name. The Colorado Springs market became available when the Colorado Springs SkySox team of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League moved to become a new version of the San Antonio Missions for the 2019 season. The Vibes were placed in the league’s South Division and the Idaho Falls Chukars were moved from the South to the North.

International League: The Lehigh Valley IronPigs (Allentown, PA) of the Triple-A International League will play a game next month as the “Jawn”, which is a salute to Philadelphians referring to a person, place or thing as a “Jawn”.

Midwest League: The Lake County Captains (Eastlake, OH) of the low Class-A Midwest League played a game this week as the Quake County Captains as a promotion to raise awareness for natural disasters and as a benefit for the American Red Cross.

Can-Am League: The Cuban National Team resolved its visa issues and was able to start play against Can-Am League teams this week as part of the league’s international portion of its 2019 season. A team from Japan’s independent Shikoku Island League is also participating in international Can-Am games.

BASKETBALL

Women’s Minor League Basketball Association: The WMLBA started its 2019 season this week with seven teams scheduled to play games through the first week of August. Of the four participating teams in 2018, the Texas Elite did not return. The returning Dallas Lightning, San Antonio Troopers and Houston Galaxy are joined by teams called the Topeka Shock, Oklahoma Tatanka (Muskogee), Baton Rouge Hurricanes and Georgia Classic (Evans). The WMBLA is entering its third season of play.

American Basketball Association: The semi-professional ABA announced a team called the Waco Terror will be part of the league’s South Central Division for the 2019-20 season. The Waco Terror is also a member of the Texas Basketball Association (TBA), which has been around since 2014 and is currently playing its 2019 season that runs through the months of June and July. The TBA’s 19 teams are aligned in an 11-team North Division and an 8-team South Division, which includes the Waco Terror.

FOOTBALL

Canadian Football League: The CFL started its 2019 season this weekend with the same nine teams aligned in a five-team West Division and a four-team East Division. Each team plays an 18-game regular-season schedule that runs until the first week of November. The CFL has been trying to add a fifth team to its East Division and late in 2018 it awarded a conditional tenth franchise to an ownership group that would place a team called the Atlantic Schooners in Halifax (Nova Scotia). This new team is conditioned on construction of a new stadium for the team.

The Spring League: The elite developmental TSL will join with the proposed new XFL for two four-day scouting events to be held in Southern California in June and July. The TSL and XFL have partnered to scout talent, test potential rules and in-game technology as the XFL prepares to start in February 2020.

HOCKEY

ECHL: The ECHL announced its 2019-20 season schedule that will now feature only 26 teams with the folding of the Manchester (MH) Monarchs after the 2018-19 season. With the loss of the Monarchs from the North Division, the Eastern Conference will have 13 teams in a six-team North Division and a seven-team South Division. The Western Conference will again have a six-team Central Division and a seven-team Mountain Division.

North American 3 Hockey League: The established Tier-III junior-level NA3HL team called the Granite City Lumberjacks, based in Sauk Rapids (MN) just north of St. Cloud (MN), is not happy with the move of the Tier-II North American Hockey League’s Brookings (SD) Blizzard to St. Cloud for the 2019-20 season. The Granite City Lumberjacks had considered a possible move up to the Tier-II NAHL level, but that will not be possible with the St. Cloud Blizzard nearby. The relocated NAHL team will be playing at the Municipal Athletic Complex, which was the Lumberjacks’ home prior to moving to neighboring Sauk Rapids.

Interstate Hockey League: After holding off a proposed start in 2018 with six teams, the Michigan-based IHL semi-pro senior league has added some more teams and now plans to start play in a 2019-20 season with 12 teams aligned in six-team Eastern and Western divisions.

SOCCER

Liga Mexican Futbol Rapido: Mexico’s professional indoor soccer league known as the LMFR recently started its 2019 season with 12 teams aligned in three divisions. The Zona Norte (North) has the Deportivo Don Roge, GOKAY (Monterrey), Seleccion Monclova and Rancho Seco Saltillo; the Zona Noreste (Northeast) has the Coyotes Rio Bravo, CFR Reynosa, Matamoros FC, Halcones Miguel Aleman and Lomas FC Victoria; and the Zona Noroeste (Northwest) has three Chihuahua-based teams call El Pistolazo, RSD and Savage CUU. The 2019 season ends in early August 2019.

National Independent Soccer Association: The new Division-III NISA confirmed it will start play in early September 2019 with a limited-schedule Fall Season consisting of at least eight teams playing four home and four away games. The league will take a winter break and start again with a Spring Season in 2020 that could include additional teams. Of the eight previously announced locations, the Central Florida (Daytona Beach) ownership has decided to operate its NISA team out of Baton Rouge (LA). The seven other previously announced team locations for Atlanta, Providence (RI), Charlotte, Connecticut, Philadelphia, San Diego and Los Angeles remain the same. The NISA has added the Cal United Strikers FC (Orange County), which left the Division-III Founders Cup to be operated by the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) this fall, and another Founders Cup team called Miami FC. It is uncertain as to whether those two teams will start play in the 2019 Fall Season or wait until 2020.

Premiere Ligue de Soccer du Quebec: The semi-pro Division-III PLSQ, or Quebec Premiere Soccer League, started its 2019 season early last month with a nine-team men’s division and a six-team women’s division. The men’s division, which is in its eighth season, had eight teams last season and added the new CS Montreuil for 2019. The women’s division started its first season last year with five teams and added the new CS Fabrose for 2019. Also the women’s Lakers du Lac-St. Louis team relocated to become the CS Mont-Royal Outremont for 2019 women’s division.

OTHER

Major League Quidditch: The MLQ started its fifth season earlier this month with 15 teams aligned in five-team East, North and South divisions. Last season, the league had 16 teams aligned in four four-team divisions, but it eliminated the West Division teams called the Boise Grays, Salt Lake City Hive, Los Angeles Guardians and San Francisco Argonauts for 2019. The MLQ added three new locations for 2019 with the San Antonio Soldados going to the South, Minneapolis Monarchs and Toronto Raiders to the North, and the existing Rochester Whiteout moving from the North to the East. The 2019 season runs from June to early August. Quidditch is a competitive, full-contact, mixed-gender sport played by athletes around the world and was adapted from the game played in the Harry Potter series of books and movies. The MLQ game involves two seven-player teams with each player mounting a broomstick as they run up and down a field about the size of a hockey rink trying to score points by tossing a volleyball-like quaffle into one of three opposing team’s hoops.

Dan Krieger is the creator of the Leagues, Teams & Nicknames, 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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ECHL Stories from June 17, 2019


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