Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report
by Dan Krieger
July 8, 2019 - North American Hockey League (NAHL)
Atlantic League: The Waldorf-based Southern Maryland Blue Crabs of the independent Atlantic League played a three-game series this week as the Southern Maryland Monuments in a tribute to three iconic monuments located in nearby Washington (DC).
California League: As part of a Christmas in July promotion, the Inland Empire 66ers of the high Class-A California League will be renamed the Inland Empire Nutcrackers for a game later this month.
Midwest League: A state fund that could possibly provide spending toward a potential new stadium for the Beloit (WI) Trappers of the low Class-A Midwest League has been partially vetoed. The team has been put on notice by Minor League Baseball that its current Pohlman Field will not be acceptable as a long-team home for the team based on new 2020 stadium guidelines.
Northwoods League: Starting next week, the Madison Mallards of the summer-collegiate Northwoods League will be rebranded as the Wisconsin Cheese Curds for three Thursday home games this month.
Overseas Elite Basketball League: The new OEBL, which plans to provide players with professional-level experience that gives exposure to domestic and international professional basketball teams, held its opening day last weekend in the Newark area with two games involving the OEBL's four teams called the Impact, Pride, Hustlers and Force.
American Basketball Association: The ABA announced a new team called the Plaistow (NH) Shockers will be added to the Northeast Division for the upcoming 2019-20 season. The ABA also announced two teams called the Tampa Bay Outlaws and the Gary (IN) Sun-Rays will start play in the league's 2020-21 season. The Gary Sun-Rays' ownership is starting a women's team under the same name for the 2019 season of the Women's American Basketball Association's that starts play in August.
East Coast Basketball League: The ECBL completed its fifth spring season last month with 16 teams aligned in 4 four-team divisions. The only change during the season was the Hickory (NC) Hoyas suspending operations after six games and being replaced by the Gastonia (NC) Snipers travel team that played three remaining road games on the Hoyas' schedule.
American 7s Football League: The A7FL, which is a 7-on-7 full-contact football league in which players do not wear hard pads or helmets, is in the playoff round of its 2019 season that featured a 16-team North East Division of teams located in Maryland, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The A7FL is in its fifth season and eventually hopes to expand with various regional divisions across the United States. The 2019 regular season ran from early April to late June with each team playing seven or eight games.
National Gridiron League: The indoor professional NGL, which failed to start play as planned in 2019, announced player combines and tryouts will be held in Brunswick (GA) later this month as the league plans for a 2020 season. The NGL has 12 proposed teams aligned in Eastern and Western conferences, each with three-team North and South divisions.
American Arena League: The owner of the Wheeling-based West Virginia Roughriders stated there is no truth to rumors the team will fold, but it is uncertain whether the team will return to the AAL next season.
Elite Indoor Football: The EIF recently announced two more new teams called the Northern Nemesis (Springfield, IL), and the Southland Power (Chicago/Palatine, IL) have been added for 2020 as part of the league's new Mid West Division. The Southland Power was the 2019 champion of the semi-pro Indoor Football Association. The EIF previously announced teams called the Ozarks Mountain Express (Lebanon, MO), Music City Fire (Nashville, TN) and Louisville Kings would also join for the 2020 season.
XFL: The new outdoor professional XFL, which plans to start play with eight teams in February 2020, was reported to have registered the Wild, Force, Fury, Dragons and Surge as potential nicknames for the league's Seattle franchise.
North American Hockey League: The Tier-II junior-level NAHL announced its 2019-20 schedule that will feature 26 teams aligned in four regional divisions. The league had 24 teams last season aligned in 4 six-team divisions, but the expansion Maine Nordiques (Lewiston) were added to the East Division and the expansion New Mexico Ice Wolves (Albuquerque) were added to the South Division for the 2019-20 season. The only other change was in the Central Division with the relocation of the Brookings (SD) Blizzard to become the St. Cloud (MN) Blizzard. The NAHL regular-season will run from mid-September 2019 to the first week of April 2020.
Southern Professional Hockey League: The SPHL announced its schedule for the 2019-20 season that will feature the same ten teams as last season: Birmingham Bulls, Evansville Thunderbolts, Fayetteville (NC) Marksmen, Huntsville (AL) Havoc, Knoxville (TN) Ice Bears, Macon (GA) Mayhem, Pensacola Ice Flyers, Peoria Rivermen, Roanoke (VA) Rail Yard Dawgs and Quad City Storm (East Moline, IL). Each team will play a 56-game schedule from mid-October 2019 to early April 2020.
National Women's Hockey League: If the NWHL has a team based in Buffalo for the 2019-20 season, it might not be called the Buffalo Beauts, which was the name of the NWHL team for the past four seasons. The Buffalo Beauts' ownership, which also owns the National Hockey League's Buffalo Sabres, turned control of the team back to the NWHL in May, but it has been unable to work out an agreement with the NWSL for continued use of the Buffalo Beauts name and logo.
National Independent Soccer Association: The new Charlotte (NC)-based team in the proposed new Division-III professional NISA, which plans to start play this September with at least ten teams, announced it will take the name of the Stumptown Athletic. The team will be based in Charlotte's Matthews area that used to be called Stumptown. The Oakland Roots soccer club, which planned to start play this fall as part of the National Premier Soccer League's Division-III Founders Cup competition, has decided to switch to the NISA. The Roots will host a few games this summer and fall, but plan to start league-play in the NISA's 2020 spring season. With the loss of the Oakland Roots, the Founders Cup in now down to a four-team West Region to go with its six-team East Region.
Canadian Premier League: The professional CPL completed its inaugural 2019 spring season this week and then started its 2019 fall season with the same seven teams called the Cavalry FC (Calgary, Alberta), FC Edmonton (Alberta), Forge FC (Hamilton, Ontario), HFX Wanderers (Halifax, Nova Scotia), Pacific FC (Langford, British Columbia), Valour FC (Winnipeg, Manitoba) and York 9 FC (Greater Toronto Area). All teams played a 10-game spring season from late April to early July and will play an 18-game fall season from early July to mid-October.
National Women's Soccer League: The NWSL plans to take a slow approach to future expansion from its current nine teams with expansion possibly happening in 2020. The league intends to expand over the next three seasons, but it wants to make sure any new team is under stable ownership. The Los Angeles FC of Major League Soccer has been mentioned as a possible operator of a future NWSL team and this past spring another group expressed interest in establishing a New England team in Windsor (CT).
World Series of Boxing: The team-based international boxing league known as the WSB, which started play in 2011, did not return for a ninth season in 2019. The WSB was operated by the International Boxing Association, or Association Internationale de Boxe Amateur (AIBA), but the AIBA faced financial issues and was trying to change the structure of the WBS to make it more profitable. Each team was comprised of boxers competing by various weight classes. The United States had former WSB teams called the Los Angeles Matadors (2011-12), Memphis Force (2010-11), Miami Gallos (2010-11) and the USA Knockouts (2012-16), while Mexico had the Mexico Guerreros (2010-16). The WSB's most recent 2018 season ran from February through April and consisted of 12 teams aligned in four-team groups called Americas, Europe and Asia.
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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