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Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report

by Dan Krieger
January 6, 2020 - Mexican League (ML)

BASEBALL

Liga Mexicana de Beisbol (LMB): The president of Mexico wants the 16-team Triple-A LMB, or Mexican Baseball League, to merge with the ten-team fall-season Liga Mexicana del Pacifico (LMP), or Mexican Pacific League, to create one 26-team league for the 2021 season. Apparently, all LMB teams approved a merger but only three of the LMP teams were for the merger.

West Coast League: The Portland (OR) Pickles team in the summer-collegiate WCL recently announced it has formed a new summer-collegiate farm team called the Portland Gherkins. The Gherkins will play games against the Pickles, other WCL teams and some independent summer-collegiate teams in 2020.

BASKETBALL

Premier Basketball League: The PBL, which last played a 2017 winter season with eight teams, has returned for a 2020 season with three of its former teams called the Rochester RazorSharks (New York), Dubois (PA) Dream (previously the Pennsylvania Dream) and Chautauqua (NY) Hurricane, along with a fourth team called the Lancaster (OH) Thunder (Columbus area). The owner of the Rochester RazorSharks started the PBL in 2008 and operated the league through the 2017 season. After the 2017 season, the RazorSharks' owner was one of the organizers of a new league called North American Professional Basketball (NAPB) that started play in January 2018. The NAPB became The Basketball League (TBL) for its second season in 2019, but the RazorSharks decided to leave the TBL about a month before the start of the 2019 season. In February 2019, the TBL announced the new Rochester Revolution as a 2020 expansion team, but that owner decided to move this team to New Jersey as the Tri-State Admirals. This past summer, an ownership group that helped start the TBL's 2019 expansion team called the San Diego Waves purchased the rights to the Rochester RazorSharks of the restarted PBL. The PBL's Dubois Dream and Chautauqua Hurricane played in the 2018 and 2019 seasons of the springtime North American Basketball League (NABL), while the PBL's Lancaster Thunder played the 2019 season in the NABL. Each PBL team will play an 18-game schedule through March 2020.

Official Basketball Association: The new semi-pro basketball league known as the OBA, which currently has 27 full-schedule teams in four divisions for its initial spring-summer season starting in April 2020, announced it will also have several "development teams" that will play some games in 2020 with the hope of joining the league by 2021. Some of these "development teams" include the St. Louis Hawks, Native Kings (Sioux Falls, SD), St. Joseph (MO) Express, Texas Rhythm City (Dallas), Springfield (IL) All Starz, Great Plains Bison (Nebraska), Junction City (KS) Veterans, CHI Basketball (Chicago) and the Toledo Sting. A new Fort Wayne-based full-schedule team called the Summit City Sharks was recently added to the league's Central Division.

Midwest Powerhouse League: The new semi-pro MPL is organizing for a start in 2020 and currently lists four member teams. Three of the teams called the Chicago Fury, Minnesota Broncos (St. Paul), and Rochester (MN) Roadrunners were part of the 2019 Midwest Basketball League, which was renamed the Maximum Basketball League for 2020. The fourth team is the Elkhart (IN) Mavericks that was originally announced as a 2020 Maximum Basketball League team.

Maximum Basketball League: The spring-season MBL, formerly called the Midwest Basketball League, announced the Indianapolis-based team called the Indy Show has been renamed the Naptown Pros.

American Basketball Association: The ABA announced a new Philadelphia area team called the Delco Desperados and a new Spokane-based team called the Lilac City Legends have been added as 2020-21 expansion teams.

FOOTBALL

Elite Indoor Football: The semi-pro EIF announced the Nashville-based Middle Tennessee Bulldawgs have joined the league for its 2020 season.

The Spring League: After playing its past two seasons in Austin, the developmental TSL will move its spring session to Las Vegas in March 2020. Since its last spring session, the TSL has held scouting events in Long Beach (CA), Atlanta and Miami and several TSL players have been signed by the new XFL, which had partnered with the TSL to scout talent and to test potential rules and in-game technology.

HOCKEY

Greater Metro Hockey League: Canada's independent Junior-A level GMHL announced the Ottawa Sharpshooters team has ceased operations, so the team has been removed from the North Division for the second half of the 2019-20 season. The Sharpshooters had been part of the GMHL since the 2018-19 season.

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League: The mayor of Trois-Rivieres (Quebec) recently rejected the idea of a minor professional ECHL team for the city's new arena under construction, but would rather have the arena become home to a major-junior team in the QMJHL. The 18-team QMJHL currently has no plans for expansion or relocation and Trois-Rivieres is only about 25 miles south of Shawinigan, which is home to the QMJHL's Shawinigan Cataractes team. The QMJHL had a previous team called the Trois-Rivieres Draveurs for about 20 seasons, but that team relocated to Sherbrooke after the 1991-92 season.

SOCCER

League1 Ontario: Canada's Tier-3 League1 Ontario recently announced some additions to the league for the 2020 season. The North Toronto SC Nitros, which had a team in the League1 Ontario men's division for the 2016 and 2017 seasons, is returning with teams in both the 2020 men's and women's divisions. The Hamilton United, which has had a women's team since 2018, is adding a men's team for 2020. The League1 Ontario will have an 18-team men's division and a 15-team women's division for the 2020 season. Prior to the 2019 season, the new men's Tier-1 professional Canadian Premier League (CPL) purchased the League1 Ontario to serve as a provincial developmental league for the CPL.

National Independent Soccer Association: A second group in New York City applied to join the new Division-III NISA, but its application has yet to be accepted. The proposed team is reported to be considering New Amsterdam FC as its name with home games played at Fordham University. The New York Cosmos, also based in New York City, were recently accepted by the NISA for its fall 2020 season.

Premier Arena Soccer League: The amateur-level PASL, which is considered to be the third-level of indoor soccer behind the Major Arena Soccer League (MASL) and its second-level MASL2, started its 2019-20 season last month with three regional men's divisions and one women's division. The men's PASL includes an eight-team Great Lakes Division and a five-team Midwest Division with schedules running from early December 2019 to mid-March 2020, along with a five-team Rocky Mountain Division with teams playing from early January 2020 to mid-March 2020. The women's PASL includes a five-team Great Lakes Division playing games from mid-December 2019 to mid-March 2020. Four of the five women's teams are affiliated with teams in the men's Great Lakes Division. Prior to the creation of the MASL2 for the 2017-18 season, the PASL was the official developmental league for the MASL.

USL Championship (United Soccer League): An effort to build a new soccer stadium in Des Moines (IA) for a potential team in the Division-II USL Championship is moving forward. A potential ownership group has closed on the purchase of a stadium site, but financing construction of the new stadium will be the next big hurdle.

OTHER

Premier Lacrosse League: The tour-based professional PLL, which recently completed a successful inaugural 2019 season with six teams playing ten regular-season weekend events at different venues across the United States and Canada, announced it will add a seventh team called the Waterdogs for its 2020 season. An expansion draft will be held next month to stock the new team. The six teams from last season called the Archers, Atlas, Chaos, Chrome, Redwoods and Whipsnakes will all return in 2020.

Dan Krieger is the creator of the Weekly Sports League & Franchise Report, which has been tracking changes in the sports world's leagues, teams and nicknames since April 2007.


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