Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report
by Dan Krieger
January 13, 2020 - Canadian Football League (CFL)
Moses Lake Professional Baseball League: The proposed new independent MLPBL is trying to organize for a start in June 2020 with all teams to based out of Moses Lake (WA). The organizers were involved in with teams called the Moses Lake Rattlesnakes and Ellensburg (WA) Bulls in the short-lived Mount Rainier Professional Baseball League that folded early in its inaugural 2015 season.
Basketball Africa League: The National Basketball Association and the international basketball organization known as FIBA are collaborating to form the new BAL that will start play in March 2020 with 12 teams from the continent of Africa. Six arenas in Egypt, Senegal, Nigeria, Angola, Morocco and Tunisia will host league games.
Great Lakes Basketball League: The new semi-pro GLBL is organizing for a start in the summer of 2020 and it currently lists eight participating teams called the Benton Harbor Battlegrounds, Elkhart Mavericks, Kalamazoo County Elites, Kalamazoo Shooters, Southwest Michigan Stampede, The U.B. League (South Bend, IN), West Michigan Outlaws and West Michigan Red Raiders.
United Basketball League: The UBL semi-pro exposure league, which has been playing a season consisting of weekend "cluster" events the past few years, has posted its 2020 schedule that will feature eight teams participating in six monthly weekend events at one location in Dallas from January through June. Teams include the Texas Wranglers, DFW Wolfpack, Memphis Exhausters, Southwest Desertcats (El Paso), Southside Swish, Oklahoma Outlaws, DFW Kingsmen and Ambassadors Athletics Works (Mesquite). The first "cluster" event is January 25, 2020.
American Basketball Association: The ABA announced a new team called the Phoenixville (PA) Bull Sharks has been added as a 2020-21 expansion team. The team will be operated by the owner of two other Pennsylvania-based ABA teams called the Ephrata Thunder and Pottstown Flames.
Canadian Football League: The CFL announced it has found new ownership for the Montreal Alouettes team. The CFL had taken control of the financially struggling franchise and operated the team during the 2019 season as it sought new ownership.
American West Football Conference: An independent indoor football team called the Fargo (ND) Falcons plans to play six to eight games in 2020 with the goal of joining the AWFC, Indoor Football League or Championship Indoor Football for the 2021 season. The team is the former Orlando-based Florida Falcons team that was purchased and relocated to Fargo. Earlier this year, the team's previous owner was reported to be trying to organize the Eastern Indoor Developmental League that was to include the Florida Falcons, two other Florida-based teams and an Atlanta team.
National Gridiron League: The 12-team indoor NGL, which is making a second attempt to start play in 2020 after it failed to get off the ground last year, now lists the Beaumont-based Texas Bighorns team as the Houston Bighorns.
National Roller Hockey League: The proposed professional NRHL is trying to restart play in 2020 and has been holding player combines for its four teams called the Detroit Dragons, Port Huron Yetis, Grand Rapids Warthogs and St Louis Vipers. The NRHL player draft will be staged over a seven-week period beginning on January 18, 2020.
Professional Women's Hockey Players Association: The PWHPA Women's Hockey Showcase, which consists of players boycotting the National Women's Hockey League this season and advocating a new sustainable women's hockey league, announced a new fifth stop on its "Dream Gap Tour" will held in Philadelphia on February 29 and March 1, 2020 with four teams. The PWHPA's fourth tour stop was held this weekend in Toronto with six teams.
USL Championship (United Soccer League): The Division-II USL Championship announced the schedule for its 2020 season that will feature 35 teams aligned in a 17-team Eastern Conference and an 18-team Western Conference with each team playing a 34-game regular season from early March to mid-October 2020. The league had 36 teams last season, but the Freson FC Foxes, Ottawa Fury FC and the Nashville SC, which was moving up to Major League Soccer for the 2020 season, did not return. The Miami FC purchased the Ottawa Fury franchise rights and will take Ottawa's spot in the 2020 Eastern Conference. The USL Championship added the expansion San Diego Loyal to the 2020 Western Conference. Three teams were renamed for the 2020 season. The Swope Park Rangers are now the Sporting Kansas City II, the Tulsa Roughnecks FC are FC Tulsa and the Bethlehem Steel FC is now the Philadelphia Union II.
United Women's Soccer: The women's second-division UWS recently announced some changes to its Midwest Conference of teams for the 2020 season. The conference had six teams last season, but has added two new teams called the Detroit City FC and the Muskegon Risers for the 2020 season. The Detroit City FC team is being started by the men's Detroit City FC, which had been part of the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) and joined the new Division-III National Independent Soccer Association for the 2020 season. The Muskegon Risers are being started by the men's Muskegon Risers team, which plays outdoors in the NPSL and indoors in the Major Arena Soccer League 2. The UWS's Grand Rapids FC has been renamed the Midwest United FC for the 2020 season. The men's Grand Rapids FC, which was part of the NPSL and will move to the USL League Two for the 2020 season, wants to concentrate on its men's team so the Midwest United FC has assumed ownership of the women's team in the UWS. The eight-team Midwest Conference will be split into four-team East and West divisions for the 2020 season.
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 its first 2020 event will be held in Boston at Foxborough's Gillette Stadium. The 2020 season will feature 7 teams playing over 15 weeks from May to September.
National Pro Fastpitch: The women's NPF announced the Aussie Peppers team based in Mankato (MN) will return for the 2020 season. The team started play in the 2019 NPF and is a partnership between Softball Australia and a local youth softball organization known as the Mankato Peppers.
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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- Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report - OSC Original by Dan Krieger
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