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Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report

by Dan Krieger
March 16, 2020 - ECHL (ECHL)

BASEBALL

Major League Baseball: The 30-team MLB announced the cancellation of its spring training and at least a two-week delay in the start of the 2020 season due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. In addition, all of the MLB's affiliated leagues under Minor League Baseball announced a delay in the start of the 2020 season as the situation is monitored for a possible start at a later date.

Pecos League: The independent Pecos League announced it has purchased the San Rafael (CA) Pacifics team, which was part of the independent Pacific Association for the past seven seasons (2013-19), and added the team to its Pacific Division for the upcoming 2020 season. The Pecos League will have a Pacific Division with six California-based teams and a Mountain Division with eight teams in the states of New Mexico, Colorado, Texas, Arizona and Kansas. As of now, the San Rafael Pacifics have replaced a previously announced new team called the Santa Cruz (CA) Seaweed in the Pacific Division.

South Atlantic League (SALLY): The Hickory (NC) Crawdads of the low Class-A SALLY league announced the team will play a three-game home series in June as the Hickory Couch Potatoes. The name was inspired from the city being referred to as the "Furniture Capital of the World", while the state is the leading producer of sweet potatoes.

BASKETBALL

Circuito de Baloncesto de la Costa del Pacifico (CIBACOPA): Mexico's Pacific Coast Basketball League known as the CIBACOPA, which is the country's second professional basketball league next to the Liga Nacional de Baloncesto Profesional (LNBP), started its 2020 season this week with the same nine teams as last season playing in a single-table format. Each team will play a 38-game schedule through May 2020. A potential tenth team called the Gallos de Aquascaliente was unable to start in the 2020 season.

National Basketball Association: The 30-team NBA suspended play this week in its 2019-20 season due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The NBA regular-season was to run through March 31, 2020.

National Basketball Association Gatorade League (G-League): The NBA's 28-team developmental G-League suspended play this week in its 2019-20 season due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The G-League's regular-season was to run through March 28, 2020.

National Basketball League of Canada: The eight-team NBL-Canada suspended play this week in its 2019-20 season due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The league's regular season was to run until April 23, 2020. Teams had played 20 to 25 games of a 36-game schedule.

FOOTBALL

Indoor Football League: The IFL started its 2020 season last weekend with 13 teams, but announced this week it will postpone the 2020 season until further notice due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The IFL had ten teams last season, the Nebraska Danger (Grand Island) did not return. The league added the Duke City Gladiators (Albuquerque) from Champions Indoor Football along with new teams called the Oakland Panthers, Frisco (TX) Fighters and Spokane Shock. The 2020 regular-season was to run until June 27 with each team playing 14 games.

National Arena League: The seven-team NAL announced its 2020 season will be played, but there could be a delay in starting the regular-season due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The 2020 season that was to start April 4.

Champions Indoor Football: The seven-team CIF announced it will delay the start of its 2020 regular-season, which was to start next weekend, due to the coronavirus (COVID-19 pandemic. The CIF expects the delay to be about 30 days and stated all teams are committed to playing a 2020 season, but it will continue to evaluate the situation. The CIF ended its 2019 season with seven teams, but the Duke City Gladiators (Albuquerque) left to join the Indoor Football League. The CIF added a new team called the West Texas Warbirds (Odessa) for the 2020 season.

XFL: The XFL announced it has canceled the remainder of its inaugural 2020 season due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Each team had played five of its scheduled ten-game season.

HOCKEY

National Hockey League: The 31-team NHL has suspended play in its 2019-20 season due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Most teams had played about 70 games in an 82-game schedule that was to end on April 4, 2020.

American Hockey League: The 31-team AHL suspended play this week in its 2019-20 season due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The regular-season was scheduled to end on April 11, 2020.

ECHL: The 26-team ECHL announced it is cancelling the remainder of the 2019-20 season due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the league will begin preparations for the 2020-21 season. Each team had played about 60 games of a 72-game schedule that was to run until April 5, 2020.

Southern Professional Hockey League: The ten-team SPHL suspended play this week in its 2019-20 season due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Each team had about ten games remaining in the regular-season that was to end on April 4, 2020.

Federal Prospects Hockey League: The ten-team FPHL suspended play this week in its 2019-20 season due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The league said it had played 232 of its 286 games on the schedule that was to end April 5, 2020.

National Women's Hockey League: The NWHL cancelled its 2020 season-ending championship called the Isobel Cup, which was to be played between the Boston Pride and Minnesota Whitecaps, due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The league plans to reschedule the game for a later date in Boston.

Canadian Hockey League: The major-junior CHL and its three regional leagues, the 20-team Ontario Hockey League, the 18-team Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and the 22-team Western Hockey League, has suspended play in its 2019-20 season due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The regular-season schedules for all leagues were set to end next weekend.

United States Hockey League: The 16-team Tier-I junior-level USHL suspended play this week in its 2019-20 season due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The regular-season schedule was due to end on March 29, 2020. Last month the league's Sioux Falls (SD) Stampede played a game as the Sioux Falls Fighting Wiener Dogs as part of the 13th annual wiener dog (dachshund) race held between periods.

North American Hockey League: The 26-team Tier-II junior-level NAHL suspended play this week in its 2019-20 season due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The regular-season schedule was due to end on April 4, 2020 and most team had about eight to ten games remaining on their schedules.

SOCCER

Major League Soccer: The 26-team MLS has only played two weeks of its 2020 season, but announced it will suspend play for 30 days due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Major Arena Soccer League: The 17-team MASL decided to end its 2019-20 regular-season this week due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Each team had about two or three games left on a schedule set to end next weekend.

USL Championship (United Soccer League): The 35-team professional Division-II USL Championship has played only one week of its 2020 season, but decided to suspend play for at least 30 days due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

USL League One (United Soccer League): The 12-team professional Division-III USL League One was supposed to start its second season at the end of this month, but announced it will delay the season by at least two weeks due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Last week, the league's Forward Madison FC (Wisconsin) announced an affiliation with Major League Soccer's Chicago Fire FC for the 2020 season.

OTHER

National Lacrosse League: The 13-team indoor box-lacrosse NLL temporarily suspended play for its 2020 season due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Teams have played 10 to 13 games of an 18-game schedule that was to end April 25 2020.

Major League Rugby: The 12-team professional MLR announced it will temporarily suspend its 2020 season due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The MLR season started early last month and each team has played 5 games of a 16-game schedule that runs through May 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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