Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report
by Dan Krieger
April 6, 2020 - National Basketball League of Canada (NBL Canada)
Frontier League: The independent Frontier League postponed the start of its 2020 season, which was to start on May 14, due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This was to be the first season since the off-season merger of the Frontier League and the Can-Am League to form a new 14-team Frontier League. Nine of ten Frontier League teams returned from last season and five of six Can-Am League teams returned from last season. The league is aligned in a seven-team Midwestern Division and a seven-team Can-Am Division, which includes the five former Can-Am teams and two of last season's Frontier League teams.
United Shore Professional Baseball League: The four-team independent developmental USPBL, which was to play a total of 75 games out of a stadium in Utica (MI), has delayed the start of its 2020 season from May 8 to May 29 due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The USPBL is entering its fifth season.
Liga Mexicana de Beisbol (LMB): Mexico's top-level Triple-A LMB, or Mexican Baseball League, had previously pushed back the start of its 2020 season five weeks until May 11 due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, but it is uncertain if the season will start at that time. The LMB still wants all 16 teams to play their 102-game schedules, but that could push the end of the season into October or beyond and conflict with the start of the winter-season Liga Mexicana del Pacifico, or Mexican-Pacific League.
Women's National Basketball Association: The 12-team WNBA announced the postponement of its training camps and start of the 2020 season, originally scheduled for May 15, due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This was to be the WNBA's 24th season with teams playing a 36-game schedule through September 2020. The league will provide updates on the format for a revised schedule.
National Basketball League-Canada: The eight-team NBL-Canada has cancelled the remainder of its 2019-20 season and playoffs due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The league had postponed play as of March 12 with no games played after March 11. The ten teams completed anywhere from 20 to 25 games of a 36-game regular-season that was to run through April 23.
Official Basketball Association: The new semi-pro OBA was supposed to start its inaugural 2020 spring-summer season this weekend, but that has been pushed back to the Memorial Day weekend due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. If the situation has not changed by mid-May, the OBA will consider cancelling the season with teams playing exhibition games this summer and a full restart in 2021. Currently, the OBA has 26 teams listed in 4 regional divisions, along with 8 development teams.
Maximum Basketball League: The MBL, formerly the Midwest Basketball League, was supposed to start its 2020 spring-summer season this weekend, but that has been pushed back to May 2 due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The MBL lists 45 teams in 8 regional divisions.
United Arena League: The new semi-pro UAL has delayed the start of its inaugural 2020 season due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, so initial games on March 22 and April 4 have been rescheduled for June. The 2020 schedule has three UAL teams called the Peach State Cats (Cumming, GA), Georgia-Lina Lions (Grovetown, GA) and the Atlanta Furious travel-only team.
Canadian Football League: The CFL announced the postponement of training camps for the upcoming 2020 season due to the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The 2020 pre-season games were scheduled to start on May 24 with the regular-season set to start on June 11. The CFL recently announced its 2020 Touchdown Atlantic, which is an annual CFL regular-season game played in Canada's maritime provinces or Atlantic Canada, will be played at an expanded stadium on the campus of St. Mary's University in Halifax (Nova Scotia) on July 25 between the Toronto Argonauts and the Saskatchewan Roughriders (Regina). Moncton (New Brunswick) hosted the past four regular-season Touchdown Atlantic games (2010, 2011, 2013 and 2019) and was considered the frontrunner for a CFL East expansion team until the more recent emergence of Halifax as the location of a proposed team called the Atlantic Schooners. The Atlantic Schooners expansion team could start play in Moncton until a new stadium is ready in Halifax.
Canadian Junior Hockey League: The ten leagues that comprise the Junior-A CJHL all completed their 2019-20 regular seasons, but the CJHL announced on March 13 the cancellation of the rest of the season to include all remaining league playoff games, four regional championships and the national Junior-A championship due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The ten CJHL leagues include the Alberta Junior Hockey League, British Columbia Hockey League, Central Canada Hockey League, Ligue de Hockey Junior AAA du Québec, Manitoba Junior Hockey League, Maritime Hockey League, Northern Ontario Hockey League, Ontario Junior Hockey League, Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League and the Superior International Hockey League
Superior International Junior Hockey League: The Junior-A Canadian Junior Hockey League's SIJHL will add a seventh team called the Kam River Fighting Walleye for the 2020-21 season. The expansion team will play home games in Thunder Bay (Ontario), which is also home to the league's Thunder Bay North Stars team.
United Women's Soccer: The national pro-am UWS announced some additions to its new developmental UWS League Two that plans to start play in 2020. The Legends FC Pro-Am (Brighton, MI), formerly the Michigan Legends FC, has been added as a fifth team to the previously announced League Two Midwest Conference. The Orlando-based SportsParadize Soccer Academy has been added as a fourth team to the previously announced League Two Southeast Conference. The UWS announced the new League Two Southwest Conference will consist of five teams called the CTX Hornets (Austin), FC Austin Elite U-20, FC Austin Elite U-23, San Antonio Athenians U-23 and the San Antonio Surf SC 2.
National Futsal Premier League: On March 12, the ten-team semi-pro NFPL suspended play in its 2019-20 season, which was to end on April 10, due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This week the league suspended all activities through May 10 and has yet to decide if it will proceed with a two-weekend tournament to end the season or if it will just end the 2019-2020 season and focus on the 2020-2021 season. The seven teams from the NFPL's inaugural 2018-19 season all returned and were joined this season by the Akron Vulcans, Compass United Bari 91 (Chicago) and Cadence Futsal (Chicago).
Liga MX Feminil: The top Mexican women's soccer league known as Liga MX Femenil, which is affiliated with the men's top-level Liga MX and has a women's team represented by each Liga MX team, recently suspended play for the second half of its two-part 2019-20 Apertura/Clausura season due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Teams had played 8 to 10 games of the 17-week Clausura set to end on May 4. The Apertura first part of the season was played with 19 teams from July to November 2019, but the Veracruz Tiburones Rojos team was dropped by the Liga MX after the Apertura, so the Liga MX Femenil was also reduced to 18 teams for the Clausura due to the loss of Veracruz.
Ascenso MX: Mexico's second-level Ascenso MX, which is the relegation league for the top-level Liga MX, recently suspended play for the second half of its two-part 2019-20 Apertura/Clausura season after eight weeks of play due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The 11-week Clausura was to end on April 11. The Apertura first part of the season was played from August to November 2019 with 14 teams. The Clausura was reduced to 12 teams with the dissolution of the Loros de la Universidad de Colima and Potros UAEM (Universidad Autonoma del Estado de Mexico) after the Apertura.
Major Arena Soccer League: The MASL's Lakeland-based Florida Tropics SC, which also plays outdoor soccer with a team called the Tropics SC in the developmental United Premier Soccer League's Division-I, announced the expansion of its outdoor soccer with a Florida Tropics 2 club that started play in the UPSL's Division II league for 2020. The Florida Tropics 2 will also play indoor soccer this winter with the goal of eventually joining the lower-level MASL 2.
USL League Two (United Soccer League): The pre-professional USL League Two recently announced the delay of its 2020 season due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and stated it plans to play a 2020 season, although it could be under an altered format with not all 82 teams participating. The league's Daytona SC announced a name change to the Daytona Rush SC for its second season in 2020. Eastside FC will be the name of the league's official youth affiliate for the Seattle Sounders FC of Major League Soccer in 2020. This team takes the place of the league's Sounder U23 team that came under new ownership in the off-season and originally was named Sound FC before switching to Eastside FC.
Premier Lacrosse League: The seven-team tour-based field lacrosse PLL recently announced five more stops on its 2020 tour that will include Portland (OR), Salt Lake City, Denver, Albany (NY) and Raleigh (NC). The league has posted its 2020 schedule that will include 11 regular-season weekend events and an All-Star weekend all to take place from May 29 through August 29, 2020, with playoffs to follow.
National Pro FastPitch: The women's NPF softball league announced the Travelodge Aussie Spirit team, which is known as the Aussie Peppers of Minnesota (Mankato) and comprised of Australian national players under Softball Australia, will not be able to participate in its second NPF season in 2020 because of international travel restrictions due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Major League Lacrosse: The six-team professional field lacrosse MLL decided to suspend the start of its 2020 season, originally scheduled for May 30, due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The MLL still hopes to take the field for its 20th season later this summer.
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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National Basketball League of Canada Stories from April 6, 2020
- Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report - OSC Original by Dan Krieger
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