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Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report

by Dan Krieger
June 1, 2020 - American Hockey League (AHL)

BASEBALL

Liga Mexicana de Beisbol: Mexico's top professional baseball league known as the LMB, or the Triple-A level Mexican Baseball League, is considering cutting the season in half to 51 games per team with play starting in August. The LMB's 2020 season was originally scheduled to start in April. Three of the league's 16 teams would have to play all road games or consider sitting out the entire 2020 season due to restrictions from the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Major League Baseball: After the MLB developed plans for a shortened season that would include cuts to the salaries of star players, the MLB Players' Association rejected the revised season plans.

MINK League: The nine-team summer-collegiate MINK League has cancelled its 2020 season due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Northwoods League: The summer-collegiate Northwoods League will start some 2020 season games on June 15 with a "pod" of three teams playing in Bismarck (ND) including the league's Bismarck Larks. A second team called the Bismarck Flickertails will be comprised of American-born players on loan from the league's Thunder Bay (Ontario) Border Cats team that shut down for the 2020 season due to travel restrictions in Canada. The third team will be the Bismarck Bull Moose, which will be comprised of players from other leagues that shut down for the 2020 season. The Northwoods League is considering other "pod" locations to host games this season.

Prospect League: The summer-collegiate Prospect League had hoped to play a shortened 2020 season, but announced it has cancelled the season due to the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

BASKETBALL

Women's Universal Basketball Association: As the WUBA plans its return later this year, it recently announced the addition of two new teams called the Metro Ballers (Atlanta) and Houston Havok.

Universal Basketball Association: The men's semi-pro UBA announced the cancellation of its 2019-20 season, which was to run from February 1 through June 21 and was shut down in early March due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The UBA had 23 teams in 4 regional conferences with teams in 3 of the conferences having played several games. The UBA also announced expansion for the 2020-21 season with a new four-team Oklahoma-base Heartland Conference with teams called the Oklahoma Outlaws, El Reno Raiders, Tulsa Rebels and Oklahoma City Vandals. The clubs will also operate women's teams in the 2020-21 Women's Universal Basketball Association.

Florida Basketball Association: The semi-pro FBA stated it has every intent on playing a 2020 season, which typically runs from April through July but was suspended due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The league will host the season at a yet-to-determined single site with no fans. The FBA recently announced two 2020 expansion teams called the Brevard Bobcats (Melbourne) and the Gainesville Mighty Oaks.

Global Women's Basketball Association: The GWBA recently announced it was suspending the start of its 2020 season, which was supposed to begin in mid-May, due to the coronavirus (COVID-19 pandemic. The St. Louis Surge, one of the four GWBA teams, recently stated its 2020 season has been cancelled.

East Coast Basketball League: The 19-team semi-pro ECBL announced the cancellation of its 2020 season, which was to run from early January through May, due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Teams had play a handful of games when the league suspended play in early April due to the coronavirus.

American Basketball Association: The semi-pro ABA announced a team called the Yeadon Kings in the Philadelphia area has been added as an expansion team for the 2020-21 season.

FOOTBALL

Canadian Football League: The nine-team CFL is trying everything it can to salvage a 2020 season and is considering a shortened season with games play in at least two American cities in either the Southeast or Southwest regions of the United States. The cities of Dallas, Memphis and Birmingham were said to be possible venues. The CFL also mentioned a possible partnership with The Spring League (TSL), an American developmental football league. This could include TSL teams playing some pre-season games against CFL team under the CFL rules.

XFL: The XFL's owner Vince McMahon stated he has no interest in purchasing the league out of bankruptcy court, but apparently at least 20 bidders are interested in the league and a possible return to play in February 2021.

HOCKEY

American Hockey League: The National Hockey League's Vegas Golden Knights announced its AHL affiliate will be called the Henderson Silver Knights when the team starts play in the 2020-21 season. The Desert Knights was one of the other team nicknames reported to be under consideration. The Silver Knights will start play at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas until a proposed new 6,000-seat arena is completed in the Las Vegas suburb of Henderson. The NHL's Golden Knights recently purchased and relocated the AHL's San Antonio Rampage franchise, which had been part of the league since the 2002-03 season.

Western States Hockey League: The junior-level WSHL, which is considered a Tier-II league under the Amateur Athletic Union's United Hockey Union, announced it will go dormant for the upcoming 2020-21 season due to the uncertainty of future effects from the coronavirus (COVID-19). The league started the 2019-20 season with 23 teams, but 3 teams dropped out mid-season. In March, the league cancelled the remaining few regular-season games and season-ending playoffs due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. In April, nine WSHL teams left to join the United States Premier Hockey League for the 2020-21 season. The WSHL currently lists 11 teams.

SOCCER

Canadian Premier League: As previously reported, the eight-team men's professional CPL was looking to start play at a single-site and has approached the provincial government of Prince Edward Island, which has had relatively few cases and no deaths from the coronavirus (COVID-19). The home of the league's Pacific FC in Langford on Vancouver Island (British Columbia) is also reported to be under consideration.

National Women's Soccer League: The nine-team professional NWSL announced plans this week for a month-long tournament to be held in the Salt Lake City area, which is home to the league's Utah Royals club. The 25-game event will be called the NWSL 2020 Challenge Cup and will start on June 27 with games featuring no fans. It is uncertain if any other games in the 2020 season will be played after this tournament.

Major Arena Soccer League: The MASL is still trying to work out plans to close out its 2020-21 season with playoffs featuring eight teams playing at one location.

OTHER

Major League Rugby: The 12-team professional MLR, which cancelled the remainder of its 2020 season due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, announced a new team called the Los Angeles Giltinis has been awarded a franchise for the 2021 season. The team name comes from a premium cocktail based on the Martini.

World TeamTennis: The nine-team mixed-gender WTT announced plans to hold its entire three-week 2020 season at The Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs (WA) from July 12 to August 1. The resort has a 2,500-seat stadium and 500 fans will be allowed to attend matches. Back in 1984 when the league was known as the TeamTennis Pro League and the Summer Olympics were being held in Los Angeles, the league's regular-season format took a one-year hiatus and a one-week tournament was held for its six teams with all games played at the Los Angeles Forum.

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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