Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report
by Dan Krieger
March 15, 2021 - Pecos League (Pecos)
Pecos League: The city of Lancaster (CA), which recently lost the affiliated Lancaster JetHawks team that had been part of the high Class-A California League, apparently is not interested in hosting a proposed independent Pecos League team to be called the Lancaster Sound Breakers. The JetHawks and the city have reached an agreement to terminate the team's lease at the city-owned ballpark and the city is considering converting the ballpark to an amphitheater.
High-A West: Major League Baseball has informed the Eugene (OR) Emeralds of the new High-A West that the team has until 2025 to develop a new ballpark plan or risk losing its license to operate.
Pacific Association: Not much has been heard from the independent Pacific Association since its 2020 season was cancelled back in May due to the coronavirus (COVID-19). After the cancellation, the Fairfield-based California Dogecoin team, which had joined as the Pacific Association's fourth team in 2020, became part of the newly created Liberation Professional Baseball League that played all games in Huntingburg (IN). The Pacific Association now lists only three teams without the California Dogecoin.
American Basketball Association: The semi-pro ABA announced a team called Yessuh of Bradenton (FL) will be a 2021-22 expansion team.
North American Basketball League: After cancelling its 2020 season because of the coronavirus (COVID-19), the men's semi-pro NABL started the 2021 season two weeks ago with a Southeast Division versus Midwest Division showcase hosted by the Central Alabama Jaguars (Montgomery).
Independent Professional Women's Basketball League: The new IPWBL has been trying to get off the ground and plans to start in 2021 with ten teams playing from May to August. Teams include the Chicago Breeze, Indy Bandits, Memphis Blaze, Iowa Bounce, Dallas Twisters, Houston Titans, San Antonio Surge, Oklahoma Sting (Enid), Topeka Shock and Wichita Machine. The owner of the Oklahoma Sting and Topeka Shock recently announced another new team called the Emporia (KS) Railers and stated all three teams will be part of the National Women's Basketball League (NWBL), which will begin play in May 2022 with other possible teams in Nebraska, Iowa and South Dakota. The NWBL has been organizing with various teams coming and going since 2018, first as the Premiere Basketball League, then the Women's Premiere Basketball League, then the Midwest Woman's Basketball Association and finally the Women's Xtreme Basketball League before becoming the NWBL.
Premier Basketball League: The semi-pro PBL started its 2021 season in January with six participating teams called the Boston 94 Elite, Chautauqua (NY) Hurricane, Dubois (PA) Dream, Lancaster (OH) Thunder, Toledo Glass City and Roc City Lions (Rochester, NY). Although there have been some single games, most games have been played as part of PBL Showcase events at one location before no fans.
Professional Collegiate League: The proposed PCL, formerly known as the Historical Basketball League, has selected the Baltimore Phoenix as the name for the third of eight teams. The Carolina Flight (Charlotte) and DC Stealth (Washington, DC) are the other named teams. The PCL will employ college athletes to play a full summer season of basketball and those athletes will also be enrolled as full-time students. The PCL has targeted Atlanta, Norfolk, Philadelphia, Raleigh and Richmond for teams.
Eastern Canada Basketball League: The new men's professional ECBL, which is trying to organize next season as the premier basketball league in Canada's Maritime provinces of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick, will operate its season and playoffs from March through June.
Canadian Football League: The CFL and the springtime U.S.-based XFL announced they have agreed to work together and collaborate on how to grow the game of football, but the exact nature of this relationship is uncertain. The CFL is struggling financially since it cancelled its entire 2020 season. The eight-team XFL ceased operations after cancelling the second half of its inaugural 2020 season due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) and was recently purchased out of bankruptcy. The new XFL ownership had talked of restarting the league in 2022, but those plans are apparently on hold due to conversations with the CFL.
Women's Tackle Football League: After cancelling its inaugural 2020 season due to the coronavirus (COVID-19), the WTFL is again preparing for a start in 2021. The 2020 season was to feature 14 teams across the United States playing from April to mid-June. Since then, several teams have come and gone but the league currently lists an 11-team Eastern Conference and a 12-team Western Conference.
Southern Professional Hockey League: The minor-league SPHL announced the addition of an expansion team called the Vermillion County Bobcats, based in Danville (IL), for the 2021-22 season. The SPHL team replaces the Danville Dashers of the Federal Prospects Hockey League (FPHL) at the David S. Palmer Arena after the city voted to cancel the Dashers' lease. The Danville Dashers joined the FPHL for the 2011-12 season, but have not played this season due to coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions.
North American Hockey League: The Kansas City Scouts of the Tier-II junior-level NAHL recently announced the team applied for and received active status for the 2021-22 season. The Scouts are the relocation of the league's Topeka Pilots team that last played in the 2019-20 season.
National Women's Hockey League: The NWHL announced it will resume its suspended playoffs on March 26 and March 27, 2021 in Brighton (MA). The six-team NWHL played a shortened two-week 2020-21 season in Lake Placid (NY), but the two semi-final games and a championship game scheduled for the first week of February had to be cancelled due to coronavirus (COVID-19) concerns.
Major League Soccer: Due to restrictions for travel to Canada at the start of the 2021 MLS season, the league's CF Montreal will be based in Fort Lauderdale and host home games at the temporary home of the league's Inter Miami CF. Likewise, the league's Vancouver Whitecaps FC will start the 2021 season hosting home games at Real Salt Lake's stadium in the Salt Lake City area.
Canadian Premier League: The eight-team professional CPL announced it has granted an expansion team to an ownership group in Saskatchewan contingent on construction of a soccer-specific stadium. The ownership group has targeted Prairieland Park in Saskatoon as a possible stadium site.
National Women's Soccer League: The ten-team NWSL announced the details for its 2021 NWSL Challenge Cup tournament that will start off the league's 2021 season. Teams will be aligned in five-team East and West divisions with games played in home markets. Each team will play four games with division winners meeting in a final on May 8, 2021. Teams will then play a 24-game regular season that will start on May 15, 2021.
National Independent Soccer Association: The Division-III professional NISA announced it will start play in 2021 with a two-week Legends Cup tournament in Chattanooga (TN) from April 13 to April 25, 2021 and the official 2021 Spring Season will follow. The Legends Cup will feature nine teams aligned in three groups. The winner of the Legends Cup will play the winner of the nine-team Spring Season to determine who will play the 2020 Fall Season winner (Detroit City FC) for the 2020-21 NISA Championship.
United Women's Soccer: The pro-am UWS announced the Austin area's Williamson County FC, or Wilco FC, has been added as a seventh team to the league's 2021 Southwest Conference.
American Ultimate Disk League: After cancelling the entire 2020 season, which was to run from early April to mid-July, due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the professional AUDL has approved a return to play in 2021 with all 22 teams participating. Due to travel restrictions between the United States and Canada, the league's three Canadian teams will each play eight games against each other in an independent AUDL Canada Cup series from July through September. The remaining 19 teams will be aligned in three regional divisions and each team will play a 12-game schedule with AUDL Championship playoffs from June to mid-September.
National Lacrosse League: After first delaying the start of the 2020-21 season until April 2021 and then deciding to cancel the entire season, the professional indoor NLL announced it will start its 2021-22 season on December 3, 2021 with each team playing an 18-game schedule. The league has grown to 14 teams with the addition of the Fort Worth-based Panther City Lacrosse Club. One other change will be the relocation of the New England Black Wolves (Uncasville, CT) to Albany (NY) under a new name still to be announced.
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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Pecos League Stories from March 15, 2021
- Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report - OSC Original by Dan Krieger
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