Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report
by Dan Krieger
July 19, 2021 - Indoor Football League (IFL)
Atlantic League: A group of investors is planning to bring an independent Atlantic League team to Staten Island's Richmond County Bank Ballpark next season. The ballpark was home to the Staten Island (NY) Yankees (1999-2020) of the former Class-A short-season New York-Penn League, which was shut down in late 2020 as part of the restructuring of Minor League Baseball. This left the Staten Island Yankees without a Major League Baseball affiliate and Staten Island without a team in the 2021 season.
Appalachian League (APPY): After a former player on the Kingsport (TN) Axmen in the summer-collegiate APPY threatened team players, the league decided to shut down the team and create the Kingsport Road Warriors travel-only team with all new players to complete the season on the road.
Major League Baseball: The MLB commissioner supports the relocation of the Oakland Athletics team if a vote is not favorable next week on construction of a proposed new stadium in Oakland. The Toronto Blue Jays confirmed the team will return from Buffalo to Toronto for home games starting July 30, 2021.
National Basketball League of Canada: The St. John's (Newfoundland) Edge of the NBL-Canada has lost its lease at the city's Mile One Centre and a new ownership group with interest in bringing an American Basketball Association team to the city has been granted the arena lease. The Edge joined the league as a 2017-18 expansion team. The NBL-Canada cancelled the last part of its eight-team 2019-20 season and its entire 2020-21 season due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Liga Nacional de Baloncesto Profesional: The LNBP, Mexico's top professional basketball league, announced its 2021 season schedule that will feature ten teams aligned in a five-team Zona Este (East Division) and a five-team Zone Oeste (West Division). Teams will each play a 20-game schedule from September 2 through October 22 followed by playoffs. The LNBP operated with 12 teams last season, but the Mineros de Zacatecas, Aguacateros de Michoacan and Correcaminos Ciudad Victoria did not return. The Halcones de Xalapa-Veracruz team, which last played in the 2014-15 season, was added this season.
Maximum Basketball League: The Atlanta Wildcats team, which last played in the 2019-20 season of the American Basketball Association, will be joining the MBL for its 2021-22 season. The MBL recently completed its 2020-21 season with 32 teams aligned in 5 regional divisions across the United States.
The Basketball League: The minor professional TBL announced the addition of the Toledo Glass City BC (Basketball Club) as a 2022 expansion team. The Glass City BC was a member of the Premier Basketball League for that league's most recent 2021 season. The TBL is finishing up its 2021 season that featured 29 teams in 4 regional divisions and it wants to grow to 48 teams for the 2022 season. The TBL also announced a three-day Exposure Summer League will be held next month in Las Vegas.
Indoor Football League: The IFL's Oakland Panthers are reported to be moving to San Jose for the 2022 season. The Oakland Panthers were a 2020 IFL expansion team but it never played since the season was cancelled after only two games due to the coronavirus (COVID-19). The team voluntarily sat out the IFL's 2021 season.
National Football League: The NFL's Washington Football Team, which changed its name from the Washington Redskins prior to the league's 2020 season, announced that the "Warriors" nickname will not be under consideration for the team's new name because it closely aligns to Native American themes. The team is expected to announce its new name in early 2022. The Redskins' ownership had trademarked the Warriors nickname back in 2000 for a proposed Arena Football League team that never materialized.
West Coast Arena Football: The new WCAF plans to start its inaugural season in 2022 with four California-based teams Bakersfield Pantheons, Fresno Fog, San Francisco Disruptors and Stockton Scorpions. The league has been trying to get off the ground since it was formed in 2018 as the California Giant Sequoia League.
American Hockey League: The AHL's new Abbotsford (British Columbia) team, which will be the AHL affiliate of the National Hockey League's Vancouver Canucks, announced it will be called the Abbotsford Canucks when it starts play in the 2021-22 season. The Canucks name was selected from one of ten nickname choices offered for fan voting. The Vancouver Canucks had operated its AHL affiliate as the Utica (NY) Comets for eight seasons (2013-21) prior to moving the team to Abbotsford.
National Hockey League: The arena being renovated for the NHL's 2021-22 expansion team called the Seattle Kraken is behind schedule, so the team will play three pre-season games at the homes of major-junior Western Hockey League teams in Spokane, Seattle and Everett. Construction delays might force the team to play more road games to start its initial season.
Southern Professional Hockey League: The SPHL announced its 2021-22 season schedule will feature 11 teams aligned in a single-table format and each team will play 56 games. The league played a shortened 42-game schedule last season with only five of its ten teams participating due to the coronavirus (COVID-19). The five teams that voluntarily sat out last season will return and the league added an expansion team called the Vermillion County Bobcats (Danville, IL) for the 2021-22 season.
Federal Prospects Hockey League: A group trying to bring an FPHL team to Biloxi (MS) plans to host three FPHL regular-season neutral-site games in Biloxi during December 2021. Biloxi was home to the former Mississippi Sea Wolves in the ECHL (1996-2009) and the former Mississippi Surge in the Southern Professional Hockey League (2009-14). The home arena of the FPHL's Elmira (NY) Enforcers has come under new control and it could affect the team's ability to sign a lease for the 2021-22 season. Only four of the league's eight teams played last season. As of now, three idle teams will return but the Danville (IL) Dashers folded. The new Binghamton Black Bears were added to return the league to eight teams.
Major Arena Soccer League: The MASL's Soles de Sonora (Hermosillo) team has transferred its league membership to the Chihuahua Savage FC, which is expected to be part of the 2021-22 season if it meets certain MASL conditions. The Soles de Sonora, which last played in the MASL's 2019-20 season and voluntarily sat out the 2020-21 season, will apparently be part of a new Mexican league called Liga Elite de Mexico. The Chihuahua Savage FC was part of the lower-level MASL2 for the 2019-20 season and also has had a team in Mexico's indoor soccer league called the Liga Mexicana de Futbol Rapido.
USL League One (United Soccer League): The new Division-III professional USL League One team to be based on Windsor (CO) will be called the Northern Colorado Hailstorm FC when it starts play in the 2022 season. The team will share a new facility with the Northern Colorado Owlz baseball team in the independent Pioneer League.
National Lacrosse League: The professional indoor (box lacrosse) NLL announced its 2021-22 season will start on December 3, 2021 with 14 teams aligned in an eight-team East Conference and a six-team West Conference. The NLL last played in the 2019-20 season with 13 teams aligned in 3 regional divisions. That season was cut short and the 2020-21 season was cancelled due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Since the 2019-20 season, the NLL has added the Panther City Lacrosse Club (Fort Worth), and the New England Black Wolves relocated from Uncasville (CT) to become the Albany (NY) FireWolves for the 2021-22 season.
World TeamTennis: The professional WTT confirmed its entire 2021 season will be played at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden near Palm Springs (CA) from November 13 through November 28. Only the league's New York Empire, Springfield (MO) Lasers, Chicago Smash, Orange County (CA) Breakers and San Diego Aviators will participate in the 2021 season. The WTT's other teams called the Philadelphia Freedoms, Vegas Rollers, Orlando Storm and Washington (DC) Kastles will not be participating but will remain in good standing and return for the 2022 season when the league hopes teams will again be able to host home matches. The WTT played its entire 2020 season at The Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs (WV) with nine participating teams.
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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