Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report
by Dan Krieger
August 16, 2021 - National Basketball League of Canada (NBL Canada)
Major League Baseball Draft League: The ownership of the Trenton Thunder in the short-season MLB Draft League stated the team will return for a second season in 2022, but will continue to pursue options to return to being an MLB affiliated team. The Thunder lost its Double-A affiliation with the New Yankees during the restructuring of Minor League Baseball and opted to join the new MLB Draft League for 2021. The Thunder provided its home ballpark as a temporary home to the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons during the 2021 season, while the MLB Draft League team ended up playing all but its last six home games at nearby Rider University. The Triple-A Bisons team was referred to as the Bisons-Thunder and played as the Trenton Thunder for its Trenton-based home games.
Southern Shores Professional Baseball League: The new independent developmental SSPBL completed its inaugural two-month 2021 season last weekend with four teams called the Carolina Yankees, High Point Bats, South Carolina Dragons and Burlington Royals. The SSPBL is part of the National Independent Baseball Association, which operates seasonal showcases and also operated a five-team Southern Shores Collegiate League this summer in the Carolinas.
National Basketball League of Canada: The Moncton Magic (New Brunswick) of the NBL-Canada announced the team is leaving the league and will explore other options for a return in the future. The Magic joined the NBL-Canada for the 2017-18 season when it replaced a former league-operated team called the Moncton Miracles. The NBL-Canada, which typically plays a December-through-April season, last played with eight teams in a 2019-20 season that was cut short in March 2020 due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The league's St. John's Edge (Newfoundland) team recently lost the lease at its home arena to a proposed American Basketball Association team.
National Basketball Association G-League: The NBA G-League's Fort Wayne Mad Ants teams, which is owned and operated by the NBA's Indianapolis Pacers, announced the team will play 9 home games in Indianapolis and only 15 home games in Fort Wayne during the 2021-22 season. The team stated these plans are only for the 2020-21 season and there has been no talk of moving the team to Indianapolis.
BIG3 League: The tour-based 3-on-3 professional BIG3 League announced its 2021 playoffs and championship game will be held in The Bahamas on August 28 and September 4. The eight-week regular season was to feature games played only in Las Vegas and New Orleans, but the New Orleans games were moved to Dallas (Week 4), Milwaukee (Week 5) and Chicago (Week 6) due to the coronavirus (COVID).
Independent Women's Professional Basketball League: The new IWPBL, which played a short 2021 summer season with seven teams, announced a team called the Chicago Gambits will join in 2022. The league also announced a new four-team Southeast Division with possible teams in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Georgia will be added for the 2022 season.
Global Women's Basketball Association: The semi-pro summertime GWBA has finished its 2021 season with four teams called the Flint Monarchs, St. Louis Surge, Wisconsin Glo (Oshkosh) and Detroit Dodgers each playing nine or ten games. A fifth GWBA team called the Columbus Cardinals was on the teams' original schedules, but did not end up playing this season. The GWBA teams also played some non-league games against teams from the Independent Women's Professional Basketball League.
Champions Indoor Football: The CIF announced the addition of expansion teams in Topeka (KS) and Denver for the 2022 season. Topeka had the Topeka Knights for two seasons (1999-2000) in the first version of the Indoor Football League. That team changed to the Topeka Kings during the 2000 season. The Kansas Koyotes played ten seasons (2003-12) in the American Professional Football League and two seasons (2013-14) in the Champions Professional Indoor Football League. A team called the Topeka Thundercats were to join the American Arena League for its 2021 season, but the team never played and recently stated it was converting to the Topeka Warbirds indoor football team. Denver had previous Arena Football League teams called the Denver Dynamite (1987, 1989-91) and Colorado Crush (2003-08). A Denver-area team called the Colorado Ice (Loveland) played two seasons (2007-08) in the United Indoor Football and joined the Indoor Football League as part of a merger and played eight seasons (2008-15) as the Ice and two seasons (2016-17) as the Colorado Crush. A short-lived team called the Denver Aviators played two games in the 2007 season of the former National Indoor Football League before disbanding.
Indoor Football League: The IFL's Oakland Panthers team, which sat out the 2021 season, confirmed this week the team will be moving to San Jose for the 2022 season as the renamed Bay Area Panthers.
American Hockey League: The AHL's Springfield (MA) Thunderbirds announced it will again host a Springfield Ice-O-Topes Night in the 2021-22 season and play as the Springfield Ice-O-Topes, which was the name of a fictitious hockey team in "The Simpsons" animated TV series.
Da Beauty League: After cancelling its 2020 season due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the DBL started its fifth season of 4-on-4 summertime ice hockey last month with six teams called BIC, Tradition, Jimmy John's, Walser, TRIA and Nor-Son. Each team is sponsored by a local business and is comprised of National Hockey League players, minor hockey league players and college players that are from Minnesota or spend their summers in Minnesota. Three games involving all six teams are played on nine weeknights in a regular season that runs from July 14 to August 18. All games are played at Braemar Arena in Edina (MN).
Federal Prospects Hockey League: The FPHL held a dispersal draft this week for the Elmira (NY) Enforcers team that will not play in the upcoming 2021-22 season. The FPHL has yet to announce its 2021-22 schedule but it looks like the league will be down to seven teams.
Western States Hockey League: The junior-level WSHL, which is considered a Tier-II league under the Amateur Athletic Union's United Hockey Union and sat dormant for the 2020-21 season, announced the league's new Medford (OR) team will be called the Rogue Valley Royals when the league restarts play in the 2021-22 season. The WSHL currently lists a five-team Provincial Division with teams based in Alberta (Canada) and a six-team Northwest Division with teams based in Oregon, Utah and Washington.
Major League Soccer: A co-owner of the National Basketball Association's Milwaukee Bucks is reported to be interested in bringing an MLS expansion team to Las Vegas. This effort is reported to be considering Allegiant Stadium, home of the National Football League's Las Vegas Raiders. The owner of the National Hockey League's Vegas Golden Knights also expressed interest in bringing an MLS team to that stadium. A third group wants to redevelop Cashman Field, home of the USL Championship's Las Vegas Lights, for an MLS team. MLS recently lost its investor for a proposed 30th team in Sacramento, so other markets like Las Vegas, Phoenix and San Diego are said to be under consideration for the league's next team. MLS has 27 current teams with Charlotte to be added in 2022 and St. Louis in 2023.
National Independent Soccer Association: The Division-III professional men's NISA started its 2021 Fall Season last weekend with ten teams each playing an 18-game schedule through November 21. All nine teams that participated the Spring Season, which featured each team playing an eight-game schedule, have returned and the league added the Chicago House AC expansion team.
USL Championship (United Soccer League): With the addition of the Austin FC expansion team in Major League Soccer's 2021 season, reports indicate the Austin Bold FC of the Division-II professional USL Championship league could be sold and relocated to a proposed new 10,000-seat soccer stadium in Fort Worth for the 2022 season.
USL W-League (United Soccer League): The new version of the USL W-League, which plans to start in 2022 as a pre-professional league, recently announced the Ashville City SC (North Carolina) as the league's tenth team for its inaugural season. Asheville City SC has been part of the Women's Premier Soccer League since the 2018 season. The league also announced plans to add ten more teams over the next two months as it moves toward a goal of 30 teams for the inaugural 2022 season.
Arena Lacrosse League: Canada's seven-team Ontario-based ALL, whose teams typically play a 14-game schedule in a January-through-March season, announced its 2022 season will start in mid-December 2021. The ALL last played in 2020 when it was forced to cancel the last two weeks of the season due to the coronavirus (COVID-19). The entire 2021 season was also cancelled. The ALL is a developmental league providing talent to the National Lacrosse League and claims to be the "Unofficial Minor League to the NLL".
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 August 16, 2021
- Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report - OSC Original by Dan Krieger
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