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Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report

by Dan Krieger
October 11, 2021 - Frontier League (FL)


BASEBALL

Frontier League: The owners of the independent Frontier League's Marion-based Southern Illinois Miners are retiring from ownership of the team and the 2021 season was the last season for the Miners. The Southern Illinois Miners had joined the league as a 2007 expansion team. Prior to joining the Frontier League, the owners had tried to relocate the South Bend (IN) team in the low Class-A Midwest League to the new ballpark in Marion, but the Midwest League did not approve of the move.

Atlantic League: The independent Atlantic League's new 2022 Staten Island (NY) expansion team has narrowed its team nickname choices to three finalists-Ferry Hawks, Harbor Heroes and Dragon Slayers. No longer under consideration are the Responders, Greenbelters, Front Liners and Watch Dogs.

Liga Mexicana del Pacific: Mexico's fall-winter LMP, or Mexican-Pacific League, started its 2021-22 season this week with the same ten teams as last season. The regular-season runs through December followed by playoffs.

BASKETBALL

National Basketball League of Canada: The Halifax Hurricanes (Nova Scotia) team in the NBL-Canada announced it is leaving the league and it will look at other options for a return in the future. After sitting idle for 2020-21, the league last played a 2019-20 season with eight teams aligned in four-team Atlantic and Central divisions. Since then, the league lost the Moncton Magic (New Brunswick) and now Halifax from its Atlantic Division. The Halifax Hurricanes joined the league for the 2015-16 season and replaced the league's Halifax Rainmen team that folded after the 2014-15 season. Of the two remaining Atlantic Division teams in Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island, the St. John's Edge (Newfoundland) still needs to find a new home after losing its arena lease to a new American Basketball Association team for the 2021-22 season. The league's four Central Division teams are based in Ontario.

American Basketball Association: The semi-pro ABA's new team to be based in St. John's (Newfoundland) will be called the Newfoundland Rogues when it starts play late next month.

National Basketball League – United States: The NBL-US, which is listed as "The Exposure League," plans to restart play in January 2022 with six Texas-based teams in a First Premier Credit Conference and six Florida-based teams in a Hall of Financial Conference. The league played a short summer season with eight teams-four Texas teams in a National Conference and two Georgia and two Florida teams in an American Conference.

The Basketball League: The minor professional TBL's recently announced 2022 expansion team called the Southern Indiana Timberjacks, based in Medora (IN), has changed to the Medora Timberjacks. Although a proposed new TBL team to be based in Topeka (KS) has not been officially approved, the team's owner wants to call the team the Topeka Wizards.

Minor League Basketball Association: After cancelling its 2020 season due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the semi-pro MLBA played a short 2021 season from late March through mid-June with only a four-team Heartland Conference consisting of the Dodge City Gamblers, Oklahoma City Servants, Oklahoma Outlaws and Wichita Wizards.

FOOTBALL

Fan Controlled Football: The 7-on-7 indoor fan-interactive FCF, which is the first fan-controlled professional sports league with fans electronically calling plays and completed a short inaugural 2021 season earlier this year with four teams, plans to expand to eight teams for a second season in Spring 2022. The FCF has also signed a broadcast deal with NBCUniversal.

HOCKEY

Alberta Junior Hockey League: After playing a shortened 2020-21 season due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Junior-A AJHL started its 2021-22 season last month with 16 teams aligned in eight-team North and South divisions. The league grew by one team this season with the addition of the Blackfalds Bulldogs to the South division.

Central Canada Hockey League: The Junior-A CCHL recently started its 2021-22 season with the same 12 eastern Ontario teams that are aligned in six-team Yzerman and Robinson divisions. The league played a shortened season last season due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) with all teams participating.in what was called Developmental Scrimmage Action.

Manitoba Junior Hockey League: After suspending play last season in November 2020 due to the coronavirus (COVID-19), the MJHL started its 2021-22 season last month with the same 12 teams. Instead of last season's three-division alignment, the MJHL is now aligned in six-team East and West divisions.

Maritime Junior Hockey League: The Junior-A MHL started its 2021-22 season late last month with the same 12 teams as last season aligned in six-team EastLink North and EastLink South divisions. The MHL teams played shortened schedules in 2020-21 due to coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions.

Superior-International Junior Hockey League: The Junior-A SIJHL started its 2021-22 season last month with seven teams, two of which are based in the United States and the rest in western Ontario. The two U.S.-based teams, the Thief River Falls (MN) Norskies and the Wisconsin Lumberjacks (Spooner) did not play last season and only four other teams played a handful of regular-season games last season due to coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions. Due to current travel restrictions, the Norskies and Lumberjacks have been playing each other or just road games while the league struggles to reschedule their home games.

Ontario Hockey League: After cancelling its entire 2020-21 season due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the 20-team major-junior OHL started its 2021-22 season this week with the same teams and alignment from the 2019-20 season. The OHL is aligned in an Eastern Conference with five-team East and Central divisions and a Western Conference with five-team Midwest and West divisions. The provincial government of Ontario has allowed cross-border travel for the league's three U.S. teams in Erie (PA), Flint (MI) and Saginaw (MI) and arenas will start the season at 50 percent capacity for games.

Ligue de Hockey Junior AAA du Quebec: The Junior-A LHJAAAQ, or Quebec Junior Hockey League, started its 2021-22 season last month with 12 teams aligned in four-team Est (East), Nord (North) and Ouest (West) divisions. After a few pre-season games in 2020, the league was unable to play a 2020-21 regular season. A team called the Condors de Cegep Beauce-Appalaches was added as a 13th team prior to last season, but the Forts de Chambly left the league before this season keeping the league at 12 teams.

SOCCER

National Indoor Soccer League: The proposed new NISL, which will operate with four teams in both men's and women's divisions, announced its inaugural season will start on December 26, 2021. The NISL previously announced three teams and plans to announce its fourth team in a few weeks.

Major Arena Soccer League: The MASL announced its 2021-22 season schedule that will feature 12 teams aligned in four-team Eastern, Central and Western conferences. Each team will play 24 games from late November 2021 to early April 2022.

League1 Ontario: Back in August, the Electric City FC of Peterborough (Ontario) announced plans to place a men's team in Canada's Division-III provincial pro-am League1 Ontario for the 2022 season with a women's team to be added in 2023. Long-range plans have the club eventually moving up to the Canadian Premier League.

Première Ligue de Soccer du Québec: The Division-III provincial pro-am PLSQ (Quebec Premier Soccer League) recently announced the addition of a men's team called CS Saint-Laurent and a women's team called Chaudière-Ouest Rapides for the 2022 season. The league's only non-Quebec team called the Ottawa South United, which moved to the PLSQ from the League1 Ontario for the 2020 season, had to drop out midway through the 2021 season due to Ontario-Quebec border crossing restrictions. This did not affect the PLSQ's Ottawa South United women's team that had already completed its 2021 season.

USL League One (United Soccer League): The Division-III professional USL League One announced a new team based in Lexington (KY) will join for the 2023 season. The team will start play at a collegiate stadium until a proposed new soccer stadium is built.

USL W-League (United Soccer League): The new women's pre-professional USL W-League announced the Chicago City SC has been added as the 20th team for the league's inaugural 2022 season. Chicago City had been part of the Women's Premier Soccer League for the past few seasons and a men's Chicago City SC team was previously announced for the 2022 season of the pre-professional USL League Two.

OTHER

Arena Lacrosse League: Canada's indoor winter amateur developmental ALL announced its seven-team ALL East will start its 2021-22 season on December 18, 2021 with each team playing a 14-game schedule through March 2022. The ALL East will feature the same seven teams that participated in the league's last season of 2019-20. The league's new ALL West, which will have four teams playing in Langley (British Columbia) starting this season, has yet to announce the team names or schedule.

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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