Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report
by Dan Krieger
November 15, 2021 - National Basketball League of Canada (NBL Canada)
American Association: The independent American Association announced its 2022 schedule and team alignment this week. The league remains at ten teams with the elimination of the 2021 Houston Apollos travel-only team and the addition of the new Lake Country DockHounds team based in the Milwaukee suburb of Oconomowoc (WI). Teams have been realigned from North and South divisions to the renamed East and West divisions.
Atlantic League: The independent Atlantic League announced the addition of a tenth team that will be based in Lexington (KY) and owned and operated by the league's Lexington Legends team for the 2022 season. The league needed a tenth team to balance its schedule after playing with eight teams last season and adding the new Staten Island (NY) team for the 2022 season. The new Lexington team will play a full schedule and will use "Kentucky" in its name that is to be announced shortly. An expansion team in Hagerstown (MD) will join in 2023 and replace the additional Lexington team.
Major League Baseball Draft League: The MLB Draft League will return for its second season in 2022 with the same six teams as last season playing an extended 80-game schedule. The first part of the 2022 season will feature amateur, draft-eligible players similar to last season while the second part will feature professional players who have lost their amateur eligibility and want to start their professional careers.
MINK League: The summer-collegiate MINK (Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas) league has added a new team called the Carroll (IA) Merchants as a ninth team for the 2022 season.
Western Canadian Baseball League: The new ballpark being built in the Edmonton suburb of Spruce Grove for the Edmonton Prospects team in the summer-collegiate WCBL will not be ready until 2023, so the team will play most 2022 home games in the Edmonton suburb of Sherwood Park and other cities.
Athletes Unlimited â Basketball League: The organization known as Athletes Unlimited announced last month the launch of a new four-team women's professional basketball league that will play its inaugural season at one location in Las Vegas from January 26 through February 26, 2022. The league will follow the same format as similar Athletes Unlimited professional women's leagues that have been established in the sports of softball, volleyball and field lacrosse.
Canadian Elite Basketball League: The commissioner of the men's professional CEBL has talked with Canada Basketball about developing an associated women's basketball league. The CEBL played its 2021 season with seven teams and has announced two new teams for 2022. The commissioner stated a tenth team for the 2022 season could be announced by the end of the year.
Eastern Canadian Basketball League: The proposed new ECBL, which plans to start play in the spring of 2022 with six league-operated teams based in the Maritimes provinces, announced the Summerside Slam (Prince Edward Island) as the league's third team. Last month, the ECBL announced the Truro Tide (Nova Scotia) and Saint John Union (New Brunswick) as the league's first two teams. Summerside had a former National Basketball League of Canada team called the Summerside Storm for two seasons (2011-13) before moving to Charlottetown (PEI) as the Island Storm.
National Basketball League of Canada: The minor professional NBL-Canada posted its 2022 schedule that will feature four Ontario-based teams each playing a 24-game schedule from February 5 through April 30. Each team's schedule will include some games against eight teams from The Basketball League. The group that owns the ECHL's St. John's-based Newfoundland Growlers, and also attempted to purchase the NBL-Canada's St. John's Edge (Newfoundland) team, stated it will pursue a new team for the city but in a different league, possibly the Canadian Elite Basketball League. The ownership of the St. John's Edge has expressed interest in placing an NBL-Canada team in Sydney (Nova Scotia) instead of Newfoundland. The league had a former Sydney-based team called the Cape Breton Highlanders for three seasons (2016-19).
The Basketball League: The minor professional TBL announced an expansion team called the Henry County All Americans, based about 45 miles north of Indianapolis in New Castle (IN), has been added to the league. TBL officials recently met with officials in Terra Haute (IN) about possibly bringing a future team to that city. The TBL also added the Dayton (OH) Flight and Toledo Glass City to increase from six to eight the number of TBL teams that will be involved in inter-league play with the National Basketball League of Canada in the 2022 season.
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, announced player combine dates for its second season in the spring of 2022. The FCF will double in size from four to eight teams with each team playing a seven-game schedule.
National Arena League: The NAL announced the San Antonio Gunslingers have joined the league as a 2022 expansion team. The Gunslingers were part of the American Arena League in the 2021 season.
Professional Women's Hockey Players Association: The tour-based PWHPA held its first event of the 2021-22 season this weekend in Truro (Nova Scotia) with four participating teams: Team Bauer (Boston), Team Scotiabank (Calgary), Team Harvey's (Montreal) and Team Sonnet (Toronto). The PWHPA also announced its second four-team tour stop will be held in Toronto next month under a partnership with the National Hockey League's Toronto Maple Leafs.
Canadian Premier League: Canada's eight-team Division-II professional CPL announced the addition of an expansion team in the Vancouver (British Columbia) market for the 2023 season. The team will be owned by the group that operates the league's Pacific FC, which is based on Vancouver Island in Langford (British Columbia) near Victoria. Ownership plans to build a new 8,000-seat soccer stadium for the new team. Earlier this year, the CPL granted exclusive rights to a group in Saskatoon (Saskatchewan) for a future expansion team.
National Women's Soccer League: The professional NWSL's San Diego expansion team announced it will be called the San Diego Wave Futbol Club, or San Diego Wave FC, when the team starts play in the 2022 season along with the league's other expansion team called the Angel City FC (Los Angeles).
USL Championship (United Soccer League): The Detroit City FC "Le Rouge" of the Division-III National Independent Soccer Association announced the team is leaving the league to join the Division-II USL Championship for the 2022 season. The team started in 2012 as part of the amateur-level National Premier Soccer League before starting play in the 2020 NISA Spring Season. Officials from Hawaii have met with the USL to discuss bringing a USL Championship team to a proposed new stadium to be built in Honolulu for the University of Hawaii football team along with a possible Major League Rugby team.
USL W-League (United Soccer League): The new women's pre-professional USL W-League announced the AFC Ann Arbor (MI) has joined for the league's inaugural 2022 season. The AFC Ann Arbor was part of the United Women's Soccer since 2019, but has not played the past two seasons due to the coronavirus (COVID-19). AFC Ann Arbor has a men's team in the pre-professional USL League Two and it will return to play in 2022 after also sitting out the past two seasons.
United Women's Soccer: The pro-am UWS announced the Indiana Union (Indianapolis) team will return in 2022 and will also operate a team in the lower-level UWS League Two. The Indiana Union last played in the 2019 UWS season. The 2020 season was cancelled and the team decided to sit out the 2021 season.
Major League Rugby: The professional MLR announced its fifth season will start in early February 2022 with 13 teams aligned in a six-team Eastern Conference and a seven-team Western Conference. The MLR played with 12 teams last season and has added the expansion Dallas Jackals team to the 2022 Western Conference. Teams will play 16 matches through June 5. The MLR is reported to be in discussions with two groups for possible expansion in 2023. The MLR plays the rugby-union style with 15 players aside.
National Lacrosse League: The men's professional indoor NLL announced it has entered into a partnership with the Junior-A level Ontario Junior Lacrosse League that will see the two leagues work together on coaching, officiating, marketing and game-related activities.
World TeamTennis: The professional WTT started its two-week 2021 season this weekend with six participating teams called the New York Empire, Chicago Smash, Orange County (CA) Breakers, San Diego Aviators and Springfield (MO) Lasers. The entire season will be played at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden near Palm Springs (CA) through November 28, 2021 with each team playing 11 matches. 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 all 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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