Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report
by Dan Krieger
December 13, 2021 - Federal Prospects Hockey League (FPHL)
Northwoods League: The summer-collegiate Northwoods League announced its only Canadian team called the Thunder Bay Border Cats (Ontario) will not play for a second season in a row due to potential travel restrictions from the coronavirus (COVID-19). As it did for the 2021 season, the league will operate the Minnesota Mud Puppies travel-only team, which will be based in the Twin Cities and play the 36-game road schedule that was assigned to the Border Cats. After announcing seven potential new nickname choices, the league's Battle Creek Bombers announced a final four list of names that includes the Crunchers and Doughnuts, along with the Battle Jacks and Blue Collars, two names that were not included in the original seven nickname choices.
Independent League Baseball: The new summer-collegiate Independence League, which was formed when seven teams broke away from the summer-collegiate Expedition League after the 2021 season, announced the addition of a yet-to-be-named team in Laramie (WY).
Prospect League: The summer-collegiate Prospect League has expressed interest in the Jackson (TN) market, which lost its affiliated Double-A Southern League team called the Jackson Generals prior to the 2021 season and was home to the American Association's Winnipeg Goldeyes for part of the 2021 season.
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 Canada's Maritime provinces, announced its fifth team will be the Bathurst Bears (New Brunswick).
Women's National Basketball Association: The professional WNBA announced its 2022 season schedule that will feature the same 12 teams as last season with each team playing a 36-game schedule from early May to mid-August. The 2022 season will include each team participating in a ten-game Commissioner's Cup tournament.
American Basketball Association: The semi-pro ABA announced its new ABA International, which will try to establish ABA leagues in various countries worldwide. The ABA has been trying to establish leagues in Canada, Mexico, Australia and the Caribbean, but will now consider new leagues in Europe, Asia, Africa, Central America and South America. In 2018, the league established the ABA International Tours, which was to place ABA teams on foreign tours and have foreign teams tour the United States.
The Basketball League: The TBL's 2022 expansion team that was recently announced as the Henry County All-Americans, based in New Castle (IN), has changed its name to the Indiana All-Americans. The TBL plans to hold a player combine in February that will include representatives from all 42 teams planned for the league's next season starting in the spring of 2022.
American West Football Conference: The semi-pro AWFC announced its 2022 season schedule that will feature six teams each playing ten games from late March to mid-June. All five teams from last season will return and the league added the expansion SoCal Red Tails (City of Industry, CA). The AWFC stated that teams will play some crossover games against teams from the new American Indoor Football Alliance.
American Indoor Football Alliance: The proposed new AIFA's Mississippi Raiders team, which was part of the 2021 American Arena League before moving to the AIFA, has moved from Hattiesburg to Jackson ahead of the league's inaugural 2022 season.
Arena Professional Football League: The proposed new APFL now lists the Pennsylvania Union (Harrisburg) as new member for the league's inaugural 2022 season. The team played in the 2021 American Arena League and was previously listed as part of the American Indoor Football Alliance.
Indoor Football League: The group that was to operate the IFL's expansion Columbus (OH) Wild Dogs team has apparently ended its relationship with the ownership of the franchise. The Wild Dogs were left off the IFL's 2022 schedule and recently stated it would delay its launch until 2023 due to restrictions of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Federal Prospects Hockey League: The FPHL held the first of its three neutral-site games in Biloxi (MS) on December 2, 2021 to gauge the market for a potential future expansion team. The next games will be held next weekend and December 30. 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).
Major Arena Soccer League 2: The MASL's second-division MASL2, or M2, started its 2021-22 season this weekend with 13 teams aligned in a four-team Great Lakes Division, a five-team Midwest Division and a four-team Western Division. All seven participating teams from last season have returned along with the New Mexico Runners and Ontario (CA) Fury 2 that voluntarily sat out last season. Also joining for the 2021-22 season are the San Diego Sockers 2, Rio Grande Valley Barracudas (Hidalgo, TX), the Cincinnati-based BC Swerve (merger of Brew City SC and Cincinnati Swerve), and the Turlock Cal Express team that dropped down a level from the MASL. Each team will play a 12-game schedule through March 2022.
Major League Soccer NEXT Pro: The MLS announced details for its new Division-III MLS NEXT Pro league, which will start play in 2022 with 21 teams and add at least 8 additional teams in 2023. The MLS NEXT Pro will be slotted between the Division-I MLS and the MLS NEXT academy teams and will serve as pro pathway for lower-level players. Of the 21 teams, 20 will be direct affiliates operated by MLS teams. St. Louis City FC, which is a 2023 MLS expansion team, will be one of these 20 MLS affiliates in 2022. Rochester NYFC, which was the former Rochester Rhinos that last played in the 2017 USL Championship and came under new ownership, will be the lone independent team in the 2022 MLS NEXT Pro season. The MLS hopes to add other independent teams along with the MLS-affiliated teams in the future. Several MLS teams that operated affiliated teams in the Division-II USL Championship and Division-III USL League One will move those teams to the MLS NEXT Pro. MLS teams that did not have a USL affiliate or did not own their USL affiliate will start new MLS NEXT Pro teams.
USL Championship (United Soccer League): The Division-II professional USL Championship announced the Austin Bold FC has been sold and will sit out the 2022 season as the team is relocated to another major city in Texas. Reports this past summer indicated the team could move to a proposed new 10,000-seat soccer stadium in Fort Worth.
USL League Two (United Soccer League): The pre-professional USL League Two announced teams called the Blackwatch Rush (Albany, NY), Patuxent Football Athletics (Maryland) and Hudson Valley Hammers (New York) have been added for the 2022 season.
USL W-League (United Soccer League): The new women's pre-professional USL W-League announced three additional teams called the Green Bay Glory, Christos FC (Baltimore) and Patuxent Football Athletics (Maryland) have been added for the inaugural 2022 season. The Green Bay Glory was part of the 2021 Women's Premier Soccer League. Both the Christos and Patuxent organizations are adding men's teams in the 2022 USL League Two.
Arena Lacrosse League: Canada's indoor amateur developmental ALL started its 2021-22 season this weekend with its new ALL West division that will have four British Columbia-based teams playing out of the Langley Events Center. The 2022 ALL East division, which has seven Ontario-based teams and last played in 2020 due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, will return to start its schedule next week.
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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Federal Prospects Hockey League Stories from December 13, 2021
- Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report - OSC Original by Dan Krieger
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