Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report
by Dan Krieger
December 20, 2021 - Canadian Football League (CFL)
Pecos League: The independent Pecos League announced its 2022 season schedule that will feature 16 teams aligned in eight-team Mountain and Pacific divisions with each division further split into a four-team North and South. The league operated with 14 teams in 2021 but the Salina Stockade, which was basically a travel-only team, will not return and three new teams called the Austin Weirdos, Weimar (TX) Hormigas (Ants) and Santa Rosa (CA) Scuba Divers have been added. Each team will play a 50-game schedule.
Mavericks Independent Baseball League: The independent Oregon-based Mavericks League announced its 2022 season schedule will feature the same four teams (Salem-Keizer Volcanoes, Campesinos de Salem-Keizer, Salem Senators and Portland Mavericks) as last season each playing a 48-game schedule with all games again being played at Volcanoes Stadium in Keizer (OR). The Salem-Keizer Volcanoes, which lost its affiliation with the former short-season Class-A Northwest League in the 2020 restructuring of Minor League Baseball, formed the Mavericks League for the 2021 season.
Prospect League: The summer-collegiate Prospect League has signed a lease for The Ballpark at Jackson (TN) and a team will start play in the 2023 season. The Ballpark was home to the Jackson Generals team that lost its affiliation with the former Double-A Southern League prior to the 2021 season. The 2021 Prospect League season had 16 teams, the majority of which were located in the central United States.
American Basketball Association: The semi-pro ABA announced a team called the Grand Rapids Wu-Generalz has been added as a 2022-23 expansion team.
Eastern Canadian Basketball League: The proposed new ECBL, which plans to start play in March 2022 with six league-operated teams based in Canada's Maritime provinces, announced its sixth team will be the Charlottetown Power (Prince Edward Island). The ECBL will also have the Summerside Slam on Prince Edward Island, the Truro Tide and Valley Vipers (Berwick/Annapolis Valley) in Nova Scotia, and the Saint John Union and Bathurst Bears in New Brunswick. A Charlottetown-based team called the Island Storm is member of the National Basketball League of Canada, but last played in a shortened 2019-20 season and will not be part of that league's 2022 season.
National Basketball Association Gatorade League (G-League): The NBA G-League is finishing up its Showcase Cup portion of the 2021-22 season with an NBA scouting event in Las Vegas starting December 19, 2021. The Showcase Cup featured 29 G-League teams, plus the league's Ignite developmental prospects team, playing games in four regional pods (East, Central, South and West). The four teams with the best record in each pod and the four teams with the next best records will compete in a single-elimination Showcase Cup Championship tournament as part of the scouting event, which will feature all other teams playing two games before scouts from all 30 NBA teams. After the Showcase Cup, team records will be reset with 28 teams (minus the Ignite and Mexico City Capitanes) then playing a 36-game regular season. The G-League's Windy City Bulls will not participate in the scouting event due to health and safety protocol, but the team will restart play for the regular season on December 29.
The Basketball League: The TBL announced its 2022 season schedule that will feature 43 participating teams aligned in four conferences with each team playing a 24-game schedule. Several TBL teams will be playing games against the four Ontario-based teams from the 2022 National Basketball League of Canada.
American Arena League: The AAL plans to return in 2022 under new ownership and recently announced it will also be starting a developmental AAL 2 league for the 2022 season.
Canadian Football League: The CFL announced its 2022 schedule this week that will feature the same nine teams aligned in a five-team West and a four-team East with each team playing an 18-game schedule. The CFL's proposed addition of a fifth East division team to be called the Atlantic Schooners and based in Halifax (Nova Scotia) appears to be dead for now. The team claimed to have sold 6,000 season tickets in 2019, but with the coronavirus (COVID-19) forcing the cancellation of the 2020 season, proposed funding for a Halifax stadium was cancelled. The CFL is reported to be considering a switch from three-down to four-down football in the future.
Arena Professional Football League: The Harrisburg-based Pennsylvania Union, which recently announced a move to the new APFL for the 2022 season, is starting its own developmental team called the Capital City Cougars.
United States Football League: Additional funding was recently approved that could lure the USFL to Birmingham (AL) as the host city for the new league's inaugural 2022 season. The USFL wants to play the entire 2022 season in one city and has yet to announce that location.
Professional Women's Hockey Players Association: The PWHPA held its second stop on its 2021-22 Secret Dream Gap Tour in Toronto this weekend with only three participating teams: Team Scotiabank (Calgary), Team adidas (Minnesota) and Team Sonnet (Toronto). Due to new coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions in the province of Quebec, the Team Harvey's (Montreal) decided to withdraw from this event.
Western States Hockey League: The Bellingham (WA) Blazers of the junior-level WSHL recently announced the team was going dormant for the remainder of the 2021-22 season. When the WSHL's five-team Northwest Division collapsed just as the 2021-22 started, the Bellingham Blazers and the Vernal (UT) Oilers were moved from the Northwest Division to the Provincial Division, which had started with five teams based in Alberta (Canada). A short time after this move, the Blazers dropped out with an 0-5 record.
Major League Soccer: MLS held its 2021 expansion draft this week as players were selected for the new Charlotte FC that will start play in 2022 as the league's 28th team. The league also announced its 2022 season schedule that will feature the 28 teams aligned in 14-team Eastern and Western conferences with each team playing a 34-game schedule from late February to early October. MLS will add the St. Louis City SC expansion team as the 29th team in 2023. The MLS commissioner confirmed in the annual state of the league address that Las Vegas is the frontrunner for a 30th team and only one of three potential ownership groups was mentioned. That mentioned group has apparently registered the Las Vegas Villains as a possible team name. MLS hopes to make a decision as to the next team within the next ten months. The Phoenix and San Diego markets are also still under consider for future MLS expansion.
National Independent Soccer Association: The San Diego-based 1904 FC of the Division-III professional NISA has merged with the Albion Soccer Club San Diego, or ASC San Diego, and the team will now be called Albion San Diego when the league starts its 2022 Spring Season. The NISA also recently announced the addition of the Bay Cities FC, based in Redwood City (CA), for the 2022 season.
National Indoor Soccer League: The proposed new NISL recently announced the Rome (GA) Gladiators as the league's fourth team for its inaugural 2021-22 season that starts later this month. The team was unable to secure an arena lease for this season so it will be a travel-only team playing 12 games. Each NISL team will feature both a men's and a women's team.
National Women's Soccer League: The professional NWSL held its expansion draft this week to stock the league's two new 2022 teams called the Angel City FC (Los Angeles) and San Diego Wave FC. The league's Tacoma-based OL Reign announced the team will be moving back to Seattle for the 2022 season and play home games at Lumen Field, which is home to the National Football League's Seattle Seahawks and Major League Soccer's Seattle Sounders. The Seattle Reign FC was a charter member of the NWSL in 2013 with Seattle's Memorial Stadium as its home. The team moved to Tacoma's Cheney Stadium, which is home to baseball's Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers, and became the Reign FC for the 2019 season. Prior to the 2020 season, the French Lyon-based Olympique Lyonnaise soccer club obtained a majority interest in the Reign FC and it was renamed the OL Reign. A proposed new 10,000-seat soccer stadium planned for Tacoma never materialized and was considered one of the reasons for the current move.
USL League Two (United Soccer League): The pre-professional USL League Two announced the addition of the Tennessee SC (Nashville area) and the Lansing City Football teams for the 2022 season. The Tennessee SC is also adding a women's team in the 2022 USL W-League. Lansing City Football was started in 2016 as professional futsal club and youth academy. USL W-League (United Soccer League): The new women's pre-professional USL W-League announced the Nashville area's Tennessee SC has joined for the league's inaugural 2022 season. The Tennessee SC will also add a men's team in the pre-professional USL League Two.
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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