Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report
by Dan Krieger
January 10, 2022 - NBA G League (G League)
California Winter League: The short winter-season CWL, which is chance for players to showcase their skills for independent teams and scouts ahead of the 2022 season, has posted its 2022 season schedule that will run from January 19 through February 15, 2022. The CWL will feature six teams called the Palm Springs Chill, Palm Springs Power, Oregon Lumberjacks, British Columbia Bombers, Canada A's and Alberta Grizzly. All games will again be played at Palm Springs Stadium. The CWL started play in 2010, but did not play an official 2021 season due to the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Liga Mexicana de Beisbol: Mexico's top LMB, or Mexican Baseball League, announced its schedule for 2022 will feature the same 18 teams as last season with a nine-team Zona Norte (North Division) and a nine-team Zona Sur (South Division). The 2022 season will run from April 21 to August 7 with each team playing a shortened 90-game schedule.
National Basketball Association Gatorade League (G-League): After completing its Showcase Cup portion of the 2021-22 season last month with 30 teams, the NBA G-League started the regular portion of the 2021-22 season this week with 28 teams currently aligned in a 16-team Eastern Conference and a 12-team Western Conference. Teams will each play a 36-game schedule until early April with the top six teams in each conference qualifying for the playoffs. All 28 teams are either owned by an NBA team or have an affiliation with an NBA team. Of the NBA's 30 teams, only the Portland Trail Blazers and Phoenix Suns do not own or have an individual affiliation with a G-League team. The G-League's developmental Ignite team and the unaffiliated Mexico City Capitanes participated in the Showcase Cup, but are not part of the regular season. The Ignite will play a 2022 schedule against the Capitanes and other select G-League teams during this second portion of the season.
Liga de Baloncesto del Pacifico: Mexico's new LBP, or Pacific Basketball League, is in the playoff stage for its inaugural 2021 season that started in early November with eight teams located throughout the states of Sonora, Sinaloa and Nayarit. The Vigilantes del Puerto (Mazatlan, Sinaloa) team dropped out in late November after playing only 8 games of its 20-game schedule.
Minor League Basketball Association: After cancelling its 2020 season due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and playing a short 2021 season from late March through mid-June with only a four-team Heartland Conference, the semi-pro MLBA has been adding teams over the past few months for a planned 2022 season. New teams include the Houston Heat Waves, Crescent City Bombers (The Woodlands, TX), Atlanta Legends, Kentucky Enforcers (Florence), Waco Terror, DFW Gorillas, Ambassadors Athletics Works (Dallas), Tri-State 66ers (Pittsburg, KS) and Southern Illinois Pharaohs (Carbondale).
Global Arena League: The proposed new indoor professional 8-on-8 GAL, which plans to have teams in the United States, Canada, Mexico and Guatemala, has pushed back its start from the spring of 2022 to 2023 due to difficulties organizing under coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions. This summer the GAL stated it was considering Mississauga (Ontario) and Moose Jaw (Saskatchewan) for teams in Canada.
National Football League: The NFL's Washington Football Team, formerly known as the Washington Redskins, announced it will reveal the team's new nickname on February 2, 2022. The team stated that the Wolves name, or any variation such as RedWolves, is no longer under consideration. Other potential names that could be under consideration include the Admirals, Armada, Presidents, Brigade, Defenders, Redhogs and Commanders.
Can-Am Junior Hockey League: The six teams that comprised the 2021-22 Western States Hockey League, which was a member of the Amateur Athletic Union by way of the United Hockey Union, have left the WSHL and the AAU/UHU to form the new CAJHL. The six teams include five Alberta-based Canadian teams called the Barrhead Bombers, Cold Lake Aeros, Edmonton Eagles, Hinton Timberwolves and Vegreville Vipers, along with the Utah-based Vernal Oilers. The CAJHL is scheduled to start next week and run through March 2022.
Canadian Junior Hockey League: With Canada's Ontario province implementing new restrictions due to the omicron variant of the coronavirus (COVID-19), the four Ontario-based leagues in the nine-league Junior-A CJHL have been forced to shut down operations until January 26, 2022. The affected leagues include the Ontario Junior Hockey League, Central Canada Hockey League, Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League and the Superior-International Junior Hockey League.
League1 British Columbia: The proposed new pro-am League1 BC, which will try to operate like established Canadian Division-3 leagues in Ontario (League1 Ontario) and Quebec (Premiere Ligue de Soccer du Quebec), plans to start play in May 2022 with seven clubs that will have teams in both men's and women's divisions. First-year members include Altitude FC (North Vancouver), Vancouver Whitecaps Academy, TSS Rovers FC (Burnaby), Varsity FC (Point Grey), Unity FC (Langley), Rivers FC (Kamloops) and Victoria Highlanders FC.
National Women's Soccer League: The new ownership announced by Major League Soccer (MLS) for the Real Salt Lake team wants to restart the Utah Royals FC NWSL team in Salt Lake City by 2023 or 2024. The Utah Royals played three seasons (2018-20) in the NWSL, but ceased operations when the Real Salt Lake's prior ownership was being dissolved. Utah Royals' players were transferred to the 2021 Kansas City NWSL expansion team, now the Kansas City Current, but an agreement would allow any future MLS team ownership to reestablish the Utah Royals FC team in the NWSL.
Women's Independent Soccer League: The proposed new Division-II professional WISL, which was first announced in April 2021 for a start in 2022, has pushed back its inaugural season until 2023.
USL W-League (United Soccer League): The new women's pre-professional USL W-League announced two Michigan-based teams called the Flint City AFC and Kalamazoo FC have joined for the league's inaugural 2022 season. The men's Flint Bucks organization from the pre-professional USL League Two will co-own the Flint City AFC after the acquisition and relocation of the Detroit-based Corktown AFC.
United Women's Soccer: The UWS announced the AC Syracuse Pulse, Pittsburgh Hotspurs and Michigan Jaguars (Novi) have joined for 2022 with AC Syracuse adding a pro-am team only, while Pittsburgh and Michigan will add pro-am and UWS League Two reserve teams. Last season's League Two Keystone FC (Mechanicsburg, PA) will add a pro-am team in 2022. Last season's Detroit-based Corktown AFC team in the UWS pro-am has changed to the Corktown Hawks under a partnership with the Michigan Hawks and the Hawks will operate 2022 teams in both the UWS pro-am and UWS League Two. Last season's pro-am New England Mutiny (Ludlow, MA) and pro-am Massachusetts Rush Central (Marlboro) teams will also add UWS League Two teams in 2022.
Women's Premier Soccer League: Over the past several months, the elite amateur-level WPSL has announced several new teams for the 2022 season to include the DKSC Badtop (Dallas/Fort Worth), Iowa Raptors FC (Cedar Rapids), Pennsylvania Classics (Lancaster), Manitou FC (White Bear Lake, MN), New York Dutch Lions (Long Island), Illinois Lady Cobras (Peoria), San Antonio Corinthians, Joy Athletic Club (St. Louis Park, MN), Challenge Red Devils (Houston) and Clarkstown (NY) SC.
American Ultimate Disc League: Last month, the professional AUDL announced the addition of three expansion teams called the Colorado Summit (Denver), Salt Lake Shred (Utah) and a still-to-be-named Portland (Oregon) team will be added to the West Division for the 2022 season. The AUDL will operate with 25 teams aligned in a seven-team East Division, a six-team Central Division, a five-team South Division and a seven-team West Division. The AUDL had a previous team called the Salt Lake Lions that played in only the 2014 season. An ultimate team called the Portland Stags played in all four seasons (2013-16) of the former Major League Ultimate. Also, the AUDL's Dallas Roughnecks announced the team has been renamed the Dallas Legion for the 2022 season. In the AUDL alignment, the three expansion teams will be added to the West Division with Dallas and Austin moving back to the reestablished South Division, which will include Tampa, Atlanta and Raleigh from the former Atlantic Division. Pittsburgh will return to the Central Division from the Atlantic Division. The AUDL's three Canadian teams, which were grouped in one division last season due to coronavirus (COVID-19) travel restrictions, will return and be part of the reestablished East Division.
Western Ultimate League: The women's professional WUL, which was to start its inaugural season with seven teams in March 2020 but cancelled the season due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, held a two-day WUL Winter Cup exhibition event in San Diego last month. Since cancelling its inaugural 2020 season, the Seattle Cascades team was renamed the Seattle Tempest and the Portland (OR) Swifts left the league. The WUL teams that participated in the Winter Cup were the Seattle Tempest, San Francisco Falcons, San Diego Super Bloom, Los Angeles Astra, Arizona Sidewinders and Utah Wild. After the Winter Cup, the WUL announced a new Portland-based team called the Oregon Onyx has been added. The WUL also stated its delayed inaugural full season will start in March and run through May 2022.
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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