Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report
by Dan Krieger
May 9, 2022 - Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA)
Empire Baseball League: The independent Empire League has posted its 2022 season schedule that will feature four teams each playing a 40-game schedule from June 8 to July 25, 2022. The New York-based teams called the Plattsburgh Thunderbirds, Saranac Lake Surge and Tupper Lake Riverpigs will return, while a travel-only team of Japanese players called the Japan Islanders will replace last season's New Hampshire Wild (Concord). The Empire League will also operate a team called the Empire Greys, which will be based out of Tupper Lake and play in the 2022 season of the Frontier League as a travel-only team.
Pecos League: The independent Pecos League announced its Wasco (CA) Reserve team will not be playing home games in Wasco for the 2022 season. Of the 50 games on its 2022 schedule, Wasco will play only 11 home games about 25 miles south at Sam Lynn Ballpark in Bakersfield, which is home to the league's Bakersfield Train Robbers. The Reserve hopes to return to Wasco in 2023.
American Basketball Association: The semi-pro ABA announced expansion teams called the West Coast Legends (Redwood City, CA) and the Carbondale (IL) Skulls will start play in the 2022-23 season.
Florida Basketball Association: The semi-pro FBA started its 2022 season last month with two new teams called the Lakeland Royals and Central Florida Blazers. Returning teams include the Winter Park Storm, Brevard Bobcats, The Pride (Kissimmee), Palm Beach Titans and Florida Flight.
Great Lakes Basketball League: The Michigan-based semi-pro GLBL will return for a second season with four teams each playing a six-game schedule from May 22 to June 26, 2022. The Kalamazoo County Elites, Southwest Michigan Stampede and West Michigan Red Raiders will return, while the Midland Broncos team has been replaced the Michigan Heat.
Women's American Basketball Association: The semi-pro WABA announced its 2022 season will start on July 2 and will feature 21 teams. New teams for the 2022 season include the Cincinnati Reign, Tampa Bay Badgers, Lake Michigan Elite Stars (Grand Rapids area) and Virginia Hearts (Ashburn). The WABA operated with 30 teams last season.
Women's National Basketball Association: The professional WNBA started its 2022 season this week with the same 12 teams as last season and aligned in six-team Eastern and Western conferences. Each team will play a 36-game regular-season schedule through mid-August. The WNBA is analyzing potential future expansion markets and there has been talk of a possible affiliated developmental league in the future.
American Flag Football League: The AAFL recently announced it will establish a men's professional league starting in 2023 with five franchises located in Boston, Atlanta, Orlando, New Orleans and Dallas. When the AAFL was announced in 2017, it planned to start in 2018 with eight league-owned teams playing a 7-on-7 style of flag football. Instead, the AAFL held nationwide regional amateur competitions in 2018, 2019 and 2021 leading to a championship tournament event that also featured some pro teams. A 2020 season was cancelled due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) and a women's amateur division was added for the 2021 season. The AAFL stated the men's and women's amateur tournaments will continue.
Women's National Football Conference: The nationwide outdoor semi-pro WNFC is currently holding its 2022 season that started early last month and features 17 teams each playing a six-game schedule until May 21. The WNFC has 17 teams aligned in a nine-team Atlantic Conference and an eight-team Pacific Conference. The league recently announced the Nashville-based Tennessee Trojans team will join in 2023.
Women's Football Alliance: The nationwide outdoor WFA is currently holding its 2022 season that started early last month and runs through May. The WFA has a Pro Division with a five-team National and a six-team American division; a WFA Division 2 with five-team National and American divisions; and a WFA Division 3 with 26 teams aligned in North East, South East, Midwest and Pacific divisions.
The Women's Tackle Football League: The outdoor semi-pro TWTFL is holding its 2022 season running through June 4. The league has a seven-team Eastern Division and a three-team Pacific Division.
ECHL: The minor-league ECHL announced its 2022-23 season schedule this week for 28 teams aligned in seven-team North, South, Central and Mountain divisions. The 27 teams from the 2021-22 season will return and the league has added the new Savannah Ghost Pirates as the 28th team. Savannah was added to the South Division and the Norfolk Admirals were moved from the South to the North Division.
Federal Prospects Hockey League: A team called the Motor City Rockers, based in Fraser (MI) of the Detroit metro area, is reported to be joining the FPHL for the 2022-23 season. The team was supposed to join as an expansion team for the 2020-21 season, but sat out due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) and did not play this season. New ownership has since taken over the team and decided to keep the same name.
North American Hockey League: The Tier-II junior-level NAHL team called the Minnesota Magicians (Richfield), which is relocating to Eagle River (WI), announced the team will be called the Wisconsin Windigo when it starts play in the 2022-23 season. The Windigo is a mythical figure said to haunt the Great Lakes region of the United States and Canada.
United States Premier Hockey League: The Tier-III junior-level USPHL's Premier Division announced a new five-team Northwest Division has been created for a start in the 2022-23 season. Teams include the Seattle Totems, Bellingham (WA) Blazers, Vernal (UT) Oilers, Rogue Valley Royals (Medford, OR) and Rock Springs (WY) Prospectors. The Seattle Totems, Bellingham Blazers, Vernal Oilers and Rogue Valley Royals were all announced for a Northwest Division in the 2021-22 season of the junior-level Western States Hockey League (WSHL), but the league suspended this division at the start of the season. The Seattle Totems and the new Rogue Valley Royals sat out the season, while the Bellingham Blazers and Vernal Oilers were placed in the league's Provincial Division that consisted of five teams based in Alberta (Canada). In January 2022, the Vernal Oilers and the five Alberta-based teams left the WSHL to create the Can-Am Junior Hockey League (CAJHL) for the remainder of the 2021-22 season. The Bellingham Blazers did not join the CAJHL and went dormant for the second half of the 2021-22 season. The 2022-23 season will be the first for the new Rock Springs Prospectors and the Medford-based Rogue Valley Royals. The WSHL had a Medford-based team called the Southern Oregon Spartans for eight seasons (2012-2020). The Spartans moved to the USPHL-Premier along with nine other WSHL teams for the 2020-21 season, but the Spartans dropped out after only six games due to coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions. Eventually, the Spartans lost its arena lease and never returned.
Major Arena Soccer League: The MASL has granted an expansion team to a group that will have the Brazilian soccer star Ronaldinho as a co-owner. Details on the new team's name and location will be provided in the near future.
Premiere Ligue de Soccer du Quebec: Canada's Division-3 PLSQ (Premier Soccer League of Quebec) started its 2022 season this weekend. The PLSQ men's division has 12 teams with 9 returning teams and the addition of CS Saint-Laurent, CS Lanaudiere-Nord and CF Montreal, a reserve team for the Major League Soccer club. The PLSQ women's division has 12 teams with 10 returning teams and the addition of the Rapides de Chaudière-Ouest and a team representing the Quebec Women's Excellence Program. Each men's team, except CF Montreal, will also have teams in the 11-team Men's Reserve Division. The women's season runs until July 16, 2022, while the men's season ends on October 2, 2022.
USL League Two (United Soccer League): The men's pre-professional USL League Two started its 2022 season on May 1 and currently lists 113 teams. The league's Central region has 25 teams in 4 divisions; the Eastern has 30 teams in 4 divisions; the Southern has 38 teams in 5 divisions; and the Western has 20 teams in 3 divisions. The 2022 regular season runs through July 17.
USL W-League (United Soccer League): The new women's pre-professional W-League started its inaugural 2022 season this weekend with 44 teams aligned in seven regional divisions: a six-team South Central, an eight-team Great Lakes, a six-team Heartland, an eight-team Metropolitan, a five-team Mid Atlantic, a five-team Southeast and a six-team South Atlantic. The season runs through July 10, 2022.
Major League Quidditch: Major League Quidditch will return in June 2022 with 16 teams (2 based in Canada and 14 based in the United States) aligned in a five-team East Division, a six-team North Division and a five-team South Division. Quidditch is a competitive, full-contact, mixed-gender sport played by athletes around the world and adapted from the game played in the Harry Potter series of books and movies. The league and U.S. Quidditch announced in December 2021 they are considering a name change for the sport because they do not own the trademark and rights to "Quidditch".
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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