Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report
by Dan Krieger
June 20, 2022 - BIG3 (BIG3)
Arizona Fall League: Major League Baseball's AFL will start its 2022 season on October 3 with the same six teams as last season using six spring training facilities in the Phoenix area. The AFL teams include the Scottsdale Scorpions, Mesa Solar Sox, Salt River Rafters, Glendale Desert Dogs, Peoria Javelinas and Surprise Saguaros. Each of the 30 MLB teams sends 6 top prospects to the AFL and each AFL team consists of prospects from 5 different MLB teams.
United Shore Professional Baseball League: The independent developmental USPBL started its 2022 season late last month with the same four teams from last season: the Utica Unicorns and Eastside Diamond Hoppers in the East and the Westside Woolly Mammoths and Birmingham Bloomfield Beavers in the West. Each team plays all regular-season games at the Jimmy John's Field in Utica (MI) through September 3, 2022 followed by playoffs.
International League: The Lehigh Valley IronPigs (Allentown, PA) of the Triple-A International League will play a game next month as the Lehigh Valley Wooder Ice as part of a tribute to Philadelphia, the home of its parent club. The Wooder Ice is a phonetic spelling for water ice, the term used in the Philadelphia area for what is known in other areas as Italian ice.
Puerto Rico Independent Baseball League: The four-team short-season professional PRIBL has pushed back the start of its 2022 season to August 20 with each team playing 36 games through September. The league originally announced its 2022 season would run from late February through the first week of April with the same four teams from the inaugural 2021 season. The 2021 season was played in June and July with each team playing 20 games.
American Basketball Association: The semi-pro ABA announced a team called the Cedar Rapids (IA) Roadrunners will be part of the league's Midwest Division starting in November 2023.
BIG3 League: The 12-team tour-based BIG3 League, which plays a 3-on-3 style of basketball called Fireball3, started its 2022 regular season this weekend with the same teams as last season. The first two regular-season weekend events will be held in Chicago followed by seven weekend events in Dallas through August 7. This will be followed by a playoff event in Tampa, a championship event in Atlanta and an All-Star game to be held in the Bahamas.
National Basketball League of Canada: The professional NBL-Canada, which recently completed its 2022 season that included its four Ontario-based teams playing games against 8 of the 44 teams from the U.S.-based The Basketball League (TBL), announced plans for future expansion. The league wants to add two teams for next season with one of those teams possibly based in Montreal. Another 20 to 25 expansion teams could be added across Canada over the next 5 years. The NBL-Canada signed a ten-year extension for its partnership with the TBL that will continue to include interleague play with cross-border and regional rivalry games. The league plans to start its next season in January 2023.
Maximum Basketball League: The semi-pro MBL announced its 2022-23 season schedule will start on October 1, 2022 and feature 29 teams aligned in 4 regional divisions (Midwest, Northeast, South and Southeast). The season will run through June 17, 2023.
Northeast Indoor League: The proposed NIL was announced in 2020 with plans to start play in 2021, but there have been no new announcements about this league. The NIL lists nine potential teams: Maine Owls (Portland), Utica (NY) Super Tigers, Detroit Pitbulls, Ohio Thunderbolts (Troy), Erie (PA) Hydra, Philadelphia Force, Providence (RI) Platypus, Boston Bison and Syracuse Grizzlies.
West Coast Arena Football: There have been no new reports on the proposed new California-based WCAF, which had been trying to start play this year. The WCAF currently lists six teams called the Bakersfield Pantheons, Stockton Scorpions, San Francisco Disruptors, Anaheim Orcas, Fresno Fog and the Rhinos (no assigned city).
Canadian-American Junior Hockey League: The independent CAJHL, which started play in January 2022 when six teams left the junior-level Western States Hockey League midway through its 2021-22 season to form the CAJHL, currently lists six teams based in Alberta (Canada) for its 2022-23 season. The five Alberta-based teams from last season will return, but the league's only non-Canadian team called the Vernal (UT) Oilers has moved to the Tier-III junior-level United States Premier Hockey League for the 2022-23 season. The CAJHL has added an Alberta-based expansion team called the AMP Warriors based in Calgary.
National Independent Soccer Association: The NISA, which operates a men's Division-III professional soccer league along with a NISA Nation amateur league, recently announced plans for a nationwide Independent Cup tournament that will start next weekend. The tournament will feature 36 teams aligned in 9 regional four-team groups. Each group will feature one of the Division-III pro teams with the remaining teams from each group coming from either the NISA Nation, some of the nationwide regional amateur leagues affiliated with the NISA, or other non-affiliated amateur leagues.
Major Series Lacrosse: After a three-week delay, Canada's Ontario-based indoor (box lacrosse) Senior-A MSL started its 2022 season this week, but with only four teams instead of six. The season was delayed due to a dispute with the Ontario Lacrosse Association over the status of the league's Owen Sound team. A revised 2022 season schedule does not include the Owen Sound team or the league's Oakville Rock team, which recently decided to sit out the 2022 season with a possible return in 2023.
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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