Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report
by Dan Krieger
June 27, 2022 - BIG3 (BIG3)
Florida Complex League: Major League Baseball's pure rookie-level Florida Complex League, which was known as the Gulf Coast League prior to the 2021 season and plays at MLB spring training complexes in Florida, started its 2022 season earlier this month with 16 teams aligned in a six-team East, a six-team South and a four-team North. The league is represented by 15 MLB teams, as the Houston Astros operate two teams. Each team plays a 55-game schedule through August.
Arizona Complex League: Major League Baseball's pure rookie-level Arizona Complex League, which was known as the Arizona League prior to the 2021 season and plays at MLB spring training complexes in Arizona, started its 2022 season earlier this month with 18 teams aligned in a six-team East, Central and West. The league is represented by 15 MLB teams, as the Arizona Diamondbacks, Milwaukee Brewers and San Francisco Giants each operate two teams. Each team plays a 55-game schedule through August.
Coastal Plain League: The summer-collegiate CPL, which has teams in Georgia, Virginia and the Carolinas, recently started its 2022 season with 14 teams aligned in seven-team East and West divisions. The Asheboro (NC) Copperheads were renamed the Asheboro Zookeepers in the off-season.
Northwoods League: The summer-collegiate Northwoods League started its 2022 season late last month with 22 teams aligned in six-team Great Lakes East and Great Lakes West divisions and five-team Great Plains East and Great Plains West divisions. The league is using the Twin Cities-based Minnesota Mud Puppies travel-only team to play the 36-game road schedule for the Thunder Bay (Ontario) Border Cats team that is again sitting out this season. During the off-season, the Battle Creek (MI) Bombers were renamed the Battle Creek Battle Jacks, while the Wisconsin Woodchucks returned to being called the Wausau (WI) Woodchucks. The Northwoods League regular-season runs through mid-August.
Prospect League: The summer-collegiate Prospect League's expansion team to be based in Jackson (TN) announced it will be called the Jackson Rockabillys when it starts play in 2023. The other nickname finalists included the Hub City HubCaps, Hub City Heroes, Jackson Locomotives and the Jackson Blue Suedes. Jackson had been the longtime home of the Jackson Generals team in the Double-A Southern League, but lost its Major League Baseball affiliation prior to the 2021 season. The Prospect League started its 2022 season earlier this month with 16 teams aligned in Eastern and Western conferences, each with two four-team regional divisions.
BIG3 League: The 12-team tour-based BIG3 league, which plays a 3-on-3 style of basketball called Fireball3, had to consider potential coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions still in effect in parts of the country when planning for its 2022 season, so it decided to limit the number of cities on its 2022 schedule to the more centrally located cities of Chicago and Dallas. The league plans to return to playing at different cities every weekend next season. The league is also considering expansion from 12 to 16 teams for next season and that would also increase the number of tour stops.
Ladies Professional Basketball Association: As the men's 30-team Professional Basketball Association continues play in its 2022 Spring/Summer season, the affiliated LPBA is trying to get off the ground this summer and currently lists four participating teams called the Las Vegas Tyrants, Montgomery (AL) Lady Warriors, Georgia Lady Venom (Columbus) and Mississippi Magnolias (Jackson).
Liga Nacional de Baloncesto Profesional: Mexico's top professional basketball league known as the LNBP recently announced its 2022 season schedule will feature ten teams each playing 20 games from July 21 to September 21, 2022. The league had ten teams last season, but the Panteras de Aquascalientes and Leñadores de Durango will not return for 2022. Two teams called the Mineros de Zacatecas and the Correcaminos Ciudad Victoria, which last played in the 2020 season, will return for the 2022 season.
American Basketball Association: The semi-pro ABA announced a team called the Atlanta Elite Kings has been added as an expansion team for the upcoming 2022-23 season.
Major League Football: The developmental professional MLFB announced its fourth team called the Alabama Airborne will be based in Mobile when the league starts its 2022 condensed season on August 9. The league plans to switch to a full spring schedule next season. The league's three previously announced teams include the Arkansas Attack (Little Rock), Ohio Force (Canton) and Virginia Armada (Virginia Beach). Each team will play two home games and two away games through August followed by a championship game on September 6.
North American Hockey League: The Tier-II junior-level NAHL announced its 2022-23 season schedule and alignment, which will again feature 29 teams aligned in a six-team Central Division, a seven-team East Division, an eight-team South Division and an eight-team Midwest Division. There were three teams that relocated for the 2022-23 season, but remained in their respective divisions. The Jamestown (NY) Rebels became the Philadelphia Rebels; the Wichita Falls (TX) Warriors became the Oklahoma Warriors (Oklahoma City); and the Minnesota Magicians (Cloquet) became the Wisconsin Windigo (Eagle River).
United States Hockey League: The Midwest-based Tier-I junior-level USHL announced its 2022-23 season schedule and alignment, which will feature the same 16 teams from the 2021-22 season and again aligned in eight-team Eastern and Western conferences. The season will start with all teams participating in a five-day Fall Classic held in the Pittsburgh area where each team will play the first two games of their 2022-23 schedules.
United States Premier Hockey League: The USPHL announced the Detroit Fighting Irish team in the Tier-III USPHL Premier has been purchased and relocated to Chicago as the Chicago Crush for the 2022-23 season. The Crush will join the league's Chicago Cougars team in the Mid West East division.
National Women's Soccer League: Four former women's professional soccer players are trying to organize a Northern California NWSL expansion team for the Bay Area. Two of the players had been involved with the Sacramento-based California Storm of the elite amateur-level Women's Premier Soccer League and an attempt to become involved with a proposed NWSL expansion team for Sacramento. The NWSL announced Sacramento for an expansion team in January 2021, but a few months later the league allowed the owner of the Sacramento expansion rights to relocate to San Diego where the team eventually became the San Diego Waves FC for the 2022 NWSL season.
Major Arena Soccer League 2: The MASL2, or M2, which is the second-division indoor league to the Major Arena Soccer League, announced the Cedar Rapids-based Iowa Raptors FC will be part of the league's 2022-23 season. The Iowa Raptors FC operates an outdoor men's team in the United Premier Soccer League. A former team called the Cedar Rapids Rampage played three seasons (2016-19) in the top-level MASL. The M2 has grown to 14 teams with the addition of the Iowa Raptors FC for 2022-23.
National Independent Soccer Association: The AC Syracuse Pulse team in the men's Division-III professional NISA has changed its name to simply the Syracuse Pulse.
Athletes Unlimited - Softball: The inaugural two-week Athletes Unlimited Softball AUX competition completed play this weekend with all games played at San Diego State University. The AUX featured three three-day series starting on June 11 with three teams each playing four games per series. The regular Athletes Unlimited professional softball league will hold its third season starting later next month in Chicago.
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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