Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report
by Dan Krieger
August 22, 2022 - United Soccer League Championship (USL)
Frontier League: The New Jersey Jackals of the independent Frontier League announced the team will be leaving Little Falls (NJ) after this season where the team has played at Yogi Berra Stadium on the campus of Montclair State University for the past 25 seasons. The Jackals will remain in the Frontier League under current ownership and relocation plans will be announced next month. The city of Paterson (NJ) has been renovating its historic Hinchcliffe Stadium and appears interested in the Jackals. The developer stated the renovations in Paterson had been focused on professional soccer or rugby teams for the site.
Pioneer League: The ownership of the independent Pioneer League's Northern Colorado Owlz (Windsor) has purchased the league's Grand Junction (CO) Rockies team. The new ownership plans to keep the team in the city, possibly with a new name. The owner of the league's Ogden (UT) Raptors was reported to have signed an agreement with a landowner in Providence (UT) and a developer to build a new ballpark and bring a new Pioneer League franchise to the area for the 2024 season. The league wants any expansion to include two teams. The city of Pocatello (ID) has been mentioned as a second possible expansion site.
Canadian Elite Basketball League: The ten-team minor professional CEBL announced the relocation of its Guelph (Ontario) Nighthawks team to Calgary (Alberta) for the 2023 season. The team will be renamed the near future. The Guelph Nighthawks were a charter member of the CEBL in the league's inaugural 2018 season. The CEBL had been targeting Calgary for a team but has been unable to find a suitable ownership group. The CEBL stated it owns nine of its ten teams and will continue to operate the Calgary team until a suitable owner is found. The ten CEBL teams are located across six Canadian provinces.
National Basketball Association Gatorade League (G-League): The NBA G-League's Mexico City Capitanes team, which does not have a direct affiliation with an NBA team, announced it will play a full 50-game schedule for the 2022-23 season to include its first G-League home games to be played in Mexico City. The Mexico City Capitanes, which had been a member of Mexico's top professional league called the Liga Nacional de Baloncesto Profesional, joined the G-League as its 29th team prior to the 2020-21 season. The team was unable to play in 2020-21 due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The Capitanes were based out of Fort Worth last season due to the pandemic and played 14 games in the first part of the G-League's 2021-22 season called the Showcase Cup tournament from November through December. The Capitanes did not participate in the G-League's 2021-22 regular season that followed the Showcase Cup, but did play two games against the G-League Ignite developmental team in Las Vegas.
National Basketball Association: The NBA's San Antonio Spurs announced the team will play two regular-season games in Austin and one in Mexico City during the 2022-23 season to help deepen their fan base. The Spurs own the territorial rights to the Austin market, and also own and operate its G-League team called the Austin Spurs, based in suburban Cedar Park. Back in the 1950s and 1960s, the NBA staged many regular-season neutral-site games to help with exposure to the league and its players.
Champions Indoor Football: A new Wichita-based indoor football team called the ICT Regulators was announced this week with plans to be part of the CIF for the 2023 season. ICT is the airport code for Wichita. A team called the Wichita Force played in the 2022 season of the Arena Football Association.
Indoor Football League: The IFL's new Tulsa expansion team for the 2023 season announced five nickname finalists for fan voting: Bison, Crude, Oilers, Tornado and Wildcatters. The selected team name is scheduled to be announced on September 10, 2022.
National Arena League: The NAL's new 2023 expansion team in Fayetteville (NC) will hold a press conference next week to announce the team's name, which is expected to be the Fayetteville Mustangs.
Major League Football: Although the four-team developmental MLFB struggled to get off the ground and cancelled its condensed 2022 season schedule earlier this month, the league expects to receive additional offers of financing so it can move forward with a full season in 2023.
Professional Women's Hockey Players Association: The tour-based PWHPA announced its 2022-23 Secret Dream Gap Tour will start on October 14, 2022 with five weekend events this fall featuring four participating teams called Team adidas, Team Harvey's, Team Scotiabank and Team Sonnet. PWHPA players will train during the season at five regional training hubs in Boston, Calgary, Minnesota, Montreal and Toronto. Details of the tour events and team rosters are still to be announced. The PWHPA is still working on development of a top professional women's hockey league, but a non-disclosure agreement prevents the announcement of any current details at this time.
Premier Hockey Federation: The women's professional PHF's new 2022-23 Montreal expansion team has registered a trademark for the Force Montreal, which could become the new team's nickname.
Western Professional Hockey League: The proposed minor-league WPHL, which has been trying to get off the ground over the past year, announced it has ended ties with a prospective franchise called the Billings (MT) Blizzard. This leaves the league with one team called the Las Vegas Millionaires, which will play a 24-game 2022-23 exhibition schedule against several amateur and senior-level teams as the league's soft opening. Some of the senior-level teams on the schedule are considering a switch to professional.
Major League Indoor Soccer: The new professional MLIS was announced this week and will start a 2022-23 season in December with each team playing a 12-game schedule. The MLIS announced the first five teams that will be participating in the 2022-23 season include the Chicago Mustangs, Cleveland Crunch, Cincinnati Swerve and two new teams located in northern Illinois and western Michigan. The Chicago Mustangs, Cleveland Crunch and Cincinnati Swerve were part of a Great Lakes Division in the 2021-22 season of the Major Arena Soccer League 2. The MLIS stated applications have also been received from groups in Buffalo, Rochester (NY), Erie (PA), Lehigh Valley (PA), Hartford and Detroit.
USL Championship (United Soccer League): The Orange County SC of the Division-II professional USL Championship is facing a threat of losing its home at Championship Soccer Stadium in Irvine (CA). The city was considering a bid by Major League Soccer's Los Angeles Galaxy, which is moving its USL Championship affiliate called the LA Galaxy II to the MLS NEXT Pro next season, to give exclusive rights for the LA Galaxy II to host pro games at the Irvine stadium over the next three years. Discussion of the stadium situation has been taken off the Irvine City Council's agenda for now and it appears the Galaxy has backed down on its request for exclusive stadium rights
USL W-League (United Soccer League): The pre-professional USL W-League recently announced the Rochester FC (Minnesota) will join for the 2023 season. The club will also operate a men's team in the pre-professional USL League Two.
Professional Box Lacrosse Association: The proposed new PBLA indoor lacrosse league, which plans to start play in December 2022, announced the names selected by fan voting from four choices for each of the seven previously announced markets. The PBLA teams are the Elmira (NY)) Renegades, Binghamton (NY) Bombers, Charlotte Bootleggers, Hampton (VA) Hammerheads, New England Chowderheads (Springfield, MA/Manchester, NH), Trenton Terror and Syracuse Spark. The Syracuse Spark was derived from a shortened version of the proposed sparklemuffins (a colorful jumping spider) nickname.
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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