Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report
by Dan Krieger
September 19, 2022 - Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA)
Pecos League: The independent Pecos League has evened out its two divisions by adding an eighth team called the Marysville (CA) Drakes to the California-based Pacific Division for the 2023 season. The team was originally listed as the Marysville LargeMouths. Marysville had a previous independent pro team called the Feather River Mudcats in the 2000 season of the former Western Baseball League (WBL). The team changed to the Feather River Fury but filed for bankruptcy prior to the 2001 season. The city of Marysville operated a team called the Yuba-Sutter Gold Sox in the WBL's final season of 2002. After the WBL folded, the Gold Sox team was sold and has been a summer-collegiate team since the 2003 season. The Pecos League officially announced the Blackwell (OK) Flycatchers as a new team in the eight-team Mountain Division, which also includes teams in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Kansas and Colorado.
Frontier League: The independent Frontier League's New Jersey Jackals team, which has used Yogi Berra Stadium on the campus of Montclair State University in Little Falls (NJ) as its home since starting play in 1998, announced a move about five miles north to Hinchcliffe Stadium in Paterson (NJ) starting with the 2023 season. Hinchcliffe Stadium is currently undergoing a major renovation.
Northwoods League: The Minot (ND) expansion team set to start play in the 2023 season of the summer-collegiate Northwoods League announced five team nicknames for fan voting in a name-the-team contest. The names include the Minot WhyNots, Dakrats, Hot Tots, Night Owls and Berserk (Berserkers).
American Basketball Association: The semi-pro ABA announced two of its Alabama teams called the Baldwin County Hoopers (Gulf Shores) and the Mobile Jesters have merged to become the Gulf Coast Hoopers for the 2022-23 season. The ABA also announced a team called the Louisiana Kingz (Lake Charles) has been added for the 2022-23 season.
Canadian Elite Basketball League: The ten-team minor professional CEBL announced the sale of its Fraser Valley Bandits team, based in Langley (British Columbia), to a local ownership group and it has been renamed the Vancouver Bandits. The Bandits will continue to use the Langley Events Centre as its home. Only the Bandits and the Scarborough Shooting Stars have outside ownership, as the league owns and operates the other eight teams.
The Basketball League: The minor professional TBL announced a new team called the Coastal Georgia Buccaneers (McIntosh County) has been added for the 2023 season. The TBL plans to announce later this month a new Montreal-based team to be added for 2023. The league announced the addition of Canadian team called the Newfoundland Rogues (St. John's) for the 2023 season. Due to coronavirus restrictions, the Rogues played a shortened 2021-22 season as a member of the American Basketball Association. The Newfoundland Rogues were awarded the arena lease in St. John's prior to the 2021-22 season and displaced the St. John's Edge of the National Basketball League of Canada.
Women's National Basketball Association: The commissioner of the professional WNBA confirmed the league plans to expand by two teams and the list of potential expansion candidates has been narrowed to about ten cities. The league would like to announce expansion by the end of the year, but wants to have the right ownership groups in place and will not rush the process. The commissioner stated earlier this year the league would like to add two teams no later than the 2025 season.
XFL: Although it has not been confirmed, officials in St. Louis are expecting the XFL to keep the St. Louis BattleHawks name for the city's XFL team when the league restarts in February 2023. The XFL is expected to announce the eight team names in the near future.
American Indoor Football: It has been over a year and no word on the relaunch of the AIF for a proposed 2022 season. The league wanted to start with six to eight teams located in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, South Carolina and other possible locations.
Eastern Hockey League: The Tier-III junior-level EHL and its lower-level EHL Premier started its 2022-23 season this weekend. The EHL finished the 2021-22 season with 17 teams after the Maine Eclipse (Biddeford) dropped out early in the season. The 2022-23 EHL has 19 teams aligned in a four-team North Division and five-team East, Central and South divisions with the addition of the HC Rhode Island (Warwick) and the Philadelphia Hockey Club. The EHL-Premier also lost the Maine Eclipse and finished 2021-22 with 12 teams. The 2022-23 EHL-Premier features 15 teams aligned in five-team New England, Boston and Mid-Atlantic divisions with the addition of the Adirondack Jr. Thunder (Glens Falls, NY), Union (NJ) Thunder and Pennsylvania Huntsmen (Exton). In the off-season, the EHL ended its affiliation with USA Hockey and is now an independent junior hockey league operating under NCAA rules.
Greater Metro Junior-A Hockey League: Canada's independent junior-level GMHL started its 2022-23 season this weekend with 24 participating teams aligned in a seven-team West Division with six teams in Alberta and one in British Columbia; an eight-team North Division with two teams in Quebec and six in Ontario; and a nine-team South Division with all teams in Ontario. The GMHL had 26 teams last season, but the Plattsville Lakers withdrew from the league after the 2021-22 season and the New Tecumseth Civics decided to sit out the 2022-23 season.
United States Premier Hockey League - Premier Conference: Some adjustments have been made to last week's reporting on the USPHL's Tier-III Premier Conference, which started its 2022-23 season with 70 teams across 10 regional divisions. Of the 64 teams from last season, 5 teams called the Lake Erie Bighorns, Pittsburgh Vengeance, Philadelphia Hockey Club, Jersey Whalers and Midwest Blackbirds (Dyer, IN) have not returned. The Premier Conference added 11 new teams called the Nashville Spartans, Minnesota Squatch (Elk River), Columbia (SC) Infantry, Battle Creek (MI) Kernels, Bakersfield Roughnecks, Idaho Falls Spuds, Bellingham Blazers, Rock Springs (UT) Prospectors, Rogue Valley Royals (Medford, OR), Vernal (UT) Oilers and Seattle Totems. The Detroit Fighting Irish was sold and became the Chicago Crush. The Rum River Mallards (Isanti, MN) were renamed the Isanti Outlaws, the Provo Riverblades became the Provo Predators, and the Motor City Hockey Club is now the Motor City Gamblers. Each team will play 44 games through March 5, 2023.
Premier Hockey Federation: The Metropolitan Riveters of the women's professional PHF announced the team will move its home from the Prudential Center Practice Facility in Newark (NJ) to The Rink at the American Dream facility in East Rutherford (NJ) starting with the upcoming 2022-23 season.
Major League Indoor Soccer: The proposed new professional MLIS recently announced three more teams called the Rapid City FC (Grand Rapids, MI), Brew City Legends (Milwaukee) and the Houston Bolt have been added for the league's inaugural 2022-23 season. Last season, the Brew City Legends were partners of a joint Cincinnati Swerve team in the Major Arena Soccer League 2, but this season both will operate separate teams as part of the MLIS. The new Houston Bolt has been part of the amateur-level Premier Arena Soccer League (PASL) and plans to keep operating a PASL team for the 2022-23 season.
Major Arena Soccer League 2: The MASL's Chihuahua Savage FC (Mexico) announced it will also field a team in the second-level MASL2 for the 2022-23 season. The Chihuahua Savage was part of the MASL2's shortened 2019-20 season, sat out the 2020-21 MASL2 season, and then moved up to the MASL for the 2021-22 season.
USL Championship (USL): The city council in Irvine (CA) voted to extend its agreement with the Orange County SC of the Division-II professional USL Championship to allow the team to continue playing at the city's Championship Soccer Stadium for the 2023 season. The city was considering granting exclusive stadium rights to Major League Soccer's Los Angeles Galaxy, whose USL Championship affiliate called the LA Galaxy II is moving to the MLS NEXT Pro league for 2023.
Liga de Balompie Mexicano: Mexico's independent professional LBM (Mexican Football League), which completed its 2022 season in July with seven teams, started a six-week Cup Tournament this weekend with eight teams aligned in two four-team groups. Of the seven teams from the 2022 season, the Furia Roja club is sitting out, while two recently announced new LBM teams called the Lobos USSL and Cachorros FC are participating in the tournament. The LBM's new developmental second division called Balompie Mexicano - Segunda Division started its inaugural season last weekend with six teams each playing a ten-game schedule through mid-November.
Canada Co-Operative Championship Rugby League: There have been no reported developments about the proposed new professional CCCRL, which was introduced last year with plans to have six men's and six women's teams playing in a short 2022 competition in Toronto with league-play starting in 2023. The CCCRL was to feature a 9-player version of "rugby league" instead of the traditional 13-player version. The CCCRL's 2023 league-play was to feature men's and women's teams in each of six locations to include Hamilton, Toronto and Montreal in an Eastern Conference and Vancouver, Calgary and Regina (Saskatchewan) in a Western Conference.
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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