Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report
by Dan Krieger
November 28, 2022 - National Basketball League of Canada (NBL Canada)
Pecos League: The independent Pecos League recently announced the 2023 schedules for the eight-team Mountain Division, which has teams in Arizona, Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas and New Mexico, and the eight-team California-based Pacific Division. Each team will play a 50-game schedule within their divisions from late May through July 30 with each division winner moving to the league championship. Of the eight Mountain Division teams in 2022, the Weimar (TX) Hormigas and Colorado Springs SnowSox did not return but the division added the expansion Blackwell (OK) Flycatchers and gained the Tucson Saguaros from the Pacific Division. Of the eight Pacific Division teams in 2022, the Wasco (CA) Reserve did not return and Tucson switched divisions. The division added expansion teams called the Lancaster Sound Breakers and Marysville Drakes, while the 2022 Santa Cruz Seaweed franchise was relocated to become the Vallejo Seaweed for 2023. The Vallejo Seaweed is not connected to the Vallejo Admirals of the Pacific Association, which along with the Admirals has been dormant for the past few seasons.
Puerto Rico Independent Baseball League: The short-season developmental PRIBL played its inaugural two-month season in the summer of 2021 with four teams, but did not play a 2022 season. The league plans to return in 2023 with the same four teams.
National Basketball League of Canada: The minor professional NBL-Canada has ended its operating agreement with the ownership of the league's St. John's Edge (Newfoundland) and the team will no longer be part of the league. The Edge played three seasons (2017-20) in the NBL-Canada before the league cancelled the 2020-21 season due to the coronavirus (COVID-19). Prior to the 2021-22 season, which did not start until February 2022, the Edge lost its arena lease to the St. John's-based Newfoundland Rogues of the American Basketball Association (ABA). A proposed sale of the Edge then fell through and the team did not participate in the NBL-Canada's 2021-22 season, which featured only four Ontario-based teams and included an interlocking schedule with some teams from The Basketball League (TBL). After playing a shortened 2021-22 season in the ABA, the Newfoundland Rogues announced a move to the TBL and its 2023 spring-summer season that will start in March 2023. The ownership group that attempted to purchase the St. John's Edge started the St. John's-based team called the Newfoundland Growlers in the 2022 spring-summer Canadian Elite Basketball League, but that team was recently dropped by that league after only one season.
National Basketball League - United States: The semi-pro NBL-US recently announced its 2023 season will start on January 28, 2023. The league currently lists a six-team Florida-based Extended Stay Division, a four-team Texas-based Lonestar Division and a Texas-based Russell Athletics Division. Some recently announced new teams include the Woodlands (TX) Warhawks, Cypress (TX) Venom, Titusville (FL) Truth and the Vero Beach (FL) Waves.
American West Football Conference: The owner of the indoor AWFC's Tri-Cities Rush (Pasco, Richland and Kennewick, WA) announced this week it can no longer support the team financially and is shutting down operations immediately. Late last month, the owner stated the Rush had lost the lease for its home arena in Pasco. The Tri-City Rush joined the AWFC for the 2021 season. The AWFC, which now has three remaining teams, stated it will move forward and work toward operating a 2023 season.
South Atlantic Professional Hockey League: The lower-level minor SAPHL is trying to organize for the 2023-24 season with six teams all based in Florida. To minimize travel costs, teams will be located a maximum of four hours apart so there will be no overnight stays. Teams will each play a 40-game schedule and operate out of smaller arenas with seating capacities about 1,000. Some of the markets under consideration are Orlando, Fort Myers, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Space Coast and Manatee County.
Canadian Premier League: Canada's Division-II professional CPL announced the franchise rights of the league's FC Edmonton, known as the Eddies, have been terminated and the league will not operate in Edmonton for the 2023 season. The CPL was forced to take over operations of FC Edmonton prior to the 2022 season when ownership stepped away from the team. Although FC Edmonton suffered from poor attendance, the CPL hopes to return to Edmonton in the future, but a better home venue would be needed. The league will remain at eight teams in 2023 with the addition of the expansion Vancouver FC. The FC Edmonton was a charter member of the CPL in the 2018 season.
Major Arena Soccer League: The men's professional MASL started its 2022-23 season this week with 14 teams aligned in a seven-team Eastern Conference and a seven-team Western Conference. All 12 teams from 2021-22 returned, while the Mesquite (TX) Outlaws and Monterrey Flash (Nuevo Leon, Mexico) are back after voluntarily sitting out last season. The league's Ontario (CA) Fury was renamed the Empire Strykers starting with the 2022-23 season. Each team will play a 24-game schedule through April 2, 2023.
MLS NEXT Pro (Major League Soccer): Major League Soccer's developmental reserve league known as the MLS NEXT Pro announced a group in Cleveland plans to bring an independent MLS NEXT Pro team to the city starting in the 2025 season. Most all of the league's teams are affiliated with an MLS club, but the league had the Rochester New York FC as its lone independent team in 2022 and recently announced plans to add another independent team called the Carolina Core FC (High Point, NC) in 2024.
National Independent Soccer Association: The Division-III professional NISA announced the Orlando-based Club de Lyon FC, which operated a 2022 team in the Florida Division of the amateur-level NISA Nation league, has applied to join the professional NISA for the 2023 season. The NISA reported a previously announced 2023 NISA expansion team called the 1000 Oaks FC (Westlake Village/Thousand Oaks, CA) has been purchased by the Calabasas FC. The NISA noted two other new teams for 2023 are the Gold Star Detroit and the Savannah Clovers FC.
USL League One (United Soccer League): An ownership group in Portland (ME) is still working to bring a team to the city by the 2024 season as part of the Division-III professional USL League One. The Portland United was mentioned as the team's name when this effort started back in 2019.
American Ultimate Disc League: The professional AUDL announced the addition of an expansion team to be based in Houston for the 2023 season. The AUDL operated with 25 teams last season, but will operate with only 24 teams in 2023 due to the recent folding of the league's Tampa Bay Cannons and Ottawa Outlaws teams due to poor attendance. Ottawa had joined the AUDL as a 2015 expansion team, while Tampa Bay started play in the 2018 season with the relocation of the Jacksonville Cannons. The new yet-to-be-named Houston team will replace Tampa Bay in the South Division.
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.
• Discuss this story on the National Basketball League of Canada message board...
National Basketball League of Canada Stories from November 28, 2022
- Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report - OSC Original by Dan Krieger
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer(s), and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.