Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report
by Dan Krieger
September 4, 2023 - Champions Indoor Football (CIF)
International League: The Worcester (MA) WooSox of the Triple-A International League played a game on August 17 as the Worcester Wicked Worms in a tribute to the city being referred to as "Wormtown" for the area's underground punk rock music scene in the late 1970s. When the team moved to Worcester from Pawtucket (RI) for the 2021 season, Wicked Worms was one of many unique names suggested for the team.
The Basketball League: The semi-pro TBL announced Eugene (OR) has been added as a new market for a team in the league's Pacific Northwest Division for the 2024 season and the team has been referred to as the Emerald City Jaguars. The owner of the TBL's previously announced KCK (Kansas City Kansas) Koatics announced the team will not be able to start play as planned in the 2024 season as the team waits for construction of a new arena. The owner of the Kaotics also owns the proposed Phoenix-based Arizona HEET (Helping Encourage Experience Together) and stated he will move forward with trying to establish the HEET team for the 2024 season. The TBL previously the Arizona HEET in July 2021 as a 2022 expansion team but the team has yet to start play in the league.
Basketball Super League: The Windsor Express, which was part of the 2023 season in the four-team Ontario-based National Basketball League of Canada (NBL-Canada), announced the team is joining the new professional BSL for the league's inaugural 2023-24 season starting in December. The three other 2023 NBL-Canada teams called the London Lightning, KW Titans (Kitchener-Waterloo) and Sudbury Five previously announced a move to the BSL. The inaugural BSL season plans to include other teams in Canada and the United States that were part of the 2023 season in The Basketball League.
American Arena League 2: The AAL2 announced the Dallas-based Texas Hotshots team has been added to the league's new Texas Division for the 2024 season. The league recently announced the addition of the Dallas Falcons as a new team for 2024.
Champions Indoor Football: The CIF announced the Wichita-based ICT Regulators have joined the league for the 2024 season and the team will play at Hartman Arena outside of Wichita in Park City (KS). This team failed to join the CIF for the 2023 season and played a six-game home schedule against six different semi-pro teams. The ICT stands for Wichita's airport code. The CIF had a previous team called the Wichita Force that played six seasons (2015-19 and 2021) in the league. The owner of the CIF's Billings (MT) Outlaws announced the team will be moving to the reborn Arena Football League for the 2024 season. The Billings Outlaws had joined the CIF as a 2022 expansion team. The Outlaws' owner also owns the CIF's Gillette (WY) Mustangs and announced the Mustangs have been put up for sale and a September 15 deadline has been set to find new ownership to keep the team in Gillette, otherwise, the franchise will be transferred to a new CIF franchise in Kansas.
Arena Football League: The Odessa-based West Texas Desert Hawks team, which was part of the 2023 National Arena League and recently changed its name from the West Texas Warbirds, has joined the AFL as the new league's second announced team for the inaugural 2024 season. The Billings (MT) Outlaws were announced this week as the first official AFL team for 2024.
National Arena League: The NAL announced an expansion team called the Colorado Spartans has joined the league for the 2024 season. The team will play at the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland. The Spartans will join the NAL along with the Omaha Beef and Sioux City (IA) Bandits teams that moved from last season's Champions Indoor Football. Of the seven teams that started the NAL's 2023 season, the Albany (NY) Empire and Fayetteville (NC) Mustangs dropped out during the season, the West Texas Warbirds (Odessa) were renamed the Desert Hawks and moved to the Arena Football League, and the Jacksonville Sharks left to join the Indoor Football League.
XFL: The XFL is reported to be considering a move of the Vegas Vipers from Las Vegas's Cashman Field for the 2024 season. If the team moves out of Las Vegas, Nashville (TN) and Arizona State University in Tempe have been mentioned as potential relocation sites.
Greater Metro Hockey League: Canada's junior-level GMHL plans to play its 2023-24 season with 18 teams (3 in Quebec and 15 in Ontario) aligned in nine-team North and South divisions. The league had 26 teams last season but dropped the ten-team West Division-8 teams in Alberta and 4 in British Columbia. Last season's seven-team South Division lost the South Muskoka Shield, added the expansion Le Becard de Senneterre (Quebec), and added the Almaguin Spartans and New Tecumseth Civics teams that sat out the 2022-23 season. The North Division will again have nine teams but the Streetsville Flyers became the Toronto Flyers and the Tottenham Thunder became the Tottenham Railers, both under new ownership.
National Junior Hockey League: The proposed new Canadian junior-level NJHL, which was created from teams that comprised the West Division of last season's junior-level Greater Metro Hockey League, is now down to five Alberta-based teams called the High Prairie Red Wings, Edson Eagles, Fox Creek Ice Kings, Gibbons Pioneers and Northern Alberta CRUSH (Edmonton), formerly the Northern Alberta Tomahawks (Enoch). Of the ten GMHL West Division teams from last season, eight teams (five in Alberta and three in British Columbia) were set to join the new NJHL but now the British Columbia teams are no longer listed. One British Columbia team called the Kitimat Saax announced it will sit out the 2023-24 season and join the NJHL for the 2024-25 season.
Professional Women's Hockey League: The new PWHL, which was created after investors in the tour-based Professional Women's Hockey Players Association (PWHPA) recently purchased the seven-team women's professional league known as the Premier Hockey Federation (PHF), announced its inaugural 2024 season will feature six teams in Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Boston, Minnesota, and the New York City area. Specific home arenas and team names will be announced soon. The PWHPA started showcase events across North America in the 2019-20 season and finished the 2022-23 season with four sponsor-named touring teams (Team Scotiabank, Team Sonnet, Team Harvey's, and Team adidas) and training hubs in Boston, Calgary, Minnesota, Montreal, and Toronto. The PHF, which began play as the National Women's Hockey League in the 2015-16 season before changing to the PHF in 2021, completed its 2022-23 season with teams called the Boston Pride, Buffalo Beauts (Amherst, NY), Connecticut Whale (Milford/Simsbury), Metropolitan Riveters (East Rutherford, NJ), Minnesota Whitecaps (Richfield), Toronto Six and Montreal Force. The inaugural PWHL season will start in January 2024 with each team playing a 24-game schedule.
Premier Arena Soccer League: The amateur-level PASL recently came under new management and announced the creation of a new women's professional indoor league for the 2023-24 season. Some of the teams for the proposed league include the Cincinnati Sirens FC, Columbus (OH), Eagles FC, Wichita Aeros FC, San Antonio Slayers, Zoo City Football Club (Kalamazoo), and Great Lakes Futbol Club (Grand Rapid, MI), which evolved from the Grand Rapids Wanderers club that came under new ownership.
Major League Indoor Soccer 2: The men's professional MLIS, which completed its inaugural 2022-23 season in March with teams in 12 markets, currently lists Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Austin, Houston, Springfield (MO), and Wichita as markets that will also have teams in the new MLIS 2 developmental league that plans to start play in the 2023-24 season.
Women's Premier League Rugby: The WPL, which is the top annual American women's rugby union (15-player) competition and operates in partnership with USA Rugby, played its 2023 season with seven teams each playing seven games from April 15 through June 24, 2023.
Dan Krieger is the creator of the Weekly Sports League & Franchise Report, which has been tracking the changes in the sports world's leagues, teams, and nicknames since April 2007.
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Champions Indoor Football Stories from September 4, 2023
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