Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report
by Dan Krieger
November 27, 2023 - Arena Football League (AFL3)
Atlantic League: The independent Atlantic League, which is a partner league with Major League Baseball, has terminated the membership of the Gastonia (NC) Honey Hunters franchise for unpaid debts that are part of a lawsuit filed by the city to evict the team from its home stadium. The league had stepped in to pay some of the team's debts during the 2023 season. The Honey Hunters joined the league as a 2021 expansion team. The Atlantic League president said the league intends to field a Gastonia team in 2024.
Pioneer Baseball League: The Missoula (MT) PaddleHeads of the independent Pioneer League announced the team will play at least two games in the 2024 season as the Missoula PowderHeads to recognize the area's popular winter lifestyle that includes skiing and snowboarding.
Pecos League: The independent Pecos League posted its 2024 league alignment that for now features a six-team California-based Pacific Division and a ten-team Mountain Division. Each division had eight teams last season but the Lancaster (CA) Sound Breakers and Monterey (CA) Amberjacks will not return to the Pacific Division, while the Mountain Division added new teams called the Pecos (TX) Bills and the North Platte (NE) 80s. The league also announced its Pecos Spring League will return ahead of the 2024 season with a three-week schedule (March 6-24, 2024) at a complex in Houston.
American Association: The group trying to bring an independent American Association team to Murfreesboro (TN) presented plans to the local city council for a proposed new 4,500-seat stadium. Due to the potential cost of the stadium, the project might not receive local financial support thus forcing the ownership group to fund the entire project.
West Coast League: The summer-collegiate WCL recently announced its 2024 season schedule that will feature the same 16 teams as last season and again aligned in eight-team North and South divisions. The WCL includes five teams in British Columbia (Canada), one in Alberta (Canada), four in Oregon and six in Washington. Each team will play 54 games from May 31 through August 8, 2024.
Canadian Elite Basketball League: The commissioner of the ten-team minor professional CEBL, which plays a spring-summer schedule, stated the league is looking to expand by two teams for the 2025 season. The league had hoped to add a new team in Quebec City for the 2024 season but that team will now join the Eastern Conference in 2025. The league plans to add a Western Conference team in 2025 to even out the conferences. Quebec City hosted the league's 2023 all-star game called the CEBL Clash in August.
Arena Football League: As part of the reborn AFL's recent reveal of 16 teams that will participate in the 2024 season, the league mentioned plans to expand to 24 teams for the 2025 season. Teams called the Chicago Rush and Arizona Bandits are expected to join in 2025 along with other possible teams in markets that were part of the league's original market announcement in July but never made it to the 2024 season.
American Flag Football League: The new 7-on-7 professional AFFL announced teams called the Boston Brigade, Dallas Ocelots, Nashville Nighthawks, and the Las Vegas Lucky Sevens will participate in the league's inaugural 2024 season starting in April 2024. Each team will host two regular-season weekend events through mid-June. Events will include all teams with each team playing four 60-minute games.
Federal Prospects Hockey League: The previous owner of the FPHL's former Danville (IL) Dashers is working with Danville officials to bring the team back to the league for the 2024-25 season. The Danville Dashers played nine seasons (2011-20) in the FPHL and sat out a shortened 2020-21 season. The Danville arena board replaced the Dashers with an SPHL team called the Vermilion County Bobcats, which started play in 2021 and folded in February 2023 of its second season.
Saskatchewan Junior Women's Hockey League: The new Under-22 SJWHL started its inaugural 2023-24 season early last month with six teams called the Lumsden Lynx, Outlook Mountain Ice Hawks, Regina Junior Rebels, Saskatoon Prairie Blaze, Southland Impact (Swift Current) and Western Prairie Klippers (Kindersley). Each team will play an 18-game schedule through March 3, 2024.
Union Hockey League: The proposed new Senior-A semi-pro UHL, which plans to start play in January 2024 with 16 teams aligned in eight-team Eastern and Western divisions, has already announced four new teams that will join for the 2024-25 season. The Lake Erie Voyagers (Cleveland) and St. Louis Wranglers will be added to the Western Division while the New Jersey Apollos (Newark) and Philadelphia Frozen Fury will be added to the Eastern Division
League1 British Columbia: Canada's Division 3 pro-am League1 BC announced the Vancouver-based Nautsa'mawt FC will continue to operate but it will not be part of League1 BC for the 2024 season. The club played as the Varsity FC in the league's inaugural 2022 season before changing its name for 2023. The League1 BC, which operates as part of League1 Canada, had eight clubs in 2023 with each fielding teams in both a men's division and a women's division.
USL Super League (United Soccer League): The proposed women's Division-I professional USL Super League, which will start play in August 2024 and follow the fall-to-summer international soccer calendar, has awarded a franchise to Fort Lauderdale for the 2024 season. Other first-year teams will include the Spokane Zephyr FC and Tampa Bay Sun FC along with yet-to-be-named teams in Phoenix, Dallas/Fort Worth, Lexington (KY), Tucson, Charlotte, and Washington (DC). Fort Lauderdale will announce its team name in the coming months.
Major Arena Soccer League: The men's professional MASL started its 2023-24 season this week with 13 teams aligned in a seven-team Eastern Conference and a six-team Western Conference. Each team will play 24 games through March 31, 2024. The league had 14 teams last season but the Orlando Tropics suspended operations in the off-season. The Monterrey Flash (Nuevo Leon, Mexico) team was moved from the Western to the Eastern Conference. Also, the Mesquite (TX) Outlaws changed their named to the Texas Outlaws. A proposed new Guadalajara (Jalisco, Mexico) team announced in February 2023 was unable to meet league requirements to join for 2023-24 and has the option to reapply for next season.
Northwoods League Softball: The Minot (ND) team in the proposed new women's summer-collegiate Northwoods League Softball announced five potential nicknames that are up for fan voting. These include the Bombshells, Charm, Honeybees, Valhalla Dalas, and Valkyries.
Western Ultimate League: The women's semi-pro ultimate frisbee WUL, which played its 2023 season with eight teams aligned in four-team Northwest and Southwest conferences, announced the Portland-based Oregon Onyx team from the Northwest Conference will not return for the 2024 season.
TGL Golf (The Golf League): The new indoor TGL Golf league, which planned to start play in January 2024 with six teams playing all matches at a 2,000-seat custom-built virtual indoor golf course simulator in Palm Beach Gardens (FL), announced it will postpone the inaugural season until early 2025 due to damage to the air-supported dome section of the site that occurred during construction. Teams were to include the Jupiter Links Golf Club (Jupiter, FL), Boston Common Golf, Atlanta Drive GC, and Los Angeles Golf Club, along with yet-to-be-named teams represented by groups from San Francisco and New York City.
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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Arena Football League Stories from November 27, 2023
- Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report - OSC Original by Dan Krieger
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