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 Pacific Coast League

Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report

by Dan Krieger
April 8, 2024 - Pacific Coast League (PCL)


BASEBALL

Empire Baseball League: The independent EBL recently held a player draft for its upcoming 2024 season that will start on June 7 with four New York State-based teams from last season called the Saranac Lake Surge, Malone Border Hounds, Tupper Lake Riverpigs and North Country Thunderbirds, formerly the Plattsburgh Thunderbirds. A fifth travel-only team called the Japan Islanders from last season is not listed as returning for the 2024 season.

Major League Baseball: Major League Baseball's Oakland Athletics announced the team will play the 2025, 2026 and 2027 seasons at the 14,000-seat Sutter Health Park, home of the Sacramento River Cats in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League, as the team makes a permanent move to a new stadium in Las Vegas for the 2028 season. The team will be called simply "The A's" or "The Athletics" while in Sacramento.

Eastern League: The Double-A Eastern League started its 2024 season this week with the same 12 teams and Major League Baseball affiliations as last season. Teams are again aligned in six-team Northeast and Southwest divisions.

Southern League: The Double-A Southern League started its 2024 season this week with the same eight teams and Major League affiliations as last season. Teams are again aligned in four-team North and South divisions.

Texas League: The Double-A Texas League started its 2024 season this week with the same ten teams and Major League affiliations as last season. Teams are again aligned in five-team North and South divisions.

Midwest League: The High-A Midwest League started its 2024 season this week with the same 12 teams and Major League affiliations as last season. Teams are again aligned in six-team East and West divisions.

Northwest League: The High-A Northwest League started its 2024 season this week with the same six teams and Major League affiliations as last season. Teams are again aligned in a single-table format.

South Atlantic League: The High-A SAL started its 2024 season this week with 12 teams again aligned in six-team North and South divisions and the same Major League affiliations. There was one change from last season as the Rome (GA) Braves rebranded as the Rome Emperors while keeping their affiliation with the Atlanta Braves.

California League: The Low-A California League started its 2024 season this week with the same eight teams and Major League affiliations as last season. Teams are again aligned in four-team North and South divisions.

Carolina League: The Low-A Carolina League started its 2024 season this week with the same 12 teams and Major League affiliations as last season. Teams are again aligned in six-team North and South divisions.

Florida State League: The Low-A FSL started its 2024 season this week with the same ten teams and Major League affiliations as last season. Teams are again aligned in a four-team East Division and a six-team West Division.

BASKETBALL

Liga Nacional de Baloncesto Profesional - Femenil: Mexico's LNBP-Femenil (Mexican Women's National Professional Basketball League), which is affiliated with the top men's LNBP, announced its 2024 season will feature 9 teams each playing a 16-game schedule from May 2 through June 29, 2024, followed by playoffs. The league operated with 11 teams last season but the Libertadoras de Queretaro, Astros de Jalisco (Guadalajara) and Plateras de Fresnillo ((Zacatecas) did not return, but the Santas del Potosi (San Luis Potosi, Mexico) team was added for the 2024 season.

American Basketball Association: The men's semi-pro ABA announced the addition of the Kissimmee (FL) Lambs team for the 2024-25. The Kissimmee Lambs were part of the Florida Basketball Association for the 2023 season.

FOOTBALL

American 7 Football League: The outdoor full-contact 7-on-7 A7FL, whose players do not wear hard pads or helmets, started its 2024 season last month with 24 teams aligned in an Eastern Conference with a seven-team North East Division and a three-team Florida Division, and a Western Conference with a six-team Midwest Division and an eight-team Nevada Division. The 2024 season runs through May 19. The newly reformed Arena Football League recently entered into an agreement for the A7FL to develop future talent for the AFL and allow players to move between leagues.

HOCKEY

ECHL: The ECHL has terminated the membership of the Newfoundland Growlers (St. John's) and the team's remaining six games of the 2023-24 season have been cancelled. Deacon Sports and Entertainment (DSE), which owned both the Growlers and the league's Trois-Rivieres Lions (Quebec), was given a deadline of April 2 to sell both teams due to a failure to meet league bylaws. DSE was only able to reach an agreement for a sale of the Trois-Rivieres Lions, pending league approval, so that team is expected to remain in the league. The Growlers were an affiliate of the National Hockey League's Toronto Maple League, while the Lions are an affiliate of the NHL's Montreal Canadiens.

British Columbia Hockey League: The Merritt Centennials (British Columbia) of the independent BCHL, which is considered a Junior-A Tier-I league under BC Hockey, announced the team will be moving to the British Columbia-based Kootenay International Junior Hockey League, which is considered a Junior-A Tier-2 league under BC Hockey, for the 2024-25 season.

United States Premier Hockey League: The Long Beach Shredders of the Tier-III junior-level USPHL Premier Conference have come under new ownership that will rename the team the Long Beach Bombers for the 2024-25 season. The Long Beach Bombers was the name of a junior-level team that was part of the former Western States Hockey League for ten seasons (2009-2019).

SOCCER

Major League Indoor Soccer: The MLIS, which just completed its 2023-24 regular-season schedule with six men's teams, announced the purchase of the National Indoor Soccer League (NISL), which is playing its current 2024 season with five clubs each operating a men's and a women's team in doubleheader events. Last month, the MLIS announced plans to start a women's indoor league for the 2024-25 season with initial commitments from three of its current men's markets (Chicago, Omaha and Denver). Since then, the MLIS announced the existing women's indoor team called Zoo City FC (Kalamazoo, MI) from the Premier Arena Soccer League has joined the MLIS for the new 2024-25 women's league. The MLIS has played two seasons while the NISL is in its third season. The NISL was supposed to have six co-ed clubs this season but the new Foundry FC (Columbus, GA) was unable to play and is listed as an inactive team.

National Independent Soccer Association: The Division-III professional NISA's 2024 expansion team called the Georgia Lions SC (Conyers/Atlanta) has undergone a front office reorganization and will start its inaugural season in the league as the renamed Georgia FC. The future of the league's Savannah Clovers team is uncertain due to financial issues from the loss of investors over the past few months.

League1 Ontario: Canada's Division-3 pro-am League1 Ontario will be moving to a promotion-relegation model for its 2024 men's and women's divisions. Both the men's and women's sides will each have a Premier (top tier) and Championship (second tier) division along with a League2 (third tier) that will feature a mix of new expansion teams and “B Teams” from the Premier and Championship teams. The champion of League2 will advance to the Championship Division and the top team in the Championship will move up to the Premier Division. The last place teams in both the Premier Division and the Championship will each fall one tier in the pyramid. The League1 Ontario will also have a men's and women's Under-20 Reserve League that will operate outside of the promotion-relegation system.

OTHER

Western Ultimate League: The women's professional ultimate frisbee WUL, which played its 2023 season with eight teams aligned in four-team Northwest and Southwest conferences, recently started its 2024 season with six teams in three-team Northwest and Southwest conferences. The Portland-based Oregon Onyx did not return to the Northwest Conference in 2024, while the Los Angeles Astra did not return to the Southwest Conference in 2024. Each team will play six games through May 19, 2024.

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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Pacific Coast League Stories from April 8, 2024


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.


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