The summer-collegiate Northwoods League will expand to 22 teams and realign divisions in 2019, as was confirmed by Friday’s announcement of next season’s schedule.
The Northwoods League fielded 20 teams in 2018, and is adding two more for 2019. Those additions include the Kokomo Jackrabbits, who have joined from the Prospect League, and a new Traverse City team that is taking the place of the Traverse City Beach Bums (independent; Frontier League) at Wuerfel Park.
Along with the confirmed expansion clubs, the Northwoods League announced realignment, with the circuit adopting new divisional names: Great Plains and Great Lakes. The division and sub-division format is as follows:
Great Plains West: Bismarck, Mankato, Rochester, St. Cloud, Willmar
Great Plains East: Duluth, Eau Claire, La Crosse, Thunder Bay, Waterloo
Great Lakes West: Fond du Lac, Green Bay, Lakeshore, Madison, Wisconsin, Wisconsin Rapids
Great Lakes East: Battle Creek, Kalamazoo, Kenosha, Kokomo, Rockford, Traverse City
All 22 teams will continue to play 72 regular-season games, along with a continuation of scheduled doubleheaders.
“The Northwoods League 2019 schedule is of particular note as it reflects not only the continuing expansion of the Northwoods League to 22 teams, but also the resulting Divisional realignment,” said President Gary Hoover. “In creating this new structure, we believe the fans, players, and our Affiliates will have an enhanced overall experience, and we look forward to making more refinements in the near future that are aimed at raising the bar even higher.”
The regular season will begin on Tuesday, May 28 and conclude on Sunday, August 11. The Northwoods League All-Star Game will take place at Waterloo’s Cost Cutters Field at Riverfront Stadium on Tuesday, July 16, while the Major League Dreams Showcase–a showcase for players hand-selected by a panel of major league scouts–will take place at Madison’s Warner Park on Tuesday, August 6.