Friday, seven teams would announce its departure from the Expedition League leaving only teams owned by Steve Wagner, the owner of the league and subsequently, the owner of the Pierre Trappers to form a new collegiate baseball league.
Currently, the Trappers are left in the Expedition League with the Souris Valley Sabre Dogs, Wheat City Whiskey Jacks and the Sioux Falls Sunfish.
It was reported by 406 Mountain Sports back in August the Mining City Tommyknockers had canceled the remainder of the season with just six games left. They report that it was building since mid-May. Wagner owned the Tommyknockers while his son Dane was the general manager and was fired after a player treatment scandal. Dane has been arrested and charged for burglary in October for going into a mental health clinic without permission and taking a space heater.
The Canyon County Spuds owner Jeff Dobish told 406 Mountain Sports the forming of the new “Independence League” is in direct correlation to how the Wagners treated the players and people of Butte, Montana and they want to distance organizations from the Wagner’s “toxic reputation.”
The teams leaving the Expedition League to form the Independence League are Trappers in-state rival, Spearfish Sasquatch, Badlands Big Sticks, Casper Horseheads, Freemont Moo, Hastings Sodbusters, Western Nebraska Pioneers and the Spuds.
In the teams leaving, they have the top three teams in average attendance from the 2021 season. Western Nebraska averaged 924 fans per home game, the Horseheads were second and the Big Sticks were third. The Trappers were seventh in attendance in the league but second among Wagner owned teams. The Souris Valley Sabre Dogs, the league champions, averaged the fourth best attendance.
Back in August, Kelcy Nash, the Trappers second General Manager in its franchise, resigned from her position and have yet to hire a new GM.
Grand Forks, North Dakota is scheduled to receive a team in 2022, which would even out the teams to six, but would expect more dominos to fall before the 2022 season would commence. As of now, the Trappers season and the Expedition League has to be considered in danger.
Riverfront Broadcasting Sports has reached out to Wagner for a comment and will continue to update the story.