Trevor Divinski

Willmar Stingers pitcher Trevor Divinski throws home against the Eau Claire Express during playoff action on Aug. 14, 2019, at Carson Park.

Five more Northwoods League teams will begin play July 1 in a Minnesota-Iowa pod, the league announced Monday.

The Willmar Stingers, Mankato MoonDogs, Rochester Honkers, St. Cloud Rox and Waterloo Bucks will play a season lasting until August 20.

“Continuing efforts on the part of our Affiliates in Minnesota and Iowa to craft plans for safe operation in their respective locations in consultation with their state and local officials, along with the steps by those officials to open up their communities for larger gatherings, has made it possible to start another ‘pod’ in the Northwoods League footprint on July 1,” league president and commissioner Gary Hoover said in a statement.

With the addition of the Minnesota-Iowa pod, most of the Northwoods League’s 22 teams are slated to be playing by July 1, albeit in makeshift fashion. Some teams have had to rebrand and send players to the pod site, like in Bismarck. The pod in North Dakota has already begun play with the Larks, Flickertails and Bull Moose. The Flickertails and Bull Moose are new teams, created specifically for the pod, and include players from the likes of Thunder Bay, which will not play this summer.

The Eau Claire Express, Madison Mallards, Kenosha Kingfish, Lakeshore Chinooks and Duluth Huskies are the remaining teams which have yet to announce a return to play. The Kokomo Jackrabbits joined Thunder Bay last week in announcing they will not play this year.

President steps down

Hoover is stepping down from his post as Northwoods League president and commissioner, the league announced Monday.

Hoover held the role for five years. He will return to a general counsel role during the transition.

“After five amazing years in a role that was an honor to hold, I have decided the timing is right for me to step down,” Hoover said in a statement. “I sincerely thank Dick and Kathy Radatz for this great opportunity, the NWL Board, the talented NWL staff, and the many Affiliates and their personnel I’ve had the pleasure of working with so closely.”