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Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report

by Dan Krieger
October 6, 2008 - arenafootball2 (af2)

BASEBALL

Golden Baseball League: The GBL has announced the addition of a new 2009 franchise based in British Columbia that will be called the Victoria Seals. The city of Victoria most recently had a team called the Victoria Capitals in the short-lived Canadian Baseball League of 2003 and has had some various affiliated lower level minor league teams in its baseball history. Victoria will join the recently announced Tucson Toros as expansion teams for the 2009 GBL season. The future of the Edmonton Cracker-Cats franchise has come into question based on some off-season moves by the team's owner. The team recently finished its first season in the GBL after playing three years in the Northern League.

Canadian-American League: After only one season in the Can-Am League, the owners of the Ottawa Rapidz have decided to fold the operations of the franchise. The ownership was unable to obtain a long-term ballpark lease. In the next few weeks, the league plans to look for a new ownership group that wants to operate an Ottawa team in 2009. The Can-Am League has approved the sale of the Nashua Pride to new ownership, which has renamed the team the American Defenders of New Hampshire.

International League: The Charlotte Knights of the Triple-A International League are reportedly the top choice of possible teams in line to take over the league's Richmond (VA) IL market, which recently lost the Richmond Braves to Gwinnett (GA). The Knights' owner has been unsuccessful in attempts to build a new ballpark in the Charlotte area. A developer with ties to the independent Atlantic Baseball League wants to build a new ballpark in Richmond that could be used for a future Triple-A team. The city's current ballpark could be used by an ABL franchise until a new ballpark is completed for an affiliated team.

Midwest League: The Fort Wayne Wizards franchise in the Low Class-A Midwest League has changed its nickname to the Fort Wayne TinCats. The name change will coincide with the team's move to a new ballpark in 2009. The name is in reference to the legendary Johnny Appleseed, who died and is buried in Fort Wayne and was know for wearing his tin cooking pot on his head. Octane, Fuel and Current were other nicknames under consideration. The franchise has been known as the Wizards since it moved from Kenosha (WI) in 1993.

United League Baseball: The ULB claims that it will return intact for the 2009 season with same six teams as last season. A lawsuit was filed against the league in August to stop it from switching its two highest drawing teams in Amarillo and San Angelo to the Golden Baseball League, while shutting down the remaining teams in Alexandria (LA) and the Texas cities of Edinburg, Harlingen and Laredo.

BASKETBALL

National Basketball Association: Although there had been rumors about possible NBA realignment for the 2008-09 season with the switch of Seattle to Oklahoma City, the Oklahoma City Thunder will remain in the Northwest Division for the upcoming season.

Premier Basketball League: The Reading Railers franchise announced it has suspended operations for the upcoming 2009 season due to the current economy and the loss of potential investors. The team hopes to return in 2010. This is the sixth of ten teams from the PBL's inaugural season that will not return for a second season. Other 2008 teams from the Quad Cities, Jacksonville, Dallas, Arkansas and Rockford will not be returning for the 2009 season. Through expansion and the addition of several teams from other leagues, the PBL currently has 13 remaining teams.

Eastern Basketball Association: The EBA has added some other new teams in both its men's and women's divisions for its upcoming 2009 season. The Metro Legends, Virginia Wolverines, Wilkes-Barre Triple Threat and an unnamed Cincinnati team are now listed in EBA men's division, which now includes a total of 15 teams. New to the EBA women's division are the Lancaster Lady Cougars and Philadelphia Flames for a total of eight teams listed for the 2009 season.

American Basketball Association: The Charleston-based West Virginia Outlaws have confirmed the team will be part of the ABA's 2008-09 season that will run from December 2008 to March 2009. The state of West Virginia will also have a Bluefield-based team called the West Virginia Blazers in the 2008-09 ABA season.

United States Basketball Association: The proposed USBA has its divisional alignment listed for the 14 teams that plan to start play in April 2009. The Appalachian Division includes the Atlanta Platinum, Augusta Raging River, Birmingham Crusaders, Chattanooga Royal, Huntsville Storm, Montgomery Generals and Nashville Thunder. The Atlantic Division includes the Charleston (SC) Cadets, Charlotte (NC) Blue Wave, Columbia (SC) Centurion, Jacksonville Admirals, Norfolk Blaze, Richmond Colonials and Savannah Seahawks.

Women's Blue-Chip Basketball League: The semi-pro WBCBL has apparently received responses from a number of groups interested in joining the league. Some of the cities looking to start new WBCBL teams include: Buffalo, Cleveland, Detroit, Kansas City (MO), Kansas City (KS), Los Angeles, Phoenix, Sacramento, San Diego, Tucson and Washington (DC).

FOOTBALL

Arenafootball2: The af2 has announced the Milwaukee Iron as an expansion team for the 2009 season. The team's ownership group previously operated the Milwaukee Mustangs in the Arena Football League from 1994 to 2001. The AFL Mustangs held the af2 rights to the Madison (WI) market, which has now been switched to Milwaukee. The Albany Conquest franchise has been renamed the Albany Firebirds for the 2009 season. The team has taken the nickname of the city's former AFL franchise that played from 1990 to 2000 before moving to Indianapolis. After two seasons in the af2, the Lubbock Renegades franchise has ceased operations.

National Football League: A developer of a proposed football stadium in the City of Industry in the Los Angeles area is moving forward with the project and an environmental impact study is underway. The nearby city of Walnut has already voiced opposition to the stadium plan.

Women's Football Alliance: The WFA is a new women's football league that plans to start play in the spring of 2009. Some of the WFA's current teams include the Gulf Coast Riptide (formerly the Pensacola Power of the National Women's Football Association), New Orleans Blaze (2008 NWFA team), Delaware Queen Bees, Empire State Roar (member of the 2007 Women's Professional Football League), Philadelphia Liberty Belles and California Lynx.

National Women's Football Association: The NWFA has announced at least three new teams for its upcoming 2009 spring football season-the Jersey Justice, Keystone Assault and the Missouri (St. Joseph) Phoenix. The Keystone Assault is based in Harrisburg (PA) and is made up of former players from the Central PA Vipers team, which left the NWFA to play in the 2008 season of the Independent Women's Football League.

Independent Women's Football League: The IWFL has announced several new teams that plan to participate in the league's 2009 spring season-the Tennessee Valley Tigers (Huntsville), Philadelphia Firebirds (formerly the Phoenix), Louisville Nightmare, Houston Energy (formerly of the Women's Professional Football League) and Modesto Maniax. HOCKEY

National Hockey League: The NHL reports that is planning to place franchises in Europe within the next ten years and it could include a six-team division. Some of the possible cities that could be considered are Helsinki, Stockholm, Prague, St. Petersburg, Moscow, and cities in Germany and Switzerland.

Eastern Professional Hockey League: The owner of the Copper City Chiefs, based in Rome (NY), has apparently shut down the EPHL franchise just a month before the proposed start of the league's inaugural season. The five-team EPHL is making efforts to keep Rome as a market for the 2008-09 season. Reports also had the league's New Hampshire Freeze franchise facing questions about its ownership and finances.

All American Hockey Association: The recently announced AAHA now has a fifth team called the Crusaders listed for its inaugural 2008-09 season, but no location has been announced. The AAHA apparently asked the Midwest Hockey League's Chicago Bulldogs to switch leagues, but the Bulldogs have decided not to join the AAHA. The Bulldogs joined the MWHL to be a "showcase" team for that league's inaugural season with the hope of joining as a fulltime member the next season.

SOCCER

Major League Soccer: With new minority investors in the Columbus Crew having ties to an MLS expansion effort in Las Vegas, rumors have surfaced that the Crew franchise would eventually be moved to Las Vegas when a proposed soccer facility is built there.

National Indoor Soccer League: The five-team NISL has announced its upcoming 2008-09 schedule and each team will play 18 games from November 15, 2008 to March 29, 2009. The NISL includes the Baltimore Blast, La RaZa de Monterrey, Orlando Sharks, Philadelphia Kixx and the Rockford Rampage.

Premier Arena Soccer League: The Southern Colorado Stars of the PASL-Premier have changed their name to the Dynamite Reserves and will serve as the official development team for the Denver Dynamite of the Professional Arena Soccer League (PASL-Pro). The Reserves team will be based in Monument (CO), 60 miles south of Denver.

OTHER

Major Series Lacrosse: The Brampton Excelsiors of the Ontario-based MSL defeated the New Westminster Salmonbellies of the British Columbia-based Western Lacrosse Association to win the Mann Cup, an annual competition between the champions of the two senior-A level indoor lacrosse leagues. Along with Brampton, the MSL had six other teams competing in 2008-Barrie Lakeshores, Brooklin Redmen, Kitchener-Waterloo Kodiaks, Peterborough Lakers, St. Regis Indians and Six Nations. Along with the Salmonbellies, the WLA had the Burnaby Lakers, Coquitlam Adanacs, Langley Thunder, Maple Ridge Burrards and Nanaimo Timbermen and Victoria Shamrocks.

American National Rugby League: The AMNRL completed its 2008 season with the New Haven Warriors as the league champion. Other teams included the Aston Delco Sports Club Bulls, Bucks County Sharks, Connecticut Wildcats, D.C. Slayers, Fairfax Eagles, Jacksonville Axemen, New York Knights, Northern Raiders and Philadelphia Fight. All teams were grouped in one table for the 2008 alignment.

Dan Krieger is the creator of "Leagues, Teams & Nicknames", which tracks the changes in league alignments, franchise movements and team nicknames in today's sports world. The latest version can be found at http://www.lulu.com/content/2533047. Dan can be contacted at dankrieger@leaguesteamsnicknames.com.

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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.