Weekly Sports League and Franchise Reportby Dan Krieger
December 21, 2009 - American Indoor Football Association (AIFA)
Golden Baseball League: The GBL announced it has reached an agreement for a franchise to operate in the city of Palm Springs (CA) starting in either 2010 or 2011. The city has worked with the GBL in the past by hosting teams in the GBL's winter league. The city last had the Palm Springs Sun for two seasons (1995-96) in the defunct Western Baseball League. The league was reportedly also considering the markets of Scottsdale (AZ) and Tijuana (Mexico) for 2010.
Canadian-American League: The owners of the Nashua-based American Defenders of New Hampshire have applied to move the team to Pittsfield (MA). One of the owners also operated the Pittsfield American Defenders team in the 2009 season of the summer-collegiate New England Collegiate Baseball League. That team is expected to move out of the city. Pittsfield's last pro baseball team was the Berkshire Black Bears that last played in the 2003 Northeast League, which was a predecessor to the Can-Am League. If the move happens, the new Pittsfield team is expected to hold a name-the-team contest.
Florida State League: The new Bradenton (FL) affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates in the High Class-A FSL has been named the Bradenton Marauders. The Pirates took over the former Sarasota Reds franchise and moved it to Bradenton, while the Reds took over the Pirates' former High Class-A affiliate called the Lynchburg (VA) Hillcats in the Carolina League. The Marauders will take Sarasota's spot in the league's Southern Division.
Eastern League: The Double-A Eastern League has renamed and realigned its divisions for 2010 after the move of the Connecticut Defenders to Richmond as the Flying Squirrels. Richmond will move to the new Western Division, which consists of all of last season's Southern Division teams without the Reading Phillies. Reading was moved to the new Eastern Division, which includes all of last season's Northern Division teams except for Connecticut.
Carolina League: A developer has proposed building a new ballpark in Loudon County (VA) for the Potomac Nationals of the High Class-A Carolina League. This ballpark would be only seven miles south of a new ballpark already approved by Loudon County for a proposed franchise in the independent Atlantic League.
Northwoods League: The summer-collegiate Northwoods league plans to add a new franchise in the town of Wisconsin Rapids for the 2010 season. The league had five Wisconsin-based teams in 2009.
Prospect League: The summer-collegiate Prospect League plans to add the Beckley-based West Virginia Miners team for 2010. The league is also considering the markets of Mequon (WI) and Terre Haute (IN).
Texas Professional Basketball League: The TPBL plans to expand beyond the state of Texas in 2011 and will look at potential teams in the states of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Louisiana, and Arkansas. The league would still keep its current name.
Women's National Basketball Association: The WNBA recently announced its 2010 season schedule will include 12 teams after the loss of the Sacramento Monarchs. The league's Detroit Shock has moved to Tulsa and the franchise plans to announce its nickname next month. The Fire, Shock, and Tempo are possible nickname choices.
American Basketball Association: The ABA plans to add a team currently listed as the Norfolk (VA) Sharks in 2010. The ABA tried to place a team called the Hampton Roads Titans in the Norfolk area for its inaugural 2000-01 season, but the team moved to San Diego as the Wildfire when it could not find enough available dates at local venues. An unnamed Norfolk team was proposed in 2004-05 and a team called the Norfolk Navigators was announced, but never started play in the 2007-08 season. An exhibition semi-pro basketball team called the RimRockers Play2Win, based in Albuquerque (NM), plans to play 2010 exhibition games against teams from a variety of leagues, including the ABA. The Smoky Mountain Jam, which played as the Knoxville Thunderbolts in the 2008-09 ABA, is not longer part of the ABA and will play an independent schedule of games this season. One upcoming game is against the Tri-City Racers, which served as an ABA travel team in 2008-09.
Indoor Football League: The IFL has announced the 2010 alignment for its 26 teams that will include 13 teams each in the United Conference and Intense Conference. The United Conference added a division by splitting the Central Division into two divisions. This includes a four-team Atlantic East Division, a four-team Central North Division, and a five-team Central West Division. The Intense Conference has a five-team Pacific North Division and also adds a division by splitting the Lonestar Division into a four-team Lonestar East Division and a four-team Lonestar West Division for 2010.
American Indoor Football Association: The Carolina Speed has announced the team will sit out the 2010 AIFA season, but plans to return in 2011 based in Concord (NC). The Speed played its first two seasons (2007-08) in Concord, but played in the Charlotte area in 2009. The AIFA has listed its 2010 team alignment that will eliminate its South division and include only a seven-team East division and a six-team West division. Of the 14 teams in 2009, the league lost six teams (Columbus Lions, South Carolina Force, Utah Valley Thunder, Carolina Speed, D.C. Armor, and Florence Phantoms), but added five new teams (New Jersey Revolution, Richmond Raiders, Wenatchee Valley Venom, Yakima Valley Warriors, San Jose Wolves). A proposed Trenton-based team called the New Jersey Kings had been announced, but is not part of the 2010 alignment.
Arena Football One (AF1): The new AF1 has completed the purchase of the assets from the bankrupt Arena Football League. This should clear the way for new AF1 teams in former AFL markets to use the AFL team names. The Utah Valley Thunder is expected to eventually use the Utah Blaze nickname from Salt Lake City's former AFL team. The Arizona Rattlers, Orlando Predators, Chicago Rush, Dallas Desperados, Cleveland Gladiators and Tampa Bay Storm are the other new AF1 teams that plan to use former AFL nicknames.
American Professional Football League: As of now, it appears the semi-pro indoor APFL will have at least four full-schedule teams in 2010-the Iowa (Council Bluffs) Blackhawks, Kansas (Topeka) Koyotes, Springfield (MO) Wolfpack, and Mid-Missouri (Sedalia) Outlaws.
United Indoor Alliance: The new Mahoning Valley Buzz in the proposed UIA is considering a facility in Warrensville (OH) as its home and could change its name to the Warrensville Buzz.
All American Hockey League: The AAHL has added a new team called the West Michigan Blizzard that will begin play midway through the league's 2009-10 season. The team will play home games at the same arena used by the Muskegon Lumberjacks of the International Hockey League. Last week, the Chicago Blaze folded and the league revoked the Detroit Hitmen's franchise rights, leaving the league with four teams. Players from the Blaze and Hitmen were used to stock the Blizzard. The AAHL had planned to place this team in Holland (MI), but could not find enough available ice time.
North East Professional Hockey League: A new team called the Long Island Stingrays plans to be part of the remaining portion of the 2009-10 NEPHL season and would be a fourth team for the league.
North American Hockey League: The Tier II Junior-A NAHL plans to add the new Dawson City (British Columbia) Rage and the Fresno Monsters to the West Division for the 2010-11 season. The Fresno Monsters team is currently playing its first season in the Tier III Junior-A Western States Hockey League and plans to continue to operate an NAHL development team in the WSHL next season.
American Hockey League: Oklahoma City has entered into a lease agreement with a group that plans to bring an AHL team to the city, most likely an affiliate of the National Hockey League's Edmonton Oilers. Edmonton has been using the Springfield (MA) Falcons for its AHL affiliate, but owns a dormant AHL franchise that could be placed in Oklahoma City. The owner of the Falcons would have rights to another AHL affiliate if Edmonton pulls out. The Falcons have suffered from low attendance and the owner has committed to one more year in Springfield. Oklahoma City previously had the successful Blazers franchise in the Central Hockey League, but the owners shut that team down after the 2008-09 season.
Federal Hockey League: The new FHL, which plans to start play in November 2010, now has the markets of Rome (NY), Ottawa (Ontario), Danbury (CT), and Thousands Islands (NY) listed as the locations of its first-season teams. Previously, Danbury was listed as the Whalers, Ottawa as the Patriots, and Thousand Islands as Alexandria Bay (NY).
United Soccer Leagues (First Division): If the USL First Division does play a 2010 season, it is uncertain whether the proposed FC New York expansion franchise would start play as planned. The National Sports Center, which was the former home of the Minnesota Thunder, has talked of forming a new franchise to replace the Thunder. The Thunder left the USL First Division to join the North American Soccer League, but has had financial issues that might not allow the team to play in 2010. It is uncertain which league, the USL or NASL, would host a new Minnesota franchise.
United Soccer Leagues W-League: The USL women's W-League has announced its 2010 season will feature 29 teams, down from 37 teams in 2009. Although the league has lost several teams from last season, four new teams called the New Jersey Rangers, North Jersey Valkyries, Colorado Rush, and Santa Clarita Blue Heat will join in 2010. Santa Clarita acquired the franchise rights of the Ventura County Fusion.
World TeamTeannis: The WTT has announced it will play its 35th season in the month of July 2010. The league again plans to have ten teams in 2010.
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 2008-09 version can be found at http://www.lulu.com/content/6218580. Dan can be contacted at email@example.com.
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American Indoor Football Association Stories from December 21, 2009
- Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report - OSC Original by Dan Krieger
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.