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Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report

by Dan Krieger
February 15, 2010 - Pacific Coast League (PCL)

BASEBALL

Pacific Coast League: The possibility of having a new ballpark ready by the 2011 season for the Portland Beavers of the Triple-A PCL does not seem likely and there has been speculation as to where the team would play, temporarily or permanently. The owner of the Beavers was granted a Major League Soccer franchise for the 2011 season, so the Beavers' current home field will be converted to a soccer-specific facility after the 2010 PCL season. Tucson (AZ) has been mentioned as a temporary location, if a new ballpark is to be built in the Portland area. Vancouver (British Columbia) and a proposed ballpark approved in the Sugar Land area of Houston have been mentioned as possible permanent locations.

Continental Baseball League: The Alexandria Aces have left the CBL and the Aces will play in 2010 as a summer-collegiate team in the Texas Collegiate Baseball League. Independent professional teams called the Alexandria Aces have been part of four different leagues since 1994-the Texas-Louisiana League (1994-2001), Central Baseball League (2002-03), United League Baseball (2006-08) and the CBL in 2009.

Peach State League: The four-team Peach State League plans to start play in 2010 with a schedule running from the middle of June to the middle of August. All games will be played at Luther Williams Field in Macon (GA). Macon's entry in the league will be marketed as the home team with three other teams providing the opposition. The league plans to use players that were not selected in the Major League Baseball draft that is usually held in June. The league will hold contests to name the various teams.

Southwestern Baseball League: The SBL has confirmed four markets for its inaugural 2011 season-Tecate (Baja California), El Centro (CA)/Mexicali (Baja California), Nogales (AZ)/Nogales (Sonora), and Cananea (Sonora)/Douglas (AZ). The league is looking for two more locations for its first season.

Prospect League: The summer-collegiate Prospect League has added the Lorain County (OH) Ironmen as a new team for its upcoming 2010 season.

Texas Collegiate Baseball League: The owners of the Victoria Generals in the TCBL have announced its second team in the league for 2010 will be based in Weimar (TX) and will be called the Texas Tomcats. The TCBL has also added the Alexandria Aces team that was part of the low-level professional Continental Baseball League in 2009.

New York Collegiate Baseball League: The Saratoga Phillies of the NYCBL plan to move to Oneonta (NY), which recently lost the Oneonta Tigers of the short-season Class-A New York-Penn League. Apparently, Oneonta officials talked with two independent pro leagues-the Atlantic Baseball League and the Can-Am League-before deciding a summer-collegiate league was a better fit economically.

BASKETBALL

Continental Basketball League: The new CBL is trying to launch this spring, but has only the Wilmington (NC) Sea Dawgs listed as a potential team. The Sea Dawgs were part of the 2009 Premier Basketball League.

American Basketball League: The ABL is trying to form and plans to have an organizing meeting later this month. Apparently, the Southeast Texas Mavericks of the American Basketball Association plan to be part of this new league.

American Basketball Association: The Appalachian Rapids team states that it is a sanctioned "travel team" in the 2009-10 season and will play about ten games. The team is affiliated with the ABA's West Virginia Blazers and Rapids players compete for spots on the Blazers' roster. The ABA has announced a new Dallas-Fort Worth "travel team" called the Arlington Bulldogs that apparently includes some players from the league's North Texas Fresh team. The owner of the Kentucky Bisons reported that there is a 50-50 chance the team will return to Owensboro next season. The team needs more business sponsors and better attendance to succeed.

FOOTBALL

Indoor Football League: The Amarillo Dusters, which played as part of arenafootball2 in 2009, has changed its nicknamed to the Amarillo Venom as the team starts play in the 2010 IFL. The Venom nickname won out over the Turf Monsters nickname in fan voting. The team was forced to change its name due to legal complications after the new Arena Football 1 league purchased the names and logos of all af2 and Arena Football League teams.

United Football League: The UFL is expected to announce next week that its New York Sentinels franchise will be moving to Hartford (CT) for the league's second season in 2010. The San Francisco-based California Redwoods franchise is expected to move to Sacramento. The Florida Tuskers, which played games in both Tampa and Orlando in 2009, are expected to concentrate full-time on the Orlando market in 2010. The league's fourth team, the Las Vegas Locomotives, is expected to return in 2010. The UFL plans to add two teams for the 2010 season with one of those expected to be located in San Antonio. Salt Lake City is the frontrunner for the other expansion team, while other cities like Louisville, Omaha, and Portland (OR) are under consideration.

HOCKEY

American Hockey League: The Albany River Rats franchise of the AHL was sold and will move to Charlotte (NC) and become the Charlotte Checkers for the 2010-11 AHL season. The team will continue to be an affiliate of the National Hockey League's Carolina Hurricanes, based in Raleigh-Durham (NC). Charlotte's current ECHL franchise, which is also called the Charlotte Checkers, will be sold and relocated. That team has been part of the ECHL since the 1993-94 season. Albany is still working to obtain another AHL franchise by next season. An Albany-based franchise has been part of the AHL since 1990. The AHL has approved the relocation of the NHL's Edmonton Oilers inactive AHL franchise, which last play in 2004-05 as the Edmonton Road Runners, to Oklahoma City for the 2010-11 season. The Oilers will let their affiliation with the AHL's Springfield Falcons expire after this season. Oklahoma City had been home to the successful Oklahoma City Blazers franchise in the Central Hockey League from 1992 through the 2008-09 season.

Southern Professional Hockey League: The SPHL has officially announced it will have an expansion franchise based in Augusta (GA) for the 2010-11 season. The franchise owner had been involved with the league's Twin City Cyclones, which previously played two seasons (2007-09) in Winston-Salem (NC) before suspending operations last year. Augusta's last pro hockey team, the Augusta Lynx, dropped out of the ECHL during the 2008-09 season.

International Hockey League: The Muskegon Lumberjacks have announced the franchise will not return to the IHL for the 2010-11 season. At the same time, an investor announced plans to bring a franchise in the Tier-I Junior-A United States Hockey League to Muskegon for the 2010-11 season. The USHL will add Muskegon as its 16th team after previously adding Dubuque (IA) as its 15th team for next season. The IHL would like to replace Muskegon with another team in either Chicago or Evansville for next season, so it can remain at at least six teams.

Southeast Junior Hockey League: USA Hockey has approved the advancement of the SEJHL from the Junior-C level to the Junior-B level effective for the 2010-11 season.

SOCCER

North American Soccer League: The new Edmonton-based NASL team, which is considered as one of the league's 11 founding members, has taken the name FC Edmonton as it prepares for its official start in Division II competition in 2011. The team plans to play some exhibition games this summer. Edmonton had previously made an offer to the Vancouver Whitecaps for their NASL franchise when the Whitecaps move up to Major League Soccer in 2011, but no agreement was ever finalized and there is no relationship between the teams. Although the team was previously referred to as the Drillers, that is not the team's nickname; however, FC Edmonton could modify its name at a later date.

United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League: The new PDL franchise in Central New Jersey for 2010 will be called the Central Jersey Spartans. The team will be part of the league's Mid Atlantic Division.

United States Soccer Federation Division-2 Pro League: The USSF Division II league has announced its 2010 schedule that will run from early April to early October with each team playing 30 games. The league is comprised of teams from the North American Soccer League and member teams from the United Soccer Leagues First Division.

OTHER

United Rugby League: The new URL has been proposed and would feature gridiron rugby, which is an 11-aside modification to the "league" version of rugby. The Gridiron Rugby International Federation is trying to grow the sport of rugby in the United States and surrounding countries by developing interest in gridiron rugby, which can utilize narrower American football fields. The GRIF is trying to develop the professional United Rugby League for a start in 2012 or 2013.

World TeamTennis: The WTT held its player draft for its upcoming 2010 season that will be played in the month of July. The league will have the same ten teams as last season.

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 dankrieger@leaguesteamsnicknames.com.

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Pacific Coast League Stories from February 15, 2010


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.