Weekly Sports League and Franchise Reportby Dan Krieger
August 1, 2011 - ECHL (ECHL)
Arizona Fall League: For its upcoming 2011 season, the six-team AzFL has added the Salt River Fields at Talking Stick as a sixth ballpark. The Peoria Saguaros, which had shared Peoria Stadium with the Peoria Javelinas, have been moved to Surprise to become the Surprise Saguaros and the Surprise Rafters have moved to become the Salt River Rafters. The East Division will have the Mesa Solar Sox, Salt River Rafters, and Scottsdale Scorpions. The West Division will include the Peoria Javelinas, Phoenix Desert Dogs, and Surprise Saguaros. The teams in the AzFl feature top prospects from Major League Baseball clubs.
Frontier League: The group that purchased the Frontier League's dormant Oakland County (MI) Cruisers franchise is trying to work out a deal to renovate an existing ballpark in Clawson (MI) as the team's home. The team would like to start play in 2012. The previous ownership had been trying to build a new 4,000-seat ballpark in the Waterford Township, but was unable to obtain financing. The league would like to add future teams in other markets such as Sandusky (OH) and Greensburg (PA), near Pittsburgh.
North American League: A group called Centerfield Partners, which has been trying to bring an NAL team to a city-owned ballpark in San Rafael (CA), has purchased the rights to place four future NAL teams in the San Francisco Bay Area. The ownership group is now targeting Dublin (CA), just northeast of Pleasanton, for a team and is trying to secure land and financing for a new ballpark.
Pecos League: The Pecos League is targeting the city of Santa Fe (NM) for a possible 2012 expansion team and has selected the Santa Fe Zozobras as a proposed team name.
Premier Basketball League: The PBL announced that a team called the Sauk Valley Predators in northwest Illinois will be part of the upcoming 2012 season. As of now, the 2012 PBL includes the returning Dayton Air Strikers and Rochester RazorSharks, along with the new Sauk Valley Predators, Chicago Muscle, and a yet-to-be-named team in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. A team called the Sauk Valley Rollers, based in Sterling (IL), was part of the 2006-07 season in the American Basketball Association.
National Basketball League of Canada: The proposed NBL-Canada team planned for the province of Prince Edward Island failed to obtain an arena lease in Charlottetown and is expected to be based in the city of Summerside for the league's inaugural 2011-12 season. Apparently, the ownership had hoped the team could play half the home games in Charlottetown and the other half in Summerside.
American Basketball Association: The ABA has announced a team called the East Point (GA) Jaguars will begin play this upcoming season. The Jaguars will also operate a team in the Women's American Basketball Association.
Ultimate Indoor Football League: The UIFL announced that its 2012 expansion team based in Danville (IL) will be called the Danville Dragons. The league operated with six teams in its inaugural 2011 season. In addition to Danville, new teams were added in Cincinnati (OH), Marion (OH), Rome (GA), Tupelo (MS), and the Fort Myers (FL) area. Also, a new 2012 team in northern Kentucky (Highland Heights) will replace that location's UIFL franchise from the 2011 season.
Indoor Football League: The IFL has announced it will add a 2012 expansion team in Binghamton (NY) that will be part of the league's Atlantic Division. The former American Indoor Football League tried to add a Binghamton team for its 2006 season, but it was unable to find a suitable home venue and never played. That team was originally named the Binghamton Brigadiers, but switched to the Binghamton Brigade after an ownership change.
Southern Indoor Football League: One of the owners of the Rio Grande Valley Magic and the Corpus Christi Hammerheads, which both were part of the SIFL in 2011, has developed a new 2012 Laredo-based team called the Laredo Rattlers. The team will play at the Laredo Energy Center and it was incorrectly reported last week that this team would be called the Laredo Energy. It is uncertain if these three teams will be part of the SIFL or a possible new Texas-based league next season.
United Football League: After announcing last week that it will delay the start of its 2011 season from mid-August until mid-September, the five-team UFL is reportedly considering contraction for 2011 by eliminating the Hartford Colonials franchise. This would leave the UFL with the Las Vegas Locomotives (Locos), Omaha Nighthawks, Sacramento Mountain Lions, and Virginia Destroyers for its third season. Hartford entered the UFL last season when the 2009 New York Sentinels franchise was relocated.
Canadian Football League: After first being announced back in 2008, the proposed new Ottawa-based CFL franchise is not expected to start play until the 2014 season , as opposition tried to sidetrack a development plan that included rebuilding the city's football stadium. In 2014, the CFL will increase to nine teams and the league then would like to add a tenth team in Atlantic Canada, possibly in Moncton (New Brunswick) or Halifax (Nova Scotia). The league also has interest in Quebec City and London-Windsor (Ontario) for possible CFL teams in the future, but proper ownership and a suitable stadium would need to be in place for any of the expansion markets.
American Hockey League: The new AHL franchise based in St. John's (Newfoundland) that will start play in the 2011-12 season has been named the St. John's IceCaps. The IceCaps will be the AHL affiliate of the new Winnipeg Jets, formerly the Atlanta Thrashers, in the National Hockey League.
ECHL: A new ECHL franchise called the Trenton (NJ) Titans has been added for the 2011-12 season. This replaces the Trenton Devils franchise, which ceased operations earlier this month, and allows the league to maintain its previously announced alignment and schedule. The Trenton Devils franchise started play as the Trenton Titans for the 1999-2000 season and was affiliated with the Philadelphia Flyers of the National Hockey League. The NHL's New Jersey Devils purchased the franchise and renamed it the Trenton Devils for the 2007-08 season. The new Titans team will become the Flyers' ECHL affiliate for the 2011-12 season.
Federal Hockey League: The Brooklyn-based New York Aviators franchise in the FHL has officially changed the team name to the Brooklyn Aviators for the league's second season in 2011-12. FHL teams will play a 53-game schedule in 2011-12 including five games in Lewiston (ME), which was the former home to the Lewiston Maineiacs of the major-junior Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
United States Hockey League: The Tier I Junior-A USHL announced its 2011-12 schedule that will have the same 16 teams as last season. The league announced a realignment with the Dubuque (IA) Fighting Saints moving to the Eastern Conference and the Waterloo (IA) moving to the Western Conference.
Pacific Coast Soccer League: The Bellingham (WA) United has decided to join the men's Premier Division of the PCSL for the soccer club's inaugural 2012 season. The team had also been considering the United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League and the National Premier Soccer League. Most of the PCSL teams have been based in British Columbia over the past few years.
United Soccer Leagues-Premier Development League: The head of a local soccer club in Fargo (ND) wants to add an under-23 team that could eventually join the PDL. The head of the Boise (ID) Hawks baseball team in the short-season Class-A Northwest League is trying to get the city to help build a new stadium wants to add a PDL soccer team to share the stadium and to help the chances of the city backing a construction project.
North American Lacrosse League: The new indoor minor-league NALL is apparently ready to add a Jacksonville franchise for its inaugural season that is set to start in January 2012. A previously mentioned Orlando team was reportedly having trouble securing a lease.
Midwest Lacrosse Association: The Grand Rapids (MI) team in the new semi-pro MLA, which starts play in August 2011, will be called the Grand Rapids Dragonfish.
Dan Krieger is the creator of the "leagueology almanac" known as "Leagues, Teams & Nicknames", which tracks the changes in league alignments, franchise movements and team nicknames in today's sports world. The latest 2010-11 edition is available at http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/leagues-teams-nicknames-the-leagueology-almanac-2010-11/15228513. Dan can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ECHL Stories from August 1, 2011
- Condors in the Community: Colonel Claw'd to Appear at National Night Out Against Crime - Bakersfield Condors
- Reign Set Offensive Cornerstone - Ontario Reign
- Titans Name Williams Head Coach - Trenton Titans
- Reign's Front Office on Display - Ontario Reign
- Reign Seek Ice Girl Candidates - Ontario Reign
- Parking Fees Reduced for Royals' Games - Reading Royals
- K-Wings To Meet Walleye In Preseason Clash - Kalamazoo Wings
- Toledo Walleye Announce 2nd Annual Finfest - Toledo Walleye
- Wranglers Launch New and Improved Website - Las Vegas Wranglers
- Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report - OSC Original by Dan Krieger
- Scoran Returns to Steelheads - Idaho Steelheads
- Annual ECHL Board of Governors Meeting Concludes - ECHL
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