Weekly Sports League and Franchise Reportby Dan Krieger
September 19, 2011 - Premier Basketball League (PBL)
Southern League: The Double-A Southern League has officially approved the relocation of its Carolina Mudcats franchise, which previously was based in Zebulon (NC) near Raleigh, to Pensacola (FL) for the 2012 season. The team will be renamed the Pensacola Blue Wahoos.
Eastern League: There has been talk of efforts by a Canadian ownership group to bring a Double-A Eastern League team to Ottawa (Ontario) by the 2013 season. The team would most likely play in the home of the city's former Ottawa Lynx team that last played in the 2007 season of the Triple-A International League. There is also speculation of a possible Eastern League team being placed in Montreal, but there is currently no suitable ballpark.
Major League Baseball: The Florida Marlins of MLB's National League will officially change its name to the Miami Marlins when the team moves into its new 37,000-seat retractable-roof stadium for the 2012 baseball season.
North American League: It looks as though the Omaha Flame, a proposed NAL expansion franchise, will not be starting play in 2012 as planned. After the 2010 baseball season, the ownership of the Omaha Flame originally applied to play at Omaha's new downtown stadium, which is also home to the College World Series, as part of the Northern League. A short time later, the Northern League fell apart after four teams jumped to the American Association. The Omaha Flame became associated with the new NAL, but operators of the new Omaha stadium never moved forward on a lease with the Flame and apparently were not too sure of the new NAL's stability. The Flames' ownership has since filed a lawsuit against the operators of the Omaha stadium. If the lawsuit is settled, an Omaha team could start play in 2013.
Pecos League: The Pecos League has announced it will be adding the Trinidad (CO) Triggers for its 2012 season. Apparently, five of the six teams from last season will be returning in 2012. The league is looking to add a team in Santa Fe (NM) and possibly a team called the Pueblo (CO) Wranglers. A team in Carlsbad (NM) called the Carlsbad Bats is out of consideration for 2012, although if the league needs a 2012 travel team it will use that name as it did for its 2011 travel team. The league's Roswell Invaders team plans to play four to six home games in Artesia (NM) to gauge interest for a future Pecos League team.
Premier Basketball League: The PBL has announced that the Northwest Indiana Stars team, which played as the NWI Magical Stars travel team in the 2010-11 season of the American Basketball Association, has joined the PBL for its 2012 season. The Northwest Indiana Stars will play home games in Crown Point, about 15 miles south of Gary. The PBL currently has six other teams: the Charleston (WV) Gunners, Chicago Muscle, Rochester RazorSharks, Dayton Air Strikers, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, and Sauk Valley Predators.
Women's Universal Basketball Association: The new WUBA held its player draft for its upcoming inaugural 2011-12 season. The Southern Conference includes the Atlanta Lady Assault, GIE Lady Disciples, Metro Atlanta Sparks, Southern Lady Generals, and Tennessee Lady Dragons. The Northern Conference features the Cincinnati Lady Slam, Queen City Lady Gamblers, Seven Hills Lady Fury, and Sharonville Lady Flight. The WUBA is affiliated with the men's Universal Basketball Association, which played its inaugural season in 2010-11.
American Basketball Association: The ABA alignment for the upcoming 2011-12 season now has 84 teams listed in 11 divisions. The Panhandle Division and Pacific Northwest Division are no longer listed and those teams have been incorporated into other divisions. Gone from last season are the Lake Michigan Admirals, the Louisiana United Pelicans, and the NWI Magical Stars travel team. The NYC Thunder has been switched to the 2011-12 travel team list, which now includes a team called the Cleveland Hotcards.
Women's United States Basketball Association: The WUSBA has announced its inaugural season will not start until April 11, 2012. Originally, the league tried to start in June 2010, but this was delayed until June 2011 and delayed again to an August 2011 start. The WUSBA stated it had issues obtaining rights to venues for some of its teams, so it switched to a springtime schedule. The league lists 20 potential teams for next year.
United Football League: The UFL has started its third season with four teams-the Sacramento Mountain Lions, Omaha Nighthawks, Las Vegas Locos (Locomotives), and Virginia Destroyers. The league had planned to operate with six teams in 2011 with the addition of the Virginia Destroyers expansion team, but the Orlando-based Florida Tuskers franchise, which had been part of the league for the past two seasons, was relocated to Norfolk and became the Virginia Destroyers. Last month the UFL was reduced to four teams with the suspension of its Hartford (CT) Colonials franchise for this season. Hartford entered the UFL last season when the 2009 New York Sentinels franchise was relocated.
Ultimate Indoor Football League: The new Lakeland (FL) franchise in the UIFL will be called the Lakeland Raiders when it starts play in the 2012 season. An indoor team called the Lakeland ThunderBolts played two seasons (2005-06) in the former National Indoor Football League and went dormant after playing the 2007 as part of the American Indoor Football Association.
Professional Indoor Football League: The new Knoxville-based team that will start play in the inaugural 2012 season of the new PIFL will be called the Knoxville (TN) NightHawks. Knoxville had a team called the Tennessee ThunderCats in the 2001 Indoor Professional Football League and the 2002 National Indoor Football League. The team became the Tennessee RiverHawks for the 2003 NIFL season, but the team moved to become the Greenville (SC) RiverHawks for the 2004 NIFL season.
Continental Indoor Football League: The new Port Huron (MI) CIFL team, which will replace last season's failed Port Huron Predators franchise, will be called the Port Huron Patriots when it starts play under new ownership in the 2012 season. The Port Huron Predators had ownership issues and folded with four games remaining in the 2010 season.
American Professional Football League: The semi-pro indoor APFL plans to add a team called the Lincoln Lumberjacks for its 2012 spring season.
Independent Women's Football League: The IWFL has announced several new teams for its 2012 spring season. These include the Arkansas Banshees (Little Rock), Arlington (TX) Impact, Phoenix Phantomz, Connecticut Wreckers (Danbury), and Northeastern Nitro (Schenectady, NY). The Northeastern Nitro of the 2011 Women's Football Alliance moved from Danbury (CT) to New York State as part of the IWFL and the new Wreckers were formed as a new team in Danbury (CT).
Women's Spring Football League: The WSFL has announced three teams called the Desert Fire Cats (Palm Springs, CA), North Texas Knockout (Dallas), and the Tennessee Valley Tigers (Huntsville, AL) have join the league from last season Independent Women's Football League. The WSFL has also announced several other teams called the Carolina Freedom (Raleigh), Tri-State Bruisers (Huntington, WV), Frederick (MD) Saints, New Jersey Titans, and Nevada Storm for the 2012 season.
Women's Football Alliance: The WFA has announced new teams called the Derby City Dynamite (Louisville), Atlanta Phoenix, and West Coast Lightning (Rivrside, CA) will be added for the 2012 spring season.
Federal Hockey League: The Green Mountain Rock Crushers franchise, which was originally planned for Jay (VT) and recently moved to Morrisville (VT), has been renamed the Vermont Wild as it starts play in the 2011-12 FHL season. The FHL will be starting its second season in 2011-12 with eight teams.
Quebec Major Junior Hockey League: The QMJHL, one of three major-junior leagues that make up the Canadian Hockey League, has started its 2011-12 season with only 17 teams due to the demise of the Lewiston (ME) Maineiacs franchise after the 2010-11 season. The league's Montreal Junior team was sold and relocated to become the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada for 2011-12. The Armada took Montreal's spot in the five-team TELUS West Division, while the Shawinigan Cataractes were moved from the West Division to the six-team TELUS East Division to take the spot of the departed Maineiacs. The six-team Maritimes Division remained the same. The league will return to 18 teams for the 2012-13 season with the addition of a new expansion team in Sherbrooke.
Major League Soccer: The Houston Dynamo's new 22,000-seat soccer stadium is expected to be completed in time for the 2012 MLS season. The Dynamo has been working toward a soccer-specific stadium since the original San Jose Earthquakes franchise was moved to Houston for the 2006 season.
Professional Arena Soccer League: The Illinois Piasa of the PASL-Pro league and its affiliated Piasa FC team in the Premier Arena Soccer League (PASL-Premier) will return for the 2011-12 season. The teams will be based out of a different home facility located in Glen Carbon (IL) on the east side of the St. Louis metro area.
National Lacrosse League: The indoor NLL has announced its 2012 season will run from January 8 to April 28, 2012 with each team playing 16 games. With the loss of the Boston Blazers from the Eastern Division, the NLL will have a four-team Eastern Division and a five-team Western Division for 2012.
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.
Premier Basketball League Stories from September 19, 2011
- 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.