Weekly Sports League and Franchise Reportby Dan Krieger
September 26, 2011 - Premier Basketball League (PBL)
Eastern League: The Akron Aeros held a re-branding contest this past season to consider a possible new name for the Double-A Eastern League team. A name-the-team contest proposed four new tire industry nicknames-Tire Jacks, Gum Dippers, Vulcans, and Rubber Ducks-along with the existing Aeros nickname. Sixty-seven percent of the voters chose to keep the Aeros nickname, so the team will not be changing its nickname. The team first took the Akron Aeros name back in 1997 when the Canton-Akron Indians moved to Akron. At that time, the team was originally going to be called the Akron Blast, but fans did not approve and it was changed to the Aeros.
Can-Am League: The owner of the Pittsfield (MA) Colonials of the Can-Am League has put the franchise up for sale and doubts that a local owner would purchase the team and keep it in Pittsfield. The Colonials moved to Pittsfield from Nashua (NH) for the 2010 season. Additional information about the 2012 Can-Am season is expected from a league meeting to be held on October 3, 2011.
North American League: The city council of San Rafael (CA) has given initial approval for an NAL team to play in the city's ballpark in 2012. Original plans called for a 1,500-seat ballpark, but those plans were scaled back to an 800-seat capacity after local opposition.
Pecos League: The Pecos League has abandoned efforts to place a team in Del Rio (TX) for 2012. The city was targeted for one of the league's first-year teams in 2011, but the league has not been able to get the city's approval for needed stadium improvements. The league played two games in Del Rio during the 2011 season. Various team names like Bombers, Petroleros, Gunslingers, Aviators, and Grande had been associated with a proposed Del Rio franchise over the past year.
Puerto Rico Professional Baseball League: The fall-winter PRPBL is expected to start its 2011-12 season in early November with only four teams-the Criollos de Caguas, Gigantes de Carolina, Indios de Mayaguez, and Leones de Ponce. The Santurce Crabbers sat out last season and the league played with five teams. This season the San Juan Senators team will also be idle.
South Atlantic League (SALLY): The city of Columbia (SC) has two developers working on separate ballpark projects that could lead to the return of an affiliated baseball team, possibly in the low Class-A SALLY or the high Class-A Carolina League. The city last had the Capital City Bombers of the SALLY that moved to Greenville (SC) for the 2005 season. Columbia currently has a summer-collegiate team called the Columbia Blowfish in the Coastal Plain League.
Premier Basketball League: The PBL has announced the addition of the Lake Michigan Admirals, based in Berrien County (MI), and a yet-to-be-named team in Bloomington (IL) for its upcoming 2012 season. The Lake Michigan Admirals played as part of the American Basketball Association for the past two seasons (2009-11).
American Basketball Association: The Peoria-based Midwest Flames, a proposed 2011-12 ABA expansion team, has apparently folded due to a lack of financial backing. The head coach of the Flames has moved on to become the head coach of the new Bloomington (IL) team that was recently announced for the Premier Basketball League.
National Athletic Basketball League: After sitting out the 2011 season, the NABL is planning to return in 2012 with a schedule running from April to June. The league currently has six teams based in the states of Oregon and Washington. These include the returning Seattle Aviators, Portland Showtime, Salem (OR) Stampede, and Snohomish (WA) Explosion, along with the renamed Tualatin (OR) Black Barons and Tacoma Undertakers. During the 2010 season, the Tualatin team was called the Rainmakers and the Tacoma team was called the Thunder. The NABL hopes to add two other teams in each state and play with ten teams in 2012.
Ultimate Indoor Football League: The UIFL plans to make an announcement about its new Tupelo (MS) franchise at a press conference next week.
Arena Football League: The owner of the AFL's Tulsa Talons has announced the franchise will be relocating to San Antonio and will become the league's new San Antonio-based franchise that was announced a couple of weeks ago. A team called the San Antonio Force played in the 1993 season of the original AFL. The team will be called the San Antonio Talons in 2012. There was also speculation the Dallas Vigilantes franchise will sit out the 2012 season and could re-start in Nashville for the 2013 season.
Professional Indoor Football League: The Huntsville-based Alabama Hammers announced this week that the team will be part of the new PIFL, which is expected to be comprised of other teams that were part of the 2011 Southern Indoor Football League. In addition to Alabama, the PIFL is expected to include the Albany (GA) Panthers, Columbus (GA) Lions, Louisiana Swashbucklers (Lake Charles), and Richmond Raiders from the SIFL, along with the new Knoxville NightHawks.
American Indoor Football Association: The Frederick-based Maryland Force, which had been associated with the Indoor Championship Football League, has announced the team will be part of the
AIFA. There has been no official announcement about other AIFA teams that might play in 2012.
ECHL: The ECHL has approved an application for an expansion team called the San Francisco Bulls, which is expected to start play in the 2012-13 season.
Western Hockey League: The 22-team WHL, one of three major-junior leagues that make up the Canadian Hockey League, has started its 2011-12. The league alignment again has the six-team East and Central divisions in the Eastern Conference and the five-team British Columbia and United States divisions in the Western Conference. After the 2010-11 season, the Chilliwack (British Columbia) Bruins franchise was sold and relocated to become the Victoria (British Columbia) Royals for 2011-12. The Royals took Chilliwack's place in the Western Conference B.C. Division.
Ontario Hockey League: The OHL, one of three major-junior leagues that make up the Canadian Hockey League, has started its 2011-12 season with the same 20 teams as last season. The league alignment will be the same as last season with four five-team divisions-the East and Central in the Eastern Conference and the Midwest and West in the Western Conference.
North American Hockey League: The Tier II Junior-A NAHL has started its 2011-12 season and now has 28 teams aligned into five divisions-Central, Midwest, North, South, and West. The league increased by two teams with the addition of the Kalamazoo Junior K-Wings and the Minot (ND) Minotauros. The Motor City Metal Jackets relocated and became the Jamestown (NY) Ironmen for this season. The Owatonna (MN) Express relocated and became the Odessa (TX) Jackalopes, replacing a former professional Central Hockey League team by the same name.
National Hockey League: Since the NHL's New York Islanders have had issues obtaining a new arena, the developer of the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn would be interested in housing the Islanders when their lease expires in 2015. The Barclays center was not built for NHL hockey and if the Islanders move from Long Island the team may have better arena options in Kansas City or Quebec City.
United Soccer Leagues - Major Indoor Soccer League: There has been speculation that the MISL's new Chicago Kick franchise might not start play as planned in the 2011-12 season. The Kick was announced last month as an eighth team to replace last season's Chicago Riot franchise.
Professional Arena Soccer League: The Canton-based Ohio Vortex plans to return for a third season in the 2011-12 PASL-Pro league.
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 email@example.com.
Premier Basketball League Stories from September 26, 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.