Weekly Sports League and Franchise Reportby Dan Krieger
October 3, 2011 - Frontier League (FL)
Frontier League: The new owner of the Frontier League's dormant Oakland County Cruisers franchise has had difficulties finding a home for the team in Michigan and is currently negotiating with the city of London (Ontario) as a possible home in 2012. A Frontier League team called the Kalamazoo Kodiaks moved to Ontario to become the London Werewolves for the 1999 season, but after three seasons the Werewolves were sold and relocated to become the Canton Coyotes for the 2002 season. London's current ballpark is home to the London Majors of the amateur Intercounty Baseball League. Also, the new Schaumburg (IL) team set to start in the 2012 Frontier League will announce its team name on October 18.
North American League: The Tucson Toros are listed as a 2012 NAL expansion team, but may need a court order to allow them back into their previous home at Hi-Corbett Field. The Toros played there in 2009 and 2010 as a member of the Golden Baseball League, but sat out the first season of the NAL in 2011 when the Tucson Padres of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League moved into the city's Kino Stadium. The city terminated the Toros' ballpark lease and was negotiating with the University of Arizona for use of the ballpark. Also, the league's Calgary Vipers franchise appears about ready to fold.
International League: The New York Yankees attempted to move the home schedule of its Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees Triple-A International League affiliate to Newark (NJ) for the 2012 season due to renovations planned for the stadium in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (PA). The Yankees were unable to obtain one-year territorial approval from the New York Mets, so the deal fell through. The Mets reportedly sought the rights to permanently relocate one of its affiliated teams to either Long Island or Connecticut in the future. The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre team announced it will play its home schedule at five different International League ballparks in Rochester (NY), Buffalo (NY), Syracuse (NY), Pawtucket (RI), and Allentown (PA), along with games in Batavia (NY) of the short-season Class-A New York-Penn League.
Pioneer League: There is speculation the Casper (WY) Ghosts of the short-season Advanced Rookie-Level Pioneer League will be moving to Grand Junction (CO). The Ghosts have been an affiliate of the Colorado Rockies since the Butte (MT) Copper Kings moved to Casper for the 2001 season. The team was called the Casper Rockies until a name change for the 2008 season.
Can-Am League: There has been discussion of relocating the Old Orchard Beach (ME) Raging Tide of the New England Collegiate Baseball League to Pittsfield (MA) for 2012 and the team could replace the city's Pittsfield Colonials of the Can-Am League. The owner of the Colonials put the team up for sale after the 2011 season. Prior to the Colonials' 2010 arrival in Pittsfield, the city had been home to NECBL teams called the Pittsfield Dukes (2005-08) and Pittsfield American Defenders (2009).
Pecos League: The Pecos League has reported that the Ruidoso (NM) Osos will not return for a second season in 2012 and have been replaced in the North Division by a new travel team called the Madrid Minors . The league is still trying to place a North Division team in Santa Fe (NM), but it needs a favorable vote next month on allowing alcohol sales at the ballpark. After trying the Zozobras and Sangres as proposed Santa Fe team names, the league has settled on the Santa Fe Mountain Lions.
Premier Basketball League: The new PBL franchise based in Bloomington (IL) will be called the Central Illinois Drive when it starts play in the upcoming 2012 season. The league currently has nine teams and is expected to soon announce a tenth team for the 2012 season.
Atlantic Coast Professional Basketball League: The ACPBL has announced that the Philadelphia-based team called The Enterprise will be part of its upcoming 2011-12 season. The team played as the South Jersey Enterprise, based in Pine Hill, as part of the 2010-11 season in the Eastern Basketball Alliance. The league has announced it will have 13 teams in three divisions for the 2011-12 season. The South Division will feature the Bay Area Shuckers, Beltway Bombers, Chesapeake Tru Hope Trailblazers, The Destroyers, and The Enterprise; the Big Apple Division will have the Hudson Valley Kingz, Manhattan Pride, New York City 524, and New York Lions; and the North Division will include the Buffalo Warriors, Garden State Rebels, Hartford Lightning, and North Jersey Pros.
American Basketball Association: The ABA has announced that the San Francisco-based Shizuoka Gymrats team, which has been an ABA travel team over the past couple of seasons and is comprised of Japanese and Japanese-American players, will be a 2011-12 expansion team playing a full schedule as part of the California NW division. The league's Jersey Express will be moving from East Orange (NJ) to Jersey City (NJ) for the 2011-12 season.
National Basketball Association: One of the minority owners of the New Jersey Nets has confirmed the NBA team will be renamed the Brooklyn Nets when it moves to the new Barclays Center in 2012.
Ultimate Indoor Football League: The UIFL has announced the names for two of its new teams that will be part of the 2012 season. The East Ridge (TN) team in the Chattanooga area will be called the Tennessee Rail Runners and the Tupelo-based team will be called the Mississippi Hound Dogs. The league has grown from 6 to 16 teams for 2012. The league alignment will feature two eight-team conferences (Northern and Southern), each with four-team East and West divisions.
Indoor Football League: A proposed new IFL team based in Binghamton (NY) has announced it will be unable to start as planned in the 2012 season. The league was holding its meeting for next season and was expected to lose several teams from last season. The Arizona Adrenaline, Oklahoma City Bricktown Brawlers, Fairbanks Grizzlies, La Crosse Spartans, Richmond Revolution, and Wenatchee Valley Venom are not expected to return in 2012. The West Texas Roughnecks (Odessa) and Amarillo Venom were rumored to be moving to the new Texas-based Lone Star Football League for 2012.
Professional Indoor Football League: The Richmond Raiders team, which played as part of the Southern Indoor Football League in 2011, has announced it will be part of the new PIFL in 2012 along with the Alabama Hammers, Albany (GA) Panthers, Columbus (GA) Lions, Louisiana Swashbucklers (Lake Charles), and the new Knoxville NightHawks.
Lone Star Football League: The new indoor LSFL has announced the Corpus Christi Hammerheads team, which was part of the Southern Indoor Football League in 2011, and the new Laredo Rattlesnakes team have joined the league. The LSFL also lists the Houston Stallions team that was part of the 2011 SIFL. The league is expected to announce several other Texas-based teams for its inaugural 2012 season.
United States Hockey League: The Tier I junior-level USHL has started its 2011-12 season with the same 16 teams as last season. The league is again aligned into eight-team Eastern and Western conferences. The Dubuque (IA) Fighting Saints have been moved to the Eastern Conference and the Waterloo (IA) Black Hawks have been moved to the Western Conference for 2011-12. The USHL is the top junior-level league in the United States.
Northern Pacific Hockey League: After losing 4 of its 11 teams to the new Tier-III junior-level America West Hockey League after last season, the Tier III junior-level NorPac has started its 2011-12 season with 8 teams. The league added the new Glacier Nationals team based in Whitefish (MT), while two other teams came under new ownership and changed their names. The River City Jaguars became the Vancouver (WA) Victory and the Puget Sound Tomahawks of Bremerton (WA) became the West Sound Warriors.
Great Lakes Junior Hockey League: The Tier III GLJHL has started its 2011-12 season and again has 11 teams. The new Kalkaska (MI) Roughnecks team has replaced the Michigan Mountain Cats in the East Division. The Chicago Hitmen team was renamed the Chicago Junior Bulldogs for 2011-12.
Canadian Women's Hockey League: The CWHL plans to expand to Western Canada for 2011-12 with the addition of a team based in Calgary. The team will be comprised of players that were part of the Western Women's Hockey League, which lost two Alberta-based teams-the Edmonton Chimos and Strathmore Rockies-after its 2010-11 season. The CWHL has five other teams based in Boston, Montreal, and the Ontario cities of Brampton, Burlington, and Toronto.
National Hockey League: Private developers have come up with a new redevelopment plan for the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, which is home to the NHL's New York Islanders, in an effort to keep the team on Long Island. Voters rejected a taxpayer-funded plan in August and the team's owner has been considering relocation of the Islanders when their lease expires in 2015.
United Soccer Leagues - Major Indoor Soccer League: The MISL's previously announced Chicago franchise will not play as planned in the upcoming 2011-12 season due to an inability to find a suitable venue. The team has been referred to as the Chicago Kick, although the league never officially announced the team's name. The league is back to seven teams, but will continue to have two divisions-a four-team Eastern Division and a three-team Western Division.
United Soccer Leagues - Premier Development League: A new team called the Austin Aztex will join the PDL for the 2012 season. A team called the Austin Aztex joined the USL First Division (Division II) in 2009 and also operated a 2009 PDL team called the Austin Aztex U-23s, which had operated as the Austin Stampede in 2008. The Austin PDL team dropped out after 2009, but the other Austin Aztex team played in the 2010 USSF Division II Pro League operated by the United States Soccer Federation. That Aztex team was then sold and relocated to become the Orlando FC in the 2011 USL PRO League (Division III).
North American Lacrosse League: The new indoor minor NALL has announced its fourth and fifth teams will be the Louisville-based Kentucky Stickhorses and the Hershey (PA) Haymakers. Other previously announced teams include the Charlotte Copperheads, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Shamrocks, and Jacksonville Bullies. The five-team NALL will start its inaugural 2012 season in January.
Midwest Indoor Lacrosse Association: As the four-team semi-pro MILA completes its short two-month inaugural season in 2011, it has announced the St. Louis Pride and Pittsburgh Octane as expansion teams for next season.
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.
Frontier League Stories from October 3, 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.