Weekly Sports League and Franchise Reportby Dan Krieger
October 10, 2011 - Frontier League (FL)
Frontier League: The city council in London (Ontario) has approved a plan to bring a Frontier League team to the city's Labatt Park for the 2012 season. The ownership of the league's dormant Oakland County Cruisers will move that franchise to London. The Frontier League team wants to cooperate with the city's London Majors amateur team in the Intecounty Baseball League for use of the ballpark. With the addition of a London team and the new Schaumburg (IL) team, the league plans to have 14 teams in 2012.
Atlantic Baseball League: The ABL has announced its 2012 season schedule that will include the expansion Sugar Land (TX) Skeeters replacing the Road Warriors travel team in the four-team Freedom Division. The four-team Liberty Division will remain the same as last season. The proposed Loudoun (VA) Hounds expansion team had hoped to start play in 2012, but had some delays in arranging financing for its new ballpark.
North American League: The future of the NAL's Chico Outlaws franchise for 2012 is uncertain, as there is currently no ballpark lease in place for next season. The team is currently owned by the parent company of the NAL and it has been trying to find local independent owners and sign a new ballpark lease with Chico State University.
Northwest League: The city of Milwaukie (OR) plans to hire three companies to develop feasibility studies for building a new stadium that could become home to a team in the short-season Class-A Northwest League.
Pioneer League: The city of Grand Junction (CO) has reportedly approached the Casper (WY) Ghosts of the short-season Advanced Rookie-Level Pioneer League about relocating the team. Grand Junction's Suplizio Field is home to the Junior College World Series and is undergoing major renovations.
Can-Am League: The Pittsfield (MA) Colonials team has not been able to obtain enough investors and will not be part of the 2012 Can-Am League season. It was hoped the team could be sold to a group from Trois-Rivieres (Quebec), which hosted a 2011 regular-season series, but a proposed sale fell through.
Pecos League: The Pecos League has reported that a proposed Pueblo (CO) Wranglers team will not be part of the 2012 Pecos League. The league is trying to form a new team called the Taos (NM) Blizzard that originally was to replace the Ruidoso Osos team. The Taos team has now taken over Pueblo's schedule and is listed as part of the league's North division with the proposed Santa Fe (NM) Mountain Lions, Trinidad (NM) Triggers, and the Madrid Miners travel team.
Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League: The ACBL will add a team called the Allentown (PA) Railers for the 2012 season.
Independent Basketball Association: The proposed IBA has team schedules posted for the Battle Creek Knights, Gary Splash, Kankakee County Soldiers, Lake County Stars, and Rockford Riverhawks. No schedule is posted for the Chicago Redline, but this team appears on the schedules of the other five teams. The league's other four teams-the Champaign Fifty-Two, Holland Blast, Lansing Capitals, and Springfield Shock do not have schedules posted and do not appear on the posted schedules. The inaugural IBA season will run from October 30, 2011 to January 8, 2012 with teams playing about 16 to 18 games.
American Basketball Association: The ABA's proposed Greencastle (IN) Golden Knights team has been moved from the North Central Division to the expansion team list. A team called the Chicago Fury will play 10 to 15 teams in the 2011-12 season as an ABA travel team. The Peoria-based Midwest Flames team, which was reported to have folded, is now listed as a future expansion team.
United Football League: The four-team UFL is still analyzing potential expansion markets. The league is said to be considering Jackson (MS), Salt Lake City (UT), and Chattanooga (TN) for future expansion.
Indoor Football League: The Fairbanks (AK) Grizzlies have announced the team will sit out the 2012 IFL season. The West Texas Roughnecks (Midland/Odessa) and Amarillo Venom of the IFL have announced a move to the new Lone Star Football League for 2012. The IFL announced it has added a new Albuquerque-based team called the New Mexico Stars for the 2012 season.
Arena Football League: The AFL has announced its 2012 season schedule that will include 17 of the 18 franchises from last season. After two seasons in the league, the Dallas Vigilantes will not return for the 2012 season. The Tulsa Talons franchise has relocated to become the San Antonio Talons for 2012 and will take Tulsa's spot in the National Conference Central Division. Dallas has been removed from the National Conference Central Division, while the rest of the AFL alignment remains the same as last season.
American Professional Football League: The proposed new Lincoln (NE) Lumberjacks team in the indoor semi-pro APFL plans to allow fans select a new team name before it starts play in 2012. The APFL's Iowa Blackhawks of Council Bluffs (IA) will reportedly become the Council Bluffs Express.
Lone Star Football League: The new indoor LSFL has announced the West Texas Roughnecks (Odessa/Midland) and Amarillo Venom, two teams that were part of the 2011 Indoor Football League, have joined the LSFL. The league also announced that the Rio Grande Valley Magic (Hildalgo, TX), which played in the 2011 Southern Indoor Football League, has joined the LSFL for its inaugural 2012 season.
Southern Indoor Football League: The SIFL appears to have disbanded after three seasons (2009-11) of operation. Of the 14 teams that completed the 2011 season in the SIFL, 9 teams have moved to other leagues for 2012. The Corpus Christi Hammerheads, Houston Stallions, and Rio Grande Valley Magic have moved to the new Lone Star Football League; the Alabama Hammers, Albany Panthers, Columbus Lions, Louisiana Swashbucklers, and Richmond Raiders have moved to the new Professional Indoor Football League; and the Erie Explosion has moved to the Ultimate Indoor Football League.
National Hockey League: The NHL has started its 2011-12 season and had one change in its teams from last season. The Atlanta Thrashers were sold and relocated to become the Winnipeg Jets. The Jets took the Thrashers' spot in the Eastern Conference Southeast Division for this season, but the league is expected to undertake some realignment next season with Winnipeg moving to the Western Conference.
American Hockey League: The Triple-A AHL has started its 2011-12 season and its 30 teams again have one-to-one affiliations with the 30 teams in the National Hockey League. The AHL has increased from four to six divisions and each division has five teams. The Eastern Conference added the Northeast Division to go with the Atlantic and East divisions, while the Western Conference added the Midwest Division to the West and North divisions. With the NHL's addition of the Winnipeg Jets for 2011-12, the AHL's Winnipeg-based Manitoba Moose franchise was relocated to New Brunswick and became the St. John's IceCaps for 2011-12.
Eastern Junior Hockey League-South: Several southeastern hockey clubs, which had 2010-11 teams in the Tier III Junior-B Metropolitan Hockey League and the Tier III Junior-B Southeast Junior Hockey League, attempted to move up to the Tier III Junior-A level as the Southern American Hockey League for 2011-12. This past summer USA Hockey did away with the separate Junior-A and Junior-B designations in Tier III hockey and, after approving the new America West Hockey League as a 2011-12 Tier III league, placed a moratorium on sanctioning additional Tier III leagues. The SAHL teams then worked out a three-year affiliation with the Tier III Eastern Junior Hockey League to operate as a separate affiliated league called the EJHL-South for 2011-12. Teams include the Atlanta Knights, East Coast Eagles, Florida Eels, Hampton Roads Whalers, Palm Beach Hawks, Space Coast Hurricanes and Tampa Bay Juniors. These clubs also have affiliated teams playing in the Southern Conference of the 2011-12 Tier III Empire Junior Hockey League (EmJHL), which has acted as a feeder to the EJHL over the past several years.
North American Soccer League: The owner of the Crystal Palace Baltimore team, which sat out the 2011 soccer season and hoped to eventually restart in the NASL, has filed for personal bankruptcy. Crystal Palace Baltimore played three seasons (2007-09) in the United Soccer Leagues Second Division before moving to the NASL for the 2010 season. Crystal Palace Baltimore was one of nine NASL teams that played as part of the United States Soccer Federation Division II Pro League in 2010, but ran into financial difficulties during the season. After the 2010 season, the team ended its player development agreement with the Crystal Palace professional team in England and went on a one-year hiatus.
American National Soccer League: The ANSL, which consisted of some teams that played in the 2010 National Star Soccer League, had three regional conferences for its inaugural 2011 season. These included the Pacific Northwest Conference with six teams in Washington and Portland, the Pacific Southwest Conference with four California-based teams, and the South East Conference with four Texas-based teams. The three conference champions-the Seattle Stars FC, Pittsburg (CA) Galaxy, and Austin (TX) Cuautemoc-are scheduled to meet in a season-ending series in Sacramento next month.
Canadian Lacrosse League: The new indoor CLAX has announced it will start its inaugural season on January 7, 2012 with six Ontario-based franchises playing at three different venues. With the unexpected loss of a proposed Montreal franchise for 2012, the league had to make adjustments to ensure it would operate with six teams. Teams in Brampton and Peel will play home games in Brampton; teams in Durham and Oshawa will play home games in Oshawa; while the Iroquois Ironmen and Ohsweken Demons will play home games in Ohweken. Each team will play a 12-game schedule ending on March 24. Additional team names are expected to be announced in the near future.
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.
Frontier League Stories from October 10, 2011
- CornBelters Trade Pitcher for Three Saltdogs - Normal CornBelters
- RiverHawks, Wallbangers set free clinic for October 23 - Rockford RiverHawks
- Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report - OSC Original by Dan Krieger
- CornBelters Name Chad Parker New Field Manager - Normal CornBelters
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