Weekly Sports League and Franchise Reportby Dan Krieger
October 17, 2011 - ECHL (ECHL)
Frontier League: The Frontier League has announced its 2012 schedule as the league increases from 12 to 14 teams with the addition of yet-to-be-named teams in London (Ontario) and Schaumburg (IL). London will be placed in a realigned East Division, while Schaumburg will be placed in a realigned West Division for 2012.
Mexican Pacific League: The eight-team fall-winter Mexican Pacific League is considering expansion to ten teams and Tijuana is considered as the front-runner for a team. A long-shot for one of the new teams is Tucson's Kino Stadium, which is home to the Triple-A Tucson Padres of the Pacific Coast League. The stadium recently hosted a weekend festival of exhibition games involving a team of Padres minor-leaguers and three Mexican Pacific League teams, as they prepared for the start of their 2011 season. The festival organizers hoped this successful event would lead to a regular-season series or possibly a Tucson-based team in the future. The league features some of Mexico's top players along with both Major League and minor league players trying to stay in shape in the off-season..
North American League: The new NAL franchise planned for San Rafael (CA) plans on starting play in 2012 and has announced a name-the-team contest. A group has purchased the rights to the defunct Victoria (British Columbia) Seals team, which had been part of the Golden Baseball League and folded after the 2010 season, and plans to place an NAL team in Fort McMurray (Alberta), which is about 270 miles north of Edmonton. The NAL currently has Alberta-based teams in Edmonton and Calgary. The Fort McMurray team will have to wait for construction of a new ballpark and could play as a road team in 2012 or wait until 2013 to start play.
International League: The New York Yankees have recommended that its Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees affiliate in the Triple-A International League change its team nickname. Two other affiliates of the New York Yankees-the Staten Island Yankees in the short-season Class-A New York-Penn League and the Tampa Yankees in the high Class-A Florida State League-could also be changing names in the future at the request of the parent club.
Pioneer League: The Casper (WY) Ghosts team in the short-season advanced Rookie-Level Pioneer League has officially announced its intentions to relocate to Grand Junction (CO) for the 2012 season. As of now, the team has been referred to as the Grand Junction Rockies.
Carolina League: There has been no progress on finding a team to replace the Kinston (NC) Indians of the high Class-A Carolina League. The team was sold and is moving to Zebulon (NC) to become the Carolina Mudcats in the 2012 Carolina League. This move was initiated when the Carolina Mudcats team in the Double-A Southern League was sold and relocated to Pensacola for the 2012 season. Kinston may have to hope for future Carolina League expansion, consider a lower-level minor league team, or consider an amateur summer-collegiate team.
National Basketball Association Development League: The NBA D-League franchise based in Canton (OH) has announced the team will be called the Canton Charge. This is the former New Mexico Thunderbirds franchise that was sold and relocated from the Albuquerque area after the 2010-11 season. The Charge will be owned and operated by the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers.
Premier Basketball League: The PBL has announced the addition of the St. Louis Phoenix and the Columbus-based Indiana Diesels for its upcoming 2012 season. The St. Louis Phoenix team evolved from the St. Louis Pioneers team that was part of the 2010-11 American Basketball Association. The Indiana Diesels team was also part of the ABA's 2010-11 season. The league's new team based in Scranton (PA) is now listed as the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Steamers.
Women's United States Basketball Association: The proposed WUSBA has again announced the 20 teams for its inaugural 2012 spring season that will start in April 2012. The league is aligned into four five-team divisions called the Atlantic, Appalachian, Piedmont, and Southern. The WUSBA also has six teams called the Columbus Trojan, Pensacola Silver, Louisville Lightning, Memphis Riverhawks, Washington Capitals, and Huntsville Rockets under consideration in the event other teams cannot be activated.
American Football League: The proposed new AFL, which planned to start this fall with 16 teams as a major professional football league competing with the National Football League, announced it will not move forward with the project and has ceased operations. The league noted the current state of the economy and the difficulties in obtaining sponsorships and interest in a television contract.
Indoor Football League: The IFL has officially announced the new Albuquerque-based New Mexico Stars for the 2012 season. The team will play in the Santa Ana Star Center in suburban Rio Rancho. This arena was recently home to the New Mexico Wildcats for two seasons (2008-09) in the American Indoor Football Association. Back in 2004, the defunct arenafootball2 granted rights to an Albuquerque-based expansion franchise, but plans for its home at a proposed downtown arena never materialized.
ECHL: An ownership group is trying to bring an ECHL franchise to the Amway Center in Orlando (FL). If the arena lease and franchise application is approved, the team could start play in the 2012-13 season. The city last had a pro hockey team called the Orlando Seals in the 2003-04 World Hockey Association-2. The Seals joined the new Southern Professional Hockey League for its inaugural 2004-05 season, but the team lost its lease and sat out the 2004-05 season. The team restarted in nearby Kissimmee in 2005-06 as the Florida Seals, but folded midway through the 2006-07 season. The ECHL has started its 2011-12 season and increased from 19 to 20 teams. The Victoria Salmon Kings and Trenton Devils did not return from last season, but the league added the new Chicago Express and Trenton Titans teams, along with the Colorado Eagles from the Central Hockey League.
Professional Arena Soccer League: The Omaha Vipers indoor soccer team, which was a member of the 2010-11 Major Indoor Soccer League and had announced plans to move to the PASL-Pro for 2011-12, will not play in the upcoming PASL-Pro season due to lack of a home venue. The PASL-Pro has posted its 2011-12 league standings and schedule. It looks like the league will start play early next month with 12 teams split into six-team Eastern and Western divisions. The Eastern Division includes the new Topeka-based Kansas Magic and five returning teams-the Cincinnati Kings, Detroit Waza, Illinois Piasa (St. Louis area), Louisville Lightning, and Ohio Vortex (Canton). The Western Division includes the returning Revolucion Tijuana, San Diego Sockers, and Tacoma Stars; the new Anaheim Bolts and Phoenix Monsoon; and the Turlock (CA) Express team that has been part of the PASL-Premier league for the past several years. The standings and schedule do not include the Canadian Major Indoor Soccer League teams that had been part of the PASL-Pro for the past three seasons. The standings also list an unnamed Chicago team as a non-league opponent.
World Series of Boxing: The WSB international team boxing league plans to operate its second season that will run from mid-November 2011 to mid-February 2012. Two of last season's teams in the Americas Conference, the Memphis Force and Miami Gallos, have been replaced by the Mumbai Fighters (India) and the Leipzig Leopards (Germany). After the player draft held earlier this month, the Pohang Poseidons (South Korea) announced the team would be moving to Bangkok (Thailand) for the 2011-12 season. The league has eliminated the three four-team conferences and the teams are now aligned into a six-team Group A and a six-team Group B.
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 October 17, 2011
- Radio Recon's Second Show Ready for Some Firsts - Reading Royals
- Gladiators Weekly Update - Gwinnett Gladiators
- Reading Royals Weekly - Reading Royals
- ECHL Transactions - October 17 - ECHL
- Condors Weekly: Condors Sweep Opening Weekend with Two Wins - Bakersfield Condors
- Express Win First Game in Team History - Chicago Express
- Thunder Seeks First Win at Colorado - Stockton Thunder
- Jackals Weekly - Elmira Jackals
- Lacroix and Mitchell Head to Hershey - South Carolina Stingrays
- ECHL's 24th season underway - ECHL
- Condors in the Community: Colonel Claw'd to Appear at AYSO Sports Village - Bakersfield Condors
- Colorado Eagles Weekly Update - Colorado Eagles
- K-Wings Weekly - Kalamazoo Wings
- Road Warriors Weekly - Greenville Road Warriors
- Florida Everblades Weekly - Florida Everblades
- Cyclones Weekly - Cincinnati Cyclones
- Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report - OSC Original by Dan Krieger
- Toledo Walleye Establish New Benchmark in Season Ticket Sales - Toledo Walleye
- Grizzlies Host Bakersfield Wednesday, Friday - Utah Grizzlies
- Walleye Weekly - Toledo Walleye
- Nailers Week in Review - Wheeling Nailers
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