Weekly Sports League and Franchise Reportby Dan Krieger
October 24, 2011 - Pioneer League (PL)
Frontier League: The new 2012 Frontier League expansion team based in Schaumburg (IL) has announced it will be called the Schaumburg Boomers. The nickname comes from the Greater Prairie Chicken that was once found throughout the prairies of Illinois. The Schaumburg Boomers will be part of the league's seven-team West Division.
Pioneer League: The city of Grand Junction (CO) has officially become home to the relocated Casper (WY) Ghosts franchise in the short-season advanced Rookie-Level Pioneer League. The team will be called the Grand Junction Rockies when it starts play in 2012. The Ghosts were 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.
Pecos League: The independent Pecos League stated that it will again operate with six teams for its second season in 2012. The teams include the returning Alpine (TX) Cowboys, Las Cruces (NM) Vaqueros, Roswell (NM) Invaders, and White Sands Pupfish (Alamogordo, NM), along with new teams called the Santa Fe (NM) Mountain Lions and Trinidad (CO) Triggers.
Texas Professional Basketball League: The TPBL has announced that November 15, 2011 will be the deadline for men's teams planning to be part of the league's 12th season starting in January 2012. The league has also announced it will start a women's professional basketball division and hopes to add teams from the surrounding states of New Mexico, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. This new women's South West Division will start play in May 2012.
United Football League: The UFL decided to shorten its 2011 season and ended the season this week with a championship game. Each team was scheduled to play a six-game season, but the last two games were dropped from each team's schedule. The league had been discussing future expansion, but reported financial losses have made the league's future appear uncertain.
Indoor Football League: The new 2012 IFL team based in Everett (WA) has announced it will be called the Everett Raptors. The ownership of the Raptors purchased the Kent (WA) Predators during the 2011 IFL season and renamed the team the Seattle Timberwolves. The ownership started the new Everett team and stated the Timberwolves would not play in 2012, but could possibly return in 2013. Everett is expected to be part of a division with the Tri-Cities Fever, Colorado Ice, and Wyoming Cavalry.
Independent Indoor Football Alliance: The IIFA recently held an ownership meeting and announced the teams that will participate in its 2012 season. The five IIFA teams will include the Conroe Jaguars, DFW Texans, Florida Scorpions (Deland), North Texas Crunch (North Richland Hills), and Texas Pirates (Houston). The Southlake Pirates and Texas Krush teams from the 2011 season were granted permission by the league to relocate and change its name to the DFW Texans. Two other teams-the San Antonio Warriors and Oklahoma Energy-were asked to join for 2012, but did not. The Florida Scorpions played a couple of 2011 indoor games as a provisional team in the indoor American Professional Football League.
Professional Indoor Football League: The Lake Charles-based Louisiana Swashbucklers have officially announced they will be part of the new six-team PIFL for the 2012 season. The Swashbucklers were part of the Southern Indoor Football League for the past three seasons (2009-11). Prior to that the team was called the Southwest Louisiana Swashbucklers in the National Indoor Football League for one season (2005) and the Intense Football League for three seasons (2006-08).
ECHL: The city of Orlando has approved a three-year lease for an ECHL team starting with the 2012-13 season. The ECHL has yet to officially grant an expansion franchise for Orlando.
Southern Professional Hockey League: The SPHL has started its eighth season in 2011-12 with nine teams. All eight teams returned from last season and the league added the Mississippi RiverKings franchise from the Central Hockey League. The RiverKings franchise is based just outside Memphis (TN) in Desoto County (MS). The SPHL was considered a better regional fit for the team, which started out as the Memphis RiverKings in the CHL's inaugural 1992-93 season. The team moved to Desoto County in 2000 and was renamed the Mississippi RiverKings for the 2007-08 season.
Professional Arena Soccer League: When the Professional Arena Soccer League started play in 2008-09, it was known as the PASL-Pro to distinguish it from the Premier Arena Soccer League (PASL-Premier). In the future, the leagues will be called the PASL and PASL-Premier. The PASL has confirmed that the teams from the Canadian Major Indoor Soccer League will not operate as a PASL division or play an interlocking schedule with PASL teams for the first time in three seasons. Some PASL teams could play CMISL teams during the season, but those games will not count in the PASL standings. A Tacoma-based team called the South Sound FC will be part of the PASL-Premier in 2011-12. The team also plays outdoor soccer as part of the local Starfire Premier Soccer League.
Canadian Major Indoor Soccer League: The CMISL has been trying to place an expansion team in Vancouver (British Columbia) for its upcoming 2012 season. The league had only three teams-the Calgary United FC, Winnipeg Alliance, and Edmonton Drillers-last season and wants to add a fourth team. In addition to its own schedule, the CMISL played an interlocking schedule with teams in the Professional Arena Soccer League for the past three seasons, but that will not continue in 2012. The CMISL started play in 2007.
Major League Soccer: The MLS has announced that it will hold the expansion draft for the new Montreal Impact franchise on November 23, 2011. The Montreal Impact will be the league's 19th franchise when it starts play in the 2012 season. The owner of the Montreal Impact operated a 2011 team by the same name in the Division II North American Soccer League and Montreal Impact teams have been members of various minor soccer leagues since 1993.
Women's Professional Soccer: The WPS could return all six teams for the 2012 season and the league is also trying to add an expansion team in the Hartford (CT) area in 2012. The league would like to return a franchise to the Washington (DC) market in the future and is working towards some West Coast teams, possibly for the 2013 season. The league would like to add multiple western teams at one time as a way to minimize travel costs. Los Angeles and Vancouver (British Columbia) appear to be at the top of the expansion list with Portland and Seattle said to be under consideration.
Canadian Soccer Association: The CSA has commissioned a study to determine the viability of a Division II professional soccer league in Canada. Canada currently has a lower-level league called the Canadian Soccer League, which operates with mostly Ontario-based teams.
Canadian Lacrosse League: The new six-team indoor CLAX, which plans to start its inaugural 2012 season in January, has announced the names for all of its Ontario-based teams. The Brampton Inferno and Peel Avengers will play home games in Brampton; the Durham Turfdogs and Oshawa Machine will call Oshawa its home; and the Iroquois Ironmen and Ohsweken Demons will be based out of Ohsweken.
Midwest Indoor Lacrosse Association: The semi-pro MILA has announced new teams called the Detroit Coney Dogs, operated by Champion Lacrosse, and the Cleveland Demons will be part of the leagues second season in 2012. The MILA completed a short summer season in 2011 with four teams, but has already added five new teams for its 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 email@example.com.
Pioneer League Stories from October 24, 2011
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- 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.