Weekly Sports League and Franchise Reportby Dan Krieger
November 7, 2011 - American Association (AA)
American Association: The owner of the new Laredo Lemurs team, which was expected to join the AA as an expansion team for the 2012 season, has yet to complete an application to the league and has stated that the team could join another league. The AA is still interested in adding Laredo for the 2012 season.
North American League: The new NAL franchise based in San Rafael (CA) will be called the San Rafael Pacifics when the team starts play in the 2012 season. Other nicknames considered were the Redwoods, Spacemen, Golden Gaters, and Cruisers. A report last week that the league's Chico Outlaws had signed a ballpark lease for 2012 with Chico State University was incorrect and no agreement is in effect as of now.
Eastern League: A group in Ottawa (Ontario) is trying to purchase and relocate a Double-A Eastern League team to the city, possibly in time for the 2013 season. The Binghamton (NY) Mets, which had the league's lowest average attendance in 2011, have been mentioned as a possible relocation candidate along with the Erie (PA) SeaWolves. The SeaWolves' ownership has reportedly been granted permission to explore the Montreal (Quebec) market, but a ballpark deal would have to be worked out there. One report had Binghamton becoming home to a short-season Class-A New York-Penn League, if it lost its Eastern League club.
Major League Baseball: Next week, MLB's Florida Marlins franchise is expected to officially announce its name change to the Miami Marlins as part the team's move into a new ballpark for the 2012 season.
Can-Am League: Pittsfield (MA) is seeking a new tenant for its ballpark since the Can-Am League revoked the membership of the Pittsfield Colonials franchise after the 2011 season.
Prospect League: The summer-collegiate Prospect League announced that the Nashville (TN) Outlaws and DeKalb County (IL) Liners will not return and the league expects to have 12 teams in 2012. The league will consider future expansion for the 2013 or 2014 season.
Northwoods League: The summer-collegiate Northwoods League has announced a new team called the Lakeshore Chinooks has been added for the 2012 season. The team is based in Mequon (WI) near Milwaukee.
Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League: A team called the D.C. Grays has been added as the tenth team for the 2012 season in the summer-collegiate Cal Ripken League.
Premier Basketball League: The PBL has announced its 2012 season will run from December 31, 2011 to April 1, 2012. The league alignment will feature a five-team East and a six-team West division. Only the Dayton Air Strikers and Rochester RazorSharks returned from last season and they will be part of the East Division with the Charleston (WV) Gunners, Lake Michigan Admirals, and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Steamers. The West will include the Central Illinois Drive (Bloomington), Chicago Muscle, Indiana Diesels (Columbus), Sauk Valley (IL) Predators, and St. Louis Phoenix. The Lake Michigan Admirals, Indiana Diesels, and St. Louis Phoenix (formerly the St. Louis Pioneers) were associated with the American Basketball Association last season.
National Athletic Basketball League: The NABL announced it has added a team called the Washington Sabers for its second season that will start in the spring of 2012. After playing its inaugural spring season in 2010, the NABL sat out the 2011 season as it underwent some reorganization. The league hopes to add three more teams from Washington State and operate with a total of eight teams.
Independent Basketball Association: The new IBA started its inaugural 2011-12 season last weekend with six teams called the Battle Creek Knights, Chicago Redline, Gary Splash, Kankakee County (IL) Soldiers, Lake County Stars (Deerfield, IL), and the Rockford (IL) Riverdawgs. The Chicago Redline and the Rockford Riverdawgs, which had been listed as a 2011-12 expansion team in the American Basketball Association, were new teams, while the other four teams had been associated with the International Basketball League. The inaugural fall-winter season will run until January 8, 2012. The IBA also plans to operate a spring-summer season from late March to early June 2012. Two other former IBL teams call the Holland (MI) Blast and Lansing (MI) Capitals are expected to be part of the spring-summer season, along with another new team called the Springfield (IL) Shock. At one time, the IBA also listed another new team called the Champaign (IL) Fifty-Two.
American Indoor Football: The owner of the Harrisburg Stampede and the new AIF, which evolved from the American Indoor Football Association, has announced the Stampede will be part of the inaugural AIF AIF season in 2012. The Harrisburg Stampede played two seasons (2009-10) in the AIFA and played the 2011 season as part of the Southern Indoor Football League. A new team called the Maryland Reapers also announced plans to be part of the new AIF and a new Fayetteville (NC) team is expected to be called the Cape Fear Heroes.
American Professional Football League: The indoor APFL has officially announced the addition of the Cheyenne (WY) Warriors as its sixth team for the 2012 season. The league plans to add additional teams by the start of next season.
ECHL: The Class-AA ECHL has officially awarded an expansion franchise to an ownership group in Orlando (FL) for the 2012-13.
National Hockey League: The NHL is considering realignment for next season when the Winnipeg Jets are expected to be moved to the Western Conference. One plan being discussed would eliminate a division from each conference and the two conferences would include both a seven-team and an eight-team division. A decision has to be made as to which Western Conference team, most likely either the Detroit Red Wings or Columbus Blue Jackets, would move to the Eastern Conference.
Major League Roller Hockey: The 2011-12 MLRH season started last weekend with its four-team Pacific Division, which includes the Anaheim Bullfrogs. Arizona Arsenal, Hollywood Dream, and Mission Axiom. The league currently lists a four-team Midwest Division, which starts play in early December, along with a four-team Atlantic Division.
Major League Soccer: The owner of the Los Angeles-based Chivas USA team in the MLS is looking to move out of the Home Depot Center that it shares with the Los Angeles Galaxy. The team wants to stay in Southern California, preferably in the Los Angeles area.
Premier Arena Soccer League: The new Tacoma-based South Sound FC team that will be part of the 2011-12 PASL-Premier season has announced it will be called the South Sound Shock.
Professional Arena Soccer League: The PASL has started its 2011-12 season with a six-team Eastern Division and a six-team Western Division. Gone from last season are the California Cougars (Stockton), Wenatchee (WA) Fire, Springfield (MO) Demize, and Kitsap (WA) Pumas. The league added new teams called the Kansas Magic (Topeka), Anaheim Bolts, and Phoenix Monsoon, along with the Turlock (CA) Express from last season's PASL-Premier. Teams from the Canadian Major Indoor Soccer League are not operating as a PASL division or playing 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. Last season the CMISL had three teams called the Calgary United, Edmonton Drillers, and Winnipeg Alliance.
United Soccer Leagues-Major Indoor Soccer League: The MISL, which became part of the USL in the off-season, has started its 2011-12 season with seven teams. The three-team Central Division features the Milwaukee Wave, Missouri Comets (Independence), and the new Wichita (KS) Wings The Eastern Division includes the returning Baltimore Blast and three new teams called the Norfolk (VA) SharkX, Rochester (NY) Lancers, and Syracuse (NY) Silver Knights. The MISL had five teams last season, but the Chicago Riot dropped out and the Omaha Vipers left for the Professional Arena Soccer League before deciding not to play in 2011-12. The USL was planning to start its own new I-League indoor soccer league for the 2011-12 season, but entered into an agreement to operate the MISL starting with the 2011-12 season. The MISL teams in Baltimore, Milwaukee, and Missouri, along with the MISL's previously announced Wichita expansion team, were merged with the three previously announced USL I-League teams in Syracuse, Norfolk , and Rochester. A short time later, a proposed new team called the Chicago Kick was supposed to be the fourth Central Division team, but was unable to obtain an arena lease.
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.
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