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Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report

by Dan Krieger
November 14, 2011 - Major League Soccer (MLS)

BASEBALL

Eastern League: The city of Ottawa (Ontario) has been negotiating with a group that wants to move an existing Double-A Eastern League team to Ottawa. The city approved a lease plan that could lead to a Double-A team, but decided to put the stadium lease rights up for bid to see if other groups are interested.

Major League Baseball: MLB's Florida Marlins franchise has officially announced the changing of its name to the Miami Marlins as part the team's move into a new ballpark for the 2012 season. In the attempt by the Oakland A's to move to San Jose, the city of San Jose has given the Oakland A's exclusive rights to purchase a parcel of land that would be used for a new stadium.

Gulf Coast Baseball League: The new developmental independent GCBL has announced its second team will be the Sarasota (FL) Dragons. A team called the Hattiesburg (LA) Hounds was announced back in September 2011. The league plans to start play in May 2012 with teams playing a 72-game schedule. The GCBL wants to have at least six teams along the Gulf Coast and north into Arkansas and Georgia.

Pecos League: The Santa Fe (NM) city council voted to allow limited alcohol sales at its local ballpark, so the Pecos League is expected to move forward with its proposed Santa Fe Mountain Lions team for the 2012 season.

BASKETBALL

Premier Basketball League: The owner of the new Bloomington-based Central Illinois Drive wants the team to develop regional fan interest and might also play some home games in Peoria (IL). The owner also would like the team to eventually move up a level to the National Basketball Association Development League (D-League).

American Basketball Association: The ABA has announced a new team called the Clarksville (TN) Cavaliers will be part of the 2011-12 season. Some of the ABA teams have started their 2011-12 season schedules. The ABA currently has over 80 teams listed in 12 different divisions, along with four travel teams. Almost half of these teams are expansion teams for the 2011-12 season. The Heartland Prowl (Avon, FL) was renamed the Heartland Heat, while the Mid-Valley Titans became the Central Valley Titans (Exeter, CA). The Gainesville-based Florida Makos relocated to Johnson City (TN) to become the Tennessee Mad Hatters.

FOOTBALL

Indoor Championship Football League: The semi-pro ICFL has started its 2011-12 season with six teams-the Delaware Fury, Maryland Force, Delmarva Tyrants, Virginia Knights, Baltimore Vengeance, and Maryland Blackhawks. Games are played at three indoor facilities located in the Maryland cities of Frederick, Hyattsville, and Glendale.

Indoor Football League: The IFL's Bloomington (IL) Xtreme franchise has come under new ownership and the team will be renamed before it starts play in the 2012 season. The new owner also owns the Bloomington-based Central Illinois Drive of the Premier Basketball League. The IFL team could take the "Roar" nickname from the name of the owner's company that will run both teams. The owner wants to create some regional interest and the IFL team could play some home games in Peoria (IL).

Lone Star Football League: The Texas-based indoor LSFL has announced the Abilene (TX) Ruff Riders as the league's seventh team for its inaugural season in 2012. The Ruff Riders were part of the Southern Indoor Football League for the 2011 season. Prior to that, the team started as the Katy Ruff Riders in the 2007 Intense Football League before moving to the Indoor Football League for three seasons (2008-10).

Ultimate Indoor Football League: The UIFL has suspended its Saginaw (MI) Sting franchise indefinitely. The league is working to find a 16th team that will replace Saginaw for the 2012 season.

Continental Indoor Football League: The CIFL has announced the addition of the Saginaw Sting for its upcoming 2012 season. The Sting was part of the Ultimate Indoor Football League in 2011, but recently came under new ownership and announced a switch to the CIFL. Another team called the Saginaw Sting played in the 2008 season of the CIFL before switching to the Indoor Football League for 2009. The Sting suspended operations after the 2009 IFL season and a new UIFL team by the same name started in 2011.

American Professional Football League2: The new ten-team APFL2 is apparently associated with the semi-pro indoor APFL and plans to start its inaugural eight-week spring-summer season in May 2012.

HOCKEY

Canadian Women's Hockey League: The elite-level CWHL has started its 2011-12 season with six teams-the Boston Blades, Montreal Stars, Team Alberta, and three Ontario-based teams called the Toronto Furies, Burlington Barracudas, and Brampton Canadettes-Thunder. Team Alberta was newly added for 2011-12 and was comprised mostly of players from the Edmonton Chimos and Strathmore Rockies teams, which were part of last season's Western Women's Hockey League. The Toronto Furies replaced last season's Toronto Aeros team.

Western Women's Hockey League: The elite-level WWHL was down to only two teams-the Manitoba Maple Leafs and Minnesota Whitecaps-going into its 2011-12 season after the loss of its two Alberta-based teams called the Edmonton Chimos and Strathmore Rockies. The remaining teams plan to play games against each other and against top collegiate women's hockey teams.

Continental Junior Hockey League: The independent CJHL has five teams listed for its 2011-12 season-the Erie (PA) Blizzard, Niagara (Ontario) Fury, Lake Erie Ducks (Mentor, OH), New Jersey Raiders, and Columbus (OH) Stampede. The Pittsburgh Stampede, originally announced as the Syracuse Stampede, recently move to Columbus, while the Indiana (PA) Driller moved to Mentor. Another new team called the Alpena (MI) Pride was unable to start as planned for the 2011-12 season.

Major League Roller Hockey: The MLRH has been realigned into two divisions called the MLRH West and MLRH East. The MLRH West includes the Anaheim Bullfrogs, Arizona Arsenal, Hollywood Dream, and Mission Axiom. The MLRH East has the Buffalo Excitement, Chicago Carnage, CT Whalers, Motor City Assault, NJ Grizzlies, and NY/NJ Rockers. MLRH West has already held one weekend event, but the MLRH East does not start play until December 3, 2011.

SOCCER

Major League Soccer: The MLS is trying to place a second team in the New York City area as the league's 20th franchise and is looking at two or three possible sites for a soccer stadium. The league has also had discussions with groups in Detroit, Las Vegas, and Florida as possibilities for the next expansion team. The Florida group is reported to be the ownership of the Orlando City team in the United Soccer Leagues Pro League. The future of the league's DC United franchise in the Washington (DC) area is uncertain due to the high operating costs at its current stadium. There has been talk of possibly moving the team to the Baltimore area or some other location if that does not work out.

Premier Arena Soccer League: The PASL-Premier has over 30 teams listed for its upcoming 2011-12 season. Although the 2011-12 league alignment is not yet listed, the league's Northwest Division is expected to include the Kitsap Pumas, South Sound Shock (Gig Harbor, WA), Wenatchee (FA) Fire, Bellingham (WA) WSA Rapids, Snohomish (WA) Skyhawks, and Ruckus FC (Marysville, WA). The Colorado Springs Blizzard has been renamed the Colorado Blizzard.

Women's Premier Soccer League: The WPSL had over 60 teams in 2011 and expects to grow to over 70 teams for the 2012 season. Groups in Issaquan (WA), Eugene (OR), Knoxville (TN), Atlantic City (NJ), and Austin (TX) have signed letters of intent. The WPSL added three professional teams last season and is planning to start an under-20 league with teams acting as feeders to the WPSL.

Southern Premier Soccer League: The Rio Grande Valley Ocelots soccer team, which is based in Brownsville (TX) and recently won the SPSL Summer Cup championship, has announced the team will move to the National Premier Soccer League for 2012. The Ocelots stated they plan to keep an under-20 developmental team in the SPSL, but the SPSL has yet to move forward with its second fall-winter season as planned.

Texas Premier Soccer League: The new semi-pro TPSL has been organized and started play with teams called the Barracudas (Brownsville), Felinos (McAllen), Halcones USA (Roma), MASA All-Stars (McAllen), Deportivo Juarez (McAllen), Deportivo Matamoros, and the Laredo Soccer League All-Stars.

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 dankrieger@leaguesteamsnicknames.com.

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Major League Soccer Stories from November 14, 2011


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.