Weekly Sports League and Franchise Reportby Dan Krieger
December 26, 2011 - North American League (NAL)
North American League: The Fort Worth Cats team, which had been part of the American Association (AA) since the 2006 season, has been sold to the co-founders of the former United League Baseball (ULB) and will part of the NAL in 2012. The Fort Worth Cats started play in 2001 as part of the short-lived All American Association before moving to the Central Baseball League (CBL) in 2002. The CBL was dissolved after the 2005 season with teams moving to either the new ULB or the new AA for the 2006 season. The ULB had most of its teams located in the state of Texas during its five seasons (2006-10) of operation and became part of the NAL prior to the 2011 season. The Fort Worth Cats were dropped by the AA earlier this year because the team was in the process of being sold and could not file a letter of credit for the upcoming 2012 season.
Gulf Coast League: As part of some cost-cutting moves, the New York Mets have decided to drop its rookie-level team in the affiliated Gulf Coast League. The GCL Mets team played at the Mets' spring training facility in Port St. Lucie (FL). There had been speculation the Mets would cut its Kingsport (TN) Mets team in the advanced rookie-level Appalachian League, but that team will remain there for at least the 2012 season.
South Atlantic League (SALLY): The city of Wilmington (NC), which had the Wilmington Waves team in the 2001 season of the Low Class-A SALLY, has been working on a financing plan for a new ballpark that could be part of a riverfront development. The Atlanta Braves have reportedly expressed interest in bringing an affiliated team to Wilmington.
Northwoods League: The Brainerd Lakes Area (MN) Lunkers of the summer-collegiate Northwoods League will not return in 2012 after three seasons (2009-11) in the league. The league has added a new team called the Lakeshore Chinooks, based in Mequon (WI) near Milwaukee, so it will again operate with 16 teams in 2012. Lakeshore will be added to the South Division and the Waterloo (IA) Bucks will take the Lunkers' spot in the North Division.
Futures Collegiate Baseball League: The summer-collegiate FCBL plans to add a team in Old Orchard Beach (ME) for the 2012 season. The team will be called the Old Orchard Beach Raging Tide and replaces a team by the same name that played only the 2011 season as part of the New England Collegiate Baseball League. The NECBL planned to move its Raging Tide team to move to Pittsfield (MA) for 2012, but Pittsfield voted in favor of adding a FCBL team over an NECBL team. In addition to Old Orchard Beach and Pittsfield, the FCBL plans to add teams in Brockton (MA) and Wachusett (Leominster, MA).
Universal Basketball Association: The UBA has posted the league standings for its second season in 2011-12. The five-team Southern Conference includes the Tennessee Dragons (Nashville), GIE Morrow Disciples, Georgia Lions, Atlanta Assault, and Southern Generals. The new eight-team Eastern Conference has the Louisville Swish and seven Ohio teams called the Buckeye Blazers, Southeast Hoopstars, Cincinnati Slam, Southern Ohio Kings, Cleveland Rams, Ohio Racers, and Midwest Magic. The Western Conference consists of four Texas-based teams called the Central Texas Cyclones, Houston Express, DWF Warriors, and Cleveland Havok.
International Basketball League: The IBL has announced three Northwest teams-the Vancouver (WA) Volcanoes, Bellingham (WA) Slam, and Yamhill Highflyers (McMinnville, OR)-will be part of the league's 2012 season. Vancouver and Bellingham were part of the 2011 season. The Yamhill Flyers played in the 2009 and 2010 seasons, but sat out last season. The IBL plans to announce additional Washington and Oregon teams for the 2012 season.
Independent Basketball Association: The Albany Legends, which have been part of the International Basketball League (IBL) for its 2010 and 2011 spring seasons, have confirmed their move to the IBA for its 2012 spring season. The IBA started play with a 2011-12 fall-winter season that included several other former IBL teams and also plans to operate a spring season starting in 2012. As part of the Midwest-based IBA, the Legends hope to reduce travel costs from those in the IBL.
National Basketball League of Canada: The seven-team NBL-Canada would like to grow to ten teams for its second season in 2012-13 and is looking at the Ontario markets of Kitchener-Waterloo, Windsor, Hamilton, and Kingston. The league would like to add more Ontario teams before considering expansion out west. The league plans to study the operations of two struggling franchises-the Quebec Kebs and Oshawa Power.
American Professional Football League: A Tulsa-based team called the Oklahoma Defenders is expected to be the eighth team in the indoor APFL for 2012. The APFL has added two other new teams called the Cheyenne (WY) Warriors and the Colorado Lightning (Denver) for 2012.
Western Pennsylvania Indoor Football League: The proposed new semi-pro WPIFL, which evolved from last season's Pittsburgh Indoor Sports Arena (PISA) indoor football league, has added a sixth team called the Pittsburgh Phantoms for its inaugural season that starts next month. The league entered into an agreement with the Toronto Indoor Tackle Football League for exhibition games and an end-of-the-season championship came. A TITFL team called the Toronto Hammers defeated the WPIFL's Western PA Wildcatz in the first exhibition game between the two leagues last weekend. A team called the Trumbull County (OH) Wolfpack has verbally committed to joining the WPIFL in 2013.
Ultimate Indoor Football League: The new Danville (IL) Dragons team in the UIFL has announced the Nevada Dream and the East Central Missouri Eagles of the semi-pro Gridiron Developmental Football League will serve as the Dragons' developmental teams in 2012. The GDFL had over 80 teams in its 2011 season.
Federal Hockey League: The FHL has announced that the new Delaware Federals team will take over the remaining road schedule of the Vermont Wild franchise, which folded after playing only ten games in its 2011-12 season. The proposed ownership of the Delaware Federals had hoped to play home games starting in January 2012 at the 350-seat Center Ice Rink in Harrington (DE), but that deal fell through and the ownership withdrew its investment for the 2011-12 season. The league took over operations of the Federals and decided to have the team complete the Wild's remaining road schedule for 2011-12. The league stated that a Delaware-based team for the 2012-13 season is not out of the questions, but upgrades would be needed to its arena.
Northern Professional Hockey League: The proposed NPHL wants to start play as an "AA" hockey league for the 2012-13 season and also wants to operate the NPHL2 as an "A" level feeder league. The NPHL is trying to get the "A" level All-American Hockey League (AAHL), which sat out the 2011-12 season, to function as the NPHL2 when it returns to play in the 2012-13 season.
Women's Professional Soccer: After receiving sanctioning from the United States Soccer Federation to operate with only five teams in 2012, the WPS will return in 2012 with the Atlanta Beat, Boston Breakers, Philadelphia Independence, Sky Blue FC (New Jersey), and the Western New York Flash (Rochester). The Boston Breakers had been questionable, but were able to solidify its investor group for 2012.
Women's Premier Soccer League: The Quad City Eagles soccer club, which had a men's team start play in the 2011 National Premier Soccer League, is starting a women's team by the same name as part of the 2012 WPSL.
National Premier Soccer League: The NPSL announced the addition of four new teams to its Midwest Conference-the Chicago Inferno, AFC Cleveland, Detroit City FC, and Greater Binghamton FC. Another new team called the North Coast Tsunami, based Eureka (CA), has been added to the NPSL Western Conference.
Rugby Super League: The RSL has announced its sixteenth season will start on March 10, 2012 with ten teams playing an eight-game schedule. The league lost the Chicago Lions club from last season. The Chicago Griffins team has been moved to the West (Red Conference), while the Dallas Harlequins have been moved to the East (Blue Conference).
Major Lacrosse League: The outdoor MLL has announced its twelfth season will run from April 28 to August 19, 2012 with eight teams. The new Columbus-based Ohio Machine and Charlotte (NC) Hounds will join the six returning teams from last season-the Hamilton Nationals, Long Island Lizards, Rochester Rattlers, Boston Cannons, Chesapeake Bayhawks (Annapolis, MD), and Denver Outlaws. All eight teams will be aligned in one table for the 2012 season.
World TeamTennis: Earlier this month, the Sacramento Capitals of the WTT came under new ownership and allowed the previously revoked franchise to return to the league. The prior owner of the Capitals was having financial problems, so the WTT revoked the Capitals franchise under that ownership and issued a new franchise to a different owner. The WTT did the same thing last fall when a Capitals' owner ran into legal problems and the league granted a new franchise to a different owner. The Sacramento Capitals have been part of the league for 26 seasons.
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.
North American League Stories from December 26, 2011
- Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report - OSC Original by Dan Krieger
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