Weekly Sports League and Franchise Reportby Dan Krieger
January 30, 2012 - North American Hockey League (NAHL)
South Atlantic League (SALLY): The city of Winchester (VA) is considering construction of a new ballpark to become the new home of the Hagerstown (MD) Suns in the low Class-A SALLY. The city of Hagerstown has apparently initiated a feasibility study for renovating the team's current home stadium.
Arizona Winter League: The AWL has announced the schedule and teams for its sixth winter season that will be played in the month of February 2012. The league includes ten teams called the San Luis Atleticos, San Diego Surf Dawgs, Long Beach Armada, Calexico Outlaws, Team Canada, Blythe Heat, Somerton Stingers, Yuma Scorpions, Arizona Roadrunners, and Saskatchewan Silver Sox. The AWL is operated by the North American League and all games are played at Desert Sun Stadium in Yuma.
American Association: The independent AA is looking to grow from 13 to 16 teams in the near future and has been looking at Joplin (MO) as a possible franchise site. The league has been considering locations in Louisiana and the Houston area.
Major League Baseball: With the recent sale of the National League's Houston Astros and the announced move of the team to the American League in 2013, the team's new owner is considering a possible nickname change for the franchise.
Interstate Baseball League: The proposed new IBL, which was originally announced as the Gulf Coast Baseball League, has pushed its start back from 2012 to May 2013. The league is reportedly interested in starting a Pacific Northwest division. Originally, the IBL had the Hattiesburg (MS) Hounds and Sarasota Dragons listed as its first two teams, but Sarasota was suspended when the league changed its name in December 2011.
International Basketball League: The Japanese Basketball Academy will field a travel team for the upcoming 2012 IBL spring season. The league previously had a Japanese travel team called the Nippon Tornadoes that played 18 games in the 2009 season.
Independent Basketball Association: The IBA has announced schedules for the ten teams that are expected to be part of its inaugural 2012 spring season. Of the six teams that were part of the inaugural 2011-12 winter season, only the Rockford Riverhawks are not returning. Three of the new teams for the spring season include former International Basketball League teams called the Albany Legends, Lansing Capitals, and Los Angeles Lightning. Two other new teams are the Kenosha (WI) Ballers and the Springfield (IL) Express, which was once known as the Shock and then the Statesmen. Some of the teams are playing games against an interim branding team called the St. Louis Trotters. The Los Angeles Lightning have several 2012 games scheduled against a team called the Las Vegas Hoop Dreams.
Premier Basketball League: The 11-team PBL has dropped two of its teams-the Charleston (WV) Gunners and the Northwest Indiana Stars-from its 2012 season for failing to adhere to league standards. Both teams were PBL expansion teams for the 2012 season. The Stars played as a travel team called the Northwest Indiana Magical Stars in the 2010-11 American Basketball Association. Charleston was part of the PBL's Eastern Division and had played four games, while Northwest Indiana was part of the Central Division and had played three games.
American Basketball Association: A team called the Houston Xperience, which was a 2010-11 travel team and a once-proposed 2011-12 expansion team in the Universal Basketball Association, has agreed to join the ABA. The Xperience will play a limited travel schedule for the next two months and join the ABA for a full season in 2012-13. The ABA has also announced a new team called the Miami Flame will join in the 2012-13 season.
Circuito de Basquetbol de la Costa del Pacifico (CIBACOPA): The CIBACOPA, Mexico's Pacific Coast Basketball League, has announced an eleventh team called the Garra Canera de Navolato has been added for the 2012 season that starts in early March. All ten teams from last season will return in 2012.
Women's American Basketball Association: The proposed new WABA, which is operated by the men's American Basketball Association, reports that the Indy's Finest WABA team is holding tryouts and will be participating in the league's first official season. The WABA will launch an abbreviated season to kick-off the women's league this March with an opening tournament in Indianapolis. The Indy's Finest was originally known as the Indy Fine.
United Indoor Football League: After the new UIFL announced last week that it was replacing the Ultimate Indoor Football League (Ultimate IFL) and would start its 2012 season with 11 teams, the Huntington (WV) Hammer has decided to fold for the 2012 season. This leaves the UIFL with ten teams for 2012. The Hammer played in the inaugural 2011 season of the six-team Ultimate Indoor Football League. Of the six teams from the Ultimate IFL, only the Johnstown (GA) Generals and Eastern Kentucky Drillers (Pikeville) remain. The new UIFL will have three other teams joining from 2011 leagues and five expansion teams, two of which will be travel teams in 2012.
American Indoor Football: The new AIF has announced two new teams called the Macon (GA) Steel and the Carolina Force. The Force will be based in Concord (NC) and play at the same arena used by the Carolina Speed from the 2011 Southern Indoor Football League.
Western Pennsylvania Indoor Football League: The new Pittsburgh-based semi-pro WPIFL started its inaugural 2012 season last week with five teams called the A-K Valley Hurricanes, Mahoning Valley Tigers, PA Raiders, Pittsburgh Sabres, and Western PA Wildcatz. The WPIFL evolved from the 2011 PISA (Pittsburgh Indoor Sports Arena) indoor football league and recently moved its home to the Southpointe Fieldhouse in Canonsburg (PA). The owner of the WPIFL is trying to form an association of regional indoor leagues under the umbrella of the North American Indoor Football League (NAIFL). The WPIFL, the Indoor Championship Football League and the Toronto Indoor Tackle Football League are listed as current NAIFL member leagues. Other leagues are expected to join for the 2013 season.
American Hockey League: There was another report about the Montreal Canadiens of the National Hockey League moving its AHL affiliate, which is currently the Hamilton (Ontario) Bulldogs, to a yet-to-be built arena in the Montreal suburb of Laval in time for the 2013-14 season. The proposed Laval arena was first announced back in 2009.
North American Hockey League: There has been speculation the New Mexico Mustangs of the Tier II junior-level NAHL will move to North Richland Hills (TX) and become the Texas Brahmas for next season in the NAHL. This junior-level team could replace the Texas Brahmas professional team that is currently a member of the Central Hockey League. The CHL's Texas Brahmas currently operate a junior-level team called the Texas Junior Brahmas in the Western States Hockey League.
Professional Arena Soccer League: The Phoenix Monsoon of the PASL has come under new ownership and the team has been renamed the Arizona Storm.
Premier Arena Soccer League: The PASL-Premier has added its South Central Division teams to the 2011-12 league standings. These include the Austin Gunners, Dallas Drillers, Monterrey (Mexico) Flash, Texas Xtreme (Carrollton), and Vitesse Dallas. These teams will play league games in January and February.
Canadian Premier Futsal League: The new CPFL started play earlier this month with seven Ontario-based teams, some of which are affiliated with outdoor teams from the Canadian Soccer League. The seven teams include the Barrie Futsal Club, Brampton City United, London Athletic, Mississauga Eagles, Real Toronto, Toronto Boca-Juniors, and York Region Shooters. Each team will play a 12-game season from January to March 2012.
Liga de Ascenso: The Liga de Ascenso is the relegation league, or the Division II league, to the Primera Division under the Federacion Mexicana de Futbol (FMF). Prior to the second half (Clausura) of the 2011-12 Liga de Ascenso season that started earlier this month, the Indios de Ciudad Juarez club had its license pulled by the FMF because of the team's financial problems. The Liga de Ascenso will operate with only 15 teams for the Clausura portion of the season.
United Soccer Leagues - Premier Development League: The Seattle Sounders FC of Major League Soccer have become affiliated with the PDL by taking over the PDL's former Tacoma Tide FC. That club will be called the Seattle Sounders U-23s in the 2012 PDL. The MLS Sounders have also become affiliated with the Seattle Sounders Women team in the USL W-League.
Canadian Major Indoor Arena Soccer League: The CMISL was down to only two teams for 2012-the Edmonton Drillers and Calgary United FC. After the Winnipeg Alliance announced the team would not play in 2012, the league was still trying to develop some sort of 2012 schedule. The Calgary United FC ran into arena problems when the bubble around the team's home field collapsed.
North American Lacrosse League: The NALL has announced that the Chicago Outlaws of the semi-pro Minor Indoor Lacrosse Association will play at least one game in Louisville against the NALL's Kentucky Stickhorses team next month as part of the shortened 2012 NALL Pro Invitational Season. The Jacksonville Bullies, which were originally a member of the winter-season NALL before moving to a fall season with some other NALL teams, are still moving forward with plans to start an indoor lacrosse season that will run from September to December 2012.
National Pro Fastpitch: The NPF has found a franchise owner for the league-operated NPF Diamonds team that was part of the 2011 season. The new franchise called the Carolina Diamonds will operate out of Charlotte (NC) in 2012. The league will again operate with four teams with the return of the Chicago Bandits, Akron Racers, and USSSA Florida Pride (Kissimmee) from last 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
North American Hockey League Stories from January 30, 2012
- Olivieri's Forward Turn Earns Weekly Honor - Bismarck Bobcats
- NAHL Announces Combat Hockey 3 Stars of the Week - NAHL
- Janesville Jets Clinch Playoff Spot - Janesville Jets
- Rays Report: IceRays Take Two of Three Games - Corpus Christi IceRays
- IceRays strike back, take two games - Wichita Falls Wildcats
- Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report - OSC Original by Dan Krieger
- O'Leary Powers 'Runners to 5-1 Win - Topeka RoadRunners
- 'Runners Shake off Rough Start in 3-2 Win - Topeka RoadRunners
- Amarillo Bulls Beat Odessa 7-2 on Sonic Sunday - Amarillo Bulls
- Odessa Outdueled In Wild Affair, 7-2 - Odessa Jackalopes
- Bobcats Grind Blizzard's Win Streak to Halt - Bismarck Bobcats
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.