Weekly Sports League and Franchise Reportby Dan Krieger
February 20, 2012 - World TeamTennis (WTT)
Eastern League: The city of Ottawa (Ontario) has approved funding for renovations to the Ottawa Stadium that could lead to a Double-A Eastern League team moving to the city for the 2013 season.
Pioneer League: With the departure of the Casper (WY) Ghosts to Grand Junction (CO) for the 2012 advanced rookie Pioneer League season, an unnamed Pioneer League team was reportedly evaluating the Casper market for relocating a team there in 2013. For the 2012 baseball season, the city of Casper is planning to have a summer-collegiate team in the Mountain Collegiate Baseball League.
South Atlantic League (SALLY): Although the Hagerstown Suns of the low Class-A SALLY have been talking with nearby Winchester (VA) about a new ballpark, the city of Hagerstown is trying to develop its own ballpark plans in an effort to keep the Suns from relocating.
West Coast League: The summer-collegiate WCL is looking to place a team in Victoria (British Columbia) for the 2013 season. The team would play in Royal Athletic Park, which was home to the Victoria Seals for two seasons (2009-10) in the independent professional Golden Baseball League.
Independent Basketball Association: The IBA's new Springfield (IL) Express team, which plans to be part of the upcoming spring 2012 season, is now listed as the Springfield Xpress. Prior to this, the proposed Springfield team was called the Shock and then the Statesmen.
National Basketball Association: A Seattle-born investor has announced plans for a proposed new arena in Seattle that could become home to both NBA and National Hockey League teams. The investor hopes to make a formal offer to the NBA at the league's ownership meeting in April. The NBA's Sacramento Kings and the NHL's Phoenix Coyotes have been mentioned as possible relocation candidates for Seattle.
Women's United States Basketball Association: The WUSBA has announced it will start its inaugural season in April 2012 with 17 teams instead of 20. Due to venue issues, the Mobile (AL) Spirit, Winston-Salem (NC) Cardinals, and Macon (GA) Storm will not participate. The league will have a five-team Appalachian Division and three four-team divisions called the Atlantic, Southern, and Piedmont. The WUSBA plans to move the Winston-Salem team to Greensboro (NC) and the Macon Storm to Asheville (NC) for the 2013 season. Other teams in Kentucky, Raleigh, Pensacola, Memphis, and Jackson are also planned for 2013.
Arena Football League: The AFL's Philadelphia Soul franchise has signed an agreement to have the new semi-pro Indoor Gridiron League serve as a source of player development. The Delaware Valley Eagles team, based in Ashton (PA), has been mentioned as one of the IGL teams. The Eagles played a 2011 outdoor season as part of the semi-pro Atlantic Coast Football Alliance.
American Indoor Professional: The AIF plans to hold a 2012 regular-season game in York (PA) between the Harrisburg (PA) Stampede and the Virginia Badgers (Fredericksburg) to test that market for a possible 2013 team.
Lingerie Football League-Canada: The LFL Canada, which plans to start its inaugural season on August 25, 2012, has officially announced its second team will be based in Abbotsford (British Columbia), which is about 70 miles southeast of Vancouver. The team will be part of a Western Division, but it is unknown if the team will use Abbotsford or Vancouver in its name. The team's arena is home to the Abbotsford Heat of the American Hockey League. The league's first team was the Toronto Triumph, which played a 2011-12 season as part of the LFL in the United States. In addition to Abbotsford and Toronto, the LFL-Canada is expected to announced at least four additional teams for its first season.
Federal Hockey League: The FHL played five regular-season games in Lewiston (ME) to test the market and one of the FHL teams has reportedly made a request to move to Lewiston for the 2012-13 season. The Lewiston arena owner has not committed to an FHL team and a junior hockey league has expressed on interest in Lewiston.
North American Hockey League: USA Hockey has reversed a previous decision and will allow the Wenatchee (WA) Wild to leave the Tier II junior-level NAHL for the junior-A British Columbia Hockey League. The Wild will need to re-apply to the BCHL. If accepted, the Wild would be the only American team in the BCHL, but would have significantly less travel than as a member of the NAHL. The Wenatchee NAHL franchise most likely will be relocated, but the league's Traverse City North Stars, Dawson Creek Rage, Alaska Avalanche, Fresno Monsters, and Michigan Warriors might not return.
Women's Premier Soccer League-Elite League: The WPSL has announced four additional teams called the New England Mutiny (Springfield, MA), Aztec MA (Boston), ASA Chesapeake Charge (Annapolis, MD), and the Philadelphia Fever that will be part of its new eight-team WPSL Elite League in 2012. The Mutiny, Aztec, and Arundel Soccer Association Charge were part of the WPSL in 2011, while the Fever is a new team that will maintain an amateur status in 2012. The four other teams announced earlier include the Boston Breakers and Western New York Flash teams from the 2011 Women's Professional Soccer (WPS), along with the Chicago Stars and FC Indiana Lionesses (Lafayette) teams from the 2011 WPSL. The Aztec MA team, which was the Boston Aztec, had served as the reserve team for the WPS Boston Breakers for the past few seasons. With the suspension of Women's Professional Soccer (WPS) for 2012, the WPSL Elite League hopes to provide the top-level of competition for women's soccer. The WPSL had been planning an elite-level league for the West Coast in 2013, but after the WPS suspended play for 2012 it decided to move up its plans with teams in the East and Midwest in 2012. WPSL Elite League teams will have the option of having all professional players or a mix of amateur and professional players.
United Soccer Leagues - Premier Development League: The USL PDL has announced its 2012 schedule and league alignment that will feature 73 teams in four geographic conferences and nine divisions. The PDL added 13 new teams called the Austin Aztex, Baltimore Bohemians, Boston Victory, CFC Azul (Hamden, CT), Chicago Inferno, FC Tucson, Ocala (FL) Stampede, Palmetto FC Bantams (Greenwood, SC), Panama City Beach (FL) Pirates, Texas Dutch Lions (Houston), Southern West Virginia King's Warriors (Beckley), VSI Tampa Flames, and Worcester (MA) Hydra. Several PDL teams changed names for the 2012 season: the Tacoma Pride to the Seattle Sounders FC U23, the Chivas El Paso Patriots to the El Paso Patriots, the Abbotsford (British Columbia) Mariners to the Fraser Valley Mariners, the Los Angeles Legends to the Los Angeles Misioneros, the New Hampshire Phantoms to the Seacoast United Phantoms, the Central Florida Kraze to the Orlando City U23, the Vancouver Whitecaps Residency to the Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-23, the Los Angeles Blues 23 to the Pali Blues, the West Texas United Sockers to the West Texas Shockers, and the MPS (Maine Premier Soccer) Portland Phoenix to the GPS (Global Premier Soccer) Portland Phoenix.
United Soccer Leagues - W-League: The USL W-League has announced its 2012 schedule and league alignment that will feature 30 teams. The Eastern Conference has three five-team divisions, while the seven-team Central Conference and eight-team Western Conference will have no separate divisions. Three new 2012 teams called the Central South Carolina Cobras (Columbia), FC Jax Destroyers (Jacksonville), and VSI Tampa Flame have been added to the newly created Southeast Division. The W-League season runs from early May to mid-July.
Federacion Mexicana de Futbol Association - Premier Division: Several clubs in the Mexico's top Premier Division are trying to restructure the Premier Division and its promotion-relegation league known as the Liga de Ascenso. The changes should be presented in the next 60 days and could include expansion of the Premier Division from 18 to 20 teams and a separation from the Mexican Football Federation.
League 1 Ontario: The proposed new Division III semi-professional league known as League 1 Ontario received applications from 11 interested soccer clubs by its January 31, 2012 deadline. The league wanted to start play in 2012, but the majority of applicants would not be ready to start play until May 2013. If the league delays its kickoff until May 2013, the league would like to have a minimum of eight teams vetted by August 2012.
Pacific Coast Soccer League: The PCSL recently announced its 2012 team alignments. The men's league will have a ten-team Premier Division and a seven-team Reserve Division, while the women's league will have a twelve-team Premier Division and an eight-team Reserve Division. All of the teams are located in British Columbia, except the new Bellingham (WA) United club in the men's Premier Division.
National Premier Soccer League: The FC New York, which was part of the 2011 United Soccer Leagues PRO league, has officially announced it will be part of the Atlantic Conference in the NPSL's Northeast Division. The NPSL also announced its Southeast Conference will have eight teams split into four-team West and four-team East divisions.
World TeamTennis: The WTT recently held its player draft for the 2012 season that will run during the month of July. With the loss of the St. Louis Aces in the off-season, the league will be down to eight teams. The Eastern Conference will have the Philadelphia Freedom, New York Sportimes, Boston Lobsters, and Washington (DC) Kastles, while the Western Conference will include the Springfield (MO) Lasers, Kansas City Explorers, Sacramento Capitals, and the Orange County (CA) Breakers.
Midwest Indoor Lacrosse Association: The semi-pro MILA has announced a new team called the Indianapolis Swagger, or Indy Swagger, has been added for the league's second season in 2012. The Swagger replaces the previously announced team planned for Lincoln (NE) that was called the Nebraska Fighting Perkins.
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.
World TeamTennis Stories from February 20, 2012
- Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report - OSC Original by Dan Krieger
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