Weekly Sports League and Franchise Reportby Dan Krieger
May 14, 2012 - Northwest League (NWL)
American West Baseball League: The owner of the Yuma (AZ) Panthers and the Orange County Flyers (Fullerton, CA), which recently pulled out of the 2012 North American League season, has announced the creation of the new professional AWBL that will start play in the summer of 2013. The league will also operate a fall and winter instructional league. In addition to Yuma and Fullerton, the AWBL has identified several other potential markets, such as Mesa (AZ), Henderson (NV), and the California markets of San Diego, Palm Springs, Long Beach, and Irvine. The league will operate in the states of Arizona, California, Nevada, and New Mexico.
Northwest League: The city of Hillsboro (OR) in the Portland area has approved plans to build a new ballpark that could become home to a relocated short-season Class-A Northwest League team. The city of Milwaukie, also in the Portland area, will decide next week whether or not it will move forward with construction of a new ballpark. In November 2011, the city of Vancouver (WA), just north of Portland, failed to gain support for a financing plan to build a new ballpark for the Northwest League's Yakima Bears franchise.
Women's Blue Chip Basketball League: Some of the WBCBL teams have started their schedules in the league's twelfth season, which runs from early May to late July 2012. The league's current standings feature 56 teams aligned into 12 regional divisions.
National Basketball League of Canada: NBL-Canada representatives visited St. Catharines (Ontario) this week and stated an ownership group was interested in placing a 2012-13 team in the St. Catharines/Niagara market. St. Catharines had a short-lived team called the Niagara DareDevils in the 2005-06 season of the American Basketball Association.
American Basketball League: The new ABL plans to start its inaugural season in January 2013 with teams playing a 24-game season through April 13, 2013. As of now, the ABL has a four-team Lone Star Conference consisting of the Austin Revolution, Lake Houston Xperience (Humble/Kingwood), Texas Surge (San Antonio), and Twin City Stars (Bryan/College Station), and a six-team Tropic Conference with the Emerald Coast Knights (Fort Walton Beach), Fort Lauderdale Sharks, Fort Myers Breakers, Lakeland Flames, Panama City Dream, and West Palm Beach Piranhas.
American Basketball Association: The ABA has announced a new team called the Salem (OR) Sabres will be part of the league's Pacific Northwest Division in 2012-13.
National Basketball Association: The mayor of Columbus (OH) has asked the NBA to consider the city for a possible expansion franchise or a relocated team to play in its Nationwide Arena.
American Indoor Football: The Macon (GA) Steel of the AIF has apparently folded, but the team's head coach wants to start a new team for 2013 that is currently referred to as the Macon Irons. A new AIF-affiliated team called the Chattanooga Generals recently filled in for one of Macon's games and could complete Macon's remaining 2012 schedule.
United Indoor Football League: For the second week in a row, the UIFL's Johnstown (PA) Generals cancelled a game scheduled against the Western PA Sting travel team. This again brought speculation that the two teams, which are under the same ownership, might not be able to complete the 2012 season. Last weekend, the league's Erie Explosion defeated a team called the Western PA Wildcatz, which was filling in for the league's travel-only team called the Huntington Hammer that had three games on the 2012 schedule. The original Huntington Hammer franchise folded prior to the 2012 season, so the league created a travel-only version of the Hammer. The Wildcatz team played in the semi-pro Western Pennsylvania Indoor Football League for that league's inaugural 2011-12 season.
Stars Football League: The outdoor pro SFL has announced a schedule for its second season that will run from June 2 to July 21, 2012. The league will be comprised of four Florida-based teams called the Fort Lauderdale Barracudas, Daytona Beach Racers, Fort Myers Swampdogs, and the Port St. Lucie Ironmen. The schedule does not included the previously announced Fort Pierce Orange team. Daytona Beach is scheduled for all road games.
United National Football League: A new professional late spring football league called the UNFL is trying to get off the ground in 2012. The league currently has eight teams listed-the Arizona Vipers (Phoenix), Sacramento Warriors, Florida Bobcats (Fort Lauderdale), Florida Shields (Vero Beach), Georgia Blaze (Atlanta), Louisiana Elite (New Orleans), Carolina Scorpions (Charlotte, NC), and New Mexico Outlaws (Albuquerque).
United States Football League: The new springtime USFL plans to start its inaugural season in 2013 with eight teams playing a 14-game schedule from March to June. Some of the cities under consideration include Omaha, Portland (OR), Salt Lake City, Oklahoma City, Raleigh-Durham (NC), Birmingham (AL), Memphis, San Antonio or Austin in Texas, and Columbus or Akron in Ohio.
Federal Hockey League: The Brooklyn Aviators of the lower-level professional FHL are no longer listed on the league web site and it looks like the team might not return for next season. The Aviators were having financial issues and ownership had been seeking outside financing to keep the team going for a third season. The team played the 2010-11 season as the Brooklyn Aces or A's.
Southern Professional Hockey League: After a successful season ticket drive, the owner of the Biloxi-based Mississippi Surge team in the Single-A SPHL has decided the team will return for the 2012-13 season.
United States Hockey League: The Tier I junior-level USHL, which is the highest level of junior hockey in the United States with 16 teams based mainly in the Midwest, is considering expansion by creating a division of four to six teams based in the Northeast.
North American Hockey League: The Tier II junior-level NAHL has announced the Chicago Hitmen team will not return for the 2012-13 season. The Hitmen joined the NAHL for the 2010-11 season.
Empire Junior Hockey League: A new team called the Adirondack Junior Wings, based in Troy (NY), will be part of the Tier III EmJHL for its 2012-13 season.
United Soccer Leagues-W-League: The women's W-League has started its 2012 season with 30 teams aligned into Eastern, Central, and Western conferences. All 27 teams from the 2011 season returned in 2012, plus the league added three new teams called the Central South Carolina Cobras (Columbia), FC Jax Destroyers (Jacksonville), and VSI Tampa Flames. The Eastern Conference, which is the only conference with geographic divisions, added a new Southeast Division to go with its Northeast Division and Atlantic Division. The league's Colorado Force became affiliated with the men's Colorado Rapids team in Major League Soccer (MLS) and changed its name to the Colorado Rapids Women for 2012. Three other USL W-League teams-the Vancouver Whitecaps Women, Seattle Sounders Women, and DC United Women-are affiliated with men's MLS teams, while the W-League's Los Angeles Strikers have a marketing relationship with Chivas USA of the MLS.
Women's Premier Soccer League - Elite League: The WPSL Elite League has started its inaugural 2012 season with eight teams called the ASA Chesapeake Charge (Maryland), Boston Breakers, Chicago Red Stars, FC Indiana Lionesses (Lafayette), New England Mutiny (Springfield, MA), New York Fury, Philadelphia Fever, and Western New York Flash (Rochester). The ASA Charge, Chicago Red Stars, FC Indiana, New England Mutiny, and New York Fury were part of the regular WPSL in 2011. The Boston Breakers and Western New York were part of the 2011 Women's Professional Soccer. The Philadelphia Fever was created for the new WPSL Elite League. Both the Fever and ASA Charge are considered amateur teams with collegiate athletes, while the other teams will be a mix of professional and post-college amateur players.
National Premier Soccer League: The men's NPSL, which is affiliated with the Women's Premier Soccer League, has started its 2012 season with 43 teams aligned into 4 regions-the Northeast with Atlantic and Keystone conferences, the South with a Southeast Conference-East and a Southeast Conference-West, the Midwest with a Great Lakes Conference, and the West with Southern and Northern conferences. New teams for 2012 include the Fullerton Rangers, Futbol Club Santa Clarita, Phoenix Monsoon, North Coast Tsunami, San Francisco Stompers, Myrtle Beach FC, Mississippi Storm, Galveston Pirate, Texas South Devils, Junior Lone Star, Rhode Island Reds, Seacoast United Phantoms, AFC Cleveland, Detroit City FC, Greater Binghamton FC, and FC New York from the 2011 United Soccer Leagues PRO league.
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.
Northwest League Stories from May 14, 2012
- Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report - OSC Original by Dan Krieger
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.