Weekly Sports League and Franchise Reportby Dan Krieger
May 28, 2012 - NBA Development League (D-League)
North American League: The six Texas-based teams in the NAL's United Division have started their 2012 schedules, while the four teams in the league's Northern Division have yet to get started. The United Division includes the returning Edinburg Roadrunners, McAllen Thunder, San Angelo Colts and the Rio Grande Valley Whitewings (Harlingen), along with the Fort Worth Cats from the 2011 American Association and the expansion Abilene Prairie Dogs. The North Division has yet to start its 2012 schedule, but includes the returning Maui Na Koa Ikaika, along with new teams called the Hawaii Stars (Hilo), San Rafael (CA) Pacifics, and the Sonoma County Grapes travel team. The Calgary Vipers, Chico Outlaws, Edmonton Capitals, Lake County Fielders, and Yuma Scorpions/Panthers did not return to the NAL for the 2012 season.
Pacific Coast League: The city of El Paso is trying to build a new downtown stadium that could become home to a Triple-A PCL team, possibly the current Tucson Padres franchise. An ownership group would have to first acquire a Triple-A team and then work out a deal with the city on a proposed stadium.
Eastern League: The group trying to bring a Double-A Eastern League team to Ottawa (Ontario) will not be able to relocate a team to Ottawa in time for the 2013 season. The group still wants to bring a team to the city by the 2014 season and has asked the city for an extension to negotiate a deal.
Frontier League: The developer trying to build a new ballpark in Morgantown (WV) for a possible Frontier League team recently presented plans to the local county commission. The plan is for the ballpark to be ready for the 2014 season and also serve as home to the West Virginia University baseball team.
National Basketball Association Development League: The city of Santa Cruz (CA) voted in favor of funding for an arena that would allow the NBA's Golden State Warriors to move its D-League affiliate, the Dakota Wizards (Bismarck, ND), to California. League approval is still needed for a move in time for the 2012-13 season, but the team apparently has already selected the Santa Cruz Warriors as its name. The Wizards became part of the NBA D-League for the 2006-07 season after stints in the Continental Basketball Association and International Basketball Association. The Warriors purchased the Wizards prior to the 2011-12 season and the Wizards became the Warriors' NBA D-League affiliate. The head of the NBA D-League does not see further expansion happening for another two to three years, as the league tries to make existing teams healthy. Nine of the league's 16 teams have single affiliations with NBA teams, but the long-range goal is to have one D-League team for each of the 30 NBA teams.
National Basketball Association: The Golden State Warriors are trying to build a new arena and move back to San Francisco in 2017. The team currently plays at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, but previously played in San Francisco as the San Francisco Warriors from 1962 to 1971. The franchise was the Philadelphia Warriors until moving west for the 1962-63 season. The team played most of its games in Oakland for the 1971-72 season and was renamed the Golden State Warriors. With a proposed Sacramento arena deal falling apart, the city of Anaheim is again looking to lure the Sacramento Kings NBA team to its arena. The Kings will most likely remain in Sacramento for 2012-13, but the Honda Center in Anaheim will be getting a $20 million upgrade over the next year. The NBA's Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers franchises will most likely oppose any move by the Kings to Anaheim.
American Basketball Association: The ABA has listed its preliminary league alignment for the 2012-13 season that includes 90 teams in 10 regional divisions, plus five travel teams.
Lady Arena Football League: The new four-team LAFL started its inaugural season last weekend with both games played in Houston. The 2012 teams include the Houston Lady Panthers, Los Angeles Rideretts, New Orleans Lady Dollz, and the Texas Mighty Diamonds. Each team is scheduled to play five games and teams will play a full-contact 8-on-8 indoor style similar to the Lingerie Football League.
United Indoor Football League: After a couple of weeks of inaction and a suspension by the UIFL, the Johnstown Generals and the Western PA Sting played a game this weekend, but there has been no official confirmation the teams have been reinstated by the league.
American Professional Football League 2: The semi-pro APFL2, which is an outdoor 11-man league affiliated with the indoor APFL, has started its inaugural 2012 season with eight teams.
Midwest Junior Hockey League: The new MWJHL plans to start play in the 2012-13 season and will be affiliated with the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU). The league plans to have 14 teams operating in the states of Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, and Ohio.
Ontario Hockey League: The new ownership of the Mississauga St. Michael's Majors team in the major-junior OHL has renamed the club the Mississauga Steelheads after a type of trout popular in the area. A name-the-team contest produced Lakers, Helmsman, and Hurricanes as other possible nicknames.
North American Hockey League: The new Johnstown (PA) team in the Tier II junior-level NAHL has announced it will be called the Johnstown Tomahawks when it starts play in the 2012-13 season. The league's Palmer-based Alaska Avalanche team was sold and relocated to Johnstown after the 2011-12 season. The league also announced that its New Mexico Mustangs team will sit out the 2012-13 season.
Major League Roller Hockey: The MLRH has announced that in addition to its Pro Division, the league will operate MLRH Elite, MLRH-AAA, and Grassroots divisions for the 2012-13 season.
Women's Premier Soccer League: Some of the regular WPSL teams have started their 2012 schedules and the league currently has 64 teams aligned into 11 geographic regions. Five 2011 WPSL teams-the ASA Chesapeake Charge, Chicago Red Stars, FC Indiana, New England Mutiny and New York Fury-left to join the new higher-level WPSL Elite league for 2012. A new WPSL team called the Empire United recently merged with the men's Syracuse Silver Knights indoor team from the United Soccer Leagues-Major Indoor Soccer League and changed its name to the Syracuse Lady Knights.
Women's League Soccer: The elite-level WLS has started its second season with five teams based in the Midwest. These include the Des Moines Menace, FC Indiana (South Bend), FC Indiana (Lafayette), Fort Wayne Sports Club, and the Lady Saints (Cincinnati). The FC Indiana organization recently added a second WLS team based in South Bend that will play at the home of the Indiana Invaders FC, which had a men's team in the United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League from 1998 to 2011. The South Bend WLS team was originally listed as the Indiana Invaders FC. Also known as the Lionesses, the FC Indiana organization operates a 2012 team in the new Women's Premier Soccer League-Elite league for its inaugural 2012 season. The WSPL Elite team also plays its home games at the Indiana Invaders' complex in South Bend.
Midwest Indoor Lacrosse Association: The semi-pro MILA has announced the Denver-based Colorado Sabertooths lacrosse team will be part of a new Western Division for the league's second season in 2012. The MILA played a short season with 4 teams in the late summer of 2011, but has increased to 12 teams.
Professional Lacrosse League: The new PLL, whose four teams broke away from the North American Lacrosse League this past winter, is planning to start its inaugural season in September 2012. The Jacksonville Bullies and Charlotte Copperheads are ready, but the league's two Pennsylvania teams, the Shamrocks and Haymakers, are still finalizing some operational details. The Shamrocks will most likely be the Allentown (PA) Shamrocks and the Haymakers could become the Hershey (PA) Haymakers, although they are still considering three venues and the home city could change.
Western Lacrosse Association: The men's Senior-A level WLA, which is based in British Columbia (Canada), has started its 2012 summer indoor season that runs through July. Teams include the Burnaby Lakers, Coquitlam Adanacs, Langley Thunder, Maple Ridge Burrards, Nanaimo Timbermen, New Westminster Salmonbellies, and the Victoria Shamrocks. The Nanaimo team was called the Coastal Windows Timbermen in the 2011 season. At the end of the season, the WLA champion plays the champion of the Ontario-based Major Series Lacrosse for the Mann Cup.
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.
NBA Development League Stories from May 28, 2012
- Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report - OSC Original by Dan Krieger
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