Weekly Sports League and Franchise Reportby Dan Krieger
June 4, 2012 - Atlantic League (AtL)
American West Baseball League: The proposed new AWBL, which is being formed by the group that owns the Yuma Panthers and Orange County Flyers and broke away from the North American League, has secured ownership groups for new teams in San Diego and Long Beach. The AWBL plans to start play for the 2013 baseball season. Long Beach had a recent independent team called the Long Beach Armada for five seasons (2005-09) in the former Golden Baseball League, which was merged into the NAL for the 2011 baseball season.
Atlantic Baseball League: The ownership of the proposed Loudon (VA) Hounds expansion franchise in the independent ABL stated that the new team is now looking at 2014 for its start rather than the 2013 season. The developer has run into some delays concerning the road system for the team's new ballpark. Serious efforts for the Loudon-based team started back in 2009 with original plans to start play in 2011.
Carolina League: The city of Wilmington (NC), which is trying to build a new ballpark to relocate the Lynchburg (VA) Hillcats of the high Class-A Carolina League, received a petition from a group looking to prevent city money from being spent on the ballpark project. This could delay ballpark construction.
Frontier League: The local county commission for Morgantown (WV) voted in favor of a proposed tax-increment financing plan to build a new ballpark for the West Virginia University baseball team that could also become home to a proposed Frontier League expansion team. A public hearing on the plan will be held later this month.
Hall of Fame Baseball League: The proposed new summer-collegiate Hall of Fame League with teams to be based in Texas and Louisiana will not start as planned for the 2012 season. The league was supposed to have a team in the Shreveport-Bossier area, whose pro team called the Shreveport-Bossier Captains of the American Association was sold and moved this past off-season to become the Laredo Lemurs in 2012.
National Basketball Association Development League: The National Basketball Association's Portland Trail Blazers have entered into a single affiliation partnership with the Boise-based Idaho Stampede of the NBA D-League starting with the 2012-13 season. This "hybrid affiliation" allows the Trail Blazers to run the Stampede basketball operations in a partnership with local ownership. Three other NBA teams have similar relationships with D-League teams, while another six NBA teams have direct affiliations with D-League teams through ownership interests.
National Basketball League of Canada: The NBL-Canada has received expansion team applications from ownership groups in the five Ontario cities of Kitchener, Mississauga, Ottawa, St. Catharines, and Windsor. The teams have until June 15 to finalize lease agreements, so it is unclear at this time how many of these markets will actually be added for the 2012-13 season. The league does not plan on returning to Quebec City in 2012-13, as the Quebec Kebs franchise will move to another venue in the province.
American Basketball Association: The ABA has announced it will place a new team in Columbus (GA) for its 2012-13 season. The league had a team called the Columbus Life Tigers for its 2009-10 season that evolved into the Columbus Riverballers for the 2010-11 season.
Atlantic Coast Professional Basketball League: The owner of the Norfolk Tru Hope Trailblazers team, which dropped out early in the 2011-12 ACPBL season due to a dispute with the league, has talked of shutting down the team due to financial difficulties. The owner hoped to eventually join the National Basketball Association Development League and has been trying to schedule an exhibition game for the Trailblazers against an NBA D-League team to generate interest for the league in the Norfolk area.
Alabama Basketball Association: A new regional developmental basketball league referred to as the Alabama Basketball Association (ALBA) is being discussed with possible teams in Birmingham, Huntsville, Montgomery, and Mobile.
Sugar N Spice Football League: The new arena-style women's indoor SSFL has announced its inaugural 2012 season will start next weekend with five Texas-based teams called the Laredo Roses, Corpus Christi Mermaids, Austin Angels, McAllen Mystics, and Texas Cowgirls (San Antonio). The McAllen team will be a road team for the first season.
United Indoor Football League: The UIFL has officially announced its first expansion team for the 2013 season will be the Missouri Monsters, based in the St. Louis suburb of St. Charles. The new team will use the logo and nickname from the Kentucky Monsters, a proposed 2012 expansion team that never started play. A team called the Northern Kentucky River Monsters, based in Highland Heights, was part of the 2011 Ultimate Indoor Football League, but was granted permission to leave after the season. The Ultimate Indoor Football League planned to start a new 2012 Highland Heights team called the Kentucky Monsters, but after the league was purchased and evolved into the UIFL for 2012, the Kentucky Monsters were not part of the new league. The UIFL has reinstated the Johnstown Generals and Western PA Sting franchises for the rest of the 2012 season, but the teams were placed on a one-year probation. The league's Pikeville-based Eastern Kentucky Drillers team is looking for financial support from the community to help make it through the remainder of the 2012 season.
American Indoor Football: The AIF has announced the Roc City Thunder of Rochester (NY) has been accepted as a 2013 expansion team. Rochester has had previous indoor teams called the Rochester Brigade and the Rochester Raiders. The Brigade played three seasons (2001-03) in the defunct arenafootball2, while the Raiders played three seasons (2006-08) in the Great Lakes Indoor Football League/Continental Indoor Football League and two seasons (2009-10) in the Indoor Football League.
Arena Football League: The AFL commissioner recently stated that the league plans to start up a developmental league for the 2013 season. The original AFL, which operated from 1987 through the 2008 season, had developed its own minor league called arenafootball2 (af2) that operated from 2000 through the 2009 season. The original AFL filed for bankruptcy in 2009 and was eventually reorganized as a new league that started play as the AFL in the 2010 season. This new AFL, originally called Arena Football 1, purchased the assets of the both the AFL and af2.
American Professional Football League: The Cheyenne (WY) Warriors of the semi-pro indoor APFL will finish out their 2012 season with games against teams from the league's affiliated outdoor eight-man league called the APFL2. Last weekend, the Warriors played the Greeley-based Colorado Wolfpack of the APFL2 when the APFL's Mid-Missouri Outlaws backed out of a game in Cheyenne due to disagreements with the league. The Warriors will also play games against the Denver Titans and Mile High Predatorz of the APFL2.
Federal Hockey League: The FHL officially announced its new yet-to-be-named Dayton (OH) team that will be part of the 2012-13 season.
ECHL: The ECHL has announced its 2012-13 season schedule that will include a total of 23 teams. Of the 20 teams from 2011-12, only the Chicago Express will not return. The league has added four new teams with the expansion Orlando Solar Bears joining the Eastern Conference South Division, the Fort Wayne Komets and Evansville IceMen entering the Eastern Conference North Division from the Central Hockey League, and the expansion San Francisco Bulls joining the Western Conference Pacific Division.
Premier Arena Soccer League: The summertime women's division of the PASL-Premier has increased to seven teams for its 2012 season. These include five California-based teams called the Chico United, OTW Santa Clara, Soccer World Elk Grove, SSA United (Sacramento), and the Turlock Silver Express in the Pacific Division and the Las Vegas Knights and Prove It (Avondale, AZ) in the Southwest Division.
Major League Soccer: The major investor of the D.C. United in the MLS is seeking additional investors that could help the team get a new stadium. The league has stated that without a new facility, the United would have to consider relocation at some point in the future. Although the team would like to stay in Washington (DC), it has been considering a proposed stadium project in Baltimore.
American Ultimate Disc League: The new AUDL started its inaugural 2012 season in April with eight teams. The Western Division includes the Bluegrass Revolution (Lexington, KY), Columbus (OH) Cranes, Detroit Mechanix, and Indianapolis AlleyCats, while the Eastern Division features the Buffalo Hunters, Connecticut Constitution (New Britain), Philadelphia Spinners, and the Rhode Island Rampage (East Providence). The AUDL features seven-player teams moving up and down an 80-yard football field by tossing a frisbee-type disc to other teammates in an attempt to reach the opponents' 20-yard-deep end zone.
National Lacrosse League: The NLL's Boston Blazers franchise, which suspended operations in the summer of 2011, is reportedly in discussions that could have the franchise resume operations somewhere in the New England area for the 2014 season.
Major Series Lacrosse: The Ontario-based Senior-A level MSL has started its 2012 indoor summertime season with the same six teams as last season, but has now aligned them into two divisions. The Ajax Rock, Brooklin Redmen, and Peterborough Lakers comprise the Eastern Division, while the Brampton Excelsiors, Kitchener-Waterloo Kodiaks, and Six Nations Chiefs make up the Western Division. At the end of the season, the MSL champion plays the champion of the British Columbia-based Western Lacrosse Association 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 email@example.com.
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