Weekly Sports League and Franchise Reportby Dan Krieger
June 11, 2012 - Northwest League (NWL)
Atlantic Baseball League: A proposed ABL series scheduled to be played in Atlantic City (NJ) later this season between the league's Camden Riversharks and Sugar Land Skeeters has been cancelled due to ballpark conditions. The organizer of the series wanted to use this series to gauge support for an ABL team, but still wants to bring an ABL team to Atlantic City for the 2013 season. The league had a previous team called the Atlantic City Surf for nine seasons (1998-2006) and that team moved to the Can-Am League for two seasons (2007-08) before folding.
Northwest League: The city of Hillsboro (OR), located in the western portion of the Portland area, has approved plans to build a new ballpark on city-owned land for the Yakima (WA) Bears of the short-season Class-A Northwest League. The plan is for the Yakima team to relocate to the new ballpark for the 2013 season. As part of a the deal, the relocated team will use Hillsboro in its name. It is uncertain what will happen with efforts by the city of Milwaukie (OR), just south of Portland, which was also working on plans to build a new ballpark for a Northwest League team.
North American Baseball League: The four-team North Division of the NABL has started its 2012 schedule that will run through late August. The Maui Na Koa Ikaika is the only returning North Division team for 2012 and is joined by the new San Rafael (CA) Pacifics, the new Hilo Stars (Hawaii), and a new travel team called the Sonoma County Grapes. The North Division teams are expected to each play a 60-game schedule, while the six teams in the league's Texas-based United Division will play a 95-game schedule. There is no interlocking schedule between the divisions for the 2012 season.
Frontier League: Macomb County (MI) in the Detroit area lists development of a minor league ballpark in the city of Utica (MI) as part of its long-term planning. The city of Mount Clemens in Macomb County tried to build a ballpark for an independent Frontier League team back in 2003-04. Neighboring Oakland County made different attempts to build a ballpark for the Frontier League in the Lyon Township (2003-04), the Waterford Township (2007-11), and the city of Clawson (2011). It is unclear if this recent ballpark effort would be for an independent team or an affiliated team.
American Basketball Association: The ABA has announced new teams called the Albany (GA) Shockwave and the Savannah Grizzlies will be part of the 2012-13 season. Both teams are currently listed in the Atlantic South division. The league had two previous failed attempts to place teams in Albany with the Southern Georgia 36ers (2006-07) and the Albany Thunderdawgs (2007-08). The ABA also has a team called the Savannah Storm currently listed for 2012-13. That team played as part of the ABA for 2010-11, was listed as a 2011-12 team, but did not play any games last season.
World Basketball Association Exposure League: The WBA has listed its 2012 season schedule that starts June 8 with six teams each playing ten games. Teams include the new Atlanta Blaze (Brookhaven) and Gastonia (NC) Gamers, along with returning teams called the Conyers (GA) Court Kings, Gwinnett (GA) Majic, Rome (GA) Gladiators, and Upstate Heat (Anderson, SC). A seventh team called the Mauldin Stars (Greenville, SC) participated in the 2012 player draft, but was not part of the 2012 schedule. Of the six teams from last season, the Marietta (GA) Storm and the Tennessee Tornadoes (Fayetteville) did not return.
Atlantic Coast Professional Basketball League: The ACPBL plans to host a summertime league based in Brooklyn (NY) in 2012. The league's Manhattan Pride team will be participating, as well as other ACPBL teams and teams from the Eastern Basketball Alliance.
Lingerie Football League - United States: The new Omaha-based franchise in the LFL-US will be called the Omaha Heart when it starts play in the spring of 2013. The league recently announced that its Orlando Fantasy franchise has temporarily suspended operations for the 2013 season. Since starting league-play in 2009-10, the LFL-US played a fall/winter schedule, but decided it would not play a 2012-13 season and switch to a spring/summer season starting in April 2013.
United Indoor Football League: The owner of the UIFL's Johnstown Generals and Western PA Sting franchises has decided not to play two games between the teams that were postponed in May 2012. Both teams had been suspended by the league, but were later reinstated late last month. The 2012 seasons for both teams are apparently over, but the owner says the Generals will try to return to the UIFL next season.
Lone Star Football League: The Houston Stallions franchise of the indoor LSFL has dropped out of the league for the remainder of the 2012 season due to operational and financial issues. The team had a 7-0 record in what was to be a 12-game season. The LSFL has six other teams that will continue with the league's inaugural season. The Houston Stallions started play in 2011 as part of the Southern Indoor Football League before switching to the LSFL for 2012.
Arena Football League: The players on the Cleveland Gladiators of the AFL went on strike and forced the cancellation of their game scheduled against the Pittsburgh Power. The players were protesting working conditions and the lack of a collective bargaining agreement.
Southern Professional Hockey League: The owner of the Biloxi-based Mississippi Surge team in the Single-A SPHL has announced plans to change the team's nickname and is seeking suggestions from fans. The owner had been trying to obtain rights to the Sea Wolves nickname from the ECHL. A former Biloxi-based team called the Mississippi Sea Wolves (1996-2005, 2007-09) was part of the ECHL, but suspended operations after the 2008-09 season. The Mississippi Surge started play in the SPHL the following season.
Quebec Major Junior Hockey League: The new Sherbrooke (Quebec) Phoenix expansion team in the major-junior QMJHL held its player draft. The Phoenix will be the league's 18th team for the 2012-13 season.
North American Hockey League: The Tier II junior-level NAHL has announced it will have 24 teams for its 2012-13 season. Team will be aligned into a six-team Central Division, an eight-team North Division, a six-team South Division, and a four-team West Division.
Northern States Junior Hockey League: The new NSJHL has announced its affiliation with the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) for its inaugural 2012-13 season. Six of the current seven teams listed as part of the NSJHL were part of the independent International Junior Hockey League for the 2011-12 season.
North American Soccer League: The Division II NASL is having a harder time selling its league-operated Minnesota Stars franchise since the potential of a Major League Soccer franchise in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area was tied to a new football stadium to be built for the Minnesota Vikings of the National Football League. The Vikings stated a decision on an MLS franchise is three to four years away.
National Pro Fastpitch: The NPF professional women's softball league has started its 2012 season with four teams. The Chicago Bandits, Akron Racers, and USSSA Florida Pride (Kissimmee) have returned from last season and are joined by the new Carolina Diamonds. After the 2011 season, the NPF found a home in the Carolinas for its 2011 league-operated travel team called the NPF Diamonds. The Carolina Diamonds will be based in Kannapolis (NC), just northwest of Charlotte, for 2012. The Diamonds will also play one to two home dates in Asheville (NC), Charlotte (NC), Zebulon/Raleigh (NC), Lexington (NC), Hickory (NC), and Greenville (SC) during the 2012 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.
Northwest League Stories from June 11, 2012
- Chicago Cubs Announce First Wave of Boise Hawks - Boise Hawks
- Spokane Indians Announce 2012 Roster - Spokane Indians
- Roster Takes Shape Thanks to Pitching Staff - Yakima Bears
- 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.