Weekly Sports League and Franchise Reportby Dan Krieger
July 2, 2012 - Northwest League (NWL)
American West Baseball League: The proposed new AWBL has added Mesa (AZ) as a fifth location for a team when the league starts play in 2013. Other AWBL markets previously announced include Fullerton (CA), Long Beach (CA), San Diego (CA), and Yuma (AZ). A previous independent pro team called the Mesa Miners was part of the inaugural 2005 season in the defunct Golden Baseball League.
Pacific Coast League: The city of El Paso has given approval for construction of a new downtown stadium that could become home to the Tucson Padres of the Triple-A PCL. If there is no opposition to a referendum on the stadium, construction could start next year and possibly be ready for the 2014 season.
Northwest League: The city of Hillsboro (OR) and the Yakima Bears of the short-season Class-A Northwest League have agreed on a new ballpark deal that will move the Yakima franchise to the Portland area for the 2013 season. Groundbreaking is planned for October 2012.
Pecos League: The six-team Pecos League is having attendance, lease, and financial issues with its Roswell (NM) Invaders team. The league is starting to convert the team to a travel team for the rest of the season and the team could play some games at neutral sites. The league wants to expand to eight teams for next season and would still like Roswell to be one of those teams.
West Coast League: The summer-collegiate WCL has announced it will add an expansion team in Medford (OR) for the 2013 season. The league recently announced it will add Victoria (British Columbia) next season and could add a team in Yakima (WA), which will soon be losing its Class-A short season team (Yakima Bears) to Hillsboro (OR). We incorrectly stated two weeks ago that the WCL would be adding a team to Vancouver instead of Victoria and incorrectly referenced the former Victoria Seals as the Vancouver Seals.
National Basketball League of Canada: The NBL-Canada has officially announced the city of Windsor (Ontario) has been awarded an expansion team for the 2012-13 season. This will increase the league to eight teams with plans to split the league into four-team Central and Atlantic divisions. All seven teams from the league's inaugural 2011-12 season will return, but the Quebec Kebs franchise is moving from Quebec City to Laval (Quebec) for 2012-13. There was speculation a fourth Ontario team could still be added at the last minute. Windsor was home to a pro team called the Windsor Drive in the short-lived Ontario Professional Basketball League of 2004.
Tobacco Road Basketball League: The TRBL has announced it is accepting applications from teams in the Carolinas, Virginia, and East Tennessee that want to be part of the league's second season in 2013. The league will also consider applications from outside these areas, possibly a group of teams in the Southeast.
Basketball Alumni Legends League: The BALL is a new "post-college" summertime league that plans to start play in July 2013 with teams comprised of players that have exhausted their collegiate eligibility. East Coast college basketball markets like White Plains (NY), Syracuse (NY), Hartford (CT), Washington (DC), Philadelphia, Richmond (VA), Raleigh (NC), and Charlotte (NC) are under consideration. Each team will have rights to the college alumni from certain colleges within its territory. The new league has scheduled a showcase game in early August 2012 between schools in the Philadelphia and Washington (DC) markets.
Universal Basketball Association: The owner of the Fort Worth-based North Texas Fresh basketball team, which has been part of the American Basketball Association for the past three seasons (2009-12), plans to move the team to the Western Conference of the UBA for the 2012-13 season. The Columbus-based Ohio Hidden Gems team, which was a short-schedule "branding" team in the 2011 International Basketball League, plans to switch to the UBA and be part of its Eastern Conference in 2012-13.
American Basketball Association: The ABA team that competed as the Athens (GA) Razors in the 2011-12 season has changed its name to the Georgia Razors and will be a developmental team as part of the 2012-13 ABA season. The league has added the new Southwest Fellowship Warriors of Decatur (GA) to its Atlantic South division and the Greenville (SC) Galaxy to the Mid-Atlantic division. The Greenville Galaxy will play a few games in 2012-13, but plans to play a full season in 2013-14.
National Football League: The NFL commissioner has outlined the league's intention to be involved with any relocation of a current NFL franchise to the Los Angeles market. The NFL will allow teams to apply for relocation as early as January 2013 and a Los Angeles team could happen as soon as the 2013 season. The NFL markets of St. Louis, San Diego, Jacksonville, Oakland, and Buffalo have been considered as relocation candidates. Although there have been two different proposed new stadium plans in the Los Angeles area, the NFL envisions the possibility of two different Los Angeles teams sharing only one new stadium. There is a possibility the league would expand to include one or two new teams in Los Angeles.
Lingerie Football League: The LFL has announced plans to target Asia for its continued international growth. The immediate target territory is Japan, but the league will eventually be considering teams in China, South Korea, India, Thailand, and Taiwan.
American Professional Football League: The owner of the Cheyenne (WY) Warriors indoor football team, which was part of the 2012 season in the semi-pro indoor APFL, has talked of trying to move the team to the Indoor Football League. The Warriors' APFL season was cut short by the league, so the Warriors played a couple of games against teams from the APFL2, an affiliated eight-man outdoor league.
American Hockey League: The 30-team AHL has announced a slight change in alignment of teams within the three divisions of the Western Conference for 2012-13. The Abbotsford Heat (British Columbia) were moved from the West Division to the North Division, the Grand Rapids Griffins were moved from the North Division to the Midwest Division, and the Charlotte Checkers were moved from the Midwest Division to what is now the South Division and formerly the West Division.
ECHL: The AA-level ECHL has finalized its 2012-13 alignment that will feature 23 teams with 14 teams in three Eastern Conference divisions and 9 teams in two Western Conference divisions. The league announced it will cap its membership at a total of 26 teams and plans to add three more teams in the future. The ECHL would like to add more western-based teams, but could add teams from the AA-level Central Hockey League, which has seen its membership decrease over the past few seasons.
Federal Hockey League: The FHL's Thousand Island Privateers team will be moving 30 miles south to Watertown (NY) for the 2012-13 season, but the team will not change its name. The Privateers played its first two FHL seasons (2010-12) based in Alexandria Bay (NY). The ownership of the league's New Jersey Outlaws has been trying to move the team to Williamsport (PA) for the 2012-13 season.
Major League Roller Hockey: The MLRH plans to add the returning Buffalo Wings and a team in Rome (NY) for 2012-13. The MLRH also plans to add a Texas-based Lone Star Division with at least four teams.
Professional Arena Soccer League: The PASL-Pro league has announced the addition of a new teams called the Las Vegas Legends and the Tucson Extreme for its upcoming 2012-13 season. Las Vegas had previous professional indoor soccer teams called the Las Vegas Americans (1984-85 original Major Indoor Soccer League), Las Vegas Dustdevils (1994 and 1995 Continental Indoor Soccer League), and Las Vegas Toros (2006 National Alliance Soccer League). The Legends and Extreme join the Dallas Sidekicks and Harrisburg Heat as new teams for the 2012-13 season.
United Soccer Leagues - Major Indoor Soccer League: The Norfolk (VA) SharkX franchise in the USL's MISL has ceased operations after playing only one season (2011-12) in the league. A lack of sufficient funding was stated as the cause of the team's folding.
New Women's Soccer League: A new women's soccer league is in the planning stages to fill the void left by the recent departure of Women's Professional Soccer. Teams would not have the financial commitment required as part of the WPS and the league would not be considered as Division I status. The new league is expected to include some of the four of the former WPS teams that are currently playing in the Women's Premier Soccer League's Elite League, some regular WPSL teams, and possibly teams in the United Soccer Leagues W-League. The new league plans to start in 2013 with 12 to 16 teams across the United States.
Midwest Indoor Lacrosse Association: The semi-pro MILA now has the previously announced Indy Swagger (Indianapolis) team listed as starting play in 2013. The league still has 11 other teams that are expected to start play in its second season starting in August 2012.
Professional Lacrosse League: The Jacksonville Bullies and Charlotte Hammerheads of the new PLL have announced their schedule dates for the inaugural 2012 fall season, which will run from mid-September to late November. There was no word on schedules for the league's other two teams currently called the Pennsylvania Haymakers and Pennsylvania Shamrocks. There is a good chance the league could also add a New Jersey-based team for the 2012 season.
Dan Krieger is the creator of the "The Leagueology Almanac 2011-12", which tracks the changes in league alignments, franchise movements and team nicknames in today's sports world. The publication is currently available at www.amazon.com.
Northwest League Stories from July 2, 2012
- Canadians Drop Second Straight To Volcanoes - Vancouver Canadians
- San Francisco Giants' 1st Round Draft Pick Joins Salem-Keizer Volcanoes - Salem-Keizer Volcanoes
- Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report - OSC Original by Dan Krieger
- Canadians Errors Costly In Canada Day Loss To Salem - Vancouver Canadians
- Tri-City Takes Series Opener over Hawks 2-1 - Tri-City Dust Devils
- Tri-City Beats Boise 2-1 in 10 - Boise Hawks
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