Weekly Sports League and Franchise Reportby Dan Krieger
July 16, 2012 - North American Soccer League (NASL)
Pacific Coast League: The Reno (NV) Aces of the Triple-A PCL were renamed the Reno Ghost Riders for a three-game series this weekend. As part of a "What Could Have Been" weekend, the team took the Ghost Riders nickname, which lost out in fan voting when the team moved from Tucson for the 2009 season. Last month, the Northwest Arkansas Naturals of the Double-A Texas League played a game as the Northwest Arkansas Thundering Chickens, which was the second-place nickname in a contest to name the team when it move to Springdale for the 2008 season.
Frontier League: The Frontier League's new London (Ontario) Rippers baseball team is having attendance issues during its inaugural season in the league. There has been backlash to the team nickname for a possible reference to "Jack the Ripper", a serial killer from London, England and the team is unable to sell alcohol at home games. The league had a team called the London Werewolves for three seasons (1999-2002), but it eventually relocated due to poor attendance.
American Association: The St. Paul Saints of the independent AA will be renamed the Mr. Paul Aints for one game on August 10, 2012 sponsored by the Minnesota Atheists and American Atheists.
North American League: The owner of a proposed baseball team in Fort McMurray (Alberta) that was announced to be part of the NAL is moving forward with the team. Local officials recently approved funding for a stadium that could be ready by 2014. The owner had purchased the rights to the Victoria (British Columbia) Seals team that last played in the 2010 season of the Golden Baseball League, which was eventually merged into the NAL for the 2011 season. The NAL lost its Canadian teams in Calgary and Edmonton after the 2011 season, so there has been talk of Fort McMurray being part of a new independent western Canada baseball league with possible teams in Edmonton and Calgary. The Vancouver area, Lethbridge (Alberta) and the Saskatchewan cities of Regina and Saskatoon could also be considered.
Carolina League: The issue of funding for a new ballpark in Wilmington (NC) for the relocating Lynchburg (VA) Hillcats of the high Class-A Carolina League will be put before voters this fall.
Major League Baseball: The mayor of Sacramento, which currently is home to the Sacramento River Cats of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League, wants the city to consider building a downtown stadium to lure a Major League Baseball team, possibly the Oakland A's.
National Basketball League of Canada: The new Windsor (Ontario) expansion franchise for the upcoming 2012-13 NBL-Canada season is expected to be called the Windsor Express.
Atlantic Coast Professional Basketball League: The six-team inaugural ACPBL summer season now has the NY 320 All Stars team listed as the New York Primetime.
Women's United States Basketball Association: The proposed WUSBA, which plans to start play in the fall of 2015 with 30 teams across the United States, has announced three teams called the Great Lakes Surf, Great Plains Legend, and Golden Gate Bay Hawks will travel to Europe in September 2012 and play a series of games against international professional teams.
American Basketball Association: The ABA added the new Atlanta Wildcats team to its Atlantic South division. The Atlanta Aliens team from last season is also part of the division, while another Atlanta team from last season called the Atlanta Experience has disappeared. Last month the league announced a new Georgia Wildcats team for Columbus (GA) to replace the Columbus Riverballers. Another new team called the Phenix City (AL) Bombers has been added to the 2013-14 expansion team list. The ABA has created a new ten-team Pacific Northwest Division comprised of its teams from Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and Canada. The Norfolk Sharks team of the Colonial Division is now the Hampton Roads Sharks.
United Indoor Football League: The owners of the UIFL's Cincinnati Commandos and the Marion (OH) Blue Racers have notified the league of their intentions to leave the league. Both the Commandos and Blue Racers had left the Continental Indoor Football League after the 2011 season to join the UIFL, whose 2012 season featured several league-operated teams using semi-pro replacement players to complete their schedules. The Marion Blue Racers then announced plans to rejoin the CIFL for 2012 and the Cincinnati Commandos were expected to follow.
Continental Indoor Football League: The ownership of the CIFL champion Saginaw Sting has purchased the league to try to bring some stability and competitiveness to its operation. The Sting played only one road game in Port Huron in 2012 as other teams struggled with finances and attendance. The new ownership has not yet stated which of its six teams from 2012 will return for its eighth season in 2013, but the Marion Blue Racers have announced the team will be switching back to the CIFL in 2013.
American Indoor Football: The Roc City Thunder, an AIF 2013 expansion franchise based in Rochester (NY), was officially introduced to the market this past week. Rochester had previous indoor teams called the Rochester Brigade (2001-03) and the Rochester Raiders (2005-10) in other leagues. Of the 11 AIF teams at the beginning of the 2012 season, only the Cape Fear Heroes (Fayetteville, NC) and Harrisburg (PA) Stampede teams had not folded, left the league, or become a travel team during the season.
ECHL: The ECHL's new San Francisco Bulls franchise has become an AA-level affiliate of the National Hockey League's San Jose Sharks, along with the Shark's top minor league team called the Worcester (MA) Sharks in the American Hockey League. The ECHL's Reading (PA) Royals have signed an affiliation with the NHL's Washington Capitals and AHL's Hershey (PA) Bears.
North American Soccer League: The Division II NASL, which is one level below Major League Soccer, has announced the New York Cosmos team will join the NASL for its 2013 season. This version of the New York Cosmos was formed back in 2010 with plans to eventually join the MLS. A team by the same name played 14 seasons (1971-1984) in the original NASL, which was the top professional soccer league at the time, but folded in 1985. The NASL plans to add an Ottawa team in 2014 and it has target several other cities like San Diego, Sacramento, Phoenix, Albuquerque, and Las Vegas. The NASL's Minnesota Stars FC, which has been funded by the league owners for the past two seasons, could be replaced by the Cosmos as the league's eighth team if new ownership is not found. A group in Northern Virginia, which owns the proposed Loudoun Hounds franchise in the independent Atlantic Baseball League, is reported to be in discussions with the NASL about a possible expansion team for Loudoun County by 2014. This team would play at a baseball stadium that is yet to be built for the Loudoun Hounds.
Professional Arena Soccer League: The PASL has announced a team called the Tulsa Revolution plans to join the league for its 2013-14 season. The owner of the Tulsa Revolution operated a team by the same name in the 2007-08 season of the now-defunct American Indoor Soccer League.
United Soccer Leagues - Major Indoor Soccer League: The new Chicago-based MISL franchise to be added for the 2012-13 season will be called the Chicago Soul FC. This franchise replaces the proposed Chicago Kick franchise that failed to join the MISL as planned for the 2011-12 season. For now, the league remains at seven teams for 2012-13 after the announcement last week of the demise of the Norfolk SharkX franchise. The Chicago Soul will most likely be part of a four-team Central Division and the Eastern Division will have only three teams.
World TeamTennis: The WTT started its 2012 season this past week with eight of its nine teams returning from last season. The Eastern Conference includes the Boston Lobsters, New York Sportimes, Philadelphia Freedoms, and Washington (DC) Kastles, while the Western Conference has the Kansas City (MO) Explorers, Orange County Breakers, Sacramento Capitals, and Springfield (MO) Lasers. The St. Louis Aces ceased operations and did not return to the Western Conference for 2012. The Newport Beach Breakers moved to Irvine (CA), so the team was renamed the Orange County Breakers. The month-long season ends July 28 with its championship scheduled for mid-September.
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.
North American Soccer League Stories from July 16, 2012
- Rowdies Attinella Named NASL Defensive Player of the Week - Tampa Bay Rowdies
- Pablo Campos Named NASL Offensive Player of the Week - San Antonio Scorpions
- 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.