Weekly Sports League and Franchise Reportby Dan Krieger
September 4, 2012 - NBA Development League (D-League)
Can-Am League: The independent Can-Am League has terminated the Worcester (MA) Tornadoes franchise under its current ownership. The team will complete its 2012 schedule and the league will begin a search for new ownership in Worcester. The Tornadoes joined the league for the 2005 season. The Can-Am League operated with only five teams in 2012 and each team played 20 games against teams from the independent American Association.
North American Baseball League: The NABL has ended the 2012 season for the Abilene Prairie Dogs and McAllen Thunder franchises in the league's United Division. Each team had about eight road games remaining on their schedules, but were out of playoff contention. The Abilene franchise was quickly formed for the 2012 season and was scheduled for only 32 home games at McMurry University's Driggers Field, where a lack of alcohol sales hurt attendance. The team's ownership had hoped to build a privately financed ballpark in the next two years, but without a better ballpark situation in place it is uncertain as to whether the Prairie Dogs will return in 2013.
Frontier League: The city of Champaign (IL) wants to build a minor league ballpark for a possible team in the independent Frontier League or the affiliated low Class-A Midwest League. The owner of the Frontier League's Normal (IL) CornBelters franchise has expressed interest in the Champaign market and the city mayor has previously expressed interest in attracting an affiliated team.
Freedom Pro Baseball League: The financially struggling FPBL has decided to cancel its season-ending playoffs as a way to cut costs. The four-team Arizona-based league will complete its inaugural regular season on September 4.
Major League Baseball: An potential ownership group has been talking about the return of MLB to the city of Montreal, but construction of a new stadium would most likely be required. The Montreal Expos were a MLB expansion team in 1969, but relocated to Washington (DC) for the 2005 season after playing 22 of its 81 home games in Puerto Rico in both the 2003 and 2004 seasons.
National Basketball Association Development League: The NBA D-League has announced its 2012-13 schedule and league alignment, which will feature three divisions. The five-team East Division will include the Canton Charge, Erie BayHawks, Fort Wayne Mad Ants, Maine Red Claws (Portland), and Springfield (MA) Armor. The six-team Central Division will have the Austin Toros, Iowa Energy (Des Moines), Rio Grande Valley Vipers (Hidalgo, TX), Sioux Falls (ND) Skyforce, and Texas Legends (Frisco). The West Division will feature the Bakersfield Jam, Idaho (Boise) Stampede, Los Angeles D-Fenders, Reno Bighorns, and Santa Cruz (CA) Warriors. The final approval for the relocation of the Dakota Wizards (Bismarck, ND) to Santa Cruz is expected in the few weeks.
American Basketball Association: The ABA has announced a team called the Electric City Lions, based in Anderson (SC), has been added as an official travel team for the 2012-13 season. The new team is expected to fill in games on the schedules for ABA teams in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic divisions.
Eastern Basketball Alliance: The Metropolitan All-Stars plan to leave the semi-pro EBA after three seasons (2009-12) in the league. An announcement about the team's future plans will be coming soon.
Independent Basketball Association: The IBA team based in Holland (MI) is now listed as the Holland Dream instead of the Holland Blast. After being part of the International Basketball League for about five years, the Holland Blast switched to the IBA in 2011, but had yet to play a game in either of the IBA's first two seasons-a 2011-12 fall-winter season or a 2012 spring season.
Central Basketball League: The proposed new CBL, which plans to start its inaugural season in April 2013, has announced the Springfield-based Middle Tennessee Storm as its first team.
Continental Indoor Football League: The Erie (PA) Explosion team, which was part of the 2012 United Indoor Football League, has announced a switch to the CIFL for the 2013 season. This is the fourth league for the team that is on its third nickname. The Erie team came about when the Pittsburgh RiverRats moved to become the Erie RiverRats for the 2008 season of the American Indoor Football Association. The RiverRats came under new ownership and were renamed the Erie Storm for 2010. The team moved to the Southern Indoor Football League for 2011 and changed its name to the Erie Explosion. The Explosion moved to the UIFL for 2012 and now onto the CIFL for 2013.
Champions Professional Indoor Football League: The Tulsa-based Oklahoma Defenders team, which was a 2012 expansion team in the American Professional Football League, has officially announced its move from the APFL to the CPIFL for the 2013 season.
Arena Football League: The AFL has granted Ganlan Media International exclusive rights to establish an American arena football league in China. Initial plans are for a six-team league in China playing a ten-game fall-winter schedule starting in 2014. There are also plans to hold three exhibition games in 2013 in the cities of Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou.
Independent Women's Football League: The IWFL completed its 2012 spring-summer outdoor season with 26 teams aligned into 8 regional divisions. The league had an affiliation with the Guam Women's Tackle Football League and also had four Tier-3 teams that played six-player outdoor football. The IWFL recently announced a new team called the San Antonio Regulators will start play in 2013. Another San Antonio team called the Alamo City Wildcats was previously announced for 2013. A new team called the New York Knockout will replace the 2012 Northeastern Nitro in Schenectady for 2013.
Women's Spring Football League: The WSFL has announced the Northeastern Nitro, which was based in Schenectady (NY) as part of the 2012 Independent Women's Football League, will be based in New Haven (CT) as part of the 2013 WSFL. The league has announced another new team called the Shreveport-Bossier High Rollers has joined for the 2013 season. The Arkansas Banshees, which played as part of the 2012 IWFL, are now listed as a member of the WSFL. Other newly listed WSFL teams include the Memphis Mojo, Nashville Smashers, Atlanta Heartbreakers, River City Raiderz (Portland), and Willamette Valley Vipers (Salem, OR).
Central Hockey League: The CHL has announced its schedule and league alignment for the 2012-13 season. All ten teams will be aligned into one Berry Conference. Of the 14 teams from last season, the Fort Wayne Komets and Evansville IceMen left the CHL to join the ECHL, while the Dayton Gems, Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees, and Laredo Bucks discontinued operations. The CHL added the new Denver Cutthroats expansion team for 2012-13.
Midwest Junior Hockey League: The Junior Hockey News reported that the new MJHL, which is affiliated with the Amateur Athletic Union, will scale back its previously announced 16 teams to only 8 teams actually participating in its inaugural 2012-13 season. The other teams will be considered dormant.
United Soccer Leagues - PRO: The new Phoenix-based USL PRO team, originally called the Phoenix City FC, has been renamed Phoenix FC and will apparently use "Wolves" as its nickname.
Women's Pro Soccer League: A yet-to-be-named new women's professional soccer league hopes to have a total of 10 to 12 teams on both the East and West coasts and in the Midwest. The league plans to announce its name and other details in the near future. So far, the Boston Breakers, Chicago Red Stars, Sky Blue FC of New Jersey, and an unnamed Seattle team have been announced.
United Soccer Leagues - Premier Development League: The PDL has announced the new Southwest Florida SC, based in the Fort Myers area, will join the league in 2013. The club is holding a name-the-team contest with Adrenaline, Dynamite, and Thunder as possible nickname choices.
North American Lacrosse League: The indoor NALL has announced the addition of a new team called the Baltimore Bombers for its second season that starts in January 2013. Three NALL teams called the Kentucky Stickhorses, Boston Rockhoppers, and Lehigh Flying Dutchmen participated in a short inaugural season in early 2012. These teams will join Baltimore and another previously announced expansion team called the Rhode Island Rockfish (Providence). Additional teams could still be added prior to the 2013 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.
NBA Development League Stories from September 4, 2012
- Bighorns Dance Team Tryouts this Sunday - Reno Bighorns
- Bighorns Announce Dates for Memphis Open Tryouts - Reno Bighorns
- BayHawks Announce Dance Team Audition Date - Erie BayHawks
- 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.