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Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report

by Dan Krieger
November 26, 2012 - USL PRO (USL PRO)

BASEBALL

Eastern League: Various sources reported that the Binghamton (NY) Mets of the Double-A Eastern League will be the team eventually relocated to Ottawa (Ontario) for the 2014 season. The Batavia (NY) Muckdogs of the short-season Class-A New York-Penn League would then move to Binghamton to replace the Mets. It is hoped a deal can be completed by the end of the year.

Atlantic Baseball League: A developer trying to bring an ABL franchise to Malden (MA) near Boston has signed a lease for a parcel of land that could become home to a new 6,300-seat ballpark. Leases on other parcels of land are still needed and final construction is not expected to completed until 2015.

Can-Am League: The city of Worcester (MA) has determined there is not enough time to select an ownership group or sign a lease agreement for the 2013 season, so there will not be a Worcester-based team in 2013 to replace the Worcester Tornadoes of the Can-Am League. The ownership of the Worcester Tornadoes was stripped of its franchise by the league near the end of the 2012 season for a failure to pay its bills. A new ownership group has been formed for a potential 2014 Worcester team that could be part of the Can-Am League or the Atlantic Baseball League. The amateur Futures Collegiate Baseball League has also expressed interest in the Worcester market.

South Atlantic League: The Lake Norman (NC) area north of Charlotte is interested in building a ballpark, possibly for a low Class-A team in the South Atlantic League. The city currently has a summer-collegiate team called the Lake Norman Copperheads in the Southern Collegiate Baseball League.

Perfect Game Baseball League: The Utica (NY) Brewers and Adirondack Trail Blazers (Boonville, NY) of the 2012 New York Collegiate Baseball League have left that league to join the PGBL for its 2013 season.

BASKETBALL

National Basketball Association Development League (D-League): The 16-team NBA D-League has started its 2012-13 season. The only team change from last season was the move of the Dakota Wizards from Bismarck (ND) to Santa Cruz (CA) as the Santa Cruz Warriors. The league realigned its eight-team Eastern Conference and eight-team Western Conference into a five-team Eastern Division, a six-team Central Division and a five-team Western Division for 2012-13.

National Basketball League of Canada: After announcing a proposed Ottawa (Ontario) expansion franchise for the 2013-14 season, the NBL-Canada will consider other expansion teams and established certain deadlines for the process. Applications and deposits for other all 2013-14 expansion teams are due January 31, 2013.

American Basketball Association: The ABA has announced a new 2013-14 expansion team called the Georgia-Lina Hurricanes. The team will be based in Augusta-Richmond County (GA), near the South Carolina state line.

Central Basketball League: The proposed new CBL plans to add a team in Chicago as a fourth member for its inaugural season starting in April 2013. The Middle Tennessee Storm (Springfield) and teams in Cincinnati and St. Louis were previously announced.

FOOTBALL

Canadian Football League: The Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the CFL have announced an agreement to use the field at the University of Guelph (Ontario) for its home games in the 2013 season while a new stadium is built on the site of its current stadium in Hamilton. Guelph is about 50 miles northwest of Hamilton.

Ultimate Indoor Football League: After the UIFL announced a couple of weeks ago that the Chicago Pythons team would be part of league for its 2013 season, the Pythons are no longer listed as part of the UIFL and it appears the team will not be part of the UIFL in 2013.

American Indoor Football: The AIF's Virginia Badgers indoor football team, which was based in Fredericksburg and played as a road team in the 2012 season, has moved to Ranson (WV) where the team will be called the West Virginia Badgers for the 2013 season. In addition to the Badgers, the current AIF team list includes the Cape Fear Heroes (Fayetteville, NC), Harrisburg (PA) Stampede, Macon (GA) Steel, Roc City Thunder (Rochester, NY), Maryland Reapers (Frederick), York (PA) Capitals, and Carolina Force (Concord, NC).

Professional Developmental Football League: The proposed new PDFL states it has 11 teams ready to start its inaugural season in May 2013. The National Developmental Conference will include the Carolina Knights, Charleston Snipers, Georgia Invaders, Miami Xtreme, Palm Beach Crush and Virginia Colonials. An American Developmental Conference will have the Boise Bandits, New Mexico Outlawz, Portland Boltz, Seattle-Tacoma Cobras and Utah Armageddon. Other teams in development are the NC Bison, Spokane Silverbacks and Nevada Stampede.

HOCKEY

Canadian Women's Hockey League: The elite-level CWHL has announced that its Team Alberta, also known this season as the Alberta Honeybadgers, has signed a partnership agreement with the Calgary Flames of the National Hockey League that will have the Flames involved in promoting and marketing the CWHL team. Team Alberta has announced a name-the-team contest to reflect a new branding in line with the Calgary Flames. A similar partnership was also announced between the NHL's Toronto Maple Leafs and the CWHL's Toronto Furies team.

Western Women's Hockey League: The elite-level WWHL will again have only two teams called the Minnesota Whitecaps and Manitoba Maple Leafs in the 2012-13 season. The teams plan to play games against each other and against top collegiate women's hockey teams. The WWHL lost two of its Alberta-based teams called the Edmonton Chimos and Strathmore Rockies before the 2011-12 season when players from those two teams were used to stock Team Alberta in the Canadian Women's Hockey League.

Ontario Hockey League: The major-junior OHL approved the relocation of the Brampton Battalion team to North Bay (Ontario) for next season. The team owner stated the team will retain the Battalion nickname when it moves to North Bay.

SOCCER

United Soccer League PRO: A new Tampa-based team called VSI Tampa FC will begin play in the 2013 season of the Division III USL PRO league. The VSI Tampa Bay Flames organization operated USL men's teams in the 2012 Premier Development League and the 2012 Super-20 League, along with a women's team in the 2012 USL W-League. VSI stands for VisionPro Sports Institute and focuses on youth player development and progression into professional soccer. The USL PRO operated with 11 teams in 2012 and previously announced another new team called the Phoenix FC Wolves will start in 2013.

New Women's Professional Soccer League: The United States Soccer Federation, in conjunction with the Canadian Soccer Association and the Federation of Mexican Football, announced the formation of a new eight-team yet-to-be-named women's professional soccer league that will start play in 2013. These three organizations will fund women players from their respective national teams to participate in the new league that will also include other top women players. The league will include the Boston Breakers, Chicago Red Stars, Western New York Flash and Sky Blue FC (New Jersey) teams that were once part of the defunct Women's Pro Soccer (WPS), which folded after its 2011 season. Other new teams will be located in Seattle, Portland (OR), Washington (DC) and Kansas City (MO). The new Kansas City team is expected to be called the FC Kansas City Blues.

OTHER

Major League Ultimate: The proposed new MLU, which will play a professional game similar to football only with a Frisbee-style disc starting in 2013, has announced the five teams that will make up its Eastern Conference. These include the Boston Bootleggers, New York Rumble, New Jersey Founders, D.C. Current, and Philadelphia Spinners. The Spinners' owner broke away from the competing American Ultimate Disc League, which started its inaugural season in 2012, to form the new MLU. The MLU plans to also have a Western Conference of teams in 2013.

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.

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USL PRO Stories from November 26, 2012


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.