Weekly Sports League and Franchise Reportby Dan Krieger
December 17, 2012 - Major League Lacrosse (MLL)
Frontier League: The mayor of Parkersburg (WV) wants to initiate a feasibility study on a proposed new ballpark that could become home to an independent Frontier League franchise. The city was home to the Ohio Valley Redcoats in the Frontier League from 1993 through the 1998 season.
New York-Penn League: A new tax-increment-financing (TIF) district was approved in Morgantown (WV) that could lead to construction of a new ballpark, which could become home to the West Virginia University baseball team and a possible short-season Class-A minor baseball team in the NY-Penn League.
There has been speculation the Jamestown (NY) Jammers of the NY-Penn League would be the team relocating to Morgantown.
South Atlantic League (SALLY): A proposed $15 million of private funding to help build a new ballpark to keep the Hagerstown Suns of the low Class-A SALLY has not materialized, so the city has to consider new ways to fund the project. The Suns' current 82-year-old ballpark was considered substandard earlier this year and needs substantial renovation. The city of Winchester (VA) had been trying to lure the Suns with its own new ballpark proposal, but it appears the Suns will try to work with Hagerstown.
Northwoods League: The summer-collegiate Northwoods League and an ownership group are working with Kenosha (WI) to try to bring a team to the city for the 2014 season.
Eastern Basketball Alliance: The EBA has added a new team called the Westchester Flyin Dutchmen to its Northern Division standings for the upcoming 2013 season and currently lists a total of eight teams. The league lost four teams to the American Professional Basketball League after the 2011-12 season, but added Westchester and other new teams called the Bad New Ballers (Newport News, VA), Maryland Bayriders and Richmond Rebels for 2013.
Continental Basketball League: The CBL plans to return in the spring of 2013 after sitting out the 2012 season. The league currently has eight potential teams listed: the Birmingham Lions, Durham (NC) Bulldogs, Garner (NC) GrayHawks, Georgia Razors, Orlando Kings, Raleigh Rough Riders, South Florida Stars and Tampa Bay Saints.
Canadian Football League: The new Ottawa-based CFL franchise, which is expected to start play in the 2014 season, is expected to announce the team nickname next week. The Ottawa Rush has been reported to be a strong candidate for the team name.
Women's Spring Football League: The WSFL has announced the Pensacola-based Gulf Coast Riptide and the Maine Lynx will join the league as 8-player teams in 2013. Both teams were 11-player teams as part of the 2012 Women's Football Alliance. Other new 11-player teams for 2013 include the Shreveport-Bossier High Rollers, Lancaster (PA) Gladiators and the Northeastern Nitro based in New Haven (CT).
Independent Women's Football League: The IWFL has announced a new team called the Washington (DC) Prodigy and the New England Nightmare (Windsor, CT) from the 2012 Women's Football Alliance will be part of the league's 2013 spring-summer season.
Indoor Championship Football League: The semi-pro ICFL will be completing its second full season of play at the end of this month. The league had six teams last season, but played this season with only four teams called the Baltimore Vikings, Maryland Raiders, Virginia Knights, and West Virginia Ducks. All teams play a six-game schedule with games at a either of two complexes-one in Landover (MD) and another in Winchester (VA).
Federal Hockey League: With the Cape Cod Bluefins (Hyannis, MA) of the FHL recently suspending operations due to financial problems, the league will replace the defunct franchise with a team called the New York Bluefins based out of central New York State. All Cape Cod players were traded or became free agents and the league will create a totally a new team to represent the New York Bluefins. The new team will honor Cape Cod's road games, while playing some home games at neutral sites or other FHL venues. When the Bluefins' financial troubles started, the league had been trying to find a new location and new ownership for the franchise. A failed attempt was made to move the team to Maine. Prior to announcing the new team, a league-operated team called the "Blues" filled in for the Cape Cod team in a game this past week against the Danbury Whalers. The FHL had to replace one of its teams in a similar situation last season when the Vermont Wild ceased operations and a league-operated team called the Delaware Federals was created as a travel team for the second half of the season.
United States Premier Hockey League: The proposed new USPHL, which hopes to be recognized by USA Hockey as a Tier-I or Tier-II junior hockey league, is considering a team in Lewiston (ME) for its initial season. The Junior Hockey News reports the Portland Junior Pirates of the Eastern Junior Hockey League (EJHL) would operate a USPHL team based in Lewiston. Four other teams from the Tier-III EJHL announced the creation of the USPHL last month with an additional four teams expected to be added.
National Women's Soccer League: The new eight-team women's pro soccer league to be operated by the United States Soccer Federation in 2013 will be called the National Women's Soccer League. The league's new Washington (DC) team announced it will be called the Washington Spirit, while the new team in Portland (OR) will be called the Portland Thorns. The league's new Seattle-based team is the only team yet to select its name. Other teams will include the Boston Breakers, Chicago Red Stars, FC Kansas City Blues, Sky Blue FC (New Jersey) and the Western New York Flash (Buffalo/Rochester).
North American Soccer Leagues: The new commissioner of the eight-team NASL plans to have the league expand to 16 or 18 teams in the near future. The New York Cosmos plan to join in the second half of the 2013 season, while new teams in Ottawa and Virginia (Loudoun County) are expected to join in 2014. The league is interested in adding other Canadian markets like Calgary and Winnipeg to go with its current Edmonton team.
United Soccer Leagues PRO League: The Orlando City SC Lions team in the Division III USL PRO league has developed plans for a proposed soccer-specific stadium in Orlando and eventually it wants the facility to become home to a Major League Soccer franchise. The MLS has expressed an interest in expansion into the Southeast and the owner of Orlando City has been working with the MLS to bring a franchise to Central Florida.
Premier Arena Soccer League: The PASL-Premier has added a five-team Southwestern Division and an eight-team South Central Division to its 2012-13 alignment. Teams in the nine-team Northwest Division, the four-team Rocky Mountain Division and the ten-team Flight E have already started their schedules for the 2012-13 season.
Professional Bowlers Association League: The Pittsburgh-based team in the new PBA League will be called the Pittsburgh Jack Rabbits. The PBA plans to have a total of eight teams for the initial season of its team-based league that will start play January 2013. Other previously announced teams are the Motown Muscle (Detroit), Philadelphia Hitmen, Dallas Strikers and an unnamed Los Angeles team.
Major League Lacrosse: The Long Island Lizards team, a member of the outdoor (field lacrosse) MLL since the league's inaugural season of 2001, has changed its name to the New York Lizards. The Lizards are expanding their marketing area to include New York City, Westchester County, New Jersey and southern Connecticut. In addition to playing home games at Hofstra University on Long Island, the team will play two home games in New York City during the 2013 season.
American Ultimate Disc League: The AUDL, a professional Ultimate Frisbee league that started play with eight teams in 2012, has settled a lawsuit with two of its teams-the Hartford-based Connecticut Constitution and the Providence-based Rhode Island Rampage. These teams challenged the league's attempt to put New York and Boston expansion teams within 100 miles of their respective markets. It looks as though the Rhode Island Rampage will not return in 2013. The Constitution could return to the AUDL or join the new competing Major League Ultimate league that will start in 2013. The AUDL will move forward with a New York team in 2013 and the Boston market, where the Rampage owner wanted to move, is considered open for AUDL expansion.
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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