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Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report

by Dan Krieger
July 1, 2013 - South Atlantic League (SAL)

BASEBALL

New York-Penn League: The Williamsport (PA) Crosscutters of the short-season Class-A NYPL were renamed the Williamsport Bills for a "turn back the clock" game this past weekend. The Williamsport Bills were part of the Double-A Eastern League for four seasons (1987-91).

Atlantic Baseball League: The ABL's Lancaster (PA) Barnstormers were renamed the Lancaster Hex as part of a "What Could Have Been Night" for one game this weekend. The proposed Hex nickname, which paid tribute to the area's Pennsylvania Dutch heritage, was part of a name-the-team contest held before the Lancaster team started play in the 2005 season.

Northern League: The Elkhart County (IN) Miracle, one of the teams planned for the restart of the independent Northern League in 2014, has chosen a location for a new ballpark that the team hopes will be ready early in the league's inaugural 2014 season.

South Atlantic League (SALLY): The Hagerstown (MD) Suns of the low Class-A SALLY were reported to have submitted a lease proposal last month on a new ballpark being planned by the city of Fredericksburg (VA). The Suns would provide $3 million toward a site and the city would issue up to $30 million in bonds to build the ballpark. Negotiations are still underway between the city of Hagerstown and the Suns to keep the team there. The city of Columbia (SC) is still trying to build a new ballpark for either a SALLY team or high Class-A Carolina League team. The city's former SALLY team called the Capital City Bombers moved to become the Greenville (SC) Drive for the 2005 season.

BASKETBALL

American Professional Basketball League: The fall-winter APBL is hosting a summer league that has started with New York City area teams called the APBL Warriors, Brooklyn All-Game, Ferrari NYC, Manhattan Pride, NYC 524, NYC Jaguars and Tri-State Energy.

Bikini Basketball Association: The new women's BBA started its inaugural 2013 season last weekend, but it is apparently going to play with only four teams. The Philadelphia Diamonds have been removed from the 2013 schedule and teams will play only six games instead of eight games through August.

American Basketball Association: The ABA has approved the move of the Electric City Lions from Anderson (SC) to Charleston (SC) where the team will be called the Charleston Lions. Electric City was listed as an ABA travel team in 2012-13. A new team called the North Carolina Coyotes based in Henderson has been added for the 2013-14 season. Another new team called the Fresno Griffins is now listed by the ABA, which had a team called the Fresno Flight last season.

Independent Basketball Association: The IBA now lists a new team called the Windy City Blazers. The Battle Creek (MI) Knights team, which played in the 2012-13 winter season but not the 2013 spring season, plans to return for the 2013-14 winter season.

Central Basketball League B-League: The CBL has provided details on its developmental Breakthrough Division, or B-League, that will run from after Labor Day until just before Thanksgiving. The league will be a "bus league" (less travel) for first-year or developing franchises that want to evaluate whether they want to be part of the CBL spring league based in the Midwest. Teams called the Indiana Legends (Portland) and Parkersburg (WV) Angels were recently announced as two of the B-League teams for 2013.

West Coast Basketball League: The WCBL has posted results for the first two weeks of its 2013 season that has six teams-the LA Advantage, Santa Barbara Breakers, High Desert Spartans, Santa Monica Jump USA, Hollywood Shooting Stars and Long Beach Rockets. The spring-summer WCBL started in 2008.

FOOTBALL

Arena Football League: After being evicted from its arena last week, the AFL's Utah Blaze (Salt Lake City) has worked out its lease obligations and will be able to play the remainder of its 2013 home season at the EnergySolutions Arena. The team's owner was able to obtain financial support from a new partner.

Indoor Football League: The owner of the IFL's Green Bay Blizzard has put the team up for sale and it has until September 1, 2013 to find a buyer or it will be forced to suspend operations.

Canadian Football League: The CFL has started its 2013 season with the same eight teams as last season aligned into four-team East and West divisions. The Hamilton Tiger-Cats will play one home game in Moncton (New Brunswick) and the rest of the home schedule at Guelph University, about 50 miles northwest of Hamilton, while a new stadium is built on the site of its previous home. The Ottawa RedBlacks expansion team will join the East in 2014 with Winnipeg moving to the West.

Legends Football League-Canada: The women's LFL-Canada, formerly known as the Lingerie Football League, has announced the schedule for its second season that will start in September 2013. The league will again have four teams, but the Toronto Triumph will not return due to an inadequate home arena. A new team called the Calgary Fillies has been added and will join the returning BC Angels, Saskatoon Sirens and Regina Rage. The Toronto Triumph started play in the 2011-12 season of the LFL-US and switched to the LFL-Canada for its inaugural season in 2012. The league is trying to find a suitable venue for Toronto to return in the future.

Women's Indoor Football League: The proposed new professional WIFL being developed by Blanchette Sports Holdings now has names for the 15 teams that will start play in the spring of 2014. The North Conference includes the Baltimore Blitz, Charlotte Attack, Fayetteville Fighters, New Jersey Vipers, New York Assassins, Philadelphia Freeze, Richmond Rage and Washington (DC) Wildcats. The Southern Conference has the Atlanta Aces, Birmingham Black Widows, Columbia (SC) Cobras, Lakeland (FL) Lynx, Montgomery Mustangs, Orlando Power and Tampa Tornadoes.

HOCKEY

Ontario Hockey League: The 20-team major-junior level OHL has announced its 2013-14 schedule. The only change from last season was the Brampton Battalion relocating to become the North Bay Battalion. Brampton later obtained a 2013-14 Central Hockey League franchise called the Brampton Beast. Most of the OHL teams are based in Canada, but it has two Michigan-based teams (Saginaw and Plymouth) and one in Pennsylvania (Erie).

Western Hockey League: The 22-team major-junior WHL has announced its 2013-14 schedule that will feature the same teams and league alignment as last season. The majority of WHL teams are from western Canada, but it does have a five-team U.S. Division in its Western Conference with four teams in Washington (Everett, Seattle, Tri-City and Spokane) and one in Oregon (Portland). The WHL, along with the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and the Ontario Hockey League comprise the major-junior organization known as the Canadian Hockey League.

Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League: The Canadian Tier-II NOJHL plans to add a 2013-14 team in Espanola (Ontario) to give the league eight teams.

Federal Hockey League: The FHL held its player draft last week with what appears to be the four teams that will be part of the 2013-14 season. These include the Danbury (CT) Whalers, Danville (IL) Dashers, Dayton (OH) Demonz and Thousand Islands Privateers (Watertown, NY). The Williamsport (PA) Outlaws and Cape Cod Bluefins (Hyannis, MA) will not return, as they were taken over by the league during the 2012-13 season and finished as the Pennsylvania Outlaws and New York Bluefins, respectively.

SOCCER

Professional Arena Soccer League: The new Laredo-based PASL expansion franchise for the upcoming 2013-14 season will be called the Laredo Diesel. The team becomes the fourth Texas-based team in the league along with the Texas Strikers (Beaumont), Dallas Sidekicks and Rio Grande Valley Flash (Hidalgo).

Liga Mexicana de Futbol Rapido: Mexico's professional indoor soccer league known as the LMFR started its 2013 season in April with eight teams, but the Monterrey Flash team dropped out of the league last month after playing only four games. The schedule was adjusted for the seven remaining teams and the season ends next month.

OTHER

National Lacrosse League: The indoor NLL announced that its Everett-based Washington Stealth franchise is moving to Langley (British Columbia) and the team will be renamed the Vancouver Stealth for the 2014 season. This franchise started as the Albany (NY) Attack in the 2000 season, moved to San Jose as the Stealth for the 2004 season, and moved to Washington for the 2010 season. The NLL had a previous franchise called the Vancouver Ravens that lasted three seasons (2002-04) before suspending operations.

Continental Indoor Lacrosse League: The renamed semi-pro CILL, which operated the past two seasons as the Midwest Indoor Lacrosse Association, has announced the teams and alignment for its 2013 season. The Eastern Conference features the Cleveland Demons, Columbus (OH) Brew, Detroit Coney Dogs, Pittsburgh Octane and the new Buffalo-based Upstate Bears. The Western Conference includes the Chicago Outlaws, Colorado Sabertooths, Grand Rapids Dragon Fish, Milwaukee Marauders and Minnesota Jaxx. The Cincinnati-based Southern Ohio Box Lacrosse was the only team not returning from 2012. The schedule runs from early August to late October.

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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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.