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Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report

by Dan Krieger
May 27, 2014 - United League Baseball (ULB)

BASEBALL

United League Baseball: The independent ULB started its 2014 season with four Texas-based teams-the Fort Worth Cats, Rio Grande Valley WhiteWings (Harlingen), San Angelo Colts and a recently announced travel team called the Brownsville Charros. The Charros replace a previously announced travel team called the Mexico Paisanos and will play some 2014 home games in Harlingen. The league is trying to find a home field in the Brownville area for the Charros by the 2015 season. Back in 2008, a developer had proposed a new stadium in Brownsville for a ULB expansion team to be called the Brownsville Charros, but the stadium never materialized. The ULB started last season with six teams, but the Alexandria (LA) Aces and a Texas Thunder travel team were shut down in the second half of the 2013 season, while the Edinburg Roadrunners lost their lease in the off-season and did not return.

Pecos League: The independent Pecos League started its 2014 season earlier this month with ten teams aligned in five-team Northern and Southern divisions. The league grew by two teams this season with the addition of two new Arizona-based teams called the Bisbee Blue and Douglas Diablos. The Taos (NM) Blizzard was moved to the Northern Division and the two new teams were added to the Southern Division. The Pecos League is in its fourth season.

BASKETBALL

National Basketball Association Development League (D-League): The Erie (PA) BayHawks of the NBA D-League will become the sole affiliate of the NBA's Orlando Magic starting with the 2014-15 season. The two teams will operate under a D-League "hybrid" affiliation in which the BayHawks remain under local ownership with the Magic running the basketball operations. The BayHawks operated under a similar "hybrid" affiliation with the NBA's New York Knicks for the past three seasons (2011-13), but the Knicks decided to own and operate its own D-League team in White Plains (NY) for the 2014-15 season. Of the 18 D-League teams, only the Idaho Stampede (Boise) and Fort Wayne Mad Ants do not have some sort of one-to-one affiliation with an NBA team.

Central Basketball Development League: The CBDL announced that the West Palm Beach Pelicans team has folded and it is down to just three Florida-based teams-the Fort Pierce Finest Ballers, South Florida Spartans and Tampa Bay Saints. The league has apparently decided to end its 2014 season and is making plans for a return in 2015. The CBDL wants to have five regional divisions with at least five to eight teams per division in 2015.

Women's United States Basketball Association: The proposed WUSBA, which has been trying to get off the ground with a summertime season since 2010, recently stated it has cancelled its attempt to play a 2014 season. The league had been trying to establish high school and college venues in four cities-Miami, Tampa, Atlanta and Washington (DC)-that would each host four teams. The league now plans to take four league-sponsored teams on a tour of Europe this fall.

American Basketball League: The ABL, which played its inaugural 2013 season from January to April with a six-team Florida-based Tropics Conference and a six-team Texas-based Lone Star Conference, will return with four Florida-based teams in a 2014 spring-summer season running from early June to late July. Only the Fort Lauderdale Sharks and the West Palm Beach Piranhas, which have since been renamed the Palm Beach Hurricane, return from last season. Two new teams called the Orlando Lightning and Vero Beach Stampede (originally the Treasure Coast Stampede) were added for 2014. The ABL plays under international FIBA rules and tries to develop players for various international basketball leagues.

FOOTBALL

American Indoor Football: Due to a dispute with the operators of its home arena, the AIF's Baltimore Mariners had to cancel the remaining two games on its 2014 schedule that were to have been played at home. The Mariners will still participate in the season-ending playoffs.

Sugar n' Spice Football League: The women's indoor full-contact SSFL has started its third season. All six Texas-based teams return from last season and the league has added new teams called the Dallas Dynasty, El Paso Envy, New Orleans Oracles, Oklahoma City Rayn and Valley Vixens (Harlingen, TX).

Rivals Professional Football League: The new RPFL has started the exhibition portion of its inaugural 2014 season with four teams called the Akron Blaze, Chicago Bearcats, Detroit Cougars (Mount Clemens) and Southern Michigan Mustangs (Gibraltar). The RPFL will hold four exhibition games from May 17 to June 6 followed by six regular-season games through mid-July.

HOCKEY

ECHL: The Las Vegas Wranglers of the ECHL were granted a voluntary suspension of play for the 2014-15 because the team lost the use of its home arena after the 2013-14 season. A proposed plan to build a new ice hockey structure at one of the local casino hotels fell through. The ECHL will operate with 22 teams for the 2014-15 season. Las Vegas was part of the league's five-team Pacific Division, which also lost the San Francisco Bulls franchise early in the second half of the 2013-14 season.

Federal Hockey League: A hockey team called the SouthWest Pennsylvania Magic plans to be a 2014-15 FHL expansion team. The Magic will be based at the Rostraver Ice Garden in Belle Vernon, which is about 35 miles south of Pittsburgh in Westmoreland County.

National Hockey League: The NHL commissioner stated the league is not considering expansion at this time. New arenas underway in Quebec City and Las Vegas and a proposed arena in Seattle have led to speculation of possible NHL expansion. The Seattle group will not move forward on construction of an arena until an National Basketball Association franchise has committed to the arena.

SOCCER

Major Arena Soccer League: Six teams from the 2013-14 Major Indoor Soccer League have joined with 16 teams from the 2013-14 Professional Arena Soccer League and 2 new teams to form the new 24-team MASL for the 2014-15 season. Of the seven teams in the 2013-14 MISL, only the Reading-based Pennsylvania Roar will not be part of the MASL. Of the 20 teams that were part of the 2013-14 PASL, the Cleveland Freeze, Illinois Piasa (St. Louis area), Bay Area Rosal and Sacramento Surge are not making the move to the MASL. The Illinois Piasa will become a minor league affiliate of the St. Louis Ambush. The two new MASL teams are the Brownville (TX) Barracudas and Tacoma Stars. The league is expected to be aligned into four six-team regional divisions.

Pacific Coast Soccer League: The British Columbia-based developmental PCSL started its 2014 season earlier this month. The men's league has an eight-team Premier Division and a six-team Reserve Division, while the women's league has a six-team Premier Division and a seven-team Reserve Division. The men's Bellingham (WA) United Hammers team was the PCSL's lone United States-based team last season, but the Hammers left to join the new Evergreen Premier League of Washington for the 2014 season.

Women's Premier Soccer League: The semi-pro WPSL has started its 2014 season a couple of weeks ago and has 84 teams aligned into 12 regional divisions. New teams added for 2014 include the Primero de Mayo (Sacramento), LA Hotspur, Legends FC (Chino, CA), Liverpool Lady Warriors (Dallas), Minnesota TwinStars, Chicago Red Star Reserves, Boston Reserves, Rhode Island Reds (Cranston), Jersey Blues FC, Chattanooga FC, FC Nashville Wolves, Florida Krush (Oviedo), NTC Florida Rush (Clermont), Tampa Bay Hellenic (return after sitting out 2013), Treasure Coast Dynamites, Cincinnati Lady Saints, Columbus Eagles, FC Indiana (Bloomington), FC Pride (Lawrence, IN) and Motor City FC (Detroit).

Major League Soccer: A proposed new Miami-based MLS expansion franchise, which will be partially owned by former MLS player David Beckham, has selected an alternate downtown stadium site after an initial location was turn down by local officials. Plans for a new soccer-specific stadium need to be in place before the league will officially grant a Miami expansion franchise.

OTHER

National Lacrosse League: A group in Saskatoon (Saskatchewan) is looking for investors to bring an indoor NLL team to the city, possibly within the next two years.

Dan Krieger is the creator of the "The Leagueology Almanac 2012-13", 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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United League Baseball Stories from May 27, 2014


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.