by Dan Krieger
November 2, 2016 - Florida State League (FSL)
Florida State League: With the Brevard County Manatees of the high Class-A FSL moving from Space Coast Stadium in Viera to Osceola County Stadium in Kissimmee for the 2017 season, the team has been renamed the Florida Fire Frogs. A name-the-team contest had six proposed nicknames (Dragonflies, Fire Dogs, Mud Kickers, Rodeo Clowns, Sorcerers and Toucans), plus write-in submissions. The Manatees had been based out of Space Coast Stadium since 1994. The FSL had a previous team called the Kissimmee Cobras that relocated after the 2000 season.
Desert League: The fall-season independent Desert League finished its inaugural 2016 season this weekend. One of the league's four teams called the Imperial County (CA) Ghost Riders was unable to play home games as planned at locations in Holtville and Calexico, so the team played home games in Yuma (AZ), which already was hosting two other Desert League teams called the Yuma Maple Leafs and Yuma Hammers. The fourth Desert League team was the Somerton (AZ) Caneros.
National Basketball League of Canada: The St. John (New Brunswick) Millrats of the NBL-Canada announced the team's new name will be the St. John Riptide starting with the upcoming 2016-17 season. The team started as the Manchester (NH) Millrats and played one season (2007-08) in the American Basketball Association and two seasons (2008-10) in the Premier Basketball League before becoming the St. John Mill Rats in the 2010-11 PBL. The team joined the NBL-Canada for the league's inaugural 2011-12 season. Other nickname choices like Loyalists, Celtics and Monkey Geese were also available for fan voting along with write-in votes.
American Basketball Association: The semi-pro ABA has added a new team called the Bartlesville (OK) Rim Rattlers to the new Great Plains Division for the 2016-17 season. The ABA also announced two new 2017 teams called the Henderson (NV) Hawks and the La Crosse (WI) Showtime.
Universal Basketball Association: The UBA announced the 2016-17 season will feature 28 teams aligned into 5 regional conferences. The Southern Conference has six Georgia-based teams; the nine Western Conference teams are based in Texas and Oklahoma; the five Northern Conference teams are based in Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio; and the four teams in each of the Atlantic Conference and Eastern Conference are based in the Carolinas.
National Football League: The NFL is reported to be taking a preliminary look at the possibility of creating a development league in the future.
Arena Pro Football: The proposed new APF, which was originally called the National Arena Football League, has added a new team called the Myrtle Beach (SC) Sharks for its inaugural 2017 season. A team called the Myrtle Beach Freedom was part of the 2016 American Indoor Football. The APF announced a new Virginia-based franchise will be added. The APF also entered into an agreement with the league known as the United States Indoor Football, which will play all games at an arena in Savannah (GA), for it to serve as a developmental league for the APF.
Arena Developmental League: The proposed new ADL officially announced the addition of a new team called the Corpus Christi (TX) Rage for the league's inaugural 2017 season. The Rage has been added to the ADL's Southern Division of teams. Most recently, a team called the Corpus Christi Fury (2013-16) was part of the now-defunct AIF for the 2016 season. The city has had other pro indoor teams called the Corpus Christi Hammerheads (2004-12) and the Corpus Christi Sharks (2007-09).
Indoor Football League: The IFL announced its schedule and league alignment for the 2017 season that will again feature ten teams. The Billings (MT) Wolves and Tri-Cities Fever (Kennewick, WA) will not return from last season, but the league is adding the Arizona Rattlers (Phoenix) from the Arena Football League along with the expansion Salt Lake Screaming Eagles. The five-team United Conference will remain the same, while Arizona and Salt Lake replace Billings and Tri-Cities in the five-team Intense Conference. The Billings Wolves could not afford to comply with certain state regulations and suspended operations, but stated the team could return in 2018 under new ownership. The Tri-Cities Fever will be a dormant IFL member in 2017, but the owner could move the team to another market or sell it to a new owner who could try to keep the team in Tri-Cities or also move it to a new location.
Midwest Professional Indoor Football: The MPIF has added some additional teams and currently lists eight teams for its second season that will start in early 2017. Recently added new teams include the Midway Marauders (Chicago), Indianapolis Panthers, Cincinnati Flex and the Cleveland Pack. The Cincinnati Flex was originally associated with the proposed Indoor Football Association. The Cleveland Pack played a few games in the 2015 season of American Indoor Football when it took over the schedule of the Cleveland Saints, but the Pack was dormant in 2016.