by Dan Krieger
August 26, 2016 - American Hockey League (AHL)
American Hockey League: The new AHL affiliate of the National Hockey League's Montreal Canadiens that will move to Laval (Quebec) next season has narrowed its potential team nickname list from 12 to 3 names - the Laval Patriots, Laval Rapids and Laval Rocket. The Canadiens are moving its St. John's (New Brunswick) IceCaps AHL affiliate to a new arena in Laval for the 2017-18 season. The city of Belleville (Ontario), which lost its major-junior Ontario Hockey League team to Hamilton after the 2014-15 season, is considering renovations to the local arena to attract another hockey team. Belleville has been mentioned as a possible future home for the Binghamton (NY) Senators, the current AHL affiliate of the NHL's Ottawa Senators. The Senators are supposedly looking to move its AHL affiliate closer to home.
National Hockey League: The owner of the new NHL expansion team in Las Vegas is considering Nighthawks as a possible team name and two other names have been submitted for trademarks. The potential names of Red Hawks and Desert Hawks are apparently no longer under consideration. The owner wanted to name the team the Las Vegas Black Knights after the Army Black Knights, but that name could involve trademark and copyright issues.
Federal Hockey League: The FHL announced plans to add an expansion team in Winston-Salem (NC) for the 2017-18 season. This market has had several minor hockey teams in various leagues in the past. Most recently, the city had two different Southern Professional Hockey League teams called the Winston-Salem Polar Twins for one season (2004-05) and the Twin City Cyclones for two seasons (2007-09).
Major League Soccer: The MLS officially announced the addition of the Minnesota United FC for the 2017 season. The team, which currently plays as part of the Division-II North American Soccer League, will play home games at the University of Minnesota's TCF Bank Stadium until a proposed new stadium is built in St. Paul. The Minnesota United FC, also known as the Loons, will not be changing its name and will join the Atlanta United FC as 2017 MLS expansion teams. The league will grow to 22 teams next season with Minnesota added to the Western Conference and Atlanta to the Eastern Conference. With the league's current D.C. United (Washington, DC), the MLS will have three teams with "United" as its name.
American Rugby Premiership: The ARP, which is an elite American rugby-league competition sanctioned by USA Rugby, announced its 2016 season schedule that will start next month with five teams. The Boston Irish Wolfhounds, Boston Rugby, New York Athletic Club and Old Blue of New York will return from last season, along with the Mystic River Rugby (Malden, MA) club that played some games against ARP teams last season. Mystic River replaces the Life University Running Eagles (Atlanta) club, which is scaling back its schedule and will just play a friendly schedule that will include games against some ARP teams. Dan Krieger is the creator of the Leagues, Teams & Nicknames 2014-15: "The Leagueology Almanac" , 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.