by Dan Krieger
September 9, 2016 - ECHL (ECHL)
ECHL: A group in Reno (NV) is trying to bring an ECHL expansion team to the city by the 2017-18 season and possibly have the team affiliated with the National Hockey League's Las Vegas expansion team, which starts play for the 2017-18 season. The group still needs to fund and complete renovations, including installation of a professional ice surface, for the Reno Events Center. A team called the Reno Renegades (1995-97) and then the Reno Rage (1997-98) played three seasons in the former West Coast Hockey League (WCHL). An individual purchased the rights to the dormant Reno WCHL team in 2000 and proposed a new WCHL team to be called the Reno Raiders. When the ECHL absorbed the WCHL prior to the 2003-04 season, it inherited the WCHL Reno expansion team. The inactive ECHL Reno expansion team kept up with league dues over the past ten-plus years, but was unable to build a new arena as planned and this past season was no longer listed a future ECHL market. The ECHL plans to review expansion applications later this month and a group in Jacksonville has also expressed interest.
A potential investor for a proposed 2017-18 ECHL expansion team in Portland (ME) has pulled out, so an expansion application will most likely not be available for consideration at the league meeting later this month. The group trying to bring an ECHL team to Portland, which recently lost its Portland Pirates American Hockey League team to Springfield (MA), will now consider purchasing an existing ECHL team for relocation, possibly in time for the 2017-18 season.
Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League: The Ontario Hockey Association has denied an application filed by Canada's Junior-B GOJHL to move up to the Junior-A level of play. The GOJHL would also need approval from the Canadian Junior Hockey League, which oversees the current ten Junior-A member leagues across Canada.
Major Arena Soccer League: The Baltimore Blast, Harrisburg Heat and St. Louis Ambush, the three MASL teams that left the league after the 2015-16 season to try to form the new Indoor Professional League (IPL) for the 2016-17 season, have been reinstated by the MASL. These three teams, along with a new IPL team and now an MASL expansion team called the Florida Tropics SC (Lakeland), will be part of the 2016-17 MASL season with the IPL being dissolved. The MASL agreed to no longer operate under a single-entity model and all teams will be operated by individual franchise owners. The MASL season starts next month and it currently lists 22 member teams.
United Soccer League: The FC Dallas club of Major League Soccer has expressed interest in forming its own USL team, possibly by the 2018 season. The team could be based in the Dallas area or somewhere else in Texas. FC Dallas currently uses the Oklahoma City Energy FC as its USL affiliate.
North American Soccer League: The NASL's Ottawa Fury FC is expected to return to the league next season despite talk that the team is losing money and not drawing as many fans as needed to break even.
American Ultimate Disc League: The professional AUDL announced that the Cincinnati Revolution team has ceased operations after five seasons in the league. The team started as the Bluegrass Revolution, based in Lexington (KY), for the league's first season in 2012 and moved to Cincinnati for the 2013 season. The owners of the Charlotte Express have transferred their ownership to the Atlanta Hustle team, which had been operated by the league since starting play in the 2015 season. The franchise rights to the Charlotte Express, which also started play in the 2015 season, will be reassumed by the league and the franchise will not be active in the 2017 season.
Pro12 Rugby: The Ireland-based professional rugby union Pro12 league is apparently getting serious about establishing a team in the United States with New York City, Boston, Philadelphia or Chicago mentioned as possibilities. No timeline has been provided for the new team. For its 2015-16 season, the Pro12 had 12 teams in Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Northern Ireland and Italy.
Dan Krieger is the creator of the Leagues, Teams & Nicknames 2015-16: "The Leagueology Almanac" , which tracks the changes in league alignments, franchise movements and team nicknames in today's sports world. The publication will be available in one week at www.amazon.com.