In Case You Missed It: Weekly Hockey and Soccer Franchise Report

by Dan Krieger
September 23, 2016 - Federal Hockey League (FHL) - Carolina Thunderbirds

HOCKEY

National Hockey League: The NHL expansion franchise in Las Vegas plans to announce the team's nickname next month and the owner says the name will include "Knights". Ownership registered names such as the Nighthawks, Red Hawks, Desert Hawks, Golden Knights, Silver Knights and Desert Knights to keep the final decision a mystery.

Federal Hockey League: The FHL announced it will add a 2016-17 expansion team in Cornwall (Ontario), which recently lost the Cornwall River Kings in the Quebec-based Ligue Nord Americaine de Hockey. The Cornwall ownership selected Cornwall Nationals as the team's name. The FHL had a previous team called the Akwesasne Warriors that was based near Cornwall for two seasons (2010-12).

United States Hockey League: The city of Coralville (IA) and the University of Iowa (Iowa City) have agreed on plans to fund a new 4,000-seat arena that could become home to the university's hockey program and a proposed Tier-I junior team in the USHL. The arena is planned to open in 2019.

Central One Hockey League (CHL): The United Hockey Union, the hockey division of the Amateur Athletic Union, is forming a new six-team Tier-I junior hockey league known as the Central One Hockey League for the 2017-18 season. Six teams called the Colorado Junior Eagles (Fort Collins), Casper (WY) Coyotes, El Paso Rhinos, Ogden (UT) Mustangs, Oklahoma City Blazers and Springfield (MO) Express from the UHU's current Tier-II Western States Hockey League will be the initial CHL members.

SOCCER

Major League Soccer: The MLS announced plans for an expansion draft in December 2016 to stock the league's new Atlanta United and Minnesota United FC teams that will start play in the 2017 season. The head of the MLS recently stated that there has been no decision as to the league's 24th team, which has been considered to be Miami. A Miami expansion franchise was granted to former MLS player David Beckham in 2014, but the league has been having trouble finding a suitable site for the team to build a new soccer-specific stadium. It was hoped that a new Miami stadium would be ready by the 2018 season.

United Soccer League: The USL is interested in placing a team in Baltimore by the 2018 season. The league's Wilmington (NC) Hammerheads could sit out the 2017 season and move to Baltimore under a new name for the 2018 season. There is also some interest from investors about bring a USL expansion team to Baltimore. If Wilmington loses its USL team, a team called the Wilmington Hammerheads could continue as part of the lower-level United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League. Also, the previously announced 2018 USL expansion team called the Nashville FC has changed its name to the Nashville SC. The team still has to decide where it will play in the Nashville area.

Major Arena Soccer League: The MASL announced its alignment for the upcoming 2016-17 season will feature 17 teams. The alignment will feature an Eastern Conference with a four-team Eastern Division and a five-team Central Division, while the Western Conference will have four-team Southwest and Pacific divisions. The league had 20 teams last season, but five teams will not return and the league added two expansion teams. Of the five non-returning teams, the Brownsville Barracudas, Las Vegas Legends, Waza Flo (Detroit/Flint) and Saltillo (Mexico) Rancho Seco will retain their league memberships and sit out the season with hopes of returning in the future. The Sacramento Surge has ceased operations and the franchise will be relocated in the future. The two MASL expansion teams for 2016-17 are the El Paso Coyotes and Florida Tropics (Lakeland). A team called the Monterrey (Mexico) Flash, which sat out last season, has been granted another one-year extension on its membership as the team will also sit out the 2016-17 season.

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