by Dan Krieger
October 7, 2016 - American Hockey League (AHL)
American Hockey League: The National Hockey League's Ottawa Senators have purchased its Binghamton (NY) Senators AHL affiliate and announced plans to move the team to Belleville (Ontario) where the team is expected to be called the Belleville Senators starting with the 2017-18 season. The Binghamton Senators have been part of the AHL since the 2002-03 season. Binghamton officials stated that an unnamed AHL team has already committed to move to Binghamton for the 2017-18 season. The AHL's Albany Devils and Bridgeport Sound Tigers have been mentioned as possible relocation candidates. Belleville had been the longtime home of the Belleville Bulls in the major-junior Ontario Hockey League until the team moved to become the Hamilton (Ontario) Bulldogs for the 2015-16 season. Also, the owner of the NHL's new Las Vegas franchise announced the team will most likely not launch an AHL affiliate when it starts play in the 2017-18 season, but will consider sharing an AHL affiliate with another NHL team until it has enough players to stock an AHL team.
Western States Hockey League: The junior-level WSHL, which operates under the United Hockey Union of the Amateur Athletic Union, has shut down its Whitefish (MT) Wolverines team after two seasons in the league. The WSHL plans to bring a new team to Whitefish under new ownership for the 2017-18 season.
Canadian Premier Junior Hockey League: The new Ontario-based CPJHL, which operates under the United Hockey Union of the Amateur Athletic Union, has lost another team and is down to eight teams for its 2017-18 season. The Burk's Falls Bruins announced the team was unable to develop a roster of players, so it will delay its start until next season.
United Soccer Leagues "" Premier Development League: The amateur-level PDL announced a team called the Wilmington (NC) Hammerheads FC has been awarded a franchise for the 2017 season. The team will have the same owner who operated the Wilmington Hammerheads team in the 2016 Division-III professional United Soccer League (USL). The USL version of the Wilmington Hammerheads team has ceased operations. The Wilmington Hammerheads started play in 1996 as a Division-III pro team and after sitting out the 2010 season, the team became part of the USL PRO (previous name of the USL) for the 2011 season. The Hammerheads were the USL affiliate for Major League Soccer's New York City FC in 2016.
Major League Soccer: The ownership group of the proposed Nashville SC, which plans to start play in 2018 as part of the Division-III United Soccer League, is forming an alliance with the group trying to build a soccer-specific stadium for a potential future MLS expansion team. Once the Nashville SC is established in the USL, the city of Nashville would try to become one of the markets added by the MLS as part of its next phase of expansion. The San Diego market is moving forward with trying to bring an MLS team to a proposed new soccer stadium on the site of Qualcomm Stadium, which is home to the National Football League's San Diego Chargers. The proposed new stadium would be shared by an MLS team and the San Diego State University football program. The Qualcomm Stadium site would only be available if the Chargers obtain a new stadium elsewhere, or if the team decides to move to Los Angeles to share the Los Angeles Rams' new stadium.
Major Arena Soccer League: The MASL's Missouri Comets team, which is based in Independence (MO) near Kansas City, has changed its name to the Kansas City Comets for the 2016-17 season. Kansas City has had two previous indoor teams called the Kansas City Comets, each having played in different versions of leagues called the Major Indoor Soccer League. This version of the Comets started played as an expansion team in the 2010-11 season of the MASL.
Super Rugby: Officials with the international 18-team Super Rugby competition have expressed interest in placing a team in the United States. The men's rugby union competition has five teams each in New Zealand and Australia, six teams in South Africa and one team each in Japan and Australia. The Super Rugby season generally runs from late February to early August.
National Lacrosse League: The indoor professional NLL recently announced the schedule for its upcoming 2016-17 season that will feature the same nine teams as last season. The Eastern Division has the Buffalo Bandits, Georgia Swarm (Atlanta), New England Black Wolves (Uncasville, CT), Rochester Knighthawks and Toronto Rock, while the Western Division includes the Calgary Roughnecks, Colorado Mammoth, Saskatchewan Rush (Saskatoon) and Vancouver Stealth. The season starts in late December 2016 and runs through April 2017 with each team playing an 18-game schedule.
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 is available for sale at www.amazon.com.