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

by Dan Krieger
November 4, 2016 - Major Arena Soccer League (MASL)

HOCKEY

Federal Hockey League: The lower-level professional FHL started its 2016-17 season this week with seven teams. Of the six teams from last season, the Dayton Demolition and Brewster (NY) Bulldogs did not return. The Watertown (NY) Wolves returned after sitting out last season due to arena renovations and the league added two new teams called the Cornwall (Ontario) Nationals and St. Clair Shores (MI) Saints. The FHL currently lists two future markets - Winston-Salem (NC) with a team called the Carolina Thunderbirds and Dayton (OH) with an unnamed team.

Canadian Women's Hockey League: The elite-level non-professional CWHL started its 2016-17 season earlier this month with the same five teams as last season. The teams include the Boston Blades, Brampton Thunder (Ontario), Calgary Inferno, Les Canadiennes de Montréal and Toronto Furies.

National Women's Hockey League: The professional NWHL started its second season earlier this month with the same four teams as last season and includes the Boston Pride, Buffalo Beauts, Connecticut Whale (Northford) and New York Riveters. There had been talk of possible expansion into places like Toronto, Montreal or Minnesota, but nothing was worked for the 2016-17 season.

SOCCER

Major League Soccer: The status of the MLS expansion bid by the Sacramento Republic FC of the United Soccer League could be determined after a meeting of the MLS expansion committee next month. The city's planning committee appears ready to approve the site and plans for a proposed MLS-style soccer stadium. The city of St. Louis has a second potential MLS ownership group that recently unveiled plans for an MLS-style soccer stadium in midtown, near St. Louis University. The first St. Louis group interested in an MLS expansion franchise has been working toward a downtown stadium on the site of a previously proposed football stadium for the National Football League's St. Louis Rams, now the Los Angeles Rams. St. Louis recently announced it has a two-year option with the Missouri Department of Transportation to sell another downtown site that could also be considered for a soccer stadium.

North American Soccer League: The Tampa Bay Rowdies and Ottawa Fury FC of the Tier-II NASL announced the teams will move to the Tier-III United Soccer League for the 2017 season. Both teams will be placed in the USL's Eastern Conference. The Rowdies had been with the NASL since the league's inaugural 2010 season, while the Fury joined the NASL for the 2014 season.

Major Arena Soccer League: The MASL started its 2016-17 season this weekend with 17 teams aligned into four-team Pacific, Southwest and Eastern divisions and a five-team Central Division. The league had 20 teams last season, but five teams did 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 to return in the future. The Sacramento Surge 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 again will sit out the 2016-17 season.

Premier Arena Soccer League: The PASL, which is the developmental league for the Major Arena Soccer League, announced its 2016-17 South Central Division will include teams called the Austin Fuego FC, Houston Ocelots FC, Houston Hotshots and Austin FC.

OTHER

Arena Lacrosse League: The proposed ALL, which originally planned to start with teams based in the United States, announced this week it will start play in January 2017 with six Canadian teams based in the Ontario markets of Oshawa, Six Nations, Paris, Peterborough, St. Catharines and Toronto. Games will be played out of two arenas - the GM Centre in Oshawa and the Iroquois Lacrosse Arena on the Six Nations of Grand River Reserve in Hagersville. The ALL is hoping to fill the void from the demise of the Ontario-based Canadian Lacrosse League (CLAX), which decided this past summer to cease operations prior to a sixth season in 2017. The CLAX started play in 2012 and operated a winter season running from January through March. The ALL would like to become an affiliated minor league to the National Lacrosse League.

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.


• Discuss this story on the Major Arena Soccer League message board