Weekly Sports League & Franchise Report

by Dan Krieger
August 8, 2016 - South Atlantic League (SAL)

BASEBALL

South Atlantic League: The Greensboro (NC) Grasshoppers of the low Class-A SAL will be renamed the Jeansboro Grasshoppers for one game on August 20. Greensboro is home the jean maker Wrangler and this will pay tribute to the city as the denim capital of the world.

American Association: The Joplin (MO) Blasters are in there second season as part of the independent American Association, but the team is suffering from low attendance and is involved in a dispute with the city about ballpark maintenance.

BASKETBALL

American Basketball Association: A new team called the Yuba City (CA) Gold Miners plans to be part of the upcoming 2016-17 ABA season. Yuba City is just north of Sacramento.

National Basketball Association Development League (D-League): The National Basketball Association's Milwaukee Bucks have eliminated La Crosse (WI) as a possible location for its proposed D-League team. The other Wisconsin cities of Appleton, Oshkosh, Racine and Sheboygan are still under consideration. Final details have been released on a 4,200-seat arena in Washington (DC) that is expected to eventually become home to a future D-League affiliate of the NBA's Washington Wizards. The arena will also serve as the Wizards' practice facility and home for the Washington Mystics of the Women's National Basketball Association. The arena is expected to open in 2018.

Midwest Basketball League: The 11-team MBL recently completed its inaugural spring-summer regular season with a six-team West division and a five-team East division. In June, the Lincoln (NE) Lions replaced the Chicago Clovers. The Wisconsin Storm played its first six games and dropped out. The Storm's remaining eight games were listed as forfeits, but the team hopes to return next season.

North American Basketball League: The NABL recently completed its inaugural spring-summer regular season. The league started with a six-team NABL West and a four-team NABL East, but the Shreveport-Bossier Flight dropped out of the NABL West after losing its first five games. In May 2016, the NABL announced plans to add a Midwest Conference of teams for the 2017 season.

FOOTBALL

Champions Indoor Football: A new team called the CenTex Fightin' Cavalry, which will be based out of the Bell County Expo Center in Belton (TX), plans to join the CIF for the 2017 season with an official announcement to be made next week. The Bell County Expo Center was home to previous indoor football teams called the Texas Bullets, which played in the inaugural 1998 season of the former Professional Indoor Football League, and the CenTex Barracudas, which played three seasons (2006-08) as part of the former Intense Football League. The CIF's Mesquite (TX) Marshals decided to enlarge its market and were renamed the Dallas Marshals last month. The Marshals were a 2016 expansion team.

Elite Indoor Football: The proposed new professional EIF plans to start play in March 2017 and is considering teams on the southern east coast of the United States. The league recently announced the Palm Beach Phantoms will be one of the participating teams. The Palm Beach Phantoms had announced back in August 2015 that the team would be a 2016 travel team in the league known as North American Indoor Football, but it never played as part of the NAIF.

Arena Developmental League: A new indoor football team called the Baltimore Lightning was reported to have signed a letter of intent to join the new ADL.

Midwest Professional Indoor Football: The MPIF is apparently undergoing some changes after its inaugural 2016 season, as three of the four participating teams called the Stateline Sting (Rockford, IL), Windy City Ravens (Naperville, IL) and Kearney (NE) Hawks are no longer listed and the 2016 Champion Illinois Renegades (Dyer, IN) have been renamed the Northern Indiana Renegades. The only other team currently listed with the Renegades is the new Tri-State Titans (Kankakee County, IL). The MPIF is looking to have six teams, but previously announced new teams called the Midwest Knights (Hammond, IN), Chicago Aztecs and Kansas City Invaders are no longer listed. The Kearney Hawks and Stateline Sting have formed a new league called the Indoor Football Association for 2017.

Women's Global Indoor Football League: The proposed new men's Global Indoor Football League, which plans to start its inaugural season in 2017, is also planning a women's division known as the WGIFL.

HOCKEY

National Hockey League: The NHL's expansion team in Las Vegas reports it is trying to decide on a team name, but it might be a few weeks before a decision is made. The owner of the team originally mentioned the Black Knights as a possible name after his West Point alma mater, but that name has not been well received. There could be a variation of the Knights name with Silver Knights or Neon Knights mentioned as possibilities. Gambling-related names like Aces, Dice or High Rollers were not considered to be acceptable names for the team that will start play in the 2017-18 season.

National Women's Hockey League: The NWHL's New York Riveters team, which was based in Brooklyn for the league's inaugural 2015-16 season, is moving to Newark (NJ) for the 2016-17 season. The team will play home games at the practice facility of the National Hockey League's New Jersey Devils and that rink is part of the Prudential Center complex in Newark.

Da Beauty League: The new Da Beauty League is playing its inaugural four-week season of 4-on-4 summer ice hockey in Edina (MN) with six teams called RBC Wealth Management, Tradition Companies, Aspire Beverages, SportsDigita, Velocity Hockey Center and Walser Automotive. Each team is sponsored by a local business and is comprised of current National Hockey League players, minor hockey league players and college players that are from Minnesota or spend their summers in Minnesota. The league played three games a night on Tuesdays and Thursdays from July 12 to August 4, 2016 with all proceeds going to charity.

SOCCER

United Soccer League: The USL's Wilmington (NC) Hammerheads team is downplaying rumors the team will sit out the 2017 season. The Hammerheads sat out the 2010 soccer season due to financial issues, but returned the following season under new control.

Major League Soccer: The Charlotte Independence team in the United Soccer League is working with the city of Charlotte to renovate Memorial Stadium for the USL team in a way that it would allow future upgrades for a possible MLS expansion team.

United Soccer Leagues "" Premier Development League: The PDL's Kitsap Pumas (Bremerton, WA) are reported to be considering a move to the National Premier Soccer League for the 2017 season and could be joined by at least one other team from the PDL's Northwest Division.

American Soccer League: The ASL has posted the schedule for its 2016 Fall Season that will start next week with eight teams. The league had ten teams in the 2016 Spring Season, but the Delaware Stars, Icon FC Blues and New England FC will not return. The league added a new team call Atlanta Futuro FC.

OTHER

Pro12 Rugby League: The Ireland-based professional rugby union Pro12 league has expressed interest in placing an expansion team in the United States. Pro12 features 12 teams with four in Ireland, one in Northern Ireland, two in Scotland, four in Wales and one in Italy. The league competes for the European Champions Cup with other leagues called the English Premiership and French Top 14.

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.


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