Weekly Sports League & Franchise Report

by Dan Krieger
October 30, 2017 - Texas League (TL)

BASEBALL

Texas League: The city of Wichita has approved funds for a consultant to find an affiliated team, most likely in the Double-A Texas League or the Triple-A Pacific Coast League, willing to move to a proposed new baseball stadium or a renovated Lawrence-Dumont Stadium in Wichita. The mayor of Wichita recently stated a new affiliated team would be announced by the end of this year, but there appeared to be no current team in either league that is for sale or willing to relocate. The city had a former Double-A Texas League team called the Wichita Wranglers that moved to Springdale (AR) after the 2007 season and it is currently home to the Wichita Wingnuts of the independent American Association.

Great West League: The Portland (OR) Pickles of the summer-collegiate GWL are moving to the summer-collegiate West Coast League for the 2018 season.

Expedition League: The proposed new summer-collegiate Expedition League announced its team to be based in Dickinson (ND) will be called the Badlands Big Sticks when the league starts play in 2018.

BASKETBALL

Women\'s American Basketball Association: The WABA returned this summer and recently completed its 2017 season with seven teams aligned in a four-team Northeast Division and a three-team Southeast Division. Teams played six to eight games in August and September with the Jersey Expressions (Newark) winning the 2017 championship. The WABA has launched and re-launched a couple of times since it was first announced in 2011. The WABA called 2017 its inaugural season even though it played short-schedule seasons back in 2014 and 2015. The league currently lists three potential 2018 expansion teams called the Queen City Charm (Charlotte), Jersey Shore Riptide and Boston Clovers.

Liga Nacional de Baloncesto Profesional: Mexico\'s top professional basketball league known as the LNBP recently started its 2017-18 season with 11 teams. The league had ten teams last season, but the Indios de Ciudad Juarez are sitting out this season and the league added two new teams called the Capitanes de Ciudad de Mexico (Mexico City) and the Libertadores de Queretaro. Last season\'s Hildago-based Garzas de Plata did not return after one season and the team was relocated to become the Aguacateros de Michoacan in Morelia. The league\'s Barreteros de Zacatecas were renamed the Mineros de Zacatecas for the 2017-18 season. The LNBP season runs from late October 2017 to early March 2018.

National Basketball League of Canada: The NBL-Canada\'s new St. John\'s team based in Newfoundland and Labrador will be called the St. John\'s Edge when it starts play next month in the 2017-18 season. The league recently held its player draft for its ten teams that will be aligned in a six-team Atlantic Division and a four-team Central Division for the upcoming season. St. John\'s will be part of the Atlantic Division.

FOOTBALL

Arena Football League: The AFL officially announced the addition of a 2018 expansion team in Albany (NY) and a name-the-team contest has been started. The original AFL had a team called the Albany Firebirds that played 11 seasons (1990-2000) before moving to Indianapolis for the 2001 season. A team called the Albany Conquest was added to the AFL\'s minor league called arenafootball2 (af2) for the 2002 season. That team was renamed the Albany Firebirds for its last season in 2009.

Elite Indoor Football: The EIF, which was a loosely organized 2017 indoor football league featuring the Atlanta Furious and the Southern Steam (Statesboro, GA) as its main teams, now lists 11 member teams. Two of the latest editions are the Florida Gold Irish, a Poinciana-based travel team, and the Southern Renegades (Sulligent, AL).

HOCKEY

National Women\'s Hockey League: The NWHL, which began in 2015-16 as the first full professional women\'s hockey league, started its 2017-18 season this weekend with the four teams from last season called the Boston Pride, Buffalo Beauts, Connecticut Whale (Northford) and the Metropolitan Riveters (Newark), formerly the New York Riveters. Last season, the New York Riveters moved its home from Brooklyn to Newark at the training center for the National Hockey League\'s New Jersey Devils, but kept the New York Riveters name. Earlier this month, the team was renamed the Metropolitan Riveters as it signed a three-year marketing and sponsorship deal with the New Jersey Devils. The NWHL season runs from late October 2017 to mid-March 2018.

Canadian Women\'s Hockey League: The CWHL recently started its 2017-18 season with seven teams. All five teams from last season returned, although the Brampton Thunder (Ontario) moved to become the Markham Thunder (Ontario). The other four returning teams are the Boston Blades, Calgary Inferno, Montreal Les Canadiennes and Toronto Fury. The league added two teams based out of Shenzhen, China called the Kunlun Red Star and the Vanke Rays. CWHL teams will travel to China for a series of games and the Chinese teams will travel to the North American cities for part of the 2017-18 schedule. The CWHL has been operating as an elite-level amateur league since its start in 2007-08, but it recently announced a player compensation plan for regular-season games for this season.

Western States Hockey League: The Arizona Hawks (Peoria) of the junior-level WSHL, which is a Tier-II league under the Amateur Athletic Union\'s United Hockey Union, have requested dormancy for the 2017-18 season after losing its first three games by lopsided scores.

SOCCER

North American Soccer League: As part of a lawsuit against the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) for removing its provisional Division-II status, the NASL is also claiming the marketing arm of Major League Soccer tried to purchase the NASL\'s New York Cosmos team with the intent of shutting the team down to eliminate competition from the league.

Major League Soccer: The MLS expansion effort in Charlotte is considered dead for now because a public-private stadium funding plan cannot meet the league\'s timetable for announcing the next two expansion teams in December. The MLS expansion group in Nashville presented plans for a 27,500-seat soccer stadium along with a surrounding development, but financing still needs to be finalized. In Sacramento, fans of the United Soccer League\'s Sacramento Republic FC have committed to purchasing at least 10,000 season tickets if the team is awarded an MLS expansion franchise. In Miami, a lawsuit challenging the sale of the last parcel of land needed for an MLS stadium was recently dismissed, but an appeal could still be filed.

United Soccer Leagues - Premier Development League: The PDL announced the addition of a team called the Corpus Christi FC for the 2018 season. This will be the sixth Texas-based team in the league.

American Soccer League: The lower-level professional ASL is playing its 2017 Fall Season that includes seven teams called the AFC Lancaster (PA) Lions, Long Island Express, Mass United FC (Lynn), Philadelphia Atoms, Philadelphia Fury, SGVC Eagles Maryland and Virginia FC. The league had six teams in its 2017 Spring Season, but the New Hampshire Bobcats did not return and the league added the Long Island Express and Virginia FC. The Fall Season runs from early September to mid-November.

OTHER

Arena Lacrosse League: The Canadian Ontario-based AAL announced its 2018 schedule that will actually start in late December 2017 with seven teams. All six teams from last season called the Oshawa Outlaws, Paris RiverWolves, Peterborough Timbermen, St. Catharines ShockWave, Six Nations Snipers (Hagersville) and Toronto Monarchs, will return and the league added a new team called the Whitby Steelhawks. The SteelHawks will play at the Children\'s Arena in Oshawa, which is also home to the Oshawa Outlaws. The ALL currently owns all seven teams, but as it enters its second season it will allow potential owners to bid on purchasing teams.

National Lacrosse League: The indoor NLL announced its San Diego-based expansion team will be called the San Diego Seals when the team starts play next season. The Seals will be added to the league\'s Western Division.

League 1 Rugby: After the recent success of the expansion Toronto Wolfpack in its first season of playing in the third-tier League 1 of England\'s Rugby Football League system, a group in New York City has submitted a bid for a potential team that could start play in 2019. The team could be based out of Major League Soccer\'s New York Red Bull stadium in Paterson (NJ). The Rugby Football League also has the top-level Super League and the second-tier Championship. The Toronto Wolfpack has been promoted to the Championship division after only one season in 2017. Although the New York group would like to start at a higher level, it would most likely start out at the third-tier League 1. There has also been talk of a second Canadian team, possibly in Hamilton, being added to League 1 in the future. United States and Canada will host rugby\'s World Cup in 2025 and other U.S. cities like Chicago, Boston and Philadelphia have been mentioned as other potential League 1 candidates.

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 Texas League message board