by Dan Krieger
May 13, 2008 - American Basketball Association (ABA)
Â• American Association: Representatives from the independent AA were in Topeka (KS) to get an update on progress toward a possible ballpark that could eventually become home to an AA franchise. The city is working toward a 2010 completion date, but the ballpark\'s location and funding still have to be determined. The AA just added the Wichita (KS) Wingnuts franchise for its 2008 season.
Â• Golden Baseball League: To remember the El Centro (CA) Imperials team, which last played in the Sunset International League in the 1950s, the Yuma Scorpions will play four regular-season games in El Centro during the 2008 season as the El Centro Imperials. El Centro is about 60 miles west of Yuma. The Scorpions will wear retro Imperial uniforms from the Imperials\' 1950 championship season.
Â• Frontier League: The Heartland Community College in the Normal (IL) area is deciding whether to move forward on a new minor-league ballpark on campus and has received three bids from groups representing the Frontier League and Northern League.
Â• Premier Basketball League: The Vermont Frost Heaves and the Manchester (NH) Millrats of the American Basketball Association (ABA) have left the league to join the PBL for its upcoming season. Vermont played two ABA seasons and Manchester had just completed its inaugural season in the ABA. One report had other ABA teams like the Quebec Kebekwa and Montreal Royal leaving for the PBL, while the ABA\'s Texas Tycoons could take over the PBL\'s Dallas Defenders franchise.
Â• American Basketball Association: The ABA\'s 2008-09 expansion team list has the former Buffalo Silverbacks franchise listed as the Buffalo Sharks. If the Sharks make it to the start of the season, they would be competing with the Premier Basketball League, which recently announced its new Buffalo Dragons franchise for its next season. The Silverbacks sat out the 2007-08 ABA season after an ownership change. The Las Vegas Aces, formerly the Orlando Aces, are not listed on the ABA expansion team list, nor is a previous team announced for Marion (IN), near the town of Anderson.
Â• National Basketball Association Development League (D-League): The head of the NBA D-League visited Halifax (Nova Scotia) to check out the facilities for a possible D-League expansion franchise. The owner of the Halifax Rainmen franchise, which completed a fairly successful inaugural season in the American Basketball Association, decided to leave the ABA and applied for a D-League expansion team. The D-League is apparently set with its 16 teams for the upcoming 2008-09 season and includes new teams in Erie (PA) and Reno (NV). If approved, a new Halifax team most likely would not happen until 2009-10. The D-League is also looking at Portland (ME), Harlem (NY) and southern Ontario for other expansion teams. The Rainmen also considered other leagues like the Premier Basketball League and Continental Basketball Association.
Â• Continental Basketball Association: The league\'s defunct Atlanta Krunk Wolverines franchise is expected to move to Augusta (GA) where the team will be called the Augusta Groove for the 2008-09 season. Apparently, Columbus (GA) had also been under consideration. The team\'s originally proposed nickname was the Augusta Avengers. Augusta was to have a team called the Raging River in the 2008 season of the proposed United States Basketball Association, but this league decided to hold off its start until 2009.
Â• Women\'s Global Basketball Alliance: The WGBA, an affiliate of the men\'s Global Basketball Alliance, has ten teams listed for its inaugural season that will run from mid-June to late August 2008. The northeastern teams include the Bronx Brickhouse, Brooklyn Brats, Harlem Harlots, New Jersey Nasty and Pennsylvania Powder Pugs. The southeastern teams are the Atlanta Nightmare, Marietta Minx, Charlotte Shame, B\'ham (Birmingham) Ball-n-Jamm and the Hilton Head-Savannah Syrens.
Â• American Indoor Football Association: The coach of the Florida Stingrays franchise in the Fort Myers area thinks the franchise will fold due to financial problems before it can complete its first season in the AIFA.
Â• American Professional Football League: The APFL\'s replacement for its Sarasota-based Florida Knights, the Florida Scorpions, is expected to finish the 2008 season on the road. The Conroe (TX) Storm was awarded a forfeit victory for a recent game that was supposed to be played in Florida. Conroe\'s opponent for a scheduled game against the league\'s failed Wichita Falls Diablos travel team will now be a team called the San Antonio Generals. The Generals are a new team that is trying to join the APFL for next season.
Â• Continental Indoor Football League: A new West Virginia franchise called the Wheeling Wildcats will start play in the 2009 CIFL season. Wheeling was home to the Steel Valley Smash in the defunct Indoor Football League (1999-2000) and the Ohio Valley Greyhounds in the National Indoor Football League (2001-04) and United Indoor Football (2004-07). The current CIFL teams in Marion (OH), Lehigh Valley and Miami Valley are fairly close to Wheeling and the city is familiar with the league\'s Fort Wayne and Rock River markets from its days in the UIF. Two of the investors in the CIFL\'s Fort Wayne Freedom recently took control from the team\'s majority owner, but need to find additional investors to help cash flow and pay the players. The Freedom has five games remaining and hopes to complete its inaugural season in the CIFL.
Â• International Hockey League: The IHL will not be adding the Chicago Hounds franchise as a seventh team for the 2008-09 season. The team was unable to come to a suitable lease agreement at the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates. The Chicago Hounds were a former member of the defunct United Hockey League and sat out the 2007-08 season. The city of Evansville (IN) is considering construction of a new downtown arena and the IHL has expressed interest in placing a franchise in Evansville.
Â• American Hockey League: The AHL has approved a new majority owner of the Rochester Americans. The franchise plans to move forward on a new arena lease to keep the team in Rochester and also finalize a sole affiliation agreement with the Florida Panthers of the National Hockey League. Florida and the Buffalo Sabres have been sharing the Rochester affiliate for the past three seasons and it was the only shared NHL/AHL affiliate this past season in the 29-team AHL.
Â• Eastern Professional Hockey League: The new Danbury (CT) EPHL team will be called the Danbury Mad Hatters as a tribute to the city\'s ties to the hat-making industry. The "Railers" and "Dragons" also were considered as finalists. The EPHL has two other teams in West Orange (NJ) and Rome (NY) and plans to announce three additional teams this month for its inaugural 2008-09 season.
Â• United (East) Junior Hockey League: The junior-level Pennsylvania Enforcers, Delaware Thunder, South Jersey Raptors and Wooster (OH) Oilers of the six-team 2007-08 America East Hockey League have left for the new junior-level UJHL. The UJHL plans to have at least seven teams for its inaugural 2008-09 season, to include the Jamestown (NY) Jets and teams from Findlay (OH) and North Jersey.
Â• Premier Arena Soccer League: The Stockton Cougars, formerly the California Cougars of the Major Indoor Soccer League, have signed a tentative arena lease that will allow the team to participate in the PASL\'s new professional division that will run from late October 2008 to late March 2009. The PASL is moving forward on the international front and is trying to work out partnerships with the Mexican indoor soccer organization and the Canadian Major Indoor Soccer League. The PASL would like to establish inter-league play with the champions from those countries become part of the PASL championships.
Â• Canadian Major Indoor Soccer League: The CMISL\'s Edmonton Drillers traveled to Prince George (British Columbia) last month for a pair of exhibition games against the Prince George Football Club to test the market for potential expansion. Apparently, the local organizer of the event lost too much money and is no longer interested in bringing a CMISL franchise to the city.
Â• Major League Soccer: The owner of the Vancouver Whitecaps in the United Soccer Leagues First Division made an offer a couple of years ago to build a 15,000-seat soccer stadium on the Vancouver waterfront, but this effort has been tied up in various levels of government. The team may have to look at a suburban location like Surrey. A Vancouver MLS team would be a natural rival for the new Seattle team and the league\'s Canadian team in Toronto. Â• United Soccer Leagues W-League: The new Connecticut W-League team for 2008 is called the Connecticut Passion. The team is one of nine W-League expansion teams and it will play home games in Berlin, near New Britain, and Yale University in New Haven.
Â• National Lacrosse League: The NLL has visited Halifax (Nova Scotia) with a group of investors and the city could become a future franchise site. The buyer of a majority interest in the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League is also buying a majority interest in the Rochester Knighthawks NLL franchise.
Â• National Pro Fastpitch: The 2008 NPF season starts in the end of May with the same six teams from last season-Akron Racers, Chicago Bandits, New England Riptide (Lowell, MA), Philadelphia Force (Allentown), Rockford Thunder and Washington (DC). Each team will play two series of games against international teams from Canada, Venezuela, Taiwan or the Netherlands.
Dan Krieger is the creator of "Leagues, Teams & Nicknames", which tracks the changes in league alignments, franchise movements and team nicknames in today\'s sports world. The latest version can be found at http://www.lulu.com/content/1375144. Dan can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: OurSports Central no longer actively covers the American Basketball Association (ABA) as a professional league due in part to its inability to publish and play a schedule and the transitory nature of many of its teams. For information on professional minor leagues, please see OSC's basketball section.