by Dan Krieger
April 20, 2009 - American Hockey League (AHL)
Continental Baseball League: The CBL has officially announced its 2009 schedule to include six teams-the Alexandria (LA) Aces, Bay Area Toros (League City, TX), Big Bend Cowboys (Alpine, TX), Dallas Aviators, Texarkana Gunslingers and a travel team called the South Louisiana Pipeliners. The Big Bend team had been referred to as the Blue Sox and the travel team was originally planned as the Texarkana-based Texas Mariners. The new South Louisiana travel team was first listed as the Pipe Fighters, but quickly changed to the Pipeliners.
Northern League: The Northern League's proposed new franchise in Lake County (IL) does not yet have a home ballpark, but is promoting a name-the-team-contest and selling season-tickets for an inaugural 2010 season.
South Atlantic League (SALLY): The Low Class-A SALLY has started its 2009 season with its new Bowling Green (KY) Hot Rods team in the South Division to replace the Columbus (GA) Catfish. This franchise started as the Wilmington (NC) Waves expansion team in 2001, but was sold and moved to Albany (GA) as the South Georgia Waves just before the start of the 2002 season. The franchise left Albany after only one season and moved to Columbus for 2003, keeping the South Georgia Waves name. This move was to be temporary, but the owner's plans for relocating the franchise to a proposed new ballpark in Evansville (IN) fell through. The team remained in Columbus and was renamed the Columbus Catfish for the 2004 season. The league's Lexington (KY) Legends were switched to the South Division and the Kannapolis (NC) Intimidators were switched to the North Division for 2009. Next season, the league's South Division will lose the Bowling Green Hot Rods and the North Division will lose the Lake County (OH) Captains, as those two franchises switch to the Low Class-A Midwest League.
Major League Baseball: The National League's Florida Marlins have apparently worked out a deal for a new stadium in Miami and it is expected to be ready for the 2012 season. The franchise plans to be renamed the Miami Marlins that same year.
Liga Mexicana de Beisbol (Mexican Baseball League): The 16-team LMB, which is split into an 8-team North (Norte) and an 8-team South (Sur) division, has started its 2009 season with a couple of changes in its league alignment. The Puebla Pericos have been switched from the North to the South, while the Mexico Diablos Rojos moved from the South to the North. Last year's Tijuana Potros franchise was replaced by the new Reynosa Broncos franchise in the North. A team called the Reynosa Broncos last played in the league back in 2003. That team became the San Luis Potosi Tuneros in 2005 and later became the Chihuahua Dorados in 2007.
United Basketball League: The 2009 UBL season has started with five participating teams-the Arkansas Warriors, Oklahoma Impact, Springfield Thrill, Tulsa Tornadoes and UBL Texas Wranglers. The league standings have several other potential future teams listed, such as the Cedar Valley (IA) Titans, Arkansas Select, D League Wranglers, I-20 Pros, New Mexico Power and Texas Outlaws.
United Regions Basketball League: The Texas-based URBL has started its inaugural 2009 season and its schedule appears to include six teams-the Converse Flight, Dallas-Fort Worth Disciples, Houston Gladiators, Irving Assault, Katy Synergy and Texas Marshals.
American Basketball Association: The ABA has announced it will place a 2009-10 expansion franchise in Austin (TX). The league had tried to add an Austin franchise for its inaugural 2000-01 season, but the owners could not work out an arena deal. This franchise was then moved to Hampton Roads (VA) and called the Titans, but ended up in San Diego as the WildFire before the start of the inaugural season. In March 2005, an ownership group planned to operate several ABA franchises, one of which was to be in Austin, but it never materialized. One of the owners of the ABA's Knoxville Thunderbolts and Tri-City Racers is trying to find a home for another ABA franchise in Southwest Michigan, possibly in Benton Harbor. The area had a team called the Twin City Ballers that briefly played in the 2006-07 ABA season. Possible nicknames for the new team are the Lake Michigan Admirals, Lake Michigan Snow Cats and Lake Michigan Splash. The New York Internationalz franchise is no longer listed on the ABA team list.
Southern Indoor Football League: Just prior to the start of the SIFL's inaugural season, a new ownership group has been formed to take over the league's Texas Pirates franchise based in South Houston. This group also plans to add a 2010 SIFL expansion team in Beaumont (TX), along with a new Houston Crusaders franchise. The 2009 SIFL will include the Pirates, along with the Acadiana Mudbugs (Lafayette, LA), Austin Turfcats, Houma (LA) Conquerors, Louisiana Swashbucklers (Lake Charles) and a Tampa-based travel team called the Florida Kings.
United States Indoor Football League: The Worcester-based New England Surge, which was supposed to be part of the inaugural 2009 season of the USIFL, apparently will not play this season due to the owner's financial problems and disputes with investors. The New England Surge played two seasons (2007-08) as part of the Continental Indoor Football League and the team's owner had talked of eventually moving the Surge to the arenafootball2. Although it is unclear how many teams will participate in the 2009 season, the USIFL had previously announced at least four other teams-the Lehigh Valley Outlawz, Bridgeview (IL) Red Devils, Southland (IL) Chill and Pennsylvania Stillers. The opening game for the USIFL is planned for May 16, 2009.
Central Hockey League: The CHL has introduced the ownership groups for the two new expansion franchises in Allen (TX) and Independence (MO) that will join the league for its 2009-10 season. The Allen team will also become a Double-A affiliate of the nearby Dallas Stars in the National Hockey League. The Dallas Stars are also planning to have its Triple-A American Hockey League affiliate in Texas (Austin) next season. With the addition of Allen and Independence, the CHL is expected to have 18 teams in 2009-10.
American Hockey League: A switch of Oklahoma City from the Central Hockey League to the AHL is not one of the league's priorities, even though officials of the Edmonton Oilers had checked out the facilities used by the CHL's Oklahoma City Blazers as a possible location for its AHL affiliate. There is no guarantee that the league will allow one of its teams, the Quad City Flames, relocate to Abbotsford (BC) for next season. Even though the relocated team would subsidize some of the visiting teams' travel costs, not all AHL owners are ready for West Coast expansion at this time.
All American Hockey Association: The AAHA recently held an ownership meeting and announced it will reorganize as the All American Hockey League (AAHL) for 2009-10. The four-team AAHA recently completed its inaugural season and apparently has received applications for expansion franchises to start next season. The league had been seeking potential owners in Indiana and Ohio.
Eastern Professional Hockey League: The EPHL's Danbury Mad Hatters franchise is up for sale. The four-team league recently completed its inaugural season and expects to have six teams for 2009-10.
United States Hockey League: The Cedar Rapids (IA) RoughRiders franchise is up for sale, but there has not been any discussion about moving the USHL team. The league plans to add an under-18 team next season that represents the USA Hockey National Team Development Program (NTDP). A 14th team could also be added.
Southern Professional Hockey League: Local objections to subsidies for a proposed Pensacola hockey franchise in the 2009-10 SPHL could be a stumbling block for establishing the team.
International Hockey League: The owners of the Hara Arena in Dayton (OH) were reportedly checking out the IHL with possible interest in bringing a franchise to the area. The Dayton Bombers of the ECHL recently suspended operations for the 2009-10 season.
Professional Arena Soccer League: A Louisville-based Mockingbird All-Stars team will host an exhibition match next week against the 1790 Cincinnati club from the PASL-Pro league. It is hoped this could lead to a Louisville franchise sponsored by the Mockingbird Valley Soccer Club eventually joining the PASL-Pro league. In February 2009, a Mockingbird-based team playing as the Derby City Stars lost in a match to the 1790 Cincinnati club.
United Soccer Leagues First Division: The owner of the Montreal Impact in the USL First Division is trying to secure a Major League Soccer expansion franchise for Montreal and will be looking for provincial and federal financial support. Montreal wants to join the other Canadian MLS markets of Toronto and Vancouver.
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 2008-09 version can be found at http://www.lulu.com/content/6218580. Dan can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.