Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report
by Dan Krieger
August 24, 2009 - Major League Soccer (MLS)
Frontier League: After being approached by the Northern League about a possible league shift, the owner of the Windy City Thunderbolts has stated the club will not be leaving the Frontier League.
Great American League: The new Great American League of Independent Professional Baseball has announced plans to start play in May 2011. The GAL commissioner was previously involved in efforts to create the independent Atlantic Coast League with teams in southeastern United States. The GAL currently has Gainesville (FL) listed as one of the first proposed team locations.
Golden Baseball League: The GBL is focusing on adding a fourth team in Canada and Kamloops (British Columbia) is a possibility. The league has a current British Columbia-based team in Victoria, along with two Alberta-based teams in Calgary and Edmonton, and is considering markets in western Canada. The GBL also has potential ownership groups interested in other U.S. markets. The defunct Canadian Baseball League had a proposed team called the Kamloops Critters planned for the league's 2002 start. The CBL decided to postpone its inaugural season until 2003 and the Kamloops Critters team was not included.
Premier Basketball League: The PBL has announced it will have a team based in Greenville (SC) when its upcoming season starts in January 2010. The Lawton-Fort Sill (OK) Cavalry, which was part of the Continental Basketball Association last season, has officially announced the team will be part of the 2010 PBL season.
Eastern Basketball Alliance: The EBA has announced two new teams called the Hudson Valley Hawks and the Tru Hope Trailblazers for its upcoming 2010 season. The Hawks are based in the Newburgh (NY) area and were part of the National Professional Basketball League for its 2007 and 2008 seasons. The Hope Trailblazers, based in the Hampton Roads (VA) area, were pursuing a franchise in the American Basketball Association back in 2008, but have since played an independent schedule. The EBA also announced a team called the New England Legion will join for the 2011 season.
American Basketball Association: The ABA has added a new franchise called the Florida Thundercats for its upcoming 2009-10 season that starts in December. The Thundercats will be based in Lake County near the central Florida city of Leesburg. The Florida Thundercats nickname was used by a Broward County-based indoor soccer team that played one season (1998-99) in the former National Professional Soccer League. The ABA has announced plans to expand into South America with a Venezuelan Division of teams that could start play in the 2010-11 season.
United National Gridiron League: The UNGL has announced the Virginia Swarm as the sixth of its proposed eight franchises that hope to start play in 2010. The Swarm is expected to be based in the Salem area. The league previously announced the Alabama Blackbirds (Birmingham), Miami Scorchers, Georgia Slashers (Columbus), Ohio Marauders (Akron/Cleveland), and North Carolina Comets. The UNGL will announce the names of the other teams planned for Louisiana and Texas in the near future.
Arenafootball2: An attempt to sell shares of the Tri-Cities Fever to the public has fallen through and the af2 franchise is back on the market. The owner had established a deadline for the end of August to sell the franchise. The Tri-Cities include Pasco, Kennewick and Richland in southeastern Washington.
Arena Football League: Several AFL franchise owners have reportedly met to discuss the possibility of establishing a new league called the Arena Football Association. Some arenafootball2 teams have reportedly expressed interest in this venture.
Southern Indoor Football League: The SIFL claims it could add up to 12 new teams for 2010, as potential expansion groups in Texas (Beaumont, Houston, Corpus Christi, Waco, Belton), Mississippi (Tupelo), Georgia (Augusta, Columbus), and Florida (Orlando, Sarasota, West Palm Beach, Fort Myers) recently attended league meetings. A new ownership group will take over the Houma (LA) market to replace the Houma Conquerors with a new franchise and team name.
Major League Roller Hockey: MLRH has announced it will operate a non-contact Elite League starting this fall. After operating its MLRH Pro Tour this summer, the MLRH had already announced the creation of the fall/winter MLRH 2, which will be a full-contact league similar to the Pro Tour but with reduced fees and travel.
North East Professional Hockey League: The proposed NEPHL franchise called the Boston Wings, based in Saugus (MA), is apparently no longer part of the league's plans for its inaugural 2009-10 season.
Ligue Nord-Americaine de Hockey: The Quebec-based LNAH minor hockey league, or the North American Hockey League, has announced its schedule for the 2009-10 season. The league has been reduced to seven teams with the loss of the Sainte-Hyacinthe Chiefs and the Sainte-Marie Poutrelles Delta, which dropped during last season. The current LNAH teams include: Pont Rouge Lois Jeans, Riviere-du-Loup CIMT, Saint-Georges CRS Express, Sherbrooke Saint-Francois, Saguenay Marquis, Thetford Mines Isothermic, and Trois-Rivieres Caron & Guay. The Saguenay team was called 98.3 FM Saguenay last season. A Cornwall (Ontario) Comets team is reportedly trying to join the LNAH for next season.
Major League Soccer: The owner of the San Jose Earthquakes has been making little progress toward a soccer-specific stadium for the franchise. The lack of a sufficient home stadium was the primary reason the previous version of the San Jose Earthquakes left for Houston to become the Dynamo after the 2005 MLS season. After the Earthquakes' departure, the current owner was given a three-year option for a new San Jose expansion team, as attempts were made to build a new soccer stadium. The MLS allowed the Earthquakes to return as a 2008 expansion franchise, even though a new stadium deal was not in place. The United Soccer Leagues organization is currently up for sale and the MLS was at one time reportedly looking into a possible purchase.
United Soccer Leagues First Division: The group renovating the stadium in Ottawa for a proposed Canadian Football League expansion team is reportedly in negotiations to also place a USL First Division expansion franchise in the renovated stadium.
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.
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The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer(s), and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.