by Dan Krieger
November 28, 2011 - Continental Indoor Football League (CIFL)
North American League: The NAL's Orange County Flyers team is trying to restart for the 2012 season after sitting out the 2011 season, which would have been its first as a member of the NAL. The Flyers are in negotiations with Cal State-Fullerton for use of their baseball stadium and the team plans to change its name to the Fullerton Flyers. As a member of the Golden Baseball League, the team was called the Fullerton Flyers for its first two seasons (2005-06) before switching to the Orange County Flyers for the next four seasons (2008-10).
New York-Penn League: The ownership of the Erie SeaWolves in the Double-A Eastern League is reportedly negotiating to place an Eastern League team in Montreal. If the SeaWolves were to eventually move to Montreal, a current team in the short-season Class-A New York-Penn League could move to Erie (PA). When Erie was granted an Eastern League team for the 1999 season, the city had a NY-Penn League called the Erie SeaWolves, which was moved to Niles (OH) as the Mahoning Valley Scrappers and the new Eastern League team took the Erie SeaWolves name. A group in Ottawa (Ontario) is trying to purchase and relocate an Eastern League team to the city by 2013 with the Binghamton (NY) Mets mentioned as a possible relocation candidate. There is speculation a NY-Penn League team would then relocate to Binghamton to fill the void. The Batavia (NY) Muckdogs team in the NY-Penn League is the most likely relocation candidate.
Futures Collegiate Baseball League: The city of Pittsfield (MA), which lost the Pittsfield Colonials of the professional Can-Am League after the 2011 season, has selected the FCBL over the New England Collegiate Baseball League to place a team in the city's ballpark for 2012.
National Basketball Association Development League: The NBA D-League has started its 2011-12 season with 16 teams split into 8-team Eastern and Western conferences. The league lost the Utah Flash team from last season, but the Los Angeles D-Fenders returned after sitting out the 2010-11 season. The New Mexico Thunderbirds franchise was sold and relocated to Canton (OH), where the team was renamed the Canton Charge for 2011-12.
Independent Indoor Football Alliance: The IIFA no longer has the Houston-based Texas Pirates listed as one if its 2012 teams and now has only four teams-the Conroe Jaguars, DFW Texas, Florida Scorpions, and North Texas Crunch-listed for the 2012 season.
Indoor Championship Football League: After playing only two games, one of which was a forfeit loss, the ICFL's Virginia Cardinals folded and the league replaced them earlier this month with the Virginia Knights.
Continental Indoor Football League: The owner of the new Port Huron (MI) Patriots team in the CIFL has stated the league is working on possible new teams in the Michigan cities of Flint and Kalamazoo for the upcoming 2012 season. The league had previous teams called the Flint Phantoms for one season (2008) and the Kalamazoo Xplosion for two seasons (2007-08). The CIFL is reportedly considering a merger in 2013 with the American Professional Football League, a semi-pro indoor football league based mainly in the Midwest.
American Indoor Football: Two new teams called the Maryland Reapers of Laurel (MD) and the Virginia Badgers, which will be based in either Richmond or Fredericksburg, have been announced and plan to be part of an AIF East Division in 2012. The owner of the Virginia Badgers currently manages the Virginia Knights team in the semi-pro Indoor Championship Football League. Another new team called the Arizona Outlaws, based in Prescott Valley (AZ), has announced it will be part of a proposed five-team West Division in the 2012 AIF season. Prescott Valley had two previous unsuccessful indoor football teams called the Arizona Adrenaline-one in the 2008 American Indoor Football Association and another in the 2011 Indoor Football League. The league's previously announced Harrisburg (PA) Stampede team has signed a player development partnership with the Chambersburg (PA) Cardinals of the semi-pro Gridiron Developmental Football League.
Lingerie Football League: The women's indoor LFL is looking at several markets for possible 2012-13 expansion in the United States. Nashville appears to be the frontrunner in the Eastern Conference with Boston, Detroit, Cincinnati, Atlanta, and Pittsburgh under consideration. The LFL is also considering San Jose, San Antonio, Phoenix, Houston, and Kansas City for possible Western Conference teams.
Independent Women's Football League: The IWFL has added a new team called the Rockford (IL) Riveters for its 2012 spring-summer season.
Women's Football Alliance: The WFA has added new teams called the Tacoma Trauma and the Tallahassee Jewels for its 2012 spring-summer season.
Federal Hockey League: The FHL has announced that its new Morrisville-based Vermont Wild franchise has ceased operations after only ten games in the 2011-12 season. The league was unable to find another investment group to keep the team alive for the remainder of the season. The franchise changed its name from the Green Mountain Rock Crushers prior to the 2011-12 season after a new owner moved the team from its first proposed location in Jay (VT).
Northern Professional Hockey League: The new NPHL is still trying to get off the ground and now plans to operate leagues at two different levels. The NPHL would be an "AA" level league and the NPHL2 would be an "A" level league acting as a feeder system to the NPHL. Roanoke (VA) is the first market under consideration. Although the map of the league's footprint does not include Virginia, it does include Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia for potential teams.
United Soccer Leagues - Premier Development League: The USL has announced that a new team called the Baltimore Bohemians will join the PDL for the 2012 season.
United Soccer Leagues - Super-20 League: The men's division of the USL Super-20 League, which is for elite players in the 17 to 20 age group, will add a Mid-South Division in 2012 with at least eight teams based in the Southwest United States. Four of the eight teams-the Austin Aztex, Rio Grande Valley Grandes (Brownsville, TX), Laredo Heat, and FC Dallas West Texas (Midland)-are affiliated with teams in the men's USL Premier Development League and will act as development teams for the PDL teams. Austin, Rio Grande Valley, and Laredo have PDL teams by the same name, while FC Dallas West Texas is affiliated with the PDL's West Texas United Sockers. The four other new Super-20 League teams are the Alamo SC (San Antonio), American Eagles SC (Dallas-Fort Worth), Texas Football Club (Dallas), and the Texas Dutch Lions, which are affiliated with the Dayton Dutch Lions of the USL PRO league and USL W-League. The men's Super-20 League had 54 teams in 8 regional divisions in 2011.
Major League Soccer: The MLS had its expansion draft for its 19th franchise called the Montreal Impact, which will start play in the 2012 season. A team called the Montreal Impact was part of the Division II North American Soccer League in 2011 and the owner kept the same name as the team moved up to the MLS for 2012. Teams called the Montreal Impact have been members of various minor soccer leagues since 1993.
Women's Professional Soccer: Down to only five teams for its upcoming 2012 season, the WPS is in danger of losing its top Division I status from the United States Soccer Federation. According to USSF bylaws, the WPS was required to have a minimum of eight teams, but received a one-year waiver to operate with only six teams last season. The league is seeking an extension of the waiver for 2012. The USSF recently gave the league 15 days to secure a sixth team before making a decision on the waiver extension. A potential 2012 Connecticut-based expansion team recently decided to wait until 2013, although Detroit recently emerged as an expansion possibility. The New York Fury (Long Island) of the Women's Premier Soccer League want to move up to the WPS, but that is uncertain for 2012. The ownership of the WPSL's Orange County Wave want to restart a Los Angeles-based WPS franchise in 2013 and some men's Major League Soccer teams based in the Pacific Northwest were interested in starting WPS teams in the future.
Premier Arena Soccer League: The Kitsap Pumas of the PASL-Premier have announced its 2011-12 schedule will start on December 3 and will include games against other Northwest Division teams called the Bellingham WSA Rapids, Ruckus FC (Marysville, WA), Snohomish Skyhawks, Wenatchee Fire, and South Sound Shock (Gig Harbor, WA).
World TeamTennis: The ownership of the St. Louis Aces in the WTT has announced that it will no longer operate the franchise. The St. Louis Aces joined the league as an expansion team in 1994 and have been under the current ownership for the past seven seasons.
Dan Krieger is the creator of the "leagueology almanac" known as "Leagues, Teams & Nicknames", which tracks the changes in league alignments, franchise movements and team nicknames in today's sports world. The latest 2010-11 edition is available at http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/leagues-teams-nicknames-the-leagueology-almanac-2010-11/15228513. Dan can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.