Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report

by Dan Krieger
January 16, 2012 - North American League (NAmL)

BASEBALL

North American League: The Chico Outlaws of the NAL are still trying to play in the 2012 season and have submitted a lease proposal for use of the stadium at Chico State University. The city of Harlingen (TX) was close to canceling the ballpark lease for the NAL\'s Rio Grande Valley WhiteWings because the team was behind on lease payments. The team set up a new payment plan, so lease cancellation was not considered at this time. The ownership group of the proposed Omaha Flame team is still working to get the team a lease in the city\'s downtown stadium, so it can be part of the 2012 NAL season.

Atlantic Baseball League: A Connecticut-based group is trying to bring a team back to the vacant ballpark in Atlantic City (NJ) with a possible ABL or Can-Am League team. The Atlantic City Surf was a charter member of the ABL for its inaugural 1998 season, switched to the shorter-season Can-Am League for the 2007 season, and folded after the 2008 season.

Northwest League: After hearing presentations last week, the city of Milwaukie (OR) is moving forward to the next phase for possible construction of a ballpark that could become home to a short-season Class-A team in the Northwest League.

Hall of Fame Baseball League: The new summer-collegiate HOFL plans to start play in 2012 with teams in the Texas cities of Fort Worth, Granbury, Mineral Wells, Weatherford, and Tyler, along with a team in Shreveport (LA). The league\'s new Shreveport-Bossier team will be operated by the ownership of the former Shreveport-Bossier Captains professional team from the American Association. That team that was sold after the 2011 season and moved to Laredo as the Lemurs for the 2012 AA season.

BASKETBALL

Tobacco Road Basketball League: The proposed new TRBL, which has five teams ready to start its inaugural season in April 2012, has added a couple of travel/exhibition teams called the Queen City Express and Big Texas to its standings.

Florida Basketball Association: The new Florida Basketball Association will start play with a 2012 season running from May through July. The league will have four charter teams called the Florida Flight (Orlando), Tampa Bay Rebels, Miami Stars, and Palm Beach Titans. The Florida Flight played in the 2011 Continental Basketball League, while the Miami Stars and Palm Beach Titans were once listed as proposed CBL teams.

Women\'s Blue Chip Basketball League: A new team called the St. Louis Arch Angels has been organized and plans to be part of the 2012 season in the semi-pro WBCBL. The league has another St. Louis-based team called the St. Louis Surge that will start its third season in 2012. The summertime WBCBL has been around since 2005 and features former college players, former players from the Women\'s National Basketball Association, and international players. The league tries to prepare prospective professional players for a higher-level of play.

United Basketball League: The Oklahoma Impact (Oklahoma City), which has been the men\'s semi-pro team operated by the Oklahoma OnPoint Hoops basketball club, is now listed as the Oklahoma OnPoint Hoops in the UBL team listing.

FOOTBALL

Ultimate Indoor Football League: The UIFL\'s proposed new Rome (GA) Rampage team appears to be in trouble before its first season starts. The team president is trying to buy the Rampage from its current ownership, which owns six UIFL franchises and has reportedly lost backing from investors. Other teams speculated to be in trouble include the Carolina Aviators (Raleigh, NC), Danville (IL) Dragons, Huntington (WV) Hammer, and Tennessee Rail Runners (Chattanooga). The league is expected to make an announcement next week about participating teams for the upcoming 2012 season.

American Indoor Football: The proposed new Stockton Lightning team has been removed from the list of AIF teams, so the league is down to eight teams for its upcoming inaugural 2012 season.

National Football League: The city of San Diego and the NFL\'s San Diego Chargers will continue to work together to build a new Super Bowl-quality stadium for the team and the Chargers will not trigger its current lease termination clause in 2012. The Chargers have been speculated to be a candidate to move to one of two proposed new stadiums in the Los Angeles area.

Independent Women\'s Football League: The IWFL has announced a new Colorado Springs-based team called the Colorado Sting will be part of the league\'s open Tier 3 (six-on-six) division in 2012.

HOCKEY

Northern Professional Hockey League: The proposed NPHL has identified eight cities that have showed an interest in the new AA-level league that is trying to start up for the 2012-13 season. These include Charleston (WV), Flint (MI), Greensboro (NC), Huntington (WV), Johnstown (PA), Pikeville (KY), Richmond (VA), and Roanoke (VA).

American Hockey League: The AHL\'s Adirondack Phantoms, based in Glens Falls (NY), are planning a move to a new arena to be built in Allentown (PA) by the start of the 2013-14 season. The city of Glens Falls could consider attracting another AHL team when the Phantoms depart.

SOCCER

Women\'s Professional Soccer: A Florida judge ruled against the WPS in an initial decision concerning the league\'s termination of the magicJack franchise after the 2011 season. The court has yet to grant the magicJack owner\'s injunction to reinstate the franchise. If the magicJack franchise is reinstated, the league has stated that its owners would consider folding rather than operate with this owner as part of the league.

United Soccer Leagues - PRO: The USL PRO league has announced its 2012 season schedule. Of the 12 teams that completed the 2011 season, only the FC New York club will not return in 2012. The returning 11 teams will be grouped in one single-table format for the 2012 season. The league also lost three Puerto Rican teams during the 2011 season and will not return in 2012.

Women\'s Premier Soccer League: A new women\'s soccer team called the Maryland Capitols has joined the WPSL for its 2012 season. The team will be based in the Washington (DC) area and will also operate a reserve team in the Washington Area Women\'s Soccer League.

North American Soccer League: The NSC Minnesota Stars team in the Division II NASL, has changed its name to the Minnesota Stars FC and dropped the "NSC" from its nickname. This stood for the team\'s home at the National Soccer Center in Blaine. The owner of the new San Antonio Scorpions team, which will start play in the 2012 NASL, plans to build a privately financed 6,100-seat soccer stadium that is expected to be ready by March 2013. If everything goes according to plans, there will be four stages of stadium expansion until reaching its maximum capacity of 18,000 seats.

OTHER

North American Lacrosse League: The NALL teams called the Jacksonville Bullies and Charlotte Copperheads decided to pull away from the league and switch to a fall season to take advantage of a possible television contract. The NALL intends to stop these teams from using the NALL name when they plan to start play in September 2012. The NALL announced it will continue with its inaugural season set to start on January 21, 2012, but will start with only three teams called the Kentucky Stickhorses, Boston Rockhoppers, and Lehigh Valley Flying Dutchmen. Teams will each play a minimum of six games and games could be added as the season progresses. The inaugural season will be called the "NALL Pro Invitation Season" and the league could invite some non-league pro teams to play against NALL teams.

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 dankrieger@leaguesteamsnicknames.com.


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