Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report
by Dan Krieger
December 3, 2012 - North American Soccer League (NASL)
Eastern League: The group trying to bring a Double-A Eastern League team to Ottawa (Ontario) for the 2014 season has been granted an extension by the league until the end of the first quarter of 2013. The league's Binghamton (NY) Mets team has been part of the discussion for relocation to Ottawa.
Pacific Coast League: The Reno Aces of the Triple-A PCL have been given permission by the league to relocate if a deal cannot be worked out with the city of Reno on refinancing the team's ballpark. As of now, the team has not specifically asked for permission to relocate. The Reno Aces started play in the league for the 2009 season with the relocation of the Tucson Sidewinders.
American West Baseball League: The proposed new AWBL, which has four teams planning to start its inaugural summer season in 2013, has announced it will hold a 2013 winter season starting in late January 2013. All winter season games will be played at the Ray Kroc Complex in Yuma (AZ).
American Basketball League: The proposed new 12-team ABL has posted the schedule for its inaugural 2013 season that will run from January 19 to April 14. The league will have a six-team Tropics Conference with teams based in Florida and a six-team Lone Star Conference with teams based in Texas. The league's Miami Stars team is listed as the Davie (FL) Stars on the schedule. Davie is located about 20 miles north of Miami.
Tobacco Road Basketball League: The TRBL has listed the 11 teams that are expected to be part of the league's second season starting in the spring of 2013. The TRBL East has the returning Big Texas (Jacksonville, NC) team, Carolina Gladiators (Lumberton, NC), Cary (NC) Invasion, Fayetteville (NC) Crossover, Wilmington (NC) Sea Dawgs and the new Johnson County Nighthawks (Smithfield, NC). Big Texas was a travel team in 2012 and the Gladiators moved from Smithfield to Lumberton. The TRBL West has the returning PrimeTime Players (Rock Hill, SC) and the Queen City Express (Charlotte, NC), along with three new teams called the Greensboro (NC) Cobras, Hub City Lakers (Spartanburg, SC) and the HoopForLyfe travel team (Concord, NC). Queen City was a travel team in 2012. The league also lists two 2014 provisional teams called the Bull City Legacy (Durham, NC) and the Blue Ridge Bison (Asheville, NC).
American Basketball Association: The ABA's new Columbus-based Georgia Wildcats team has been renamed the Georgia Bearcats. The ABA announced a new 2013-14 expansion team called the Ball World Peace. The team will be based in Folsom (CA) and will be part of the Northern California division.
Champions Professional Indoor Football League: The new CPIFL, which plans to start its inaugural season in 2013, has now listed its tenth team as the Omaha Beef. A team by the same name was part of the 2012 Indoor Football League, but was dropped by the league after the season. New ownership took over the team and an official announcement about the new CPIFL franchise is expected next week.
Canadian Football League: The new Ottawa (Ontario) CFL franchise, which is expected to start play for the 2014 season, will participate in the league's expansion draft next year in December 2013.
Ultimate Indoor Football League: The UIFL has announced its 2013 schedule that will include seven teams and will run from early March to early June 2013. The teams include the returning Florida Tarpons (Fort Myers) and Lakeland (FL) Raiders; the new Georgia Rampage (Dalton), which was the 2012 Rome Rampage travel team; the new Miami Sting, which was the 2012 Western Pennsylvania Sting travel team; and expansion teams called the Missouri Monsters (St. Charles), Sarasota Thunder, Corpus Christi Fury.
Central Hockey League: The city of Casper (WY) is trying to obtain a CHL team for the 2013-14 season with some assistance from the league's Rapid City (SD) Rush team. The Casper team would be most likely be a relocated CHL franchise.
Quebec Major Junior Hockey League: The 18-team QMJHL confirmed it is currently not planning to expand and no teams are planning to relocate. There had been speculation a QMJHL team would move into a new arena being built in the city of Riviere-du-Loup.
Federal Hockey League: The Cape Cod Bluefins (Hyannis, MA) team of the FHL has suspended play for at least its next three games of the 2012-13 schedule. There was speculation the team would relocate to Lewiston (ME), but that move will not be taking place. The FHL played six games in Lewiston last season to test the market.
Ontario Hockey League: The Erie (PA) Otters team in the major-junior OHL is reportedly looking to relocate after the 2012-13 season and there has been talk the team could move to Hamilton (Ontario), which is currently home to the Hamilton Bulldogs, a member of the American Hockey League and an affiliate of the Montreal Canadiens.
United States Premier Hockey League: Teams called the Boston Junior Bruins, Jersey Hitmen (Wayne, NJ), Islanders Hockey Club (Tyngsboro, MA) and South Shore Kings (Foxboro, MA) from the Tier III Eastern Junior Hockey League announced the formation of the new USPHL, which it wants to develop as a Tier II or possibly a Tier I hockey league in the northeastern United States. Currently under the USA Hockey program there is only one Tier I league, the Midwest-based United States Hockey League, and one Tier II league, the North American Hockey League. The Tier I USHL has been considering possible expansion with five to six teams in the northeastern United States.
Major League Soccer: The MLS stated that it is moving closer to land acquisition in Queens (NY) where a soccer-specific stadium will be built for the league's 20th franchise. The MLS hopes to have the new franchise start play in the 2016 season and develop a rivalry with the New York Red Bulls team that plays in Harrison (NJ). The league is also considering additional expansion in the future with Atlanta, Orlando, Miami and Minneapolis mentioned as possibilities.
North American Soccer League: The new NASL franchise based in Ottawa (Ontario), which plans to start play in 2014, has begun searching for a coach and plans to announce a name-the-team contest after the league's annual meeting to be held in January 2013.
Premier Arena Soccer League: Some of the teams in the PASL Premier, which is the semi-pro affiliate of the Professional Arena Soccer League (PASL Pro), have started their 2012-13 indoor schedules. The current league standings list a nine-team Northwest Division with teams in Oregon and Washington, a Rocky Mountain Division with four Colorado-based teams, and a third division listed as "Flight E' with ten Midwest-based teams. The PASL Premier also plays a short summer indoor season and some teams are affiliated with teams in the PASL Pro league.
United Soccer Leagues W-League: The Seattle Sounders Women team of the USL W-League recently lost out to another Seattle-based group to place a team in the new women's professional soccer league that will be sponsored by the United States Soccer Federation and start play in 2013. The Sounders Women announced the team will return to the W-League for the 2013 season. The USL had been in the running to develop a women's pro league referred to as W-PRO, but decided to pull its support for the venture.
Pacific Coast Soccer League: The British Columbia-based PCSL has announced it will add two teams called the Estrella de Chile FC, based in Burnaby, and the Kamloops Heat to its men's Premier Division in 2013. The Kamloops Heat finished on top of the league's Reserve Division in 2012. A team called Poco City FC, based in Port Coquitlam, will not return in 2013 after playing one season in the league.
Major League Ultimate: The new MLU ultimate Frisbee-style football league has announced the names of the five teams that will make up its Western Conference when the league starts play in 2013. Teams include the Portland Stags, San Francisco Dogfish, San Jose Black Hats, Seattle Rainmakers and Vancouver Nighthawks. The league previously announced its five Eastern Conference teams.
Midwest Indoor Lacrosse Association: The Buffalo-based Upstate Bears indoor lacrosse team, which plans to start play in the semi-pro MILA in 2013, held an invitational indoor lacrosse tournament on December 1, 2012. The event featured the Bears, the Niagara Lock Monsters of the Canadian Lacrosse League (CLAX), and a team called the Syracuse Stingers. The Lock Monsters were the Peel Avengers in the inaugural 2012 season of the CLAX and recently moved to St. Catharines (Ontario) for the 2013 season. The Stingers are considered a future expansion team in the Professional Lacrosse League (PLL) and played some 2012 games as part of the PLL when the league lost some of its teams prior to and during the 2012 season. The Stingers could also consider joining the CLAX.
World Series of Boxing: The team-based international boxing league called the World Series of Boxing started its third season last month and again features 12 teams aligned into two groups. The league lost six teams from last season, but added six new teams for the 2012-13 season. Gone from last season are the Bangkok Elephants (Thailand), Venky's Mumbai Fighters (India), Beijing Dragons (China), Istanbull Bosphorus (Turkey), Leipzig Leopards (Germany) and Paris United. Group A includes the returning Azerbaijan Baku Fires, Mexico Guerreros, and Team Russia (formerly Dynamo Moscow), along with the new teams called the Algeria Desert Hawks, Argentine Condors and Hussars Poland. Group B includes the new British Lionhearts, German Eagles, and Ukraine Otamans, along with the returning Astana Arlans Kazakhstan, Dolce & Gabbana Italia Thunder, and USA Knockouts (formerly the Los Angeles Matadors).
Dan Krieger is the creator of the "The Leagueology Almanac 2011-12", which tracks the changes in league alignments, franchise movements and team nicknames in today's sports world. The publication is currently available at www.amazon.com.
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