by Dan Krieger
December 31, 2012 - Carolina League (CarL)
Carolina League: The Myrtle Beach (NC) Pelicans of the high Class-A Carolina League announced a possible re-branding of the team with a New Orleans-themed nickname. Based on reports that the New Orleans Hornets of the National Basketball Association plan to rename the team the Pelicans, the Myrtle Beach Pelicans will ask fans to consider a new name for their team. Some possible choices are the Saints, Hornets, Jazz, Bayou Bengals, Ragin' Cajuns and Voodoo.
Pecos League: The Pecos League now has the Carlsbad (NM) Bats listed as a 2013 team instead of the Las Cruces Vaqueros. The league will have ten teams aligned into a five-team South Division and a five-team North Division.
New England Collegiate Baseball League: The summer-collegiate NECBL plans to add a team called the Plymouth (MA) Pilgrims for the 2013 season. From 2005 to 2010 a group was trying to bring a proposed independent pro Can-Am League team called the Plymouth River Eels to the city, but ballpark development and construction never got off the ground.
Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League: A team called the Gaithersburg (MD) Giants will move to the summer-collegiate Cal Ripken League for the 2013 season.
National Basketball Association: Reports earlier this month stated that the NBA's New Orleans Hornets franchise could be renamed the New Orleans Pelicans for the 2013-14 season. The league filed trademarks on four other potential New Orleans names-the Rougarou, Mosquitos, Swamp Dogs and Bullsharks. The Hornets started out as a 1988-89 NBA expansion team called the Charlotte Hornets, which move to New Orleans for the 2002-03 season. Charlotte received another NBA expansion team called the Charlotte Bobcats for the 2004-05 season. There has been talk of the Charlotte Bobcats changing into another version of the Charlotte Hornets after New Orleans changes its name.
Universal Basketball Association: A couple of UBA teams started their 2012-13 schedules this month with the bulk of the teams starting play in January 2013. The league plans to have 14 full-schedule teams with a four-team Eastern Division, a five-team Southern Division and a five-team Western Division. The UBA started play in 2009 and evolved from the United Regions Basketball League.
Women's Universal Basketball Association: The Southern Conference of the WUBA has started its 2012-13 schedule with the same five teams as last season-the Atlanta Assault, GIE Disciples, Metro Atlanta Sparks, Southern Generals and Tennessee Dragons. The league also lists an Eastern Conference with four Ohio-based teams called the Cincinnati Slam, Queen City Gamblers, Seven Hills Fury and Sharonville Flight. The WUBA is affiliated with the men's Universal Basketball Association and is entering its second season of play.
Circuito de Baloncesto de la Costa del Pacifico (CIBACOPA): The CIBACOPA (Pacific Coast Basketball League), Mexico's second professional basketball league below the Liga Nacional de Baloncesto Profesional (LNBP), will open its next season in March 2013. The Trigueros de Ciudad Obregon will reportedly replace the Coras de Tepic team. All other nine teams from 2012 are expected to return. The Trigueros were previously part of the league before dropping prior to the 2011 season.
Central Basketball League: The Chicago CBL team will be called the Chicago Stars, or Las Estrellas de Chicago. The Midwest-based CBL plans to start play in April 2013. The Las Estrellas de Chicago is listed by the American Basketball Association as one of its 2013-14 expansion teams.
Alliance Basketball League: The group trying to form the Alliance Indoor Football League for 2013 is also trying to form the Midwest-based ABL.
Women's American Basketball Association: The men's American Basketball Association has announced it will re-launch its WABA with a planned start in May 2013. Some of the women's teams recently associated with the WABA have included the Chicago Lady Steam, Indy's Finest, Mid-West Diamonds (Indianapolis), Louisville Fillies, Grand Rapids Stars, Detroit Black Hawks, Columbus Hidden Gems and Cleveland Crush. The Detroit, Columbus and Cleveland teams played in the 2012 season of the Women's Blue Chip Basketball League.
Penn-Ohio Indoor Football League: The owner of the semi-pro Western PA Wildcatz football team, which played some indoor games as a substitute for the Huntington Hammer team during the 2012 season of the United Indoor Football League, has formed the new POIFL that starts play in January 2013. The Wildcatz were announced as an affiliate of the UIFL's Johnstown Generals last season and also played in the inaugural early 2012 winter season of the Western Pennsylvania Indoor Football League. The POIFL states it will team up with the Erie Explosion, a 2012 UIFL team and now a member of the Continental Indoor Football League, to create a feeder league that will play by CIFL rules. Along with the Wildcatz, the POIFL includes two former WPIFL teams called the PA Raiders and the Mahoning Valley Tigers, along with the Mercer County Chargers and Rocks Rangers. All POIFL games will be played at the Y-Zone facility in New Castle (PA).
American Inline Hockey League: The AIHL has started its 2012-13 season that runs from early December 2012 to early April 2013. The top AIHL Elite level has 23 teams while the Minor level has 37 teams. Both levels are split into Mid-Atlantic, New England, Pacific North and Pacific South/Southwest divisions. The AIHL started play with the 2008-09 season.
National Ringette League: The 16-team women's NRL is halfway through its 2012-13 season. The league has a Western Conference with a four-team Western Division and an Eastern Conference with a six-team Red Division and a six-team White Division. Ringette is a team sport similar to ice hockey in equipment and playing surface. Players use straight sticks to control and pass a rubber ring. The game is centered more around skating and passing rather than puck handling and involves catching or "stabbing" the ring. It is played primarily by women in the United States, Canada, Sweden, Finland and France.
North American Soccer League: The Division-II NASL announced that the Puerto Rico Islanders team will not be part of the league's Spring Season under the new split regular-season format started for the 2013 season. The team is undergoing a reorganization and is expected to be part of the 2013 Fall Season that will run from August to November. The league recently announced that its newest expansion team called the New York Cosmos would not be ready to start in the 2013 Spring Season, but also would start in the 2013 Fall Season. The NASL currently has seven teams planned to start in the 2013 Spring Season that will run from late March/early April to early July.
National Premier Soccer League: The Pensacola-based Gulf Coast Texans, whose women's team won the 2012 Women's Premier Soccer League championship, will start a men's team in the 2013 NPSL. The league recently announced four other new teams that will join in 2013. These include the CD Aguiluchos USA (Oakland), CASL Elite (Raleigh, NC), Liverpool Warriors (Plano, TX), and the Tulsa Athletics. The owner of the league's Galveston Pirate SC has moved the club to Houston where it will be renamed the Houston Hurricanes for the 2013 season.
United Soccer Leagues - W-League: The Washington (DC) Spirit of the new women's professional National Women's Soccer League will also operate a W-League team called the Washington Spirit Reserves during the 2012 season, along with another team in the USL Super-20 League (Under-20). The new Washington Spirit Reserves team basically operated as the DC United Women in 2012. Last month, the W-League's Northern Virginia Majestics team announced it would suspend operations in 2013 to become involved in the Washington Spirit's W-League operation. The Majestics had been part of the W-League since the 1999 season.
United Soccer Leagues - Premier Development League: The new Southwest Florida PDL team to be based in the Fort Myers area for 2013 will be called the Southwest Florida Adrenaline.
American Ultimate Disc League: The professional AUDL has its league alignment listed for its upcoming second season starting in April 2013. The six-team Eastern Division will have five new teams called the DC Breeze, New Jersey Hammerheads, New York Empire, Toronto Rush and Philadelphia Phoenix, along with the relocated Buffalo Hunters team that is now the Rochester Dragons. The six-team Western Division will have three new teams called the Madison (WI) Radicals, Minnesota Wind Chill and Windy City Wildfire, along with the returning Bluegrass Revolution (Lexington, KY), Indianapolis Alley Cats and Detroit Mechanix. The league had eight teams in 2012, but teams called the Connecticut Constitution, Philadelphia Spinners, Rhode Island Rampage and Columbus (OH) Cranes did not return.
North American Lacrosse League: The indoor NALL, which plans to start its second season next month with four teams, is exploring the addition of a new team in Rochester (NY) for the 2014 season. That city is home to the Rochester Knighthawks of the professional indoor National Lacrosse League. The NALL currently lists a fifth team called the Lehigh Valley Flying Dutchmen, but it is not participating in the 2013 season.
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.