by Dan Krieger
January 28, 2013 - United Soccer League (USL)
California Winter League: The month-long CWL has started its fourth season in 2013 with eight teams called the British Columbia Bombers, Canada A's, Coachella Valley Snowbirds, Oregon Lumber Jacks, Palm Desert Coyotes, Palm Springs Chill, Palm Springs Power and Washington Bluesox. The CWL is a developmental league for potential prospects looking to find a roster spot on teams from several independent leagues for the upcoming summer baseball season. Each team is scheduled to play 17 games at Palm Springs (CA) Stadium from January 19 to February 9.
New York State League: After not operating a 2012 season, the NYSL, which lists itself as the official developmental league for the Can-Am League, plans to hold a 2013 season from June 2 to August 27 with all games played in the New York City metro area. The NYSL also plans to operate the Taos (NM) Blizzard franchise in the 2013 Pecos League.
American West Baseball League: The proposed new AWBL, which plans to start play in 2013, has cancelled a proposed developmental winter league that was to start this week at the Ray Kroc Complex in Yuma (AZ). The AWBL cited a lack of interest in the new league and competition from other independent winter leagues operating this year. The AWBL also announced that one of its four proposed first-season teams, the Yuma Desert Rats, has decided to drop out of the AWBL due to financial issues. The league is uncertain if another Yuma-based team will operate in the 2013 AWBL season.
United League Baseball: It appears as though the teams that comprised the 2012 United Division of the now-defunct North American League are trying regroup as the ULB for 2013. The ULB ownership announced that one of the six 2012 United Division teams called the Abilene Prairie Dogs will not play in the 2013 season. The Prairie Dogs were added for the 2012 season, but were unable to complete its 2012 schedule. The team faced revenue issues due to a small seating capacity at its home ballpark and a lack of alcohol sales. The ULB plans to work on building a new ballpark in Abilene and the team could return in the future.
Northern League: A group called DC Sports & Entertainment plans to revive independent baseball's Northern League for the 2014 season. The league started back in 1993 and last played with eight teams during the 2010 season before becoming part of the North American League (NAL). The NAL was formed for the 2011 through a merger of the Northern League, Golden Baseball League and United League Baseball. Of the eight teams from the Northern League's 2010 season, only the Lake County Fielders actually played in the 2011 NAL. Three remaining Northern League markets or teams eventually ended up as part of the Frontier League, while four other teams moved to the American Association.
Pecos League: The independent Pecos League announced that it has removed the Pecos (TX) Bills and the Carlsbad (NM) Bats travel team from the 2013 season lineup, so the league will operate with eight teams. The Bills ran into issues at its home field that might not be completed in time for the 2013 season. Both Pecos and Carlsbad had been part of a proposed five-team Southern Division and it was uncertain if the league will realign a Northern Division team or just have all teams in one table for the 2013 standings.
American Basketball Association: The ABA has announced a new team called the Columbia Axmen, based in Cowlitz County (WA), will be added to the league's Northwest Division for the 2013-14 season.
American Professional Basketball League: The APBL announced that the Martinsburg-based West Virginia Monarchs team has decided to drop out of the league midway into the 2012-13 season. The APBL was able to add the Alexandria (VA) Avengers team, which will take over the Monarchs' remaining schedule and spot in the Southern Conference Colonial Division. The Avengers played the 2008, 2009, and 2009-10 seasons as part of the Eastern Basketball Alliance.
National Basketball Association: A Seattle-based group has reportedly reached an agreement to purchase a majority interest in the NBA's Sacramento Kings franchise and is expected to apply to relocate the franchise to Seattle by the March 1, 2013 deadline. If the Kings move, the new ownership group is expected to restore the Seattle SuperSonics name to the team. The former SuperSonics team moved to Oklahoma City for the 2008-09 season. The sale still needs NBA approval.
Bikini Basketball Association: The proposed BBA opened its new web site and states the league will start play on June 1, 2013 with eight teams. The league listed teams called the Atlanta Peaches (originally Fleet Angels), Chicago Crave (originally Desire), Illinois Heart (replaced Hollywood Hotties), Los Angeles Ice, Miami Spice, Minnesota Mist, New York Knockouts, Orlando Lady Cats and the newly added Philadelphia Diamonds.
Canadian Football League: The group bringing the new CFL franchise to Ottawa for the 2014 season is said to be considering five potential team names-the RedBlacks, Rush, Raftsmen, Nationals and Voyageurs. A final decision on the team name is expected soon.
Legends Football League-Australia: The four women's teams that make up LFL-Australia, formerly known as the Lingerie Football League-Australia, have all been named and are recruiting players for its inaugural season in the summer of 2013. The four teams include the New South Wales Surge (Sydney), Queensland Brigade (Brisbane), Victoria Maidens and Western Australia Angels (Perth).
Developmental Indoor Football League: Although the Cheyenne (WY) Warriors will not be playing in the 2013 Indoor Football League due to the recent death of its owner, a developmental team to the Warriors called the Cheyenne Storm plans to be part of the new DIFL that is trying to start up in 2013. The Warriors' head coach, who was the commissioner of the semi-pro outdoor American Professional Football League2 (APFL2) last season, is talking with indoor and outdoor teams in the region to form the DIFL. The new league could have six to eight teams starting play in late March and could include some outdoor teams from the APFL2 that are looking to move indoors. The Warriors would like to return to the IFL in 2014, but the team would have to reapply.
Women's Indoor Football League: Blanchette Sports Holdings, which is trying to start up leagues in several different sports, is holding tryouts across the United States in 2013 for its new WIFL that plans to start play in the spring of 2014.
North American Hockey League: The new Richfield (MN) team in the Twin Cities area that starts play in the 2013-14 season of the Tier-II junior-level NAHL will be called the Minnesota Magicians.
Central Hockey League: The CHL has signed a letter of intent with a group in Brampton (Ontario) to bring a CHL franchise to the city for the 2013-14 season. The city's Brampton Battalion major-junior team in the Ontario Hockey League recently announced a move to North Bay (Ontario) for 2013-14. The CHL will grow to at least 12 teams in 2013-14 with the addition of a previously announced team called the St. Charles (MO) Chill in suburban St. Louis. The league could still announce additional new teams prior to next season.
Federal Hockey League: The FHL has taken over the on-ice operations of its Williamsport (PA) Outlaws franchise after the Outlaws cancelled its last home game and ceased operations with 12 remaining road games. The Outlaws had incurred significant operating losses. The league rearranged the schedule and it will operate a team called the Pennsylvania Outlaws that will play only 4 of the 12 remaining road games. The Williamsport Outlaws played its 2012-13 home schedule on a special outdoor rink built on the city's baseball field, which is home to the Williamsport Crosscutters of the short-season Class-A New York-Penn League. The Outlaws were the Wayne-based New Jersey Outlaws last season before moving to Williamsport. Last month the FHL had to create the league-operated New York Bluefins team when the Cape Cod Bluefins (Hyannis, MA) folded.
United States Premier Hockey League: USA Hockey denied the application by the proposed new USPHL, which was trying to become a pay-to-play Tier-I junior hockey league for the 2013-14 season. Four teams from the Tier-III Eastern Junior Hockey League were behind this effort.
United Soccer Leagues - PRO: The Division III USL PRO league has announced its schedule for the 2013 season that will feature 13 teams-the 11 returning teams from last season, plus two new teams called the Phoenix FC Wolves and VSI Tampa Bay FC. The USL PRO and Major League Soccer announced a multi-year agreement whereby teams from the USL PRO league and teams from the MLS Reserve Division will compete in regular-season games starting with the 2013 season. Each of the 13 USL PRO teams will play two inter-league games against MLS Reserve teams with game results counting in the standings for both leagues. The agreement will also establish affiliations between MLS and USL PRO leagues after the 2013 season. Four teams from each league have already indicated intentions to enter into MLS/USL PRO affiliations-D.C. United/Richmond Kickers, Sporting Kansas City/Orlando City Lions, Philadelphia Union/Harrisburg City Islanders and New England Revolution/Rochester Rhinos.
Canadian Major Indoor Soccer League: The CMISL announced last month it will not operate in the 2012-13 indoor season, but plans to return for the 2013-14 season. The league had only two teams-the Calgary United FC and Edmonton Drillers-last season after the Winnipeg Alliance decided not to field a team. The season consisted of one game between Calgary and Edmonton. The league commissioner had been trying to bring new teams into the league for a possible 2012-13 season, but ran into health issues.
World TeamTennis: The WTT announced that its Kansas City (MO) Explorers franchise will move to Irving (TX) in the Dallas-Fort Worth area for the 2013 season. The team will be renamed after a name-the-team contest. The Explorer joined the WTT as an expansion team for the 1993 season. In the early days of the league when it was known as Team Tennis, there was a team called the Dallas Stars that played two seasons (1982-83).
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.