Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report

by Dan Krieger
December 15, 2014 - Canadian American League (Can-Am)

BASEBALL

Canadian-American League: The new independent Can-Am League team that will play at Skylands Stadium in Augusta (NJ) starting with the 2015 season will be called the Sussex County Miners. The stadium was home to an affiliated team called the New Jersey Cardinals for 12 seasons (1994-2005) in the short-season Class-A New York-Penn League and another Can-Am League team called the Sussex Skyhawks for four seasons (2006-09). According to the Miners\' posted schedule, the four teams from last season will return, along with Sussex County, another new team called the Ottawa Champions and a short-schedule road team.

Frontier League: The independent Frontier League\'s travel team called the Frontier Greys will return for a third season in 2015 and will again be based in Highland (IL), about 40 miles east of St. Louis. The Greys were formed for the 2013 season to replace the Road Warriors travel team, which had been organized during the 2012 season after the league\'s London (Ontario) Rippers folded. The Frontier Greys were based out of Chillicothe (OH) for the 2013 season.

East Coast Baseball League: The city of Watertown (NY) informally agreed to authorize a team in the proposed ECBL to use the city\'s fairgrounds for the upcoming 2015 season. The summer-collegiate New York Collegiate Baseball League and the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League, which had the now-defunct Watertown Rams team in 2014, were also interested in placing a new team in Watertown for the 2015 season. The independent ECBL currently has three teams called the Newburgh (NY) Newts, Niagara Wild (Welland, Ontario) and the recently named Waterloo (Ontario) Whiskey Jacks. The Whiskey Jacks nickname was used by an independent team called the Thunder Bay (Ontario) Whiskey Jacks that played six seasons (1993-98) in the now-defunct Northern League. Watertown had previous affiliated pro baseball teams called the Watertown Pirates (1983-88) and the Watertown Indians (1989-98) in the short-season Class-A New York-Penn League. A name-the-team contest is underway for the new Watertown team.

Mount Rainier Professional Baseball League: The proposed new MRPBL, which plans to start play in 2015 with at least six teams based in the Pacific Northwest, reached a tentative agreement to place its sixth team in Whitefish (MT) to be called the Glacier Grizzlies. A proposed sixth team called the Vancouver (WA) Mud Turtles fell through, so now the Oregon City (OR) Sasquatch is using that nickname as the Oregon City Mud Turtles. The Glacier Grizzlies with be in an East Division with the Ellensburg (WA) Bulls and Moses Lake (WA) Rattlesnakes, while the Oregon City Mud Turtles will be in a West Division with the Grays Harbor Gulls (Hoquiam, WA) and Skagit Valley Lumberjacks (Mount Vernon, WA).

Futures Collegiate Baseball League: The Old Orchard Beach Raging Tide (Maine) of the summer-collegiate FCBL will not return in 2015. The owner sold the franchise and it will become the previously announced Bristol (CT) Blues team for the 2015 season.

BASKETBALL

Central Basketball Development League: The CBDL has announced new teams called the Maryland Magic (Baltimore), DC Stars (Washington, DC), Panama City Dream and Shreveport Bossier Knights have joined the league for the 2015 season. The Panama City Dream tried but failed to get off the ground for the 2014 season. The league had a Shreveport team called the Captains that was announced but never started in the 2014 season. The CBDL evolved from the 2013 springtime Central Basketball League and played a very short 2014 season under the CBDL name with five Florida-based teams.

Women\'s National Basketball Association: The WNBA announced the schedule for its 19th season in 2015 that will include the same 12 teams and league alignment as last season.

East Coast Basketball League: The ECBL, which was formed by five teams that left the Tobacco Road Basketball League after the 2014 season, announced it will play its inaugural springtime season starting in late March 2015 with 11 teams. The five-team Northern Division will feature the Carolina Gladiators (Lumberton, NC), Fayetteville (NC) Crossover, High Point (NC) Hawks, Queen City Express (Charlotte, NC) and Richmond (VA) Redhawks. The six-team Southern Division includes the Columbia (SC) Crusaders, Fort Gordon Eagles (Augusta, GA), Gastonia (NC) Crowns, PrimeTime Players (Fort Mill, SC), Savannah (GA) Storm and SC All Stars (Greenville, SC). A previously listed 12th team called the East Carolina Storm (Wilmington, NC) is not part of the 2015 schedule.

Tobacco Road Basketball League: The TRBL has added the Atlanta Dragons as one of its sanctioned travel/exhibition teams for the 2014-15 season.

FOOTBALL

Major League Football: The proposed new spring professional football league known as Major League Football plans to start play in 2016 with 10 to 12 teams. Initially, the league will own and operate all teams and it is currently targeting Oklahoma City for its first franchise.

X-League Indoor Football: The X-League reported last month that the Savannah Steam was not yet ready for the league and will not be part of the 2015 season. Although the league has parted ways with the Savannah Steam, the team reports it will still be playing professional football in the spring of 2015. The Savannah Steam took over some of the road schedule for the league\'s Reading-based Pennsylvania Steam, which dropped out early in the 2014 season after playing only one road game.

HOCKEY

United States Hockey League: The junior-level Tier-I USHL, which is USA Hockey\'s top junior league in the United States, has received an application for an expansion franchise from a group in Flint (MI) where the Perani Arena is undergoing an ownership change. The arena is currently home to the Michigan Warriors team in the Tier-II North American Hockey League, but there is speculation that team could move to Port Huron or another city in Michigan.

Rocky Mountain Junior Hockey League: The new Colorado-based RMJHL, which plans to start play in 2015-16 as a Tier-III league under USA Hockey, announced its sixth team will be called the Breckenridge Bucks. Other previously announced teams include the Aspen Leafs, Colorado Rampage (Monument), Colorado Thunderbirds (Littleton), Grand Junction Coyotes and Pikes Peak Miners (Colorado Springs).

National Hockey League: Although the NHL is not committing to placing an expansion team in Las Vegas, the league is allowing a potential owner to hold a season-ticket drive to determine the level of interest in the market for an NHL team. A new 20,000-seat arena is under construction in Las Vegas and it is set to open in 2016. Quebec City and Seattle have also been mentioned in discussions about expansion.

SOCCER

United Soccer Leagues - Premier Development League: The Dayton Dutch Lions will be part of the PDL for the 2015. The Dayton Dutch Lions played the 2010 season in the PDL before moving up to the USL PRO league for the past four seasons (2011-14). The organization will continue to operate other PDL teams called the Houston Dutch Lions, which joined the PDL for the 2012 season, and the Cincinnati Dutch Lion, which joined the PDL for the 2014 season. The PDL also announced a new Northern California-based team called the Burlingame (CA) Dragons has been added for the 2015 season.

OTHER

American Ultimate Disc League: The professional AUDL announced the 2015 expansion team to be based in Raleigh (NC) will be called the Raleigh Flyers. The Raleigh Flyers will be part of a new South Division that will include teams in Jacksonville, Nashville and Atlanta for the 2015 season.

Dan Krieger is the creator of the Leagues, Teams & Nicknames 2013-14: "The Leagueology Almanac" , 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.

• Discuss this story on the Canadian American League message board