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The Phantom Sports Franchise 2008

by Dan Krieger
March 9, 2009 - American Basketball Association (ABA)

When planning a season in any sports league, whether it's a newly developed league or an established league, events happen that might force a previously announced team to fold, move, or change its name before it even begins play. The following is my list of some of these "phantom franchises" from the year 2008. Several teams that were announced and subsequently put on hold by various leagues may not be part of the current list if there was a chance those teams could resurface in the future.

Alabama Kings: Team listed as part of the proposed Xtreme Indoor Football League, which never started play as planned in 2008.

Albert Lea (MN) Chill: Proposed team listed as part of The Indoor Football Association (TIFA), which never started play as planned in 2008.

Appleton (WI) Attack: Proposed 2007-08 team in a Midwest divison of the Developmental Indoor Soccer League, which never started play.

Atlanta Nightmare: Proposed team in the 2008 Women's Global Basketball Association, which never started play.

B'ham (Birmingham) Ball-n-Jamm: Proposed team in the 2008 Women's Global Basketball Association, which never started play.

Baltimore Bay Lions: Proposed 2008-09 American Basketball Association franchise.

Baltimore Pearls: Proposed 2008 Eastern Basketball Alliance team that did not play.

Bronx Brickhouse: Proposed team in the 2008 Women's Global Basketball Association, which never started play.

Brooklyn Brats: Proposed team in the 2008 Women's Global Basketball Association, which never started play.

Bucks County RimRockers: Proposed 2008 Eastern Basketball Alliance team that did not play.

Buffalo NexxNow Dragons: Proposed 2008-09 American Basketball Association franchise that left for the Premier Basketball League; the team was renamed the Buffalo Stampede for the 2009 PBL season.

Buffalo Sharks: Proposed 2008-09 American Basketball Association franchise that dropped from the league out before the 2008-09 season.

Carolina Stingrays: Team listed as part of the proposed Xtreme Indoor Football League, which never started play as planned in 2008.

Central Texas Jammers: Proposed United Basketball League franchise that was originally the Central Texas Diplomats based in Killeen and moved to Belton (TX) as the Central Texas Jammers; no longer listed in 2008.

Charleston (SC) Broncos: Team listed as part of the proposed Xtreme Indoor Football League, which never started play as planned in 2008.

Charlotte Shame: Proposed team in the 2008 Women's Global Basketball Association, which never started play.

Chelsea (MI) Tornadoes: Proposed 2008-09 team in the Mid-Atlantic Hockey League, but league disbanded before the start of the season.

Chicago Blaze: Proposed 2007-08 team in a Midwest divison of the Developmental Indoor Soccer League, which never started play.

Columbus (IN) Rage: Proposed 2008-09 team in the Midwest Hockey League; team disappeared from the league, which did not play a 2008-09 season.

Cook County Mustangs: Proposed team listed as part of The Indoor Football Association (TIFA), which never started play as planned in 2008; team was listed as a 2009 team.

Cuyahoga (OH) Crusaders: Proposed 2009 team in The Indoor Football Association (TIFA), which never started play as planned in 2008.

Dallas Stallions: Team announced for the 2008 season of the Texas Professional Basketball League, but did not show for its first game and was dropped by the league.

Detroit Zafir: Proposed 2008-09 American Basketball Association franchise.

East Texas Express: Proposed team for the 2008 inaugural season of the Independent Indoor Football Alliance.

Eau Claire (WI) Clash: Proposed 2007-08 team in a Midwest divison of the Developmental Indoor Soccer League, which never started play.

Edmonton Graduates/Grads: Proposed nickname for a 2009 International Basketball League franchise that was to replace the 2008 Edmonton Chill; the Edmonton Energy ended up as the name for the franchise that replaced the Chill in 2009.

Exeter (NH) Freeze: Original name of a proposed 2008-09 franchise in the Eastern Professional Hockey League; name was changed to the New Hampshire Freeze and team waited until 2009-10 to start play.

Florida Cowboys: Team listed as part of the proposed Xtreme Indoor Football League, which never started play as planned in 2008.

Florida Knights: Sarasota-based indoor football team announced for the 2008 American Professional Football League season; did not play and was replaced by the Florida Scorpions.

Florida Nightwolves: Team listed as part of the proposed American National Indoor Football League, which failed to develop.

Fort Bend/Harris County Militia: Proposed team for the 2008 inaugural season of the Independent Indoor Football Alliance.

Fort Lauderdale Tasers: Proposed new team name listed by the National Indoor Football League prior to a 2008 season that never was played.

Fort Worth Falcons: Proposed United Basketball League franchise; no longer listed in 2008; team was called the Fort Worth Funk.

Fresno Legends: Proposed American Basketball Association team announced in March 2008 as a 2008-09 expansion franchise; played one exhibition game late in 2007-08 season, but changed ownership and was renamed the Fresno Rebels.

Gainesville (TX) Pinners: Proposed team for the 2008 inaugural season of the Independent Indoor Football Alliance.

Genesee (MI) County Crusaders: Proposed 2008-09 All American Hockey Association franchise that was to be based in the Flint area; team could not obtain arena lease and never started play.

Gomez Polacio Thundercats: Proposed 2008-09 American Basketball Association franchise; based in Durango, Mexico.

Grand Prairie Stallions: Proposed United Basketball League franchise; no longer listed in 2008; originally the Grand Prairie Splash.

Grand Rapids (MI) Thunder: Proposed team listed as part of The Indoor Football Association (TIFA), which never started play as planned in 2008.

Green Bay Saturn: Proposed 2007-08 team in a Midwest divison of the Developmental Indoor Soccer League, which never started play.

Harlem Harlots: Proposed team in the 2008 Women's Global Basketball Association, which never started play.

Henderson (NV) All Starz: Proposed 2008-09 American Basketball Association franchise.

Hilton Head-Savannah Syrens: Proposed team in the 2008 Women's Global Basketball Association, which never started play.

Illinois Surge: Proposed 2007-08 team in a Midwest divison of the Developmental Indoor Soccer League, which never started play.

Indiana Nightmare: Proposed team based in Elkhart that was listed as part of The Indoor Football Association, which never started play as planned in 2008.

Indianapolis Venom: Proposed team listed as part of The Indoor Football Association (TIFA), which never started play as planned in 2008.

Kentucky Mavericks: Proposed 2008-09 American Basketball Association franchise based in Bowling Green; moved to Owensboro and became Kentucky Bisons under new ownership for 2008-09 season.

Kentucky Warriors: Proposed 2008-09 American Basketball Association franchise that was to be based in the town of Corbin in the eastern part of the state.

Knoxville Storm: Original name of the Knoxville Thunderbolts 2008-09 American Basketball Association expansion team; changed name because of another new team called the Winston-Salem Storm.

Lake Erie Vikings: Proposed 2008-09 team in the Mid-Atlantic Hockey League, but league disbanded before the start of the season.

Lansing (MI) Steelkatz: Proposed team listed as part of The Indoor Football Association (TIFA), which never started play as planned in 2008.

Las Vegas Gamblers: Proposed team in the 2009 fall season of the Indoor Gridiron Football League, but the league appears to be dead.

Louisville Chill: Proposed 2008-09 team in the Midwest Hockey League, but league did not play; team was sold and became the St. Louis Chill as a proposed 2009-10 MWHL team.

Lynwood (IL) Knights: Proposed team listed as part of The Indoor Football Association (TIFA), which never started play as planned in 2008.

Macon (GA) Bulldogs: Team listed as part of the proposed Xtreme Indoor Football League, which never started play as planned in 2008.

Marietta Minx: Proposed team in the 2008 Women's Global Basketball Association, which never started play.

Maryland Suns: Proposed 2009 team for the Eastern Basketball Alliance.

Metro Legends: Proposed 2009 team for the Eastern Basketball Alliance.

Michigan Stars: A proposed Kalkaska-based Midwest Hockey League franchise for the 2008-09 season; the league delayed its start until 2009-10 and the team is no longer listed.

Missouri Thrill: Original name for the Springfield Thrill that is listed as part of the 2009 United Basketball League.

Modesto Sabers: Proposed 2008-09 American Basketball Association franchise that came under new ownership and changed its name to the Modesto Bearcats before the start of its first season.

Motor City Gamblers: Proposed franchise based in Fraser (MI) for the Midwest Hockey League that had hoped to start play in 2008-09; owner decided to switch to 2008-09 season in All American Hockey Association and team became the Detroit Gamblers.

Nebraska Storm: New nickname announced for the Tri-City Storm of the United States Hockey League after the 2007-08 season; team changed back to Tri-City Storm before 2008-09 season due to adverse feedback from fans.

New Jersey Nasty: Proposed team in the 2008 Women's Global Basketball Association, which never started play.

Newark Above the Rim: Name of a team originally listed for the 2009 Eastern Basketball Alliance; the Newark team was then listed as the Garden City Rebels.

Ontario (Canada) Red Wolves: Proposed 2008-09 American Basketball Association franchise; originally listed as Mississauga Red Wolves.

Pacific Rim Rockers: Proposed Hawaii-based American Basketball Association franchise that has never started play.

Pennsylvania Powder Pugs: Proposed team in the 2008 Women's Global Basketball Association, which never started play.

Pittsburgh Iron: Proposed 2008-09 team in the Mid-Atlantic Hockey League, but league disbanded before the start of the season.

Prescott Valley Rhinos: Original name announced for a 2008-09 American Basketball Association franchise; changed to the Arizona Rhinos prior to season.

Reno Sharpshooters: Proposed 2008-09 American Basketball Association franchise.

Salt Lake Dreams: Original name for the 2008-09 Salt Lake City Saints in the American Basketball Association; nickname was changed because of another new team called the Alaska Dream.

Savannah Pride: Original name of a proposed 2008-09 American Basketball Association franchise; team was renamed the Savannah Kings; later listed as South Metro Savannah for 2009-10.

Shreveport Slam: Proposed United Basketball League franchise; no longer listed in 2008.

Snohomish County Stallions: Charter franchise in the proposed Indoor Gridiron Football League that planned to start play in the fall of 2009; league appears to be dead.

South Arkansas Allstars: Proposed United Basketball League franchise; no longer listed in 2008.

South Bend (IN) Slayers: Proposed team listed as part of The Indoor Football Association (TIFA), which never started play as planned in 2008.

South Chicago All-Stars: Original name for the proposed 2008-09 American Basketball Association franchise that eventually was renamed the Chicago Ball Stars.

South Chicago Ball Stars: A 2008-09 American Basketball Association franchise formerly called the South Chicago All-Stars; team was renamed the Chicago Steam before its first ABA season in 2008-09.

South Shore Shooters: Proposed 2008-09 team in the Mid-Atlantic Hockey League based in Dyer (IN); team switched to the All American Hockey Association before the season started and team was renamed the Chi-Town Shooters.

Southeast Asian All Stars: Proposed 2008-09 Premier Basketball League team that is no longer listed.

Southern Missouri Splash: Proposed United Basketball League franchise in Joplin that was no longer listed in 2008.

Springfield (IL) Shield: Proposed indoor team in the American Professional Football League.

Stephenville (TX) Sting: Proposed team for the 2008 inaugural season of the Independent Indoor Football Alliance.

Tampa Bay Strong Dogs: Proposed American Basketball Association team that had played as the Harlem Strong Dogs in the second half of the 2004-05 ABA season; team was moved to Tampa in 2006 and kept delaying its start; no longer listed.

Tennessee Fire: Team listed as part of the proposed Xtreme Indoor Football League, which never started play as planned in 2008.

Texas Blackout: Proposed team for the 2008 inaugural season of the Independent Indoor Football Alliance; sold and became the Bay Area Buccaneers prior to the start of the season.

Texas Capital Sounds: Proposed United Basketball League franchise based in Austin; moved to San Marcos as the Knights in late 2007.

Texas Rough Riders: Proposed team for the 2008 inaugural season of the Independent Indoor Football Alliance.

Texas Titans: Original name listed for the Pasadena-based team in the Southern Indoor Football League, which planned to start play in 2009; the team became the Texas Pirates prior to the SIFL season.

Toronto Lasers/Lazers: Proposed 2008-09 Premier Basketball League team that is no longer listed; originally announced as the Lasers, but later listed as the Lazers.

Trenton (MI) Warriors: Proposed 2008-09 team in the Mid-Atlantic Hockey League, but league disbanded before the start of the season.

Tulsa Thunderbirds: Proposed United Basketball League franchise; no longer list in 2008; replaced by Tulsa Tornadoes.

Twin City Twisters: Proposed United Basketball League franchise; no longer listed in 2008.

Tyler I-20 Pros: Proposed United Basketball League franchise; no longer listed in 2008; replaced by Tyler Panthers.

Washington (PA) Steam: Proposed team that was listed as part of The Indoor Football Association (TIFA), which never started play as planned in 2008; team had merged with the Indiana (PA) Wolverines for the proposed 2008 season.

West Virginia Outlaws: Proposed 2008-09 American Basketball Association franchise based in Charleston; pulled out prior to the season and was replaced by the West Virginia Wild.

West Virginia Wild: Proposed 2008 franchise in the National Professional Basketball League; dropped by the league after team failed to show for its first game; a team by the same name joined the American Basketball Association for its 2008-09 season.

Wichita Falls (TX) Kings: Proposed team for the 2008 inaugural season of the Independent Indoor Football Alliance.

Dan Krieger is the creator of "Leagues, Teams & Nicknames", which tracks the changes in league alignments, franchise movements and team nicknames in today's sports world. The latest 2008-09 version can be found at http://www.lulu.com/content/6218580. Dan can be contacted at dankrieger@leaguesteamsnicknames.com.

Note: OurSports Central no longer actively covers the American Basketball Association (ABA) as a professional league due in part to its inability to publish and play a schedule and the transitory nature of many of its teams. For information on professional minor leagues, please see OSC's basketball section.

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The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer(s), and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.


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