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Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report

by Dan Krieger
September 24, 2007 - ECHL (ECHL)

BASEBALL

- Northern League: The Calgary Vipers and Edmonton Cracker-Cats are apparently serious in their consideration of a move to the Golden Baseball League. The teams are not happy with a 2008 Northern League schedule that has the two teams playing each other 32 times to avoid travel expenses. One rumor about the Northern League had two of the league's Chicago-based franchises considering a move to the Frontier League.

- Frontier League: The Frontier League's proposed franchise for Crystal Lake (IL) in McHenry County hit a snag after the city's planning and zoning commission voted not to recommend the McHenry Community College ballpark plan to the city council due to traffic and possible flooding issues. A group in the Bloomington/Normal (IL) area has been studying the possibility of a minor league baseball team operating in the area and working a deal for a ballpark at Heartland Community College. Apparently, the group has talked with the Frontier League about a possible franchise.

BASKETBALL

- National Basketball Association: The owner of the Seattle SuperSonics filed a demand for arbitration to get out of the final two years of the team's lease at KeyArena, possibly through a cash settlement with the city. The Seattle City Council recently passed an ordinance to bind the team to its current arena lease through 2010. The SuperSonics' owner also announced that the Seattle Storm of the Women's National Basketball Association will play its 2008 season in Seattle.

- American Basketball Association: The Bahama Pro Show professional basketball team will play in Miami as part of the ABA's 2007-08 season. The team will consist of players primarily from the Bahamas and other Latin American countries and apparently replaces the Miami Tropics franchise.

- United Basketball League: The general manager of the Wichita Wild, a recent addition to United Indoor Football, is trying to form a professional basketball franchise for the city's new 5,000-seat arena that should be ready late next year. He met with the owners of the Dodge City Legends and the Salina-based Kansas Cagerz, two teams that left the United States Basketball League after its recent 2007 season, to discuss possible league options for the teams. They have considered the possibility of joining the Texas-based United Basketball League, which has northern teams in Topeka (KS) and Springfield (MO), and plan to attend an upcoming league meeting.

- World Basketball Association: The WBA struggled through its shortened 2007 season, but the league's web site has eight teams listed for a proposed 2008 season. Apparently, the Floyd County Rage, Wilson Hardhats, Mississippi Miracles and Texas Tycoons are gone and previous teams called the Marietta Storm, Murfreesboro Musicians, Gulf Coast Bandits and North Mississippi Tornadoes are now listed as part of the 2008 lineup.

- Texas Basketball League: The semi-pro TBL has added expansion teams called the Nuggets and the Redhawks to its previously announced 12 teams and will operate with 14 teams in two divisions. The Redhawks played last year as the Arlington Redhawks in another league called the Texas Professional Basketball League, but left early in the season due to management problems. The TBL's inaugural season will run from early January to early May 2008 with each team playing a 36-game schedule. All games will be played at the Metro Academy of Math and Science in Arlington (TX).

FOOTBALL

- Arenafootball 2 (af2): The proposed Yakima (WA) franchise that was hoping to join the af2 for 2008 will have to wait until the 2009 season. Apparently, the potential investors did not provide all of the required documentation to the league in time. The Iowa Barnstormers will return to the af2 after being dormant since the end of the 2001 season-the franchise's only af2 season. An Arena Football League franchise called the Iowa Barnstormers played for six seasons (1995-2000) before dropping to the af2 for the 2001 season. Teams in Peoria and Biloxi have also been approved for the 2008 season.

- American Indoor Football Association: The AIFA recently completed its league meetings and confirmed it will add new franchises in Fort Myers (FL) and Fayetteville (NC) for 2008 called the Florida Stingrays and the Fayetteville Guard, respectively. The Baltimore Mariners replace last year's Baltimore Blackbirds franchise. The league was still negotiating with several other franchises, some of which could be on the West Coast.

- Intense Football League: The IFL is considering the addition of a franchise in Fairbanks (AK) to go with its Anchorage-based Alaska Wild team.

- United Indoor Football: Apparently, the owners of the dormant San Diego Shockwave, which played as part of the 2007 National Indoor Football League, are interested in joining the UIF, if the league undergoes some western expansion by 2009. The owners were considering the purchase of an existing UIF team that they could operate next season in its current city, as a way of becoming active in league activities.

- World Indoor Football League: The Daytona Beach Thunder has decided to leave the WIFL and the team is trying to join the af2. Before its first year in the 2007 four-team WIFL, the Thunder was part of the 2006 American Indoor Football League. A team under different ownership called the Dayton Beach Hawgs played the 2005 season as part of the National Indoor Football League. The WIFL had already announced the Tallahassee Titans, formerly of the AIFL, as its fifth team.

- National Women's Football Association: The Long Island-based New York Nemesis, originally announced as a new franchise for the fall-season Women's Professional Football League, has been granted a license in the spring-season NWFA. HOCKEY

- ECHL: The dormant Reno (NV) Raiders franchise could eventually get a new arena that the franchise needs to return to action. With the Sparks Marina area losing out to a downtown Reno location for a new Triple-A ballpark, the Sparks Marina developer was considering using that land for the construction of an arena that could become home to minor league hockey and indoor football teams. The owner of the Reno Raiders, an inactive ECHL franchise, has continued to pay annual membership fees since acquiring the franchise rights in 2000. Back then, the team was the dormant Reno Rage franchise in the West Coast Hockey League. The Rage ceased operations after the 1997-98 WCHL season. The current owner renamed the franchise, which then became part of the ECHL in a 2003 merger with the WCHL.

SOCCER

- Women's Soccer LLC: The new women's professional soccer league being developed by the Women's Soccer Initiative is currently referred to as the Women's Soccer LLC. The proposed league recently announced plans to start in 2009 with teams in Boston (Breakers), Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New Jersey/New York (Sky Blue), St. Louis and Washington (DC). A recent report on the Dallas franchise had the team listed as the Dallas Sting.

- United Soccer Leagues W-League: A USL First Division men's team called the Carolina RailHawks, based in Cary (NC), plans to add a women's W-League team in 2008. The area had a W-League team called the Raleigh Wings from 1998 to 2000. That team folded when the Cary-based Carolina Courage started play in the professional Women's United Soccer Association, which disbanded after the 2003 season.

OTHER

- National Lacrosse League: Local investors have completed a purchase of the San Jose Stealth and will keep the team in San Jose. Apparently, there was more than one bid to purchase the team and move it to another city. The Stealth has been part of the NLL since 2003 when the Albany Attack relocated to San Jose.

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 version can be found at http://www.lulu.com/content/774026. Dan can be contacted at dankrieger@leaguesteamsnicknames.com.


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ECHL Stories from September 24, 2007


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