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Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report

by Dan Krieger
May 19, 2008 - Frontier League (FL)

BASEBALL

• Atlantic Coast League: The independent Atlantic Coast League for Professional Baseball hopes to get off the ground in May 2009 with a minimum of six teams, eventually expanding to ten teams. The Winston-Salem-based league has targeted the entire Atlantic Coast region from the Northeast to the Southeast. The ACL would like to obtain the names of the South Coast League franchises, if and when that league officially folds, and move into some of those markets. The ACL has been having difficulty securing owners and financing for its proposed franchises.

• Frontier League: A group of investors is still trying to find a home for a new ballpark in McHenry County in the northwest Chicago suburbs that would become home to a Frontier League franchise for the 2010 season. Last year, plans for a ballpark on the campus of McHenry County College fell through. Some of the towns under consideration include McHenry, Huntley and Woodstock. The group is also considering some locations in neighboring Lake County.

• Pacific Coast League: With negotiations still ongoing for the Omaha Royals concerning a proposed downtown stadium, there is speculation that if the Royals were to move out of Omaha, the city would most likely not return as an affiliated Triple-A market. The independent American Association would be interested in Omaha as a rival for its Lincoln (NE) Saltdogs franchise. The Omaha market might be too far for the affiliated Texas League (Double-A) or Midwest League (Class-A). Vancouver (British Columbia), Tucson (AZ) and Sugar Land (TX) have been mentioned as possible relocation sites for the Royals PCL franchise, if it decides to move.

• International League: Minor League Baseball plans to meet to decide what level of team-Class-A, Double-A or Triple-A-will play in Richmond (VA) once the Richmond Braves move to Gwinnett (GA) after this season and hopes to have a team in the city by 2009. The International League does not have any current teams considering relocation and the city may have to consider a Double-A team.

BASKETBALL

• Premier Basketball League: The Halifax (Nova Scotia) Rainmen could join the PBL for the 2008-09 season because the National Basketball Association Development League (D-League) has decided not to consider the Rainmen as a potential expansion franchise until the 2009-10 season. The PBL is also considering the addition of a Detroit franchise, while the Jacksonville and Arkansas teams might not return for the 2008-09 season.

• American Basketball Association: The ABA has added a 2008-09 expansion team called the Detroit Zafir, which is Arabic for victorious. The ABA had the Detroit Dogs in its first two seasons (2000-02), the Detroit Wheels in the 2005-06 season, and the Detroit Panthers in 2006-07 and for a few games early in the 2007-08 season. The ABA's Las Vegas Aces franchise, formerly the Orlando Aces, is alive and plans to play in the 2008-09 season.

• World Basketball Association: It looks like the WBA, now referred to as the WBA Exposure League, has six teams ready for its upcoming 2008 season-Buford (GA) Majic, Cartersville (GA) Baseline Warriors, Decatur (GA) Court Kings, Memphis Blues, Mississippi Hardhats (Holly Springs) and the Tri-State Crusaders (Wise, VA). Teams planned for Macon (GA), Palm Coast (FL), Rome (GA) and Wilson (NC) are now listed as 2009 teams. The Buford Majic has posted a 10-game schedule running from late May to late June.

• International Basketball League: The IBL has two new teams listed as potential 2009 teams-the Olympia (WA) Reign and the West Coast Highflyers. Olympia plans to play three games in the 2008 IBL season. There was no information as to the location of the West Coast team.

• Continental Basketball Association: The CBA officially announced the move of the Atlanta Krunk Wolverines franchise to Augusta (GA) where the team will be called the Augusta Groove for the 2008-09 season. The league will also be holding a Caribbean Summit later this month to discuss possible CBA expansion into its proposed CBA Caribbean League.

• Women's Blue Chip Basketball League: The WBCBL has new teams called the New Orleans Hurricanes and Florida Heat now listed on its 2008 league alignment. The summer league serves as a showcase for women basketball players and plans to start its fourth season with over 30 teams.

• Americas Basketball International: The new ABI plans to establish clubs in North, Central and South America, as well as the Caribbean. The ABI plans to set up a relationship with the international basketball organization known as FIBA and its Americas League. The ABI has several United States cities listed as potential markets and has announced a proposed Birmingham (AL) Gladiators team. Birmingham is to host the ABI's Free Will Games later this month with the Gladiators and teams from China, Mexico and Chile.

FOOTBALL

• United Football League: The UFL has identified eight markets for its inaugural 2009 season and plans to announce the West Coast teams in the next month. The UFL planned to start as a competitor to the National Football League in August 2008, but that was pushed back to 2009. The league could start with only six teams its first season. Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Salt Lake City, Orlando and San Antonio are apparently under consideration for UFL teams.

• Canadian Football League: The granting of an Ottawa franchise to a group of investors came with the condition of having a suitable stadium. The group hopes that renovations to the city's stadium can start early next year, so an Ottawa team can begin play in 2010.

• Arenafootball2: A group of investors is reportedly trying to bring an af2 franchise to the city of Buffalo. The Buffalo Destroyers played in the Arena Football League from 1999 through the 2003 season before moving to Columbus (OH).

HOCKEY

• Mid-Atlantic Hockey League: The MAHL announced the addition of the Chelsea (MI) Tornadoes franchise for its 2008-09 season. Last season's Mon Valley Thunder will not be back for the league's second season. In addition to the Chelsea team, the league has five other teams called the Battle Creek (MI) Revolution, Indiana (PA) Ice Miners, Lake Erie (OH) Vikings, South Shore Shooters (Dyer, IN) and the Trenton (MI) Warriors.

• Eastern Professional Hockey League: The owner of the EPHL's Rome (NY) franchise operated the Rome-based Copper City Chiefs franchise in last season's North Eastern Hockey League, which shut down in mid-season. The EPHL team plans to allow the community to name the team, but it might end up being called the Copper City Chiefs.

• United States Hockey League: The Tri-City Storm of the Tier I Junior-A USHL has decided not to change its name to the Nebraska Storm for the 2008-09 season as previously announced. Feedback from the fans convinced the ownership to keep the Tri-City Storm name and colors.

• North American Hockey League: The Tier II Junior-A NAHL has officially added a team in Wenatchee (WA) for the 2008-09 season. The former Southern Minnesota Express, based in Owatonna, moved to the Detroit area for the 2008-09 season and that team will be called the Motor City Machine. The league will return to Southern Minnesota for 2008-09 with a team called the Albert Lea (MN) Thunder, based about 30 miles south of Owatonna. The league's Frisco-based Texas Tornado team will sit out the 2008-09 season while renovations are made to its arena.

SOCCER

• Major Indoor Soccer League: The MISL will likely lose the Stockton-based California Cougars, but hopes to add new teams, including another franchise in Mexico. The league reportedly has interest from a group in Louisville (KY), as well as other cities in the Midwest. The league would like to add a team in North Carolina, which would be between its current Baltimore and Orlando franchises.

• Major League Soccer: The league has expressed an interest in the Vancouver market and wants more information on proposed renovations to the city's B.C. Place Stadium that is used for the British Columbia Lions of the Canadian Football League. The MLS would still want the market to have a soccer-specific stadium and will determine whether the current stadium could serve as an interim venue for a proposed MLS expansion team.

OTHER

• Major Lacrosse League: The outdoor MLL started its 2008 season with the same ten teams as last year. The Philadelphia Barrage will not play at home during the season and will play 5 of its 12 games at neutral sites. The MLL started play in 2001 with six eastern teams and expanded with four western teams in 2006. The league eventually wants to add two more teams to the four-team Western Conference.


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Frontier League Stories from May 19, 2008


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