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Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report

by Dan Krieger
November 10, 2008 - Florida State League (FSL)

BASEBALL

American Association: The voters in the Houston suburb of Sugar Land recently approved moving forward on construction of an entertainment complex that will contain a new minor league ballpark. The owner of the AA's Grand Prairie AirHogs and El Paso Diablos has been involved in the proposed Sugar Land ballpark, so it is expected the city will most likely become an independent AA market. The Omaha Royals of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League had expressed interest in the Sugar Land market and could still consider a move there if a new ballpark plan does not work out in the Omaha area.

Florida State League: The Boston Red Sox recently announced a deal for a new spring training complex to be built in southern Lee County and the team has expressed interest in operating a High Class-A FSL franchise in the Fort Myers market. The FSL's current Fort Myers Miracle franchise controls the rights to the Fort Myers area and could hurt the chances of the Red Sox operating a second FSL team in this market. The Baltimore Orioles have been looking at Vero Beach and Sarasota for its spring training home and are also interested in one day operating an FSL team.

Pacific Coast League: The Omaha Royals of the Triple-A PCL appear to be working towards plans for a possible new ballpark in suburban Sarpy County, south of Omaha. If these plans do not work out, the Royals might consider a move to either Sugar Land (TX) or Vancouver (British Columbia).

BASKETBALL

American Basketball Association: The St. Louis Stunners and West Virginia Outlaws confirmed their teams will not be participating in the 2008-09 ABA season. Starting in 2009, the new Louisville Basketball League will become the first farm system to the ABA. The ABA also plans to add a new Louisville-based team in 2009.

United Basketball League: The UBL is preparing for its 2009 spring season and plans to have up to 16 teams. The UBL currently has 14 teams listed in a Northern Division and a Southern Division. The north has the Arkansas Warriors, Dallas Outlaws, Des Moines Tigers, North Missouri Hawks (Joplin), Oklahoma OnPoint Hoops, Twin City Ballers (Nashville) and Tyler (TX) Panthers. The south has the Central Texas Stars, Fort Worth Regulators, Louisiana Storm (Monroe), New Mexico Buffalos (Albuquerque), Springfield (MO) Thrills, Tulsa Thunderbirds and UBL Wranglers (Dallas).

United Regions Basketball League: The University City (TX) team that had been listed as the Warriors is now referred to as the University City Daystar Warriors.

Women's Blue Chip Basketball League: The semi-pro WBCBL has several "pending" teams listed for its upcoming 2009 summertime season. Some of these include the Atlanta Battlecats, Baton Rouge Heat, C-Port Lady Hornets, Carolina Courage, Chicago Showtime, Delaware Lady Destroyers, Phoenix Rockets, Tucson Dust Devils, Windy City Stars, Upstate (South Carolina) Warriors and Oklahoma Heat.

FOOTBALL

Women's Football Alliance: The new WFA plans to start its inaugural spring season in 2009 and now has at least 19 teams listed in 4 regional divisions-North East, Central East, South East and Pacific South West. Many of the teams have joined the WFA from other women's leagues like the Women's Professional Football League, Independent Women's Football League and National Women's Football Association. Independent Women's Football League: The IWFL recently announced three additional clubs-the Los Angeles Amazons, Chattanooga Locomotion and New York Nemesis-have joined the league from the 2008 National Women's Football Association. All three clubs are expected to be part of the 2009 IWFL spring/summer season. Chattanooga had been with the NWFA since that league's inaugural 2001 spring/summer season. The Los Angeles Amazons had been part of the Women's Professional Football League since 2002 before switching to the NWFA in 2008. The Albany-based New York Nemesis played its first full season in 2008 as part of the NWFA after relocating from Long Island.

Women's Professional Football League: The WPFL would normally be ending its regular season at this time, but it did not operate a 2008 season and many of its teams have left for other leagues. The WPFL was the only women's football league playing a late-summer to early-fall schedule, while most of the women's leagues play a spring /summer schedule. The WPFL started a revival of women's professional football with a barnstorming tour in 1999 and held an inaugural fall/winter season in 2000-01. The league switched to the late-summer/early-fall schedule in 2001 and played through the 2007 season.

Indoor Gridiron Football League: It looks as though the proposed IGFL will not start as planned in November 2008. The IGFL was billed as the first indoor football league to play a winter season. Two proposed teams were the Las Vegas Gamblers and the Snohomish County Stallions, based in Everett (WA).

HOCKEY

Central Hockey League: In recent voting, the residents of Yuma (AZ) rejected plans for a proposed new arena that would have become home to a new CHL franchise. The owner of the CHL, Global Entertainment, was involved in the arena project. The city council approved the arena plan early in 2008, but local opposition forced the plan to be put before voters.

Western Hockey League: The Regina Pats of the major-junior WHL could be considering a move out of this Saskatchewan city due to problems associated with its current home arena. If a move happened, the British Columbia cities of Victoria and Penticton have been mentioned as possible new locations.

National Hockey League: Businessmen in Quebec City are discussing the possibility of constructing a new arena that could eventually help return the NHL to the city. The NHL's Quebec Nordiques left for Denver and became the Colorado Avalanche for the 1995-96 season.

Canadian Women's Hockey League: The CWHL has started its second season with six teams-the Brampton Canadette-Thunder, Burlington Barracudas, Mississauga Chiefs, Montreal Stars, Ottawa Senators and Vaughn Flames. The Quebec Phoenix did not return for 2008-09 and the Ottawa team was called the Capital-Canucks last season. The league eliminated its two-division alignment this season.

Western Women's Hockey League: The WWHL has started its 2008-09 season with the same five teams as last season-the British Columbia Breakers (Abbotsford), Calgary Oval X-treme, Edmonton Chimos, Minnesota Whitecaps and Strathmore (Alberta) Rockies. The WWHL started play in 2004-05.

SOCCER

National Indoor Soccer League: The NISL has announced that the Springfield-based Massachusetts Twisters club from the American Indoor Soccer League will take the place of the Orlando Sharks for the NISL's inaugural 2008-09 season. The Sharks were forced to sit out the season due to problems with its home venue. The Twisters had been part of the AISL since its inaugural 2002-03 season. Another AISL club, the Rockford Rampage, also recently left the AISL to join the new NISL.

Major League Soccer: The owners of the Vancouver Whitecaps and the Portland Timbers, both currently members of the United Soccer Leagues First Division, are moving forward with plans to develop MLS-quality stadiums in their respective cities so they can be considered for the next round of MLS expansion expected late in 2008 or early in 2009.

United Soccer Leagues W-League: The USL W-League has announced the Rochester Rhinos Women club has been sold and will re-launch as the Western New York FC Pride in the 2009 Northern Division. The Pride will operate as a professional club in Rochester (NY) and will be affiliated with the league's FC Indiana Lionesses club. The W-League continues its presence in Rochester, which previously had the Ravens (1996-2005) and the Rhinos Women (2006-08).

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/2533047. Dan can be contacted at dankrieger@leaguesteamsnicknames.com.


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