Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report
by Dan Krieger
December 8, 2008 - Continental Basketball Association 1 (CBA 1)
Frontier League: The new Frontier League expansion team in Avon (OH) will be called the Lake Erie Crushers. The nickname pertains to the toughness, hard work and resilience as the character of the region. The Crushers will begin play in the 2009 season as part of the league's East Division.
Carolina League: The Winston-Salem Warthogs of the High Class-A Carolina League have been renamed the Winston-Salem Dash. The dash is in reference to one used in the city's name and also in reference to an element of speed. Other potential nicknames were Aviators, Racers, Rhinos and Wallbangers. The team had taken the Warthogs nickname back in 1995, but wanted a change as it plans to move into a new ballpark for the 2009 season.
Atlantic Baseball League: The ABL is working on a potential new ballpark project in Loudoun County (VA), just southeast of Leesburg in northern Virginia. If plans move forward, an expansion franchise is projected to start in 2010. Another proposed ballpark in the western Virginia town of Spencer has also been proposed as a potential home for an ABL franchise.
Pacific Coast League: The Omaha Royals of the Triple-A PCL have reached a preliminary agreement for construction of a new ballpark in suburban Sarpy County. The team's current home will be torn down once a new 24,000-seat stadium for the College World Series is ready in downtown Omaha. The Royals did not want to play in that large of a stadium and talked about moving out of the Omaha market. Potential relocation markets included Vancouver (British Columbia) and Sugar Land (TX), near Houston. A new Sugar Land ballpark has been approved, but it is now expected to become home to an independent team, most likely in the American Association.
West Coast League: After the WCL summer collegiate baseball league announced its new WCL Tri-State league last week, it has now announced the WCL Portland league for student-athletes in the Portland (OR) and Vancouver (WA) area. The WCL Portland will start its season in June 2009.
Women's National Basketball Association: The WNBA announced that the Houston Comets franchise has suspended operations and will not participate in the 2009 season. The Houston Comets were an original member of the WNBA when it started play in 1997. The league had taken over operation of the franchise when the owner put the franchise up for sale in August 2008. New ownership could not be arranged by a November 2008 deadline. All of the remaining 13 WNBA teams are expected to return in 2009.
Women's Eastern Basketball Alliance: The WEBA has announced its 2009 schedule that runs from January through March and features six teams. There are three returning teams called the Baltimore Starz, Delaware Lady Destroyers and Harrisburg Lady Horizon, while the three new teams are the New Jersey Thunder, Philadelphia Flames and Virginia Lady Stallions. Two previous new teams called the Maryland Lady Suns and Lancaster Lady Cougars are no longer listed.
Eastern Basketball Alliance: The EBA has announced its 2009 season that runs from January through March and now features 15 teams. The league increased in size once again with the addition of three more new teams called the NoVa Hawks, Virginia FastBreak and Washington Madness.
American Basketball Association: The Winston-Salem Storm ceased operations after only a few games were played in its 2008-09 season. The ABA has announced the addition of Hampton Roads (VA) as a 2009-10 expansion market. The league tried to place a team called the Hampton Roads Titans in its inaugural 2000-01 season, but the team moved to San Diego and became the WildFire prior to the start of the season. A 2006-07 ABA team called the Richmond Ballerz planned to move to Hampton Roads as the Virginia Ballerz for the 2007-08 season, but that team disbanded. The ABA and Continental Basketball Association agreed to inter-league play during the first part of their respective 2008-09 seasons.
Continental Basketball Association: The CBA and the American Basketball Association agreed to inter-league play during the first part of their respective 2008-09 seasons. Inter-league play will include only four of the five previously announced 2008-09 CBA teams, as it appears the Pittsburgh Xplosion may not be playing this season.
United Basketball League: The Tulsa Thunderdirds team is now listed in the UBL's Northern Division. A Little Rock-based team called the Arkansas Select is now listed as one of the league's "D-League Teams".
American Indoor Football Association: The Tupelo-based Mississippi MudCats announced the team will not be part of the 2009 AIFA season. The Augusta (GA) Colts previously announced they would sit out the 2009 season and its looks as if the Florida Stingrays and Huntington (WV) Heroes will not return in 2009. The new Greenville-based Carolina Force franchise that was announced last week is also being referred to as the South Carolina Force.
Arena Football League: Speculation that the AFL is in trouble surfaced after an investment group backed out on a potential ownership position in the league. Rumors had the league sitting out the 2009 season or at least playing with fewer teams.
Southern Indoor Football League: The Lafayette (LA) SIFL franchise will be called the Acadiana Mudbugs when the league starts its inaugural season in 2009. Other teams in Houma (LA), Houston and Pasadena (TX) are expected to announce their team nicknames soon. The two other first-year teams will be the Austin Turfcats and the Lake Charles-based Louisiana Swashbucklers.
United Football League: The UFL still plans to start its inaugural outdoor season with six teams in the fall of 2009 and plans to announce those teams next month. The league will have three eastern teams and three western teams, with another two to be added in its second season. Among the cities under consideration are Hartford (CT), Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Monterrey (Mexico), New York, Orlando, Salt Lake City and San Francisco. The UFL plans to play regular-season games on Thursday and Friday nights.
ECHL: The ECHL announced that the Augusta (GA) Lynx franchise has surrendered its league membership and suspended operations. The team had been battling financial problems over the past several weeks. The team's players became unrestricted free agents. The Lynx had joined the ECHL for the 1998-99 season when the Raleigh (NC) IceCaps, a 1991-92 expansion franchise, was sold and moved to Augusta.
Central Hockey League: The CHL expanded to Rapid City (SD) for 2008-09 with the Rapid City Rush, but the league would like to add other markets close to the Rush and has had conversations with the city of Sioux Falls (SD). The CHL plans to add teams in Independence (MO) and Allen (TX) next season and there could be another Colorado-based team in the future.
National Hockey League: The NHL wants to stage more games between North American and European club teams. The NHL's New York Rangers participated in the first Victoria Cup match in Switzerland this past October. The event was sponsored by the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), which brought the Rangers to play the European champion Metallurg Magnitogorsk of Russia. The IIHF has created a new Champions Hockey League, similar to those in soccer, which features 12 teams competing over five months in round-robin groups and an elimination stage to determine Europe's top club.
Women's Professional Soccer: After starting its inaugural 2009 season with seven teams, the WPS plans to add Atlanta and Philadelphia in 2010. The league is interested in growing to ten teams in 2010 and could add a tenth team in Cary (NC). The Cary-based Carolina Courage played in all three seasons (2001-03) of the previous women's pro soccer league called the Women's United Soccer Association.
United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League: The Minnesota Thunder of the USL First Division plan to operate a USL PDL team known as the Rochester (MN) Thunder for the 2009 season. The USL PDL also announced that a team called Forest City London (Ontario), or FC London, will play in the 2009 season.
Premier Arena Soccer League: The PASL-Premier has started its 12th season and currently has 51 teams in 9 divisions for the 2008-09 winter season. Eight of the PASL-Premier teams serve as developmental or reserve clubs for the eight teams in the Professional Arena Soccer League (PASL-Pro), which has already started its inaugural 2008-09 season. The PASL-Pro teams and PASL-Premier affiliates include: Stockton Cougars/Turlock Express, Wenatchee Fire/Wenatchee Fire Reserve, Colorado Lightning/Fort Collins Fury, Denver Dynamite/Dynamite Reserves, Detroit Waza/Waza FC Reserve, St. Louis Illusion/Swanner United FC, Texas Outlaws/Outlaws Reserve and 1790 Cincinnati/1790 Cincinnati Reserve.
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 email@example.com.
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