Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report
by Dan Krieger
April 27, 2009 - Major League Soccer (MLS)
Frontier League: The proposed 2010 Frontier League expansion franchise for the city of Normal (IL) has released a list of finalists for possible team nicknames. The list includes the Normal Nutz, NightHawks, CornBelters and Coal Bears.
United League Baseball: The new ULB franchise based in Robstown (TX), near Corpus Christi, will be called the Coastal Bend Thunder. The Thunder will be one of six teams in the ULB when it returns for the 2009 season in June. This is the third franchise and fourth different league for Robstown. The Coastal Bend Aviators played in the Central Baseball League (2003-05) and the American Association (2006-07). Last season, the Corpus Christi BeachDawgs were part of the Continental Baseball League. The ULB ownership has also announced plans for a Dallas-based franchise that will play in a proposed new downtown stadium that is expected to be completed in time for the 2010 season.
Continental Baseball League: The new South Louisiana Pipeliners team is an independent prospect team that is handpicked by various scouts to develop a "pipeline" for affiliated and other professional baseball leagues. The team is not currently a member of any league, but will compete in a 60-game CBL schedule for 2009. The Pipeliners will be based out of a training center in Morgan City (LA)
Global Professional Basketball League: The newly proposed GPBL plans to be a premier developmental league with teams playing nationwide by 2010. The Canton-based GPBL plans to start in December 2009 with teams playing a 32-game schedule. So far, only Lancaster (PA) is listed as a GPBL city.
Women's Blue Chip Basketball League: A team called the Las Vegas Pride is the newest member of the WBCBL. A previous "pending" WBCBL team for 2009 had been listed as the Las Vegas Stars. A partial-schedule men's team in the 2009 International Basketball League was originally listed as the Las Vegas Pride, but switched to being called the Nevada Pride.
America Basketball Association: The owner of the Hope Trail Blazers, based in the Norfolk/Hampton Roads (VA) area, has decided not to pursue an ABA expansion franchise for the 2009-10 season. The team, also referred to as the Tru Hope Trail Blazers, plans to play an independent schedule in the upcoming season as it looks for another league. The Hope Trail Blazers no longer appear on the 2009-10 expansion team list. Also missing from the list are the Alaska Dream, Montreal Matrix, and proposed teams for Boston, Fresno and Santa Monica. The Charlotte 2009-10 expansion team will be called the Crossovers. Several other teams are now missing from the 2008-09 ABA divisional alignment. The Kansas City Spartans are no longer listed in the Southeast; the Los Angeles Push is gone from the Northwest; the West Virginia Wild is gone from the Northeast; and the Arizona Rhinos are no longer listed in the Southwest.
Arena Football League: The Los Angeles Avengers of the AFL have folded operations. The team's owner reportedly did not agree with a reorganization plan being discussed by the league. The Avengers joined the league as an expansion franchise in the 2000 season. The AFL announced finalization of a revitalized business model that will enable the league to return for the 2010 season. Details of the plan will be announced over the next two weeks.
Independent Indoor Football Alliance: The semi-pro IIFA has started its second season with only six teams, but it currently has three teams listed as 2010 expansion teams. One of those is the Bay Area Buccaneers franchise, based in Pasadena (TX), which was part of the 2008 season. The other two expansion teams are the Arlington (TX) Aviators and the Tarrant County Diablos from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
American Professional Football League: The Palm Beach Makos team will apparently not be part of the 2009 season in the semi-pro indoor APFL. The Makos had planned to be part of the APFL with a few other Florida-based teams, but will now play an exhibition schedule in 2009 and try to secure a permanent home indoor facility for 2010. The team's first game is next month with the Sarasota-based Florida Scorpions of the APFL.
ECHL: The owner of the Dayton Bombers franchise, which will sit out the 2009-10 season, has announced plans to be presented at the ECHL league meetings in June that should help the team return for the 2010-11 season. One aspect of the plan is a season-ticket drive.
North American Hockey League: The owner of the NAHL's Topeka RoadRunners has been looking to sell the franchise and it is uncertain, even if new ownership does come forward, whether or not the team would remain in Topeka.
United Junior Hockey League: The UJHL plans to add six new teams for its second season of 2009-10 to include the Albany Americans, Buffalo Stampede, Springfield (MA) Indians, Lehigh Valley Centennials, Johnstown (PA) Jets and Troy (OH) Bruins. As of now, it appears that the Philadelphia Thunder and Wooster Oilers will be the only returning teams of the nine teams that participated in the 2008-09 season.
Major League Roller Hockey: The MLRH Pro Tour stop in Detroit last weekend featured the Boston Storm, Florida Fusion, Buffalo Wings, Washington Power and Michigan Thunder playing two games apiece. The co-ed and made-for-TV Slamm Hockey League featured the Quebec Mistral, New York Flash, Miami Mambo and Washington Spin playing three games apiece.
United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League: The Hollywood United FC recently merged with the local Los Angeles Blues soccer club and has acquired the PDL franchise rights of the San Fernando Valley Quakes. The club will operate a 2009 PDL team called the Hollywood United Hitmen. The LA Blues are the men's side of the women's Pali Blues club in the USL W-League.
Major League Soccer: An investment group wants to create a development near the site of Ottawa's former CFL stadium in exchange for the city's funding the renovation of the stadium as home for a new CFL franchise. It appears the city will move forward on this proposal, which would most likely kill any support for a proposed soccer-specific stadium in the suburbs for an MLS expansion franchise.
Professional Arena Soccer League: The Fort Collins-based Colorado Lightning of the PASL Pro league is selling its indoor turf and has reportedly folded after the league's inaugural season.
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 email@example.com.
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