Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report

by Dan Krieger
May 25, 2009 - arenafootball2 (af2)

BASEBALL

Frontier League: The new Frontier League franchise based in the Bloomington/Normal (IL) market will be called the Normal CornBelters. Construction on a new ballpark is expected to begin soon so the franchise can start play in the 2010 season. Some of the other team nickname choices were Coal Bears, Nutz and Nighthawks.

Eastern League: The sale of the Double-A Eastern League Connecticut Defenders to a group hoping to move the franchise from Norwich (CT) to Richmond (VA) has been put on hold. The new owners hope to have the franchise playing in Richmond's existing stadium by the 2010 season, while working out financing for construction of a new stadium in downtown Richmond.

Super Independent Baseball: The proposed Super Indy league, which plans to start regular-season play in May 2011, has announced it will operate the first annual Super Independent Baseball Fall League from September 20 to October 11, 2009. The 18-game "season" will be held in the Chicago area and provide exposure for prospective independent baseball players that have had their college eligibility expire.

BASKETBALL

America Basketball Association: The ABA's Baltimore-based 2009-10 expansion team will be called the Maryland Marvels. A team called the Dallas Generals plans to be part of the 2009-10 season. The Salem (VA) Mustangs team, which played six games in the 2009 season of the Eastern Basketball Alliance, is holding tryouts in preparation for play in the 2009-10 ABA season. The league's list of 2009-10 expansion teams includes a team called the Delta King Ballers of Stockton (CA).

Liga Nacional de Baloncesto Profesional (LNBP): Mexico's top professional basketball league, the LNBP, reports that the Soles de Mexicali will participate in 2009 after originally announcing the team was out for 2009. New teams for the 2009 season are La Jaiba Brava de Tampico-Madero, Libertadores de Queretaro and Aguilas Negras de Irapuato. The Estrellas Indebasquet Distrito Federal will not be returning, but a team called the Pilares Distrito Federal has been proposed to take its place in Mexico City.

Premier Basketball League: The PBL is reportedly looking at Las Vegas, Omaha, Scranton (PA), Albany (NY), Long Island (NY), California and Oklahoma for possible new teams in 2009-10.

United Basketball League: In addition to the five "UBL Teams" playing a full schedule in 2009, the league now has its other teams listed as "D-League Teams", or developmental teams. The Denton Hustlers are now listed as one of these other teams.

FOOTBALL

Continental Indoor Football League: The CIFL has apparently had to step in with financial assistance to assure the Fort Wayne Freedom complete some of its 2009 schedule. The franchise has suffered from a heavy debt load and poor attendance.

Arenafootball2: The af2 insists that it has not taken over the operations of the Quad City Steamwheelers from the current financially-troubled franchise operator. The league again insists the Steamwheelers will complete its 2009 season with new local ownership possibly taking over for the 2010 season.

United Football League: The proposed UFL has announced the coaching staffs for its four teams in Las Vegas, New York, Orlando and San Francisco that will be part of the inaugural season this fall.

HOCKEY

Southern Professional Hockey League: The investor trying to bring the new Pensacola Ice Flyers franchise into the SPHL for 2009-10 might wait until the 2010-11 season to start play. An arena lease has not yet been signed and there are concerns about obtaining adequate dates and enough sponsors for the upcoming season. The SPHL has already announced new teams in Biloxi (MS) and Lafayette (LA) for 2009-10, but an attempt to place an expansion team in Augusta (GA) for 2009-10 has not happened. The Augusta Lynx of the ECHL shut down during the 2008-09 season and the SPHL plans to wait until at least until 2010 to try to place another team in that market.

International Hockey League: Since the Dayton Bombers of the ECHL announced they would be sitting out the 2009-10 season, IHL officials have apparently held discussions with arena management in Dayton (OH) for a possible expansion franchise.

ECHL: The Las Vegas Wranglers have stated that the team will return for the 2009-10 ECHL season despite rumors that the franchise was relocating, folding or being sold.

Eastern Junior Hockey League: The owners of the Tri-State Selects (Oaks, PA) in the Junior-B level Empire Junior Hockey League have purchased the Boston Junior Shamrocks in the Tier-III Junior-A EJHL. The EJHL team will be relocated to the Philadelphia area and renamed the Philadelphia Revolution for the 2009-10 season.

Western States Hockey League: The New Mexico Renegades (Rio Rancho) will start play in the 2009-10 season of the Tier III Junior-A WSHL. The team played its inaugural season last year as the Texas Renegades based in North Richland Hills (TX).

International Junior Hockey League: The IJHL will add the new Hackettstown (NJ) Harleys to its Super Elite Division (A-Level) for the 2009-10 season.

SOCCER

Women's Professional Soccer: The Philadelphia WPS franchise that will start play in the 2010 season has selected Philadelphia Independence as the team's name. The nickname is associated with the city's history, character and spirit that go along with the name. The league is also hoping to add an Atlanta-based franchise for its second season in 2010.

Premier Arena Soccer League (PASL Premier): The men's summertime PASL Premier now has the Denver Dragons added to Flight C and the California Cougars Premier club is listed as the Cabernet Pumas in Flight B. In the women's summertime division, the Turlock Express is listed as the Silverline Express and the Azteca Women have been added as a complement to the men's Estadio Azteca All Stars.

Xtreme Soccer League: The XSL has formed a partnership with the Chicago area's Ultimate Soccer League to act as a developmental indoor league for the XSL. The Wave Armada and Tormenta de Chicago, the developmental squads for the XSL's Milwaukee Wave and Chicago Storm, will join the USL for its fall season. The USL started play in February 2009 with five teams-Lake County Tsunami, Inter Chicago, Rockford Victory, Deportivo Indiana and Grand FC Mustangs-playing a ten-week season. The USL summer season recently started and runs through July. A club called Cruz Azul Chicago has replaced Inter Chicago for the summer season.

United Soccer League Premier Development League: The Schulz Academy, a longtime member of the USL's Super-Y (Youth) League, has acquired the PDL franchise rights for the Fort Lauderdale (FL) market where it will start play in 2010. A team name has not yet been announced. The PDL recently started its 2009 season with 68 teams split into 4 conferences and 2 divisions per conference.

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.%20%20Dan%20can%20be%20contacted%20at%20dankrieger@leaguesteamsnicknames.com.

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