Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report

by Dan Krieger
July 13, 2009 - American Hockey League (AHL)

BASEBALL

United League Baseball: The Tijuana Potros will not be joining the ULB for the second half of its 2009 season after all. The Tijuana club was unable to raise the funds needed to join the ULB. The ULB plans to expand next season by at least one new team based near downtown Dallas.

National Alliance of College Summer Baseball: The NACSB is an association of eight wood-bat leagues that are certified by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). These leagues are considered the highest level of pre-professional amateur baseball and must adhere to strict rules in order to maintain certification and receive financial support from Major League Baseball through the NCAA. For 2009, the eight NACSB leagues included the 10-team Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League, the 10-team Cape Cod League, the 5-team Florida Collegiate Summer League, the 12-team Valley Baseball League, the 7-team Southern Collegiate Baseball League, the 14-team New York Collegiate Baseball League, the 10-team Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League and the 11-team Prospect League, which evolved from last season's Central Illinois Collegiate League.

BASKETBALL

American Basketball Association: The Mississippi Blues ABA franchise plans to relocate from Jackson to Biloxi for its second season in 2009-10. The Mississippi Blues have not yet appeared on the league's list of 2009-10 teams.

Kentucky Basketball Developmental League: The KBDL management has reached an agreement with the American Basketball Association to operate an ABA franchise called the Crusaders. According to the KBDL site, the Crusaders will be based in Louisville and play all of its games on the road. The Crusaders will play a regular season schedule and will be used as a fill in for other teams, when needed. The KBDL will also take over operation of the ABA's minor league called the Louisville Basketball League. The LBL previously had a team called the Kentucky Travelers as its representative in the ABA.

Southeastern Exposure Basketball League: The summertime SEBL plans to start its 2009 season this week with a schedule that runs to mid-August. The SEBL will feature 16 "Metro A" teams, 8 "City B" teams, and a 6-team women's division. Last year's "Metro A" champion, the Atlanta Speedboys, recently announced the team would not be able to participate in the 2009 season.

San Francisco Pro-Am: The summertime San Francisco Pro-Am league has started its 2009 season that runs from mid-June to early August. The league has been around since 1979 and provides a summertime outlet for pro and college basketball players to enhance their skills and gain exposure for scouts. The organization started a women's league in 1995. The men's division has eight teams and the women's division has seven teams for the 2009 season.

Liga Nacional de Baloncesto Profesional (LNBP): The LNBP franchise in Nuevo Laredo for the upcoming 2009-10 season will be called the Valores de Nuevo Laredo. The city's LNBP team for the past two seasons (2007-09) was the Venados.

United States Basketball Association: According to league owner Duane Jenkins, an investment group from Canada has made an offer to purchase the proposed USBA, along with its 18 current teams and all other future league expansion teams. The league plans to start play in April 2010.

FOOTBALL

Indoor Football League: The majority owner of the IFL's Anchorage-based Alaska Wild is looking to sell his interest in the club due to financial losses. If new investors are not found, it could be the end of the three-year-old franchise. Next season, the league plans to add a third Alaskan franchise in nearby Wasilla called the Arctic Predators. This could help with travel costs for the Alaskan teams.

Arenafootball2: The future of the Albany Firebirds in the af2 is uncertain due to continuing financial losses and attendance concerns. In an effort to stimulate fan interest for the 2009 season, the team changed its name from the Conquest to the Firebirds, which was the name of the Arena Football League team that played in the city from 1990-2000.

American Indoor Football Association: The New Mexico Wildcats have struggled through its second season in 2009 with a poor record and low attendance. This has led to speculation the team might not be back in 2010.

Southern Indoor Football League: Due to scheduling and indoor turf issues, the Palm Beach Makos have cancelled a planned 2009 summer exhibition season with several other Florida-based teams like the Tampa Bay Tigers, Florida Punishers and Florida Scorpions, a 2009 member of the indoor American Professional Football League. The Makos hoped to use the exhibition schedule to prepare for league play in the spring of 2010. Palm Beach hopes to join other Florida-based indoor teams that are expected to join the SIFL next season.

World Football League: The semi-pro WFL plans to open a women's division in 2010. The WFL is in its second season of semi-pro football with 16 teams in the states of Texas, Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Arkansas. The WFL is part of the United Football Teams of America (UFTA), which dropped plans earlier this year to start up a new World Indoor Football League.

HOCKEY

Central Hockey League: The CHL has announced its 15 teams for the 2009-10 season will be split into a 7-team Northern Conference and an 8-team Southern Conference. The league has eliminated the divisional alignments within the conferences. The CHL operated with 16 teams last season, but has since lost the Oklahoma City Blazers, New Mexico Scorpions and Rocky Mountain Rage. The Allen Americans and Missouri Mavericks were added as expansion teams for 2009-10.

International Hockey League: After rumors that the Flint Generals would not return, the IHL has confirmed the Generals will be part of the upcoming 2009-10 season that will feature seven teams. The league operated with six teams last season, but lost the Kalamazoo Wings to the ECHL and added the Dayton Gems and Quad City Mallards as expansion teams.

American Hockey League: The AHL has confirmed the Des Moines-based Iowa Chops franchise has been involuntarily suspended for the 2009-10 season due to reported violations of league by-laws. The league's recently announced 2009-10 alignment features 29 teams, but does not include the Chops in the West Division. The new Texas Stars team is now listed in the West Division. The AHL had two team relocate for 2009-10-the Quad City Flames became the Abbotsford Heat and the Philadelphia Phantoms became the Adirondack Phantoms. The Edmonton Oilers of the National Hockey League have confirmed interest in placing its AHL affiliate in Oklahoma City for the 2010-11 season. The owners of the Oklahoma City Blazers recently pulled the club out of the Central Hockey League and filed paperwork to obtain an AHL franchise. The Oilers have one year remaining on an AHL affiliation contract with the Springfield (MA) Falcons.

Eastern Professional Hockey League: The EPHL claims the league will return for a second season and will be announcing its 2009-10 teams in the near future, even though the league's commissioner recently announced his departure.

United States Hockey League: The Tier-I Junior-A USHL has announced its 2009-10 alignment will feature a 7-team East Division and a 7-team West Division, as the league expands to 14 teams. The new Youngstown (OH) Phantoms and the United States National Team Development Program's "Team USA", based in Ann Arbor (MI), will join the East Division. The Des Moines Buccaneers have been switched from the East to the West.

SOCCER

Canadian Soccer League: The 10-team CSL has started its 2009 season and is again operating a Reserve Division, which was started last season. The 2009 CSL Reserve Division features seven teams-Brampton Dixie Lions, Elite Italia FC, Italia Woodbridge Strikers, North York Astros II, Portugal TE, Toronto FC Academy II and Unionville Italia FC.

Xtreme Soccer League: The owner and primary investor of the Milwaukee Wave has pulled out of the club for financial reasons after the XSL announced it was not moving forward with a 2009-10 season. Efforts are under way to try to save the franchise, but new ownership would need to be found quickly. If that happens, the National Indoor Soccer League has stated it would try to facilitate a move of the Wave to the NISL.

OTHER

World TeamTennis: The month-long 2009 WTT season is underway with ten teams split into two conferences. The Eastern Conference includes the Boston Lobsters, New York Buzz (Albany), New York Sportimes (NYC), Philadelphia Freedoms and Washington (DC) Kastles, while the Western Conference has the Kansas City (MO) Explorers, Newport Beach (CA) Breakers, Sacramento Capitals, St. Louis Aces and Springfield (MO) Lasers. The WTT had 11 teams last season, but the Delaware Smash folded.

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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