Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report
by Dan Krieger
November 9, 2009 - Northern League (NL)
Continental Baseball League: The CBL has announced it will have a 2010 franchise based in Las Cruces (NM) called the Las Cruces Vaqueros. The league plans to again have six teams in 2010. As of now, it looks like four teams-Alexandria Aces, Big Bend Cowboys, South Louisiana Pipeliners, and Texarkana Gunslingers-will return from last season and will be joined by Las Cruces and another team called the West Texas Road Hogs.
Northern League: The Northern League's new Lake County Fielders franchise, based in Zion (IL), has broken ground on its new stadium and plans to be part of the 2010 season. The team will play all road games for at least the first month of the season to allow for completion of its ballpark.
Florida Winter Baseball League: The four-team independent FWBL has started its inaugural 2009-10 season that runs from late October to late January. Current teams include the Los Diamantes de Miami (Miami Diamonds), Lake County Black Bears, Seminole County Naturals, and Space Coast Surge.
Continental Basketball League: The proposed CBL has announced the Wilmington (NC) Sea Dawgs franchise has joined the new league. The Sea Dawgs started out as an expansion team in the 2006-07 American Basketball Association season, but later switched to the Premier Basketball League for its past two seasons of 2008 and 2009.
International Basketball League: The Yamhill (OR) Highflyers and the Albany (NY) Legends have announced their 2010 IBL season schedules. Yamhill will play a full schedule in 2010 after playing a partial schedule in 2009. Yamhill County is located in the Portland area and the team is expected to play home games in the cities of Newberg and McMinnville. Albany is a new IBL team and its 20-game schedule includes games against another new IBL team called the Columbus (OH) Cavalry. Both Yamhill and Albany have games scheduled against a yet-to-be-name Yakima (WA) team.
American Basketball Association: The ABA has confirmed the Seattle Mountaineers will be part of its 2009-10 season. The Mountaineers have been members of the spring/summer International Basketball League since 2006. The Seattle IBL team played in the 2006 and 2007 seasons, sat out the 2008 season, returned in 2009, and is also listed as a current IBL team for the 2010 season. The ABA's Mississippi Blues franchise, which was based in Jackson last season, will play its 2009-10 home games in Long Beach (MS), just west of Gulfport. Last season's Nashville Broncs franchise changed ownership and was renamed the Music City Stars for 2009-10. The Stars' new owner also runs the ABA's Bluegrass Stallions franchise based in Lexington (KY) and plans to operate teams in Louisville and Dayton next season.
Eastern Basketball Alliance: The EBA's new Beltway Bombers franchise for 2010 will be based in Dumfries (VA), located about midway between Fredericksburg and Alexandria.
National Basketball Association: The city of Las Vegas has signed a negotiating agreement with a developer to study a new downtown arena project that could be used to lure a National Basketball Association franchise. The owners of the Sacramento Kings have various holdings in Las Vegas and have been unable to get a new arena built for their NBA franchise in Sacramento.
Indoor Football League: The Muskegon (MI) Thunder franchise has announced it will move to Grand Rapids (MI) as the West Michigan ThunderHawks for the 2010 IFL season. Muskegon had switched to the IFL from the Continental Indoor Football League for the IFL's inaugural season in 2009. The Grand Rapids Rampage had been part of the Arena Football League since 1998 and last played in the AFL's most recent season of 2008. The new owner of the Green Bay Blizzard, which was part of arenafootball2 from 2003 to 2009, has decided to place the franchise in the IFL rather than the new Arena Football 1 league.
Continental Indoor Football League: The CIFL's Rock River Raptors franchise based in Rockford (IL) could not come to an agreement on an arena lease and will not play in the upcoming 2010 season. The Rock River Raptors entered the former United Indoor Football in 2006 when the Huntsville-based Tennessee Valley Raptors moved to Rockford. After two seasons in the UIF, the Raptors switched to the CIFL for its 2008 season. New owners for the league's Fort Wayne franchise appear to be in place and a new team called the Fort Wayne Firehawks could be part of the 2010 season. The Fort Wayne Freedom went into receivership during the 2009 CIFL season and a transfer of assets to the new group is expected to take place in the near future.
Southern Indoor Football League: The Texas Hurricanes franchise, which finished its 2009 SIFL season based in College Station, plans to relocate to Beaumont (TX) for the 2010 season. Beaumont had been home to the Beaumont Drillers indoor team for five seasons (2003-07) in the defunct National Indoor Football League and one season (2008) in the American Professional Football League. The SIFL now has ten teams listed for its upcoming 2010 season. New to the team list are the Houston Lightning and the Florida Cobras (Tampa).
American Indoor Football Association: The future of the D.C. Armor in the AIFA is in doubt. The team played before very small crowds in its inaugural 2009 AIFA season and it is unknown whether the franchise will attempt to play a 2010 season in another venue or simply be discontinued.
Independent Indoor Football Alliance: The IIFA has announced an eighth team called the Texas Rose for its upcoming 2010 season. The new franchise will be based in the city of Tyler.
Regional Indoor Football League: The six-team RIFL, which plans to start its inaugural season in 2010, has two teams called the Allen (TX) Renegades and Palm Beach (FL) Wave that are scheduled to join for the 2011 season.
North East Professional Hockey League: The single-A NEPHL has started its inaugural 2009-10 season with only three teams after the New England Pharaohs (Salem, NH) and Twin City Yeti (Fitchburg/Leominster, MA) franchises were forced to suspend operations just prior to the start of the season due to the owner's health problems. A new team based in East Haven called the Connecticut C-Men was quickly formed to play a 2009-10 season with the remaining New York Aviators (Brooklyn) and Rhode Island Storm (Kingston) franchises.
United States Hockey League: The city of Dubuque (IA) recently broke ground on a new arena that is expected to become home to a Tier I Junior-A franchise in the USHL for its 2010-11 season. The city is currently home to the Dubuque Thunderbirds, a member of the lower level Tier III Junior-A Central States Hockey League. The city had a team called the Dubuque Fighting Saints in the USHL from 1980 to 2001, but this was prior to the USHL's being granted status as a Tier I junior league.
National Indoor Soccer League: After operating for one season as the NISL, the league has been re-branded and renamed the Major Indoor Soccer League for its upcoming 2009-10 season. The first indoor soccer league known as the MISL had operated from 1978 to 1992. The most recent version of the MISL disbanded in 2008 after seven seasons (2001-08). Three of those MISL teams went on to join the new NISL for its inaugural 2008-09 season. The new 2009-10 MISL will operate with five teams-the Baltimore Blast, Milwaukee Wave, Monterrey La RaZa (Mexico), Philadelphia KIXX, and Rockford Rampage.
United Soccer Leagues First Division: The USL First Division recently held a meeting in preparation for next season. The five First Division clubs that were part of the Team Owners Association (TOA), which has proposed forming a breakaway league for the 2010 season, were not represented. The TOA clubs from the 2009 USL First Division included the Vancouver Whitecaps, Montreal Impact, Carolina RailHawks, Miami FC Blues, and Minnesota Thunder. The TOA is expected to submit an application to the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) to form a new league. The remaining six First Division clubs from last season-the Austin Aztex, Charleston Battery, Cleveland City Stars, Puerto Rico Islanders, Portland Timbers, and Rochester Rhinos-plan to return to the USL for 2010. The USL First Division meeting also included previously announced expansion teams called the Tampa Bay Rowdies and FC New York, along with groups representing potential 2010 expansion teams in Baltimore, Detroit, Edmonton, and Ottawa. Tampa Bay had previously been associated with the TOA clubs. The USL First Division is also interested in the Atlanta and Birmingham markets.
Canadian Major Indoor Soccer League: The new CMISL franchise based in Prince George (British Columbia) was originally listed as the Prince George FC, but has now been named the Prince George Fury. The 2010 schedules for the Fury and the four other CMISL teams in Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary and Saskatoon will also include matches against U.S.-based teams in the Professional Arena Soccer League (PASL-Pro).
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%20Danemail@example.com.
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