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Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report

by Dan Krieger
January 18, 2010 - Golden Baseball League (GBL)

BASEBALL

Golden Baseball League: The GBL has announced a ten-team alignment for its upcoming 2010 season. After originally announcing the team would not play in 2010, the St. George (UT) Roadrunners have come under new ownership and will be part of the season. St. George has been moved to the North Division, which will also include the returning Calgary Vipers, Chico Outlaws, Edmonton Capitals, and Victoria Seals. The GBL South Division has lost the Long Beach Armada for 2010, as the team was unable reach a lease agreement with the city. The GBL recently announced a new team from Mexico called the Cimarrones de Tijuana will be part of the 2010 season. Tijuana will be part of the South Division, which will include another new team called the Na Koa Ikaika Maui (Hawaii), along with the returning Orange County Flyers, Tucson Toros, and Yuma Scorpions.

New York-Penn League: The Oneonta Tigers of the Class-A NY-Penn League have been rumored to be the frontrunner for a NY-Penn League team moving to Norwich (CT), but it is uncertain whether this would be for the 2010 or 2011 season. The Jamestown Jammers and Vermont Lake Monsters have also been mentioned as possible relocation candidates in the past.

Southwestern Baseball League: The independent professional SBL plans to start play in June 2011 after baseball's annual player draft. The league has five markets that have been spoken for: El Centro (CA), Tecate (Baja California), Cananea (Sonora), Nogales (AZ), and Bisbee (AZ).

Macon-based Independent Baseball League: An investor plans to form a four-team independent baseball league that will play all games at one location in Macon (GA) for the 2010 season.

BASKETBALL

United States Basketball League: The USBL, which last played a spring/summer season in 2007, has announced plans to return in April 2010 with some prior teams and expansion teams.

American Basketball Association: The ABA announced the Dallas Generals team has suspended operations for the rest of the season, while the Akron Rise and Kansas City Stars are reportedly close to shutting down. The ABA has announced that the East Kentucky Energy and a Tampa-based team will be added for the 2010-11 season. Another proposed ABA team called the Indiana Rollers, which currently does not have a current home arena, has been playing some games in the 2009-10 season as an ABA travel team.

United Basketball League: The UBL plans to start its second official season in March 2010, about a month earlier than last season, and will end in June 2010. The UBL team list includes the five teams from 2009 - the Arkansas Warriors (Little Rock), Oklahoma Impact (Oklahoma City), Tulsa Tornadoes, Springfield (MO) Thrill, and Texas Wranglers (Dallas)-plus the new Mississippi (Jackson) Tornadoes.

Texas Professional Basketball League: The TPBL reports the Houston Gladiators will be part of its 2010 season. The Gladiators were part of the 2009 United Regions Basketball League.

Universal Basketball Association: The UBA, which evolved from the 2009 United Regions Basketball League, held tryouts last month for five teams to be part of a UBA Florida Division. This included the Brevard Lightning, Lakeland Spiders, Jacksonville Jets, Dayton Beach Flames, and Orlando Kings.

FOOTBALL

Arena Football One: The new 15-team AF1 has released a schedule and league alignment for its inaugural 2010 season. The American Conference will have a South Division consisting of the Alabama Vipers, Jacksonville Sharks, Orlando Predators and Tampa Bay Storm, while a South West Division will include the Bossier-Shreveport Battle Wings, Dallas, Oklahoma City Yard Dawgs, and Tulsa Talons. The National Conference features a Midwest Division of the Chicago Rush, Cleveland Gladiators, Iowa Barnstormers, and Milwaukee Iron, while the three-team West Division includes the Arizona Rattlers, Spokane Shock, and Utah Valley Thunder.

Arenafootball2: The Fresno-based Central Valley Coyotes will be shutting down for 2010, but plan to return in 2011. The Coyotes played six seasons (2004-09) as part of the af2 and were originally listed as a proposed 2010 team for the new Arena Football 1 league. The Coyotes apparently have two options, the Indoor Football League or the American Indoor Football Association. The city also had the Fresno Frenzy for one af2 season in 2002.

Indoor Football League: The IFL announced that the El Paso Generals, a 2009 IFL expansion franchise, will not play in 2010. The team's owner has been trying to sell the team, so it could return in 2011. The Odessa Roughnecks came under new ownership and the team has been renamed the West Texas Roughnecks. The Green Bay Blizzard, which came to the IFL from last season's arenafootball2, announced the team will keep the "Blizzard" nickname.

Southern Indoor Football League: It is still uncertain whether the SIFL will have the Albany (GA) Panthers as part of the upcoming 2010 season, but the league has six other teams that appear ready to start. These include the Augusta (GA) Mavericks, Columbus (GA) Lions, Greenville (SC) Force, Houston Lightning, Lafayette (LA) Wildcatters, and Louisiana Swashbucklers (Lake Charles). The league has confirmed that Houma, formerly the Conquerors, and the Beaumont-based Texas Hurricanes will not be part of the 2010 season.

American Indoor Football Association: The Erie (PA) RiverRats franchise, which recently came under new ownership, has been renamed the Erie Storm for the upcoming 2010 AIFA season.

Premier Indoor Football League: The new semi-pro PIFL plans to start play in May 2010 with seven teams called the Delmarva Bayriders, East Coast Executioners, Maryland Monsoon, New York Empires (Staten Island), Pennsylvania Prestige, Virginia Velocity, and Washington D.C. Federals. The Bayriders plan to play one game this summer against the North Texas Crunch of the Texas-based Independent Indoor Football Alliance. The PIFL was also developing a lower-level PIFL2.

HOCKEY

All American Hockey League: The AAHL has officially announced the Madison (WI) Ice Muskies franchise has ceased operations. This leaves the league with four teams to complete the 2009-10 season-the Chi-Town Shooters, Battle Creek Revolution, Evansville IceMen and the Muskegon-based West Michigan Blizzard. The AAHL started the 2009-10 season with six teams, but the Detroit Hitmen and Chicago Blaze folded last month and West Michigan was added.

Federal Hockey League: The proposed FHL has announced its Rome (NY) franchise will be called the Rome Frenzy when the league starts play with four teams in November 2010. The league previously announced names for two other teams called the Danbury (CT) Whalers and Thousand Island (NY) Privateers. A fourth team is planned for Ottawa. The city of Rome recently had a pro hockey team called the Copper City Chiefs in the defunct North Eastern Hockey League, which suspended play midway through its 2007-08 season. A Rome-based Copper City Chiefs franchise was originally announced for last season's Eastern Professional Hockey League, but the owner decided to pull out.

Central Hockey League: The owner of the Amarillo (TX) Gorillas franchise in the CHL has stated that the team will finish the 2009-10, but playing beyond this season is uncertain. The team ranks last in average per-game attendance this season. The Gorillas' owner also operates the Amarillo Dusters in the Indoor Football League and owns the dormant Austin Ice Bats in the CHL.

North East Professional Hockey League: The two remaining NEPHL teams, the Brooklyn-based New York Aviators and the Rhode Island Storm, faced off in a best-of-three playoff for the league championship last week with New York winning the league championship. With the NEPHL ending its season early, the Aviators plan to play some "non-league" games through the month of February against the Connecticut C-Dogs, the independent Long Island Stingrays, and other local teams.

SOCCER

United Soccer Leagues W-League: The New Jersey Rangers SC has officially announced it will operate a women's club in the 2010 USL W-League. A New Jersey Rangers team has been part of the men's USL Premier Development League for the past two seasons (2008-09), while a women's team has played the past two seasons in the USL Women's Super-20 League, a level below the W-League.

United States Soccer Federation Division II League: The proposed 2010 USSF Division II pro soccer league will include nine teams that plan to eventually be part of the North American Soccer League and three teams that have maintained an allegiance to the United Soccer Leagues. The NASL teams include the Carolina RailHawks, Crystal Palace Baltimore, Miami FC Blues, Montreal Impact, Rochester Rhinos, AC St. Louis, Tampa Bay Rowdies, Vancouver Whitecaps, and a yet-to-be-named Minnesota team. The USL teams include the Austin Aztex, Portland Timbers, and Puerto Rico Islanders. The new Minnesota team has announced a name-the-team contest with six possible choices-Minnesota Voyageurs, NSC Minnesota (National Sports Center), FC Minnesota, Minnesota United, Minnesota Northern Lights, and Northstar FC. The Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps will move up to Major League Soccer (Division I) in 2011. The Whitecaps had announced a team called the Edmonton Drillers would serve as its Division II development team starting in 2011. The NASL plans to add an Atlanta-based team in the future, while the USL wanted to add the FC New York club as an expansion team.

OTHER

National Pro Fastpitch: The NPF has announced its 2010 schedule will include only four teams-the returning Akron Racers, Chicago Bandits, and Florida Pride, along with new Tennessee Diamonds. The Rockford Thunder and Philadelphia Force did not return from 2009, but Tennessee took over Rockford's roster for 2010.

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 dankrieger@leaguesteamsnicknames.com.

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Golden Baseball League Stories from January 18, 2010


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