Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report
by Dan Krieger
March 15, 2010 - ECHL (ECHL)
Peach State League: The proposed Peach State League, which plans to play all of its 2010 games in Macon (GA), has announced that the city's host team for 2010 will be called the Macon Pinetoppers. The Pinetoppers will play a 42-game schedule from June 19 to August 8, 2010, against yet-to-be-named "visiting" teams representing the nearby Georgia cities of Albany, Milledgeville, and Warner Robins.
American Association: Montgomery County officials signed an agreement with a developer who has plans to build a ballpark just north of Houston for a possible AA franchise that could start play in 2012. Another developer with ties to the Atlantic Baseball League previously announced plans for another proposed ballpark in Sugar Land, just southwest of Houston in Fort Bend County.
Can-Am League: Although the city of Ottawa signed an agreement with the semi-pro Intercounty Baseball League to have a 2010 team play in its local stadium, the Can-Am League plans to play some of its 2010 games in either Ottawa or Trois-Rivieres (Quebec). The Can-Am League is interested in placing franchises in these markets.
Premier Basketball League: The PBL plans to add a team called the South Coast United, based in Fall River (MA), for the 2011 season. The league hopes the new team develops rivalries with its other New England-based teams, the Manchester (NH) Millrats and Vermont (Barre) Frost Heaves.
International Basketball League: The IBL has announced a two-division alignment of teams for its 2010 season. The International Division will feature the British Columbia Titans, Bellingham Slam, Olympia Reign, Vancouver Volcanoes, Oregon Waves, Central Oregon Hotshots, China Shanxi Kylins, and Yamhill Highflyers. The Continental Division includes the Albany (NY) Legends, Edmonton Energy, Holland Blast, Battle Creek Knights, Kankakee County Soldiers, USA All-Stars, Tacoma Tide, and Los Angeles Lightning. The IBL will also have two future expansion teams, or "branding" teams, called the Arizona Red Rock Raptors and Nevada Pride playing a partial schedule in 2010. Albany is the only new IBL team for 2010, as Olympia and Yamhill played partial schedules in the 2009 IBL. Battle Creek had been part of the IBL since 2005, but played as part of the Premier Basketball League in 2009. The Japan Nippon Tornadoes, Seattle Mountaineers, Snohomish County Explosion, and Grand Rapids Flight did not for the 2010 season. The Elkhart Express planned to return to the IBL after sitting out the 2009 season, but the team has decided to join the American Basketball Association for its 2010-11 season.
National Athletic Basketball League: The NABL will operate its inaugural 2010 season from March to May, but plans to operate from February to April in 2011. The league's Portland team that was previously listed as BC of Portland is now listed as the Portland Showtime.
American Basketball Association: The ABA has announced that the Indiana Diesels, based in Columbus (IN), will play in the league's 2010-11 season. The Elkhart (IN) Express, which was part of the International Basketball League for three seasons (2006-08), has announced plans to be part of the 2010-11 ABA. A team called the South Valley Fever, which broke away from the ABA's Central Valley Dawgs, is considered an ABA exhibition team for the 2009-10 season, but plans to be a full member in 2010-11.
United States Basketball Association: After announcing last week that it would start with 12 teams, the USBA now states it will have 14 teams in 3 divisions. The Mobile Mariners reappeared in the Southern Division and the Louisville Locomotive reappeared in the Appalachian Division.
World Basketball Association Exposure League: The Cartersville (GA) Warriors have decided to sit out the upcoming 2010 season of the WBA Exposure League. The team has been part of the WBA for the past four seasons (2006-09).
Women's Blue Chip Basketball League: The semi-pro WBCBL is making plans for its sixth summertime season in 2010 and currently has 58 proposed teams listed in 10 divisions. Possible new teams for 2010 include the Las Vegas Heat, San Diego Sol, Upland Flyers, Tallahassee Thunder, Chicago Eagles, Rock County Robins (Janesville, WI), Columbia (MO) Reign, St. Louis Surge, Lady Metropolitan Allstars, Central VA All-Stars, SC Golden Eagles, Lexington Lightning, and Cleveland Crush.
United Football League: The UFL's new Hartford (CT) franchise, which played as the New York Sentinels in 2009, has been named the Hartford Colonials. The league's Sacramento franchise, which played in the San Francisco area as the California Redwoods in 2009, has six nickname choices for fan voting. These include the Condors, Miners, Pioneers, Redwoods, Senators, and Sting. League officials recently visited the Alamodome in San Antonio, as that market is one of four under consideration for possible expansion.
United National Gridiron League: The UNGL has reportedly announced the cancellation of its inaugural 2010 season and suspended league operations. The eight-team league started out as the United National Football League, but changed its name prior to a proposed 2009 springtime season that was pushed back until 2010. The UNGL had hoped to become a developmental league for the National Football League, Canadian Football League, and indoor football leagues.
Continental Indoor Football League: The Marion (OH) Mayhem has confirmed the team will again be part of the CIFL for its upcoming 2010 season, as a new ownership group has restarted the franchise. After the 2009 season, the previous Mayhem ownership tried to move the team to Columbus (OH) as the Aces, but those plans fell through. The Mayhem franchise was a charter member of the CIFL, which started play as the Great Lakes Indoor Football League in 2006 before changing to the CIFL the following season..
Regional Indoor Football League: The new RIFL has announced the league will play a short schedule in 2010 to help teams get organized financially. The league will re-launch in 2011 with all member teams playing full schedules.
Federal Hockey League: The proposed FHL plans to announce next week that its fifth franchise will be located in Broome County (NY), which is also home to the Binghamton Senators of the American Hockey League.
ECHL: The new Greenville (SC) franchise, which will be the relocated Johnstown (PA) Chiefs in the 2010-11 ECHL, plans to hold a name-the-team contest. The Greenville team will not be called the Chiefs, as that nickname is owned by the league and it wants to keep that historic nickname associated with Johnstown's hockey history. When the Charlotte Checkers announced plans to move up a level to the American Hockey League next season, another ownership group tried to revive the Checkers ECHL franchise as the San Diego Gulls for the 2010-11. Although this effort did not succeed, a San Diego ECHL team or possibly a San Diego AHL team could surface in the future. The ECHL had a previous San Diego Gulls franchise for three seasons (2003-06). That team played in the West Coast Hockey League from 1995 to 2003 and joined the ECHL when the two leagues merged for the 2003-04 season.
American Hockey League: Although it was speculated that the AHL's Portland Pirates franchise would be moving to Albany (NY) for next season, the Buffalo Sabres of the National Hockey League have extended its affiliation agreement with the Pirates that will allow the team to remain in Portland (ME).
Southern Professional Hockey League: The SPHL's new Augusta (GA) franchise will be called the Augusta River Hawks when it starts play in the 2010-11 season. Other nickname finalists included the Chill, Brigade, Snipers, and Patriots.
North American Hockey League: The new Austin (MN) team in the Tier II Junior-A NAHL has announced it will be called the Austin Bruins when its starts play in the 2010-11 season. The Arrows, Aces, Bandits, and Rivermen were also considered as possible nicknames.
United Soccer Leagues - First Division: The USL First Division is not playing as a separate Division II league in 2010, but plans to make a bid for Division II sanctioning in 2011. The FC New York club, which was originally scheduled to be a 2010 USL First Division expansion team, now plans to be part of the USL's bid for Division II sanctioning in 2011. Three USL First Division teams are playing as part of the 2010 United States Soccer Federation Division II League, but FC New York decided not to play in the USSF-sponsored league.
Professional Arena Soccer League: The PASL-Pro league has announced three new members for the 2010-11 season: the Tacoma Stars, Los Angeles Bolts, and Revolucion Tijuana. Tacoma has been part of the Premier Arena Soccer League (PASL-Premier) since 2003 and Los Angeles just completed its first PASL-Premier season. Tijuana is part of the Liga Mexicana de Futbol Rapido and played a seven-game series this season against the San Diego Sockers of the PASL-Pro league. The Sockers and the San Diego Boca FC of the outdoor National Premier Soccer League have formed a community soccer partnership.
United Soccer Leagues - W-League (Women's): The Long Island Rough Riders of the USL W-League announced the club has formed a partnership with the Sky Blue FC of Women's Professional Soccer for the areas of Nassau, Suffolk, and Queens. The W-League's Hudson Valley Quickstrike Lady Blues club also serves as an official development team for Sky Blue FC.
Major League Lacrosse: The Washington Bayhawks have been renamed the Chesapeake Bayhawks for the upcoming 2010 MLL outdoor season. The franchise was a charter MLL member in 2001 as the Baltimore Bayhawks and switched to the Washington name in 2007. The team is based in Annapolis (MD) and wanted a name that would encompass the entire region that includes Baltimore, Washington (DC), Northern Virginia, and the Eastern Shore.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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