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Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report

by Dan Krieger
May 3, 2010 - ECHL (ECHL)

BASEBALL

Atlantic League: The Atlantic League has started its 2010 season with the same eight teams as last season. The Freedom Division has the Newark Bears, York (PA) Revolution, Lancaster (PA) Barnstormers, and Somerset (NJ) Patriots. The Liberty Division includes the Bridgeport (CT) Bluefish, Camden (NJ) Riversharks, Long Island Ducks, and Southern Maryland Blue Crabs. Loudoun County (VA) recently passed two resolutions for financing of additional aspects of a new development that is expected to include a ballpark for a future Atlantic League franchise.

Frontier League: The Frontier League's new Oakland County (MI) Cruisers franchise will be forced to play some 2010 home games in Livonia (MI), Ypsilanti (MI), and at Oakland University. Construction on the team's proposed new ballpark in Waterford Township has not started and financing for the project is in doubt. The proposed franchise played as a road team in 2008 and was the Midwest Sliders of Ypsilanti in 2009 as it waited for construction of its home ballpark.

Mexican Baseball League (Liga Mexicana de Beisbol): Due to labor issues at its ballpark, the Oaxaca Guerreros have had to postpone and move some Mexican League home games. The league threatened to revoke the franchise if it could not resolve the issue or move the team to another city. The Mexico City Diablos Rojos team plans to play three home series this month in the city of Aquascalientes due to other events scheduled for its home stadium. Aquascalientes last had a Mexican League team called the Rieleros that moved to Nuevo Laredo for the 2008 season.

New England Collegiate Baseball League: The NECBL's Manchester (CT) Silkworms team has moved to Laconia (NH) to become the Laconia Muskrats for the 2010 season. The Lowell (MA) All-Americans team plans to play three games in Nashua (NH) during the 2010 season. Nashua is without a baseball team since its previous Can-Am League pro team called the American Defenders of New Hampshire moved to Pittsfield (MA) for the 2010 season.

BASKETBALL

Premier Basketball League: The Southeast Texas Mavericks, which were part of the American Basketball Association last season, have apparently expressed interest in joining the PBL for its 2011 season. The PBL's Manchester (NH) Millrats franchise is reportedly considering a move to St. John (New Brunswick) for next season.

American Basketball Association: The ABA has announced two new teams-the Indianapolis Drive and the Savannah Storm-that plan to start play in the 2010-11 season. The ABA had the Indiana Legends team based out of Indianapolis for the league's first two seasons (2000-02). Another ABA team called the Indiana AlleyCats was originally planned for Indianapolis, but ended up playing the 2005-06 season in Anderson (IN). Various proposed Savannah teams called the Pride, Kings, and Prowl tried to start up in 2008 and 2009. The proposed Savannah Prowl eventually moved to the Atlanta area and played one game as the Georgia Prowl in the ABA's 2009-10 season. A team logo for the Tampa Sharks is now listed in the league's Southeast Division. The ABA also has the new Norfolk Sharks team in the Mid-Atlantic Division.

Eastern Basketball Alliance: The EBA plans to move into the Ohio Valley for its upcoming 2010-11 season and plans to hold a basketball exposure camp there later this month.

Women's Blue Chip Basketball League: The New York City WBCBL team is holding tryouts for its 2010 season. The team will apparently have a different name than last season's New York City Exodus.

FOOTBALL

United Football League: The UFL has announced its 2010 regular-season schedule that will feature five teams: the returning Florida (Orlando) Tuskers and Las Vegas Locomotives (Locos); the Sacramento Mountain Lions, which are the relocated California (San Francisco) Redwoods; the Hartford Colonials, which are the relocated New York Sentinels; and the new, yet-to-be-named Omaha franchise. Each team will play one home and one away game against the other four teams. The league's second season will run from September 17 to November 19, 2010. The UFL is still pursuing additional expansion teams for 2011.

Regional Indoor Football League: The Delmarva Bayriders team has officially left the proposed Premier Indoor Football League to join the semi-pro RIFL. The team left the PIFL after some scheduling issues and the folding of some PIFL teams. Delmarva still plans to play some scheduled games against remaining PIFL teams.

Women's Football Alliance: After playing its inaugural 2009 season with 34 teams, the WFA has started its second season with 40 teams. The 19-team American Conference is split into 5 regional divisions (Mid-West, South West, Southern, North Pacific, and South Pacific), while the 21-team National Conference is split into 6 regional divisions (North East, East, Mid Atlantic, Central, North Central, and South Central). The WFA season runs from April 10 to June 19, 2010.

HOCKEY

American Hockey League: The New Jersey Devils of the National Hockey League have apparently made an offer to Albany (NY) to move its Lowell Devils AHL affiliate to Albany for the 2010-11 season. Some Albany arena improvements would still need approval, but the Devils' lease in Lowell expires in June. Albany's current AHL affiliate, the River Rats, is moving to Charlotte (NC) next season. New Jersey had its AHL affiliate in Albany for 13 seasons prior to purchasing the former Lowell Lock Monsters AHL franchise for the 2006-07 season.

ECHL: The owners of the Florida Everblades franchise and its home arena in Lee County (FL), near Fort Myers, wanted to sell the team and arena to the county, but it was not interested. Apparently, one potential buyer would keep the franchise and arena operating as is, while another buyer wants only the land and would fold the franchise and tear down the arena. Also, there is still speculation as to whether the ECHL would add any franchises from the International Hockey League, if the IHL is unable to return for 2010-11.

Major League Roller Hockey: The MLRH has announced dates and locations for three of its four Summer Pro Tour events that will also feature competition involving its co-ed Slamm Hockey League and non-contact AAA and AA leagues. A West Coast event will be held June 12-13 in Irvine (CA); a Midwest event will be held June 26-27 in Kalamazoo (MI); and an East Coast event will be held July 25-26 in Laurel (MD). One other event is being planned for Chicago in early August with a final Championship planned for Palm Beach (FL) in late August.

SOCCER

Women's Premier Soccer League: As the WPSL prepares for its 2010 season, it has grown from 48 to 56 teams. The league lost 18 teams from last season, but has added 26 new teams. Some recently added teams include: Brandon FC (Tampa), Fort Wayne FC, Central Valley Heat SC (Stockton), Clovis (CA) Sidekicks, and North Bay FC Wave (San Francisco area). The league has split the Midwest Conference into two divisions, while the Eastern Conference has increased from two to three divisions for 2010. Other regional conferences include the Big Sky, Pacific, and Sunshine (Florida). The WPSL season starts in late May and runs through July.

United Soccer Leagues - Premier Development League: The PDL has had to rearrange the 2010 schedule for its Southeast Division with the recent termination of the Panama City (FL) Pirates franchise. The Pirates had been part of the PDL for two seasons (2008-09). The Southeast Division now consists of eight teams.

Superliga: Planning is underway for the fourth annual Superliga competition that features four Major League Soccer teams competing with four teams from the Mexican Soccer League's Primera (First) Division. The four MLS teams competing in the 2010 Superliga include the Chicago Fire, Chivas USA, Houston Dynamo, and New England Revolution. The Mexican Primera Division teams will be announced in the near future. The Superliga schedule runs during the month of July.

Dan Krieger is the creator of the Leagueology™ almanac known as "Leagues, Teams & Nicknames", which tracks the changes in league alignments, franchise movements and team nicknames in today's sports world. The latest 2009-10 edition is available at http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/leagues-teams-nicknames-2009-10/6534940. Dan can be contacted at dankrieger@leaguesteamsnicknames.com.


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