Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report
by Dan Krieger
June 28, 2010 - Premier Basketball League (PBL)
Appalachian League: The Rookie-Advanced short-season Appy League has started its 2010 season with the same ten teams as last season. The Eastern Division has the Bluefield (WV) Orioles, Burlington (NC) Royals, Danville (VA) Braves, Princeton (WV) Rays, and Pulaski (VA) Mariners. The Western Division includes the Bristol (VA) White Sox, Elizabethton (TN) Twins, Greeneville (TN) Astros, Johnson City (TN) Cardinals, and Kingsport (TN) Mets.
Pioneer League: The short-season Rookie-Advanced Pioneer League has started its 2010 season with the same eight teams as last season. The Northern Division has four Montana-based teams called the Billings Mustangs, Great Falls Voyagers, Helena Brewers, and Missoula Osprey. The Southern Division has the Casper (WY) Ghosts, Idaho Falls Chukars, Ogden (UT) Raptors, and Orem (UT) Owlz.
United League Baseball: The Amarillo Dillas and Coastal Bend Thunder will be playing a ULB series in Abilene (TX), which is being considered for possible expansion. Other Texas markets under consideration for possible expansion include Lubbock, Wichita Falls, Tyler, Waco, and San Marcos. The Abilene Prairie Dogs (1995-99) and Lubbock Crickets (1995-98) were part of the former Texas-Louisiana League.
Can-Am League: Opponents of a new ballpark for a proposed Can-Am franchise in Ramapo (NY) are seeking a public vote on the city's guarantee for bonds to finance the new ballpark. An ownership group has been named for the proposed franchise, which is negotiating with the Can-Am League.
New York State League: The first of three sessions for the 2010 NYSL is operating from June 1 to July 2. The first session features games between the New York Empires and New York Capitols. The other sessions run from early July to early August and from early August to early September.
Arizona Summer League (AzL): The short-season Rookie Level AzL has started its 2010 season with 12 teams, up from 11 teams with the addition of the Reds affiliate in Goodyear. The league is now aligned into three four-team divisions with the addition of a Central Division to the East and West divisions.
Gulf Coast League: The short-season Rookie Level GCL has started its 2010 season with 15 teams, down from 16 teams with the move of the Reds affiliate to the Arizona Summer League.
Premier Basketball League: The PBL has confirmed that the Manchester (NH) Millrats will be moving to St. John (New Brunswick) for the 2011 season. The proposed South Coast United expansion team based in Fall River (MA) is apparently on hold. The league previously dropped the Buffalo Stampede, while the Maryland GreenHawks franchise is not expected to return. The Vermont Frost Heaves have been given until August 1 to raise funds for the 2011 season. The PBL is talking with the Puerto Rican basketball league known as Baloncesto Superior Nacional about possibly four BSN teams joining the PBL. The Puerto Rico (Arecibo) Capitanes, which played in the 2010 PBL, is also a member of the BSN.
American Basketball Association: The new ABA team announced for Gainesville (FL) will be called the Florida Makos. The owner of the Owensboro-based Kentucky Bisons needs commitments from local sponsors before deciding whether the team will play in a third season.
Eastern Basketball Alliance: The Passaic-based North Jersey Pros are holding tryouts as the team prepares for its inaugural 2010-11 season in the EBA.
United Football League: The UFL has granted a conditional expansion franchise to an owner who wants to place a team in the Norfolk (VA) market for the 2011 season. The team still needs to find a home field. The UFL will operate with five teams for its second season in 2010.
Indoor Football League: A team based in the Lehigh Valley (PA) plans to be part of the IFL in 2011. A previous team called the Lehigh Valley Outlawz, based in Bethlehem (PA), played as part of the Great Lakes Indoor Football League (2006) and the Continental Indoor Football League (2007-08).
Independent Indoor Football Alliance: The IIFA has a team called the Grapevine (TX) Gridiron Cat's (actual spelling) listed as a proposed 2011 team. The IIFA and the Regional Indoor Football League plan to have its respective champions compete in a "Champion vs. Champion" game after the 2011 season.
Ultimate Indoor Football League: The proposed UIFL, which plans to start play in March 2011, has announced its fifth team will be called the Canton (OH) Cougars. The city had a previous indoor football team called the Canton Legends for four seasons (2005-08).
Southern Indoor Football League: The SIFL's struggling Greenville (SC) Force franchise unexpectedly cancelled its final game of the 2010 season. The league still hopes find the right investors to operate a Greenville-based team in 2011.
Professional Indoor Football League: The new PIFL plans to broadcast some games during its inaugural 2011 season. Some of the proposed teams listed on the schedule are the Texas Regulators, DFW Bombers, East Texas Drillers, Fort Worth Diablos, Odessa Vaqueros, West Texas Rustlers, and Allen Renegades.
ECHL: The ECHL has confirmed it will add a Chicago-based franchise for the 2011-12 season. The league's new Greenville (SC) franchise, which is the relocated Johnstown (PA) Chiefs franchise, has announced the team will be called the Greenville Road Warriors. The American Conference has been renamed the Eastern Conference, while the National Conference has been renamed the Western Conference. The East Division has been renamed the Atlantic Division, while the West Division has been renamed the Mountain Division. Greenville will be part of the South Division. The Eastern Conference will have the three-team Atlantic Division and four-team North and South divisions. The Western Conference with have four-team Mountain and Pacific divisions.
International Hockey League: The owner of the Evansville IceMen franchise in the Single-A All American Hockey League has purchased the IHL's former Muskegon Lumberjacks franchise and will transfer it to Evansville for the 2010-11 season. The new Double-A Evansville IceMen will be part of the IHL, which will be in the 18-team Central Hockey League affiliation consisting of 5 IHL teams and 13 CHL teams in 2010-11. With the loss of Evansville, the AAHL is currently down to three teams.
North American Hockey League: The new Chicago Hitmen in the Tier II Junior-A NAHL will have teams by the same name in the Tier III Junior-A Central States Hockey League and in the Junior-B Great Lakes Junior Hockey League. The CSHL team had been called the Chicago Force, while the GLJHL had been called the Chicago Huskies.
International Junior Hockey League: Two of the new teams in the 2010-11 IJHL will be the Washington Generals (Wheaton, MD) and the White Mountain Warriors (Waterville Valley, NH). Both the Generals and Warriors will have teams in the Super Elite Division (A-Level), while the Generals will have a second team in the Elite Division (B-Level).
United States Soccer Federation D-2 Professional League: After losing investor support and facing an uncertain future, the AC St. Louis club in the USSF D-2 League has apparently straightened out its financial situation enough to allow the team to make its payrolls through the rest of the season.
United Soccer Leagues First Division: The proposed FC New York team, which plans to start play in 2011 as part of the USL First Division, has announced it will hold tryouts next month. Earlier this month, the team signed an affiliation agreement with the Lancaster (CA) Rattlers of the USL Premier Development League to act as a feeder club for FC New York.
National Premier Soccer League: The amateur-level NPSL has announced the addition of a new team called the Corpus Christi (TX) Fuel this fall.
Arena Lacrosse League: The new ALL indoor lacrosse league plans to start play in February 2011 with at least five to six teams. Potential markets being considered include Upper Marlboro (MD); the North Carolina cities of Charlotte, Fayetteville, and Winston-Salem; and the Virginia cities of Charlottesville, Richmond, Norfolk, and Hampton. Eventually, the ALL hopes to become affiliated with the National Lacrosse League.
Major Series Lacrosse: The Ontario-based Senior-A indoor MSL started its 2010 season at the end of last month, but the Barrie (Ontario) Lakeshores decided to suspended operations just prior to its first regular season game. A player dispersal draft was held and the MSL was left with six teams to participate in the 2010 season. The summertime MSL is comprised of many players from the National Lacrosse League.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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