Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report
by Dan Krieger
July 19, 2010 - Central Hockey League (CHL)
Pacific Coast League: One relocation plan for the Portland Beavers of the Triple-A PCL has the San Diego Padres buying the franchise and moving it to a proposed new ballpark on the campus of Cal State-San Marco. Until the ballpark is built, the PCL team could split its 2011 home schedule between the Padre's Petco Park and the home of the Lake Elsinore Storm in the Class-A California League.
Golden Baseball League: The GBL has stated that the Yuma Scorpions will probably remain in Yuma for the remainder of the 2010 season. The league is considering a possible regional team next season using multiple homes in cities like Yuma, Mexicali (Baja Mexico), Blythe (CA), and San Luis Rio Colorado (Sonora). The GBL was reportedly considering a move of the Tijuana Cimarrones' home games to Yuma for the rest of the 2011 season due to poor field conditions in Tijuana.
Southern League: A group in Panama City (FL) is interested in building a minor league ballpark and has reportedly contacted the Huntsville (AL) Stars of the Double-A Southern League about a possible sale.
Atlantic Baseball League: Loudon County (VA) has approved a mixed-used development that will include a 5,500-seat ballpark for an ABL franchise. It is uncertain whether the ballpark will be completed in time for a proposed start in the 2011 season.
Pecos League: The proposed new independent Pecos League has invited the four current Continental Baseball League teams to join for its inaugural 2011 season. Other possible teams include the Bisbee (AZ) Copper Kings, Roswell (NM) Invaders, Pueblo (CO) Wranglers, Nogales (AZ) Nomads, and Del Rio (TX) Petroleros.
Southwestern League: Although the proposed SWL will not start play as planned in 2011, the league wanted to operate a team called the Southwestern Travelers in another league. With the development of the new Pecos League, the SWL-operated team has been invited to be part of the Pecos League in 2011. The SWL team will now be based out of Nogales (AZ) as the Nogales Nomads in the Pecos League.
Premier Basketball League: The PBL, which operated from January to April in 2010, is considering a change to an October to February season to allow participation of teams from Puerto Rico's basketball league called the Baloncesto Superior Nacional. As many as four BSN teams are interested in competing in the PBL. The 2010 BSN regular season ran from mid-April to late June. The Arecibo-based Puerto Rico Capitanes of the BSN were part of the 2010 PBL. The PBL's new St. John (Brunswick) team, which is the relocated Manchester (NH) Millrats, has listed five possible team nicknames in a name-the-team contest. These include the St. John Millrats, Fog, Riptide, Fire, and Shamrocks.
American Basketball Association: The ABA has added a new Gulf Coast Division as its tenth division for 2010-11. Some teams have been shuffled from other divisions, but two new teams called the Houston Storm and the Cypress (TX) Pegasus are listed in the new division. A team called the East Bay Pitbulls is now listed in the NoCal Division and an unnamed team from Piedmont (OK) is now listed in the Southwest Division.
International Basketball League: The IBL has announced that the Central Oregon Hotshots team is folding after six years in the league. The Hotshots played only two home games in Redmond (OR) this season. Another ownership group could keep the Hotshots nickname, but at a different location.
National Basketball Association: A group looking to build a new 20,000-seat arena in Las Vegas reports it has an NBA franchise under contract for the facility, which still needs a financing plan. Speculation has the Sacramento Kings and Minnesota Timberwolves as possible relocation candidates. The NBA denies that a team is moving to Las Vegas. The Indiana Pacers have worked out an arena lease agreement with the city that should keep the team in Indianapolis for at least three more seasons. There had been speculation the Pacers could leave Indianapolis and reportedly the city of Seattle made inquiries about the franchise.
MidWest Basketball League: The proposed MWBL has announced the Branson (MO) Showstoppers will be the league's first team in a new Western Division. The league currently lists only two other teams called the Chicago Flights and Naptown (Indianapolis) Ruff Riders. The MWBL plans to start play in 2011.
Texas Professional Basketball League: The TPBL has announced that new teams in Midland (TX), San Antonio, Fort Worth, and Houston will be part of the 2011 season.
Indoor Football League: The new Tucson-based IFL franchise that starts play in 2011 will be called the Tucson Thunder Kats.
United Football League: The UFL has officially announced that a Norfolk-based franchise has been granted for the 2011 season and a home venue will be announced soon. The league will have five teams for its second season in 2010 and hopes to have eight teams by 2011.
Professional Indoor Football League: A team from the Houston area called the Stafford Pirates will be part of the inaugural PIFL season in 2011.
Women's Spring Football League: The new WSFL started some regional play this season and plans to expand next season. A new team called the Minnesota Lady Slippers will be part of a Mid-States Division in 2011. The Jersey Justice and Binghamton Tiger Cats from the 2010 Independent Women's Football League plan to be part of the 2011 WSFL. Some other new WSFL teams planned for 2011 include the Columbia (MO) Enforcers, Arizona She-Devils, Racine Rhinos, and Roc City (Rochester) Ravens.
United States Football League: The proposed new USFL plans to start the league with eight teams. Apparently, six of the eight teams have already been awarded and the league plans to announce all eight teams at the end of August. The league hopes to start play in the spring of 2011.
National Hockey League: The town of Hempstead on Long Island (NY) has limited the scope of a proposed development around Nassau Coliseum, home to the NHL's New York Islanders. This could put an end to planned renovations for the arena, so there has been speculation the Islanders' owner will consider relocating to Kansas City, Las Vegas, Seattle, or a new arena planned for Brooklyn.
ECHL: The Anaheim Ducks of the National Hockey League have dropped their ECHL affiliation with the Bakersfield Condors. After signing an American Hockey League affiliation deal with the Syracuse Crunch, the Ducks did not want to have two affiliates on different coasts. Rather than wait for an AHL team to move to the West Coast, the Ducks plan to find an ECHL affiliate on the East Coast. The owner of the new Chicago-based ECHL franchise that will start play in 2011-12 is seeking a team nickname. Chicago Icehawks, Chicago Hounds, Chicago Cougars, Fox Valley Freeze, and Barrington Beavers are possibilities.
Southern Professional Hockey League: The SPHL has announced its 2010-11 schedule that will feature the expansion Augusta (GA) RiverHawks, along with the seven returning teams from last season.
Central Hockey League: The CHL has announced its alignment for the 2010-11 season that will feature an affiliation of 13 CHL teams and 5 teams from the International Hockey League. The IHL's Bloomington Prairie Thunder, Dayton Gems, Fort Wayne Komets, Quad City Mallards, and Evansville IceMen, formerly the Muskegon Lumberjacks, will be part of the nine-team North Conference along with the CHL's Colorado Eagles, Missouri Mavericks, Rapid City Rush, and Wichita Thunder. The South Conference will include nine CHL teams from last season: the Allen Americans, Arizona Sundogs, Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs, Laredo Bucks, Mississippi RiverKings, Odessa Jackalopes, Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees, Texas Brahmas, and Tulsa Oilers. The CHL operated with 15 teams last season, but the Amarillo Gorillas and Corpus Christi IceRays did not return. The IHL had seven teams last season, but the Flint Generals and Port Huron Icehawks did not return.
All American Hockey League: A potential owner is interested in bringing a Single-A pro hockey team to the Flint (MI) area as part of the 2010-11 AAHL. The city just lost the Double-A Flint Generals team after three seasons in the International Hockey League. A Flint-based Tier II Junior-A team called the Michigan Warriors of the North American Hockey League will play in the Generals' former arena in 2010-11.
North American Hockey League: The Wasilla-based Alaska Avalanche of the Tier II Junior-A NAHL plans to move about 15 miles west to the city of Palmer (AK) for the 2010-11 season.
International Junior Hockey League: The independent IJHL reports that the Eastern Kodiaks (Exeter, NH) and the Northern New York Gamblers (Massena) will play in its Super Elite Division in 2010-11.
Western States Hockey League: The Fresno Monsters, which completed its inaugural 2009-10 season in the Tier III Junior-A WSHL, added a Tier II Junior-A team in the North American Hockey League for 2010-11. The Tier III Fresno Monsters will continue to play in the WSHL and act as a feeder to the Tier II NAHL team, also called the Fresno Monsters.
Major League Soccer: A team from England's Premier League is reportedly interested in developing an MLS franchise and is considering Atlanta as a possible home. Apparently, a team from England had considered Atlanta for a possible MLS team about two years ago. The MLS would like to add a 20th team in the near future. Vancouver and Portland will join as the 17th and 18th teams in 2011 and Montreal is expected to start play in 2012 as the league's 19th team.
United Soccer Leagues - I-League: The USL lists its I-League as a national indoor soccer league that is set debut in 2011, although it states that the launch is in the initial phase. The USL organization evolved from an indoor league called the Southwest Indoor Soccer League in 1986 and operated both indoor and outdoor leagues until 1998, when it dropped the indoor league to concentrate on outdoor leagues. For its last two indoor seasons (1996-98) the USL's indoor league was known as the I-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.%20Danfirstname.lastname@example.org.
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