Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report
by Dan Krieger
October 4, 2010 - Atlantic League (AtL)
Atlantic Baseball League: The Newark Bears ABL franchise has come under new ownership and the new owner is reportedly considering a move of the Bears to the Can-Am League, which operates a shorter season than the ABL. The league's new Loudoun (VA) Hounds franchise has unveiled its ballpark plans and the team will not start play until the 2012 season. The group that has ownership in several ABL franchises is reportedly looking to place an ABL team in Frederick (MD). The city is home to the Class-A Frederick Keys, an affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles in the Carolina League, but a one-year lease between the city and the Keys is set to expire in six months. The group could also end up purchasing the Keys and continue operating the Keys as an affiliated team.
Golden Baseball League: The Orange County Flyers in the GBL are awaiting word on a proposal to the city for a new downtown ballpark. It has been speculated that if a ballpark deal cannot be worked out the franchise might consider relocation.
United League Baseball: After failing to pay the balance on its ballpark lease, the Amarillo (TX) Dillas of the ULB have had its lease cancelled. The city's ballpark lease has been put up for bid and the owner of the Shreveport-Bossier Captains in the independent American Association (AA) has expressed interest in placing an AA team in Amarillo. The AA has three Texas-based teams in its Southern Division.
Pecos League: The owner of the Las Cruces (NM) Vaqueros, which is one of the teams joining the new Pecos League from last season's Continental Baseball League, is trying to place another Pecos League team in Clovis (NM). The Pecos League plans to start play in 2011 and reportedly has three teams in New Mexico (Las Cruces, Roswell, Alamogordo) and three teams in Texas (El Paso, Del Rio, Alpine). If Clovis is added, a second El Paso team would be added to balance out the two divisions.
California Collegiate League: The summer-collegiate CCL plans to add a new team called the Glendale (CA) Angelenos for the 2011 season.
Mexican Rookie League: The new professional Mexican Rookie League, also known as the Liga Mexicana Novato, plans to start a 60-game season with six teams in August 2010. A team called the Arizona Black Sox will represent the Arizona cities of Bisbee, Douglas, and Sierra Vista, along with the Mexican city of Agua Prieta (Sonora). Four other Mexican cities have committed to the new league: Cananea, Nogales, and San Luis in Sonora, and Tecate in Baja California.
International Spring Baseball League: The ISBL will be operated by Baseball's International Group (B.I.G.) as a one-month professional season next April with all games played at Tucson Electric Park, which will become the group's center for individual and team baseball development.
Atlantic Coast Professional Basketball League: The proposed new ACPBL has announced its inaugural season will run from December 4, 2010 to March 19, 2011 with each team playing a 14-game schedule. Six teams plan to be part of the inaugural season: the Buffalo Stampede, Garden State Rebels, Hudson Valley Kingz, Norfolk Trailblazers, New York Lions, and Washington GreenHawks. A team called the Beltway Bombers, which played as part of the 2010 Eastern Basketball Alliance, was recently removed from the league and replaced by the Hudson Valley Kingz. Earlier this year the league had announced a new team called the Hudson Valley Generals, but it had disappeared from the team list.
Premier Basketball League: The eight-team PBL has announced its schedule for its upcoming season that will run from December 31, 2010 to March 29, 2011 with each team playing 20 games. The league had nine teams last season, but lost the Maryland GreenHawks, Puerto Rico Capitanes, and Buffalo Stampede. The new Dayton Air Strikers and the Georgetown-based Kentucky Bluegrass Stallions were added, while the Manchester (NH) Millrats relocated to become the St. John (New Brunswick) Mill Rats.
American Basketball Association: The ABA has announced an expansion team based in Northwest Indiana called the NWI Magical Stars will start play in 2011. The East Bay Pitbulls, based in Livermore (CA), will be part of the Northern California Division in the 2010-11 season. The league now has four "travel teams" listed for the upcoming season: the Kentucky Crusaders, Southeast Power, Chico Rage, and Shizuoka Gymrats of Japan.
National Basketball Association: The NBA has withdrawn its efforts to help the Sacramento Kings get a new arena and it is speculated the Kings' ownership will try to move the franchise, possibly to Las Vegas. The developer of the new Brooklyn (NY) arena for the New Jersey Nets states that the arena will be ready for the 2012-13 season. The team will play in Newark until the move to Brooklyn where the team is expected to be renamed the Brooklyn Nets.
Indoor Football League: The new IFL team based in Allen (TX) will be called the Allen Wranglers when its starts play in 2011. This is the Arkansas Diamonds franchise that joined the IFL for the 2010 season and now moved to Allen from Little Rock. The owner of the Amarillo Venom has purchased the San Angelo Stampede Express franchise, which will sit out the 2011 IFL season. The co-owner of the Kent (WA) Predators is trying to develop an IFL franchise based in Everett (WA). A team called the Everett Hawks played two seasons (2006-07) in the arenafootball2 before dropping out. An IFL franchise called the Everett Destroyers had been proposed in the past, but never started play.
Continental Indoor Football League: The Chicago Cardinals in the CIFL have been renamed the Chicago Knights.
Professional Indoor Football League: The new PIFL will soon announce its teams and schedule for its inaugural 2011 season, but the league is apparently merging with the Regional Indoor Football League. The PIFL organizer had been part of the RIFL, but had falling out early in the RIFL's development in 2010 and left to form the PIFL. The RIFL played a short inaugural season in 2010 with four participating teams.
United States Hockey League: The Tier I Junior-A USHL has started its 32nd season with 14 teams split into 7-team East and West divisions. Each division added a team for the 2010-11 season with the Michigan Lumberjacks joining the East Division and the Dubuque (IA) Fighting Saints joining the West Division.
Central Hockey League: The CHL, the ECHL, and the Junior-A United States Hockey League have all made proposals to lease the new Evansville (IN) arena that plans to open in 2011. The CHL proposal was made by the league's current Evansville IceMen franchise, while the ECHL and USHL would add expansion teams in Evansville if awarded the lease.
Canadian Hockey League: The three Major Junior hockey leagues that comprise the CHL and represent the highest level of junior hockey have started their 2010-11 seasons. The 20-team Ontario Hockey League, the 22-team Western Hockey League, and 18-team Quebec Major Junior Hockey League all feature the same teams as last season. The QMJHL realigned its teams from four divisions into three divisions for 2010-11.
Major League Roller Hockey: The MLRH held another of its co-ed SLAMM Hockey League events last weekend in Irvine (CA) featuring teams called the LA Dragons, LA United, PAMA Cyclones, and 949 Anarchy.
United Soccer Leagues - USL PRO: The Charleston (SC) Battery has announced the team will be part of the new ULS PRO league in 2011. The Battery played as part of the USL Second Division in 2010. The Dayton (OH) Dutch Lions have also announced the club will be part of the USL PRO league in 2010. The Dutch Lions just completed its inaugural season as part of the USL Premier Development League.
Professional Arena Soccer League: The PASL-Pro league has announced the participating indoor soccer teams for its 2010-11 Eastern and Western divisions. The Eastern Division will feature the Detroit Waza, Cincinnati Kings, Louisville Lightning, and Ohio Vortex (Canton), while the Western Division will feature the California Cougars (Stockton), San Diego Sockers, Tacoma Stars, and Revolucion Tijuana. The league plans to announce the teams and schedules for its new Frontier Division and the Canadian Major Indoor Soccer League in the near future. The PASL-Pro Frontier Division will play a shorter schedule and consist of expansion teams and teams without geographic rivals. These teams will be evaluated throughout the season for consideration as full league members for the 2011-12 season. Some Frontier Division teams will include the Illinois Piasa (St. Louis area), Wenatchee (WA) Fire, and the Kitsap Pumas based in Bremerton (WA). The Pumas club has played outdoor soccer for the past two seasons as part of the United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League and decided to add a winter indoor team.
North American Soccer League: The NASL has reportedly submitted a bid to the United States Soccer Federation for sanctioning of a Division II pro league next season. The NASL has six teams-the Carolina RailHawks, FC Edmonton, Miami FC Blues, Montreal Impact, FC Tampa Bay Rowdies, and Puerto Rico Islanders-that apparently meet the new USSF Division II standards. The NASL will need eight member teams for USSF sanctioning and it is working with the NSC Minnesota Stars and AC St. Louis to make sure they meet the USSF standards.
Major League Soccer: The MLS is reportedly planning to restart its Reserve Division in 2011. The MLS previously operated its Reserve Division for four seasons (2005-08) with each MLS club fielding a reserve team.
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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