Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report
by Dan Krieger
November 8, 2010 - Northern League (NL)
Atlantic Baseball League: The independent ABL has announced its 2011 schedule and the league will again have eight participating teams. The Newark Bears left to join the Can-Am League, so the league will use a travel team called the Road Warriors to keep the league at an even number of teams. The Road Warriors were last used by the league in the 2006 and 2007 seasons. The league plans to add the Loudon (VA) Hounds and another new team in Sugar Land (TX) in 2012. The ABL also hopes to add three additional Texas-based teams in the future to create a four-team Southwest Division.
Northern League: Each of the four remaining Northern League teams-the Joliet JackHammers, Schaumburg Flyers, Rockford RiverHawks, and Lake County Fielders-have reportedly applied for membership in the Frontier League. Last month, four other Northern League teams left to join the American Association for the 2011 season.
American Association: The owner of the Shreveport-Bossier Captains in the independent AA is reportedly close to reaching an agreement to bring an AA team to Amarillo that would replace the city's Amarillo Dillas of the United League Baseball. The deal is expected to be formally announced next week. The Amarillo team would get a new name and it could be a relocation of the Shreveport-Bossier Captains.
Pacific Coast League: The official announcement was made concerning the move of the Portland Beavers to Tucson for the 2011 Triple-A PCL season. The team will be called the Tucson Padres as an affiliate of the San Diego Padres. The agreement also includes an option for a second season in Tucson. Eventually, the PCL team plans to move to Escondido (CA), where a vote takes place at the end of the month on funding for a new stadium that could be ready in 2012. The PCL previously had Tucson-based teams called the Toros (1969-97) and Sidewinders (1998-2008).
Kitty League: The Kentucky-based Fulton Railroaders, Marion Bobcats, Owensboro Oilers, and Tradewater Pirates of the 2010 summer-collegiate Kitty League have left to form a new summer-collegiate league called the Ohio Valley League. The Kitty League's fifth team in 2010 was the Farmington (MO) Browns. The new league is talking with other towns in Missouri, Tennessee, and Kentucky.
3BA: The three-on-three full-court basketball league known as the 3BA has three teams on board for an inaugural season it plans to start next summer. Teams called the Vegas Voltage, Spokane Slam, and Dallas Ambush have been announced and discussions are ongoing with groups in Vancouver (British Columbia), Seattle, Portland, and Houston. The league also hopes to announce at least six teams based in China.
Iowa Basketball Exposure League: The IBEL will be holding tryouts next month in the Des Moines area as it prepares for its second season that will run from June 1 to June 15, 2011. The IBEL had three teams called the Central Iowa Hybrids, Iowa Wind Turbines, and Des Moines Hydrogen last season. The IBEL tries to develop college players for international teams and other leagues in the United States.
West Coast Basketball League: The Santa Barbara Breakers of the springtime WCBL will play two exhibition games against the Bakersfield Jam of the National Basketball Association Development League this month and will play four games against American Basketball Association teams during the ABA's 2010-11 season.
American Basketball Association: The ABA has announced it will return to Atlanta in 2011 with a team called the Atlanta Experience. Most recently, the ABA had a team called the Atlanta Vision that played in the league for four seasons (2005-09).
Indoor Football League: The ownership of the new IFL franchise in Oklahoma City was announced and the team will start play in the 2011 season. A name-the-team contest was initiate with three possible choices: the Oklahoma City Outlawz, Oklahoma City Banditz, and Bricktown Brawlerz.
Southern Indoor Football League: The American Indoor Football Association has announced new ownership for its expansion Trenton (NJ) Steel franchise and has announced that Trenton will now be part of a new restructured 16-team SIFL for the 2011 season. This restructured SIFL is rumored to include the remnants of what was the 2010 AIFA Eastern Conference (AIFA East). The 2010 AIFA Western Conference recently announced that it would operate as a separate league in 2011 as the AIFA West. A new Huntsville-based team called the Alabama Hammers has announced it will be part of the 2011 SIFL season. The Huntsville-based Alabama Vipers were part of the 2010 Arena Football League, but that team moved to the Atlanta area as the Georgia Force for the 2011 AFL season. The SIFL expansion team announced for Mobile (AL) is expected to be called the Mobile Bay Tarpons.
National Hockey League: The city of Glendale (AZ) reportedly has until the end of this year to approve a new owner for the Phoenix Coyotes franchise or the NHL will consider selling the franchise to a group of investors interested in moving the team to Winnipeg. Three potential deals for the franchise have fallen through and the NHL has been operating the Coyotes this season. The Coyotes entered the league when the Winnipeg Jets moved to Phoenix in 1996.
Ligue de Hockey Nord Americaine: The Quebec-based LNAH, or the North American Hockey League in English, has started its 2010-11 season with seven teams. The Pont-Rouge Lois Jeans team was dropped by the league late last season and replaced this season by the new Sorel-Tracy GCI Environmental team. Two other LNAH teams changed names for the 2010-11 season. The Saint-Georges CRS Express became the Saint-Georges de Beauce CoolFM 103.5 and the Riviere-du-Loup CIMT was renamed the Riviere-du-Loup 3L as part of an ownership change. Other teams include the Saguenay Marquis, Sherbrooke Saint-Francois Saints, Thetford Mines Isothermic, and Trois-Rivieres Caron & Guay.
North American Hockey League: The Tier II Junior-A NAHL has announced it will add a team called the Kalamazoo Junior K-Wings for its 2011-12 season. A Kalamazoo-based team called the Western Michigan Wolves joined the NAHL for the 1988-89 season and played the next six season (1989-94) in the NAHL as the Kalamazoo Junior K-Wings. The president of the current Kalamazoo Wings professional team in the ECHL will be involved in operating the NAHL team. The NAHL also announced that it has taken over operations of the 12-team Tier III Junior-A league known as the Central States Hockey League. The CSHL has been renamed the North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL) and it will serve as a developmental league for the progression of players to the higher level NAHL.
Canadian Women's Hockey League: The five-team CWHL has started its 2010-11 season that runs through February 2011. Two of the six teams from last season, the Vaughn Flames and Ottawa Senators, were folded and a new Boston Blades team was added. The league was restructured and teams were restocked through a draft to basically create five new teams. The Brampton Canadettes-Thunder, Burlington Barracudas, and Montreal Stars kept the same team names, while the Mississauga Chiefs became the Toronto Aeros. The CWHL is trying to engage the National Hockey League in forming a partnership between the two leagues.
Western Women's Hockey League: The five-team WWHL has started its 2010-11 season that runs until mid-March 2011. The Calgary X-treme returned after sitting out last season and a new team called the Manitoba Maple Leafs was added. The Edmonton Chimos, Minnesota Whitecaps, and Strathmore (Alberta) Rockies returned from last season.
United Soccer Leagues PRO: One of the former owners of the Wilmington (NC) Hammerheads, which last played in the 2009 USL Second Division, is still working to restart a Wilmington Hammerheads team in 2011as part of the new USL PRO league. An announcement could be made closer to a league meeting planned for later this month.
United Soccer Leagues W-League: The Victoria (British Columbia) Highlanders of the Pacific Coast Soccer League are trying to move up to the USL W-League for the 2011 season. The Victoria Highlanders men's team in the USL Premier Development League took over the PCSL's Victoria Stars women's team after the 2009 season and the Stars became the Highlanders for the 2010 PCSL season.
Professional Arena Soccer League: The Springfield (MO) Demize is now part of the PASL Pro league's Frontier Division for the 2010-11 season. The Demize has been part of the Premier Arena Soccer League for the past two seasons (2008-10). The Springfield Demize has also been part of the outdoor United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League since the 2007 season. The PASL Pro league's Canadian Major Indoor Soccer League division is down to only three teams, as the Prince George Fury (British Columbia) and Saskatoon Accelerators are no longer listed.
Women's Professional Soccer: Approaching a November 15th deadline, the San Jose-based FC Gold Pride and the Washington (DC) Freedom of the WPS are still seeking investors or new owners to save the clubs for the 2011 season. Apparently, this news has also had a negative affect on the Chicago Red Stars and some of its planned partnerships for the upcoming 2011 season. The league lost the St. Louis Athletica club to financial problems early in the 2010 season to reduce its membership to seven teams. In September 2010, the WPS announced plans for a new Western New York (Buffalo/Rochester) expansion team to be added in 2011.
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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