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Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report

by Dan Krieger
July 25, 2011 - Pacific Coast League (PCL)

BASEBALL

Pacific Coast League: The owner of the San Diego Padres stated that its Tucson Padres franchise in the Triple-A PCL will be put up for sale at the end of the season, if a ballpark deal for the team is not worked out in Escondido (CA) or another nearby city. After moving from Portland (OR), the PCL team expected to spend the 2011 and 2012 seasons in Tucson before moving to a proposed ballpark in Escondido. Tucson could wind up keeping the Triple-A Padres, but a group in El Paso (TX) has expressed interest in obtaining a Triple-A franchise.

Florida State League: Orange County (FL) has decided not to offer land to a group that has been trying to build a new ballpark and move the Tampa Yankees of the high Class-A FSL to the Orlando area.

Midwest League: The city of Champaign (IL) wants to move forward with plans for a new minor league ballpark and the mayor would like the city to become home to an affiliated team, most likely in the Class-A Midwest League, even though the independent Frontier League would have some potential northern Illinois rivals with the Rockford Riverhawks, Normal Cornbelters, and Joliet Slammers.

Atlantic Baseball League: The independent ABL has confirmed that the new Sugar Land (TX) Skeeters franchise will start play in the 2012 season. The league's other expansion franchise, the Loudoun (VA) Hounds, might not be ready to start as planned in 2012.

Frontier League: Construction on a proposed new ballpark in Woodstock (IL) for the new McHenry County K-Nines baseball team in the Frontier League has stalled due to a lack of financing. A proposed ballpark has been in the works since 2007 and switched locations in late 2008. Originally, the team hoped to take the field in 2010 or 2011, but will be delayed at least until 2012 or beyond.

North American League: The possibility of bringing a future NAL team to city of San Rafael (CA) has met with some opposition and the city has delayed a vote on the issue. The NAL is also considering the city of Brownsville (TX) for a possible expansion team, but the city would need a suitable ballpark. United League Baseball, which became part of the NAL in 2011, had been trying to add a team called the Brownsville Charros in 2008 and 2009, but financing for a proposed ballpark fell through.

Pecos League: The new six-team Pecos League is targeting the city of Santa Fe (NM) for a possible 2012 expansion team. Some possible team names are the Steamers, Federals, Capitals, Indians, Express, Bombers, and Stylists. The league is targeting various other cities in New Mexico, West Texas, and Colorado. The league also announced plans to host a developmental Spring League in Houston from March 5 to 28, 2012.

Futures Collegiate Baseball League: The first-year Futures League has announced a 2012 expansion team called the Wachusett Dirt Dawgs, based in Leominster (MA), as the league's fifth team.

BASKETBALL

Premier Basketball League: The PBL announced that the Dayton Air Strikers will return for the league's upcoming 2012 season. The Air Strikers left the PBL after the 2011 season and had a 5-0 record in the spring-summer International Basketball League as one of that league's short-schedule or "branding" teams. Along with Dayton, the PBL has the returning Rochester RazorSharks, the new Chicago Muscle, and a yet-to-be-named team in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. The league plans to announce additional teams in the future.

Southeast Exposure Basketball League: The semi-pro SEBL has started its month-long summer season that runs from July 5 to July 30. The men's SEBL has 16 teams split into an 8-team South Division that plays games at either Clayton State University (Morrow, GA) or Atlanta Metro College, and an 8-team North Division that plays all games at Morgan Gym in Cartersville (GA).

Women's American Basketball Association: The proposed WABA has the Chicago Lady Steam and the Seattle Lady Mountaineers listed as possible teams for the league's inaugural that starts in January 2012. It appears these women's teams are affiliated with the Chicago Steam and Seattle Mountaineers in the men's American Basketball Association. An Indianapolis-based women's basketball team called the Indy Fine, possibly affiliated with the men's Indy Drive team in the ABA, is also expected to play in the WABA when it starts play in January 2012.

Women's Southeast Exposure Basketball League: The Women's Southeast Exposure Basketball League (WSEBL) has started its 2011 short summertime season that runs through the month of July. Teams include the Blazin' Ballers, Dynasty, Kennesaw, OBG, Prime Time, and SH-Baseline Lady Devils. All games are played at Morgan Gym in Cartersville (GA).

American Basketball Association: The ABA has announced the addition of two additional new teams for its 2011-12 season-the Greeley-based Colorado Cougars and a yet-to-be-named team in Anchorage (AK). The Colorado Cougars will be part of a new Rocky Mountain Division that also lists the Colorado Springs Crusaders, Colorado Kings, and Wyoming Roughnecks. The ABA had tried to develop an Anchorage-based team called the Alaska Dream for the 2008-09 season, but it dropped out prior to the season. The ABA currently lists about 80 teams in 13 regional divisions. The league's Heartland Prowl team is now listed as the Heartland Heat.

Boston Exposure Basketball League: The organization known as Exposure Hoops, which operated the Iowa Basketball Exposure League in June 2011, has developed the new BEBL that recently started its first short summer season running from July 20 to July 31, 2011. The 2011 BEBL has four teams called Charlestown, Meerkats, Millrats, and Spurs. Exposure Hoops also lists proposed 2012 leagues planned for the Carolinas and Atlanta in 2012.

FOOTBALL

Ultimate Indoor Football League: The UIFL reported it plans to place a new team in the Bank of Kentucky Center at Northern Kentucky University for the 2012 season. The league's Northern Kentucky River Monsters team played at that venue in 2011, but left the UIFL after the 2011 season. The new UIFL team is expected to be a rival for the Cincinnati Commandos team that joined the UIFL last week. The league had 6 teams last season and as of now has 12 teams for 2012, with a deadline of August 12 for additional applications. The UIFL is reportedly looking at Shelbyville (TN), about 50 miles south of Nashville, for a possible franchise location in 2012.

Southern Indoor Football League: One of the owners of the Rio Grande Valley Magic and the Corpus Christi Hammerheads, which both were part of the SIFL in 2011, has developed another Texas-based team called the Laredo Energy that will start play in 2012. It is uncertain if these three teams will be part of the SIFL or a new Texas-based league next season. The Ultimate Indoor Football League has expressed interest in both the Corpus Christi and Rio Grande Valley teams for 2012.

United Football League: The five-team outdoor UFL has decided to delay the start of its 2011 season from mid-August until mid-September. The league reported it needed additional time to finalize its television agreements and other financial concerns. The UFL had incurred significant losses in its first two seasons, but reported it is committed to funding the 2011 season.

HOCKEY

Federal Hockey League: The FHL announced that its new Ontario-based Niagara Falls Nationals franchise has been suspended and will not play as planned in the 2011-12 season. The Nationals were apparently unable to arrange enough home dates at the local Gale Centre. The league plans to continue to considering other southern Ontario markets for future expansion. In another move, the proposed Green Mountain Rock Crushers franchise, which could not meet league requirements last month, has been sold and now plans to be part of the 2011-12 FHL season. Originally, the Green Mountain franchise was to be located in Jay (VT), but the new ownership will move the team to an arena in Morrisville (VT).

Minnesota Junior Hockey League: The proposed new Owatonna (MN) team in the Tier III Junior-A MnJHL has selected seven possible nicknames: Steele County Fight Pike, Steele County Roughriders, Steele County Steelys, Owatonna Sled Dogs, Owatonna Indians, Owatonna Steele Blades, and Owatonna SteeleHeads. The new MnJHL is expected to start play in the 2012-13 season. The city had two recent Tier II Junior-A teams in the North American Hockey League. The Southern Minnesota Express played three seasons (2005-08) in the NAHL before moving to Michigan as the Motor City Machine and the Owatonna Express played three seasons (2008-11) in the NAHL before being sold and becoming the Odessa (TX) Jackalopes.

Continental Junior Hockey League: After playing with only two teams in its inaugural 2010-11 season, the CJHL reports that it has replaced the Alpena (MI) Thunder, which folded after the first season, with a new team called the Alpena Pride. The league plans to start a 40-game schedule in October 2011 and will have additional teams called the Niagara Falls (Ontario) Fury, Erie (PA) Blizzard, Pittsburgh Stampede, Johnstown (PA) Wings, and Midwest Maniax (Dyer, IN). The Niagara Falls Fury played home games last season in both Niagara Falls and Erie.

SOCCER

Southern Premier Soccer League: The new Shenandoah-based soccer team in Montgomery County (TX) will be call the Motion SC when it starts play in the 2011-12 fall-winter season of the SPSL. The SPSL had six teams participating in its inaugural 2010-11 fall-winter season and is currently operating a six-team Summer Cup Series.

OTHER

Canadian Lacrosse League: The all-Canadian minor professional indoor lacrosse league known as CLAX has pushed back the start of its inaugural season from November 2011 to January 2012. The CLAX lists five initial franchise locations-Montreal and the Ontario cities of Brampton, Oshawa, Peterborough, and Ohsweken. The league is also working to add the Ontario cities of London and Kitchener for its first season and confirmed there will be no West Division with teams based in British Columbia for 2012. The CLAX also plans to develop a junior-level league with teams at various levels.

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 2010-11 edition is available at http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/leagues-teams-nicknames-the-leagueology-almanac-2010-11/15228513. Dan can be contacted at dankrieger@leaguesteamsnicknames.com.


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Pacific Coast League Stories from July 25, 2011


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