Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report
by Dan Krieger
October 8, 2012 - Canadian American League (Can-Am)
Eastern League: The Akron (OH) Aeros of the Double-A Eastern League have come under new ownership and the team could be changing its name. During the 2011 season, the Aeros considered re-branding the team and held a name-the-team contest with four proposed tire industry nicknames-Tire Jacks, Gum Dippers, Vulcans, and Rubber Ducks-along with the existing Aeros nickname. The Aeros nickname won the voting, so the team name remained the same.
Atlantic Baseball League: The location for a new ballpark planned for the ABL's proposed new Loudoun Hounds franchise has switched developments and is currently on target to be ready for the 2014 season. The ballpark was originally announced in 2009 as part of the Kincora Village mixed-use development near Leesburg (VA) in Loudoun County with plans to open in 2012. These plans kept being delayed due to financing and infrastructure issues. The new location is part of the One Loudoun mixed-use development in Ashburn (VA), also in Loudoun County. The ownership of the Loudoun Hounds also plans to have a new team in the Division II North American Soccer League use the new ballpark.
Can-Am League: The Can-Am League has officially announced its new Quebec-based team called the Trois Rivieres Aigles (Eagles) for the 2013 season. The city had a team called the Trois-Rivieres Saints that was part of the short-lived Canadian Baseball League in 2003. The situation for new ownership and a new team in Worcester (MA) is uncertain, as it appears the city may not want to host a team in 2013. The league terminated the ownership of its Worcester Tornadoes franchise near the end of the 2012 season. A potential ownership group had proposed a new team called the Worcester Phoenix for 2013, but the league currently has no membership application for a Worcester-based team.
Frontier League: There has been discussion about the possible return of a Frontier League team to Rockford for the 2013 season. A team called the Rockford Riverhawks was part of the Frontier league from 2002 through 2009 and again in 2011. Another possibility is the independent American Association having a Rockford-based travel team play a partial schedule in Rockford.
American West Baseball League: The Yuma (AZ) Panthers franchise in the proposed new AWBL has come under new ownership and plans to be part of the league's inaugural season in 2013. The Yuma Panthers, formerly the Yuma Scorpions of the North American Baseball League, planned to be part of the 2012 NABL but decided to switch to the AWBL for 2013. The AWBL currently has four teams listed.
American Basketball Association: The ABA has announced an association with a sports group in Harrisburg (PA) to develop "The Pennsylvania Project", which plans to add 19 ABA teams across the state starting in November 2013. Proposed teams include the Allentown Lions, Altoona Sharks, Bethlehem Bulldogs, Carlisle Gladiators, Chambersburg Wolves, Chester Bearcats, Easton Indians, Erie Angels, Harrisburg Hawks, Johnstown Pirates, Lancaster Knights, McKeesport Cardinals, Philadelphia Dragon, Reading Raiders, Scranton Lumberjacks, State College, Wilkes-Barre Gators, Williamsport Eagles, and York Hornets.
American Basketball League: The proposed new ABL, which plans to start its 24-game regular season in January 2014, now has 12 teams listed. The six-team Tropics Conference no longer has the Fort Myers Breakers listed, while the six-team Lone Star Conference now includes teams called the Corpus Christi Clutch and the Sugar Land Legends.
Championship Professional Indoor Football League: The CPIFL could be adding a new team in Salina (KS), if a lease agreement can be worked out. The potential team owner was rumored to be the owner of the Junction City (KS) Force, an eight-man team in the semi-pro Central Plains Football League.
Continental Indoor Football League: A team called the Kane County (IL) Dawgs, which was previously called the Dekalb (IL) Dawgs and a potential new team for the indoor American Professional Football League, is now trying to become part of the CIFL for the 2013 season. The CIFL had six teams last season and recently confirmed that the Chicago Vipers and Indianapolis Enforcers teams would not be returning for 2013. The league has already added one expansion team (Kentucky Xtreme) and four teams (Cincinnati Commandos, Marion (OH) Blue Racers, Kentucky Drillers, Erie Explosion) that were part of other leagues in 2013.
Lingerie Football League-United States: A new Atlanta-based team is expected to replace the previously announced St. Louis Saints team in the Southeastern Division of the LFL-US for the upcoming 2013 season. The expansion St. Louis Saints team apparently could not work out an arena lease and will try to start play in 2014. The LFL-US had a previous team called the Atlanta Steam that was announced for the 2009-10 season, but the team never started play due to arena issues. The LFL-US also announced that its Tampa Breeze team will move and become the Jacksonville Breeze for the 2013 season.
American Professional Football League: A team called the Nebraska Vipers (Kearney) is trying to join the indoor APFL for the 2013 season. The APFL lost almost all of its eight teams from the 2012 season.
Tropical Elite Hockey League: The Florida-based TEHL, which was a proposed junior hockey league affiliated with the AAU (Amateur Athletic Union), has fallen apart before playing any games. Some teams once affiliated with the league might end up playing independent schedules in 2012-13.
United States Hockey League: The Tier I USHL, which is the top junior-level hockey league in the United States, has started its 2012-13 season with the same 16 teams as last season. The teams are located in the Midwest and are aligned into an eight-team Eastern Conference and an eight-team Western Conference.
Professional Arena Soccer League: The PASL has announced plans to have 19 teams aligned into 4 regional divisions for the 2012-13 season. After operating with 12 teams last season, the Louisville Lightning decided to sit out this season, while the Topeka-based Kansas Magic folded. The league added nine new teams: the Harrisburg (PA) Heat, Chicago Mustangs, Dallas Sidekicks (Allen, TX), Rio Grande Valley Flash (Hidalgo, TX), Rockford (IL) Rampage, Texas Strikers (Beaumont), Sacramento Surge, Las Vegas Legends, and Real Phoenix. The league's Revolucion Tijuana team was renamed Toros Mexico and the Phoenix-based Arizona Storm moved to Prescott Valley (AZ). The teams will be aligned into five-team Central, Eastern, and Pacific divisions and a four-team Southwestern Division.
United Soccer Leagues - PRO League: The owner of the Orlando City FC Lions team in the Division III USL PRO league wants to eventually move the team up from the minor leagues to Major League Soccer. The owner also wants the city of Orlando to help support construction of a new 20,000-seat soccer stadium that would allow the team to make the jump to the MLS, possibly in time for the 2015 season.
Professional Lacrosse League: The new indoor PLL, which is underway in its inaugural 2012 season with three teams, will feature a team called the Syracuse Stingers filling in as an exhibition team for the league's New Jersey Rascals team that postponed its start until next season. The Stingers are comprised of many players from the Onondaga (NY) Redhawks team that is a member of the Senior-B Can-Am Lacrosse league.
Canadian Lacrosse League: After completing its inaugural 2012 season with six teams playing at three different venues, the CLAX plans to return for its second season in 2013 with seven teams playing at six different locations. The Oshawa Machine has moved to become the Toronto Shooting Stars and the Durham Turfdogs, now the Oshawa Turfdogs, will take over that market. The Peel Avengers will move to St. Catharines (Ontario) and the Brampton Inferno will be the lone team in that market. The Iroquois Ironmen and Ohsweken Demons will return and again share the Iroquois Lacrosse Arena. The seventh team will be an expansion team based in Barrie (Ontario).
Dan Krieger is the creator of the "The Leagueology Almanac 2011-12", which tracks the changes in league alignments, franchise movements and team nicknames in today's sports world. The publication is currently available at www.amazon.com.
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