Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report
by Dan Krieger
November 19, 2012 - North American Soccer League (NASL)
International League: The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (PA) Yankees of the Triple-A International League have been renamed the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders based on the results of a name-the-team contest. Other nicknames up for fan voting were the Blast, Black Diamond Bears, Fireflies, Porcupines, and Trolley Frogs. The team played all road games in 2012 while its home stadium underwent reconstruction and was referred to as the Empire State Yankees because it played its home schedule in six different cities, four of which were in New York.
Eastern League: The Reading Phillies of the Double-A Eastern League have announced its new team nickname will be the Reading Fightin Phils. The team will also be referred to as the Fightins. Speculation on the change to this name led to a number of negative comments by fans of the team.
Atlantic Baseball League: Officials in Malden (MA) near Boston are expected to finalize a deal for land that would be leased to a group wanting to build a new 6,300-seat ballpark for a proposed ABL franchise. The group wanted to start construction next year with the ballpark opening in 2014, but that has been pushed back until an opening for the 2015 season due to delays in negotiations.
Can-Am League: The Can-Am League's new 2013 Trois-Rivieres (Quebec) team officially announced its name as the Trois-Rivieres Aigles (Eagles).
Florida State League: Rollins College in Winter Park (FL) wants to build a new baseball stadium with the intent of attracting the Brevard County Manatees of the high Class-A FSL. The Manatees are currently based in Melbourne (FL) about 50 miles southeast of Winter Park. The league's Tampa Yankees team is reported to be talking with the city of Ocala (FL), around 100 miles north of Tampa, about construction of a new ballpark for the FSL team.
North American Baseball League: The NABL's San Rafael (CA) Pacifics team has come under new ownership. The sale includes the purchase of the Sonoma County Grapes, which was a 2012 travel team created by the Pacifics after a couple of other teams left the league last season. The new ownership does not plan to operate the Sonoma County Grapes as a travel team in 2013 and the team will not play if it does not have a home field. The league's Na Koa Ikaika Maui and Hawaii Stars teams plan to have international inter-league play with the Japan Baseball Challenge League in 2013. The owner of these two teams wants to add a team on the island of Oahu and become more involved in Asia as part of the proposed World Independent Baseball League. Additional expansion in the state of Hawaii and the Pacific Rim is planned.
Pecos League: The independent Pecos League now appears to have ten teams in place for its 2013 season with the return of all six 2012 teams, plus the addition of four new teams called the Las Vegas (NM) Train Robbers, Pecos (TX) Bills, Raton (NM) Osos, and Taos (NM) Blizzard. The league had planned to split the 2013 home games of the Trinidad (CO) Triggers with the city of Raton under a team called the Trinidad-Raton Triggers, but it recently announced the new separate Raton Osos team for 2013. The league was reusing the Osos (Bears) nickname from a 2011 team called the Ruidoso (NM) Osos. The developmental New York State League will operate the new Taos Blizzard team. The 2013 teams will be aligned into a five-team Northern Division and a five-team Southern Division.
West Coast League: The new Medford (OR) team in the summer-collegiate WCL has announced it will be called the Medford Rogues when the team starts play in 2013.
National Basketball League of Canada: The NBL-Canada officially announced an expansion franchise has been granted to an ownership group that will operate a team in Ottawa (Ontario) starting with the 2013-14 season.
Circuito de Baloncesto de la Costa del Pacifico (CIBACOPA): Officials of the CIBACOPA (Pacific Coast Basketball League), Mexico's second professional basketball league next to the Liga Nacional de Baloncesto Profesional (LNBP), plans to meet later this month to set the teams for its upcoming spring 2013 season. The league currently has ten confirmed teams, but at least one other team wants to join. The league does not want an odd number of teams, so it will add two other teams or stay at ten teams. The league's Frayles de Guasave (Sinaloa) team recently asked for permission to sit out the 2013 season and a team from Ciudad Obregon (Sonora) is expected to replace the Frayles.
American Basketball Association: The ABA has announced a new Chicago-based team called the Ill City Beast will start play in the 2012-13 season and it is currently listed as one of the league's travel teams. The league stated the new team will play games against ABA teams in the North Central Division, which is actually listed as the Mid Central on the league web site. The ABA's new Tampa Bay Rain team has apparently folded prior to its inaugural season.
Continental Basketball League: The springtime CBL plans to return in 2013 after not playing a 2012 season. The league currently lists four teams-the Birmingham Lions, Raleigh RoughRiders, South Florida Stars and Tampa Bay Saints. The Georgia Razors team, which was originally listed as part of the Atlantic South Division in the 2012-13 American Basketball Association, is no longer listed as part of the ABA and plans to join the CBL.
Arena Football League: The AFL has announced the schedule for its 2013 season that will include 14 teams, 3 less than the 17 teams in 2012. The Georgia Force and Kansas City Command folded in the off-season, while the Milwaukee Mustangs will sit out the 2013 season and try to return in 2014.
Continental Indoor Football League: The CIFL has announced its 2013 season schedule that will feature ten teams each playing ten games. The CIFL had six teams last season, but lost the Chicago Pythons and Indianapolis Enforcers after the season. The league added three new teams (Detroit Thunder, Kane County Dawgs and Kentucky Xtreme) and three teams (Marion (OH) Blue Racers, Kentucky Drillers and Erie Explosion) that were part of other leagues in 2012.
Champions Professional Indoor Football League: The new CPIFL has announced the schedule for ten teams that will each play 12 games as part the inaugural 2013 season. The league currently has an unnamed Omaha team listed as its tenth team. Other teams include the Bloomington (IL) Edge, Kansas City (MO) Renegades, Lincoln (NE) Haymakers, Mid-Missouri Outlaws (Sedalia), Kansas Koyotes (Topeka), Salina (KS) Bombers, Tulsa (OK) Defenders, Sioux City (IA) Bandits, and Wichita (KS) Wild.
American Indoor Football: The new York (PA) franchise in the AIF will be called the York Capitals when the team starts play in 2013. Other potential nicknames included the Patriots, Renegades, Independence and Colonials. The Capitals are reported to be part of a six-team East Coast Division.
Major League Roller Hockey: The MLRH started its 2012-13 season with games involving three of its new Sunshine Division teams-Miami Mafia, South Florida Tropics and Palm Beach Hawks. A team called the Sunshine State Outlaws will be the fourth team in this new division.
American Hockey League: The AHL team that will play in the new downtown Allentown (PA) arena starting in 2014 will be called the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. A decision was made to go with a more regional name rather than the Allentown Phantoms. Other suggestions included the Pennsylvania Phantoms, Philadelphia Phantoms and Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton Phantoms. The Phantoms currently play as the Adirondack Phantoms, based in Glens Falls (NY), and will move to Allentown in 2014. The Phantoms, an affiliate of the National Hockey League's Philadelphia Flyers, played as the Philadelphia Phantoms in the AHL from 1996 to 2009. The team moved to Glens Falls for the 2009-10 season on a temporary basis while waiting for completion of a new arena in Allentown. The Allentown arena suffered a few delays, but it is expected to be completed in 2014. The defunct United Hockey League announced the Allentown-based Lehigh Valley Xtreme team back in 2000, but a proposed new arena was never started back then and the franchise never developed.
North American Soccer League: After holding a name-the-team contest, the Atlanta Silverbacks of the Division II NASL announced it will keep the Silverbacks as its team nickname. Potential options in the nickname voting included the Silverbacks, Atlanta FC, the Atlanta Chiefs, which was the name of the city's first professional outdoor soccer team, and a write-in option.
New Women's Professional Soccer League: A new women's professional soccer league, which would replace the defunct Women's Pro Soccer (WPS), is reported to be on track to start play in 2013 with eight teams. The league would include four former WPS teams called the Boston Breakers, Chicago Red Stars, Sky Blue FC (New Jersey) and Western New York Flash, along with teams in Washington (DC), Kansas City, Seattle and Portland. An announcement about the new league is expected within the next two weeks.
American Ultimate Disc League: The AUDL, which plays a professional game similar to football only with a Frisbee-style disc, operated with eight teams in its inaugural 2012 spring-summer season. The league currently has several expansion teams called the DC Breeze, Madison (WI) Radicals, Minnesota Wind Chill, New Jersey Hammerheads, New York Empire, Toronto Rush and Windy City Wildfire planned for 2013. A new competing league called Major League Ultimate was recently announced with plans to start in 2013.
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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