Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report
by Dan Krieger
February 11, 2013 - Atlantic League (AtL)
Pacific Association: The ownership of the San Rafael Pacifics in the new Pacific Association, which is replacing last season's North American League North Division, will replace its Sonoma County Grapes travel team with a new team called the Vallejo (CA) Admirals for the 2013 season. In addition to the Pacifics and Admirals, the new four-team league will also have two Hawaii-based teams called the Hawaii Stars (Hilo) and the Na Koa Ikaika Maui for the 2013 season.
Atlantic Baseball League: A group in Virginia Beach (VA) wants to build a new 6,000-seat stadium for an ABL expansion team. The area currently has the affiliated Norfolk (VA) Tides team in the Triple-A International League.
Texas Winter League: The four-team TWL, which is operated by the Texas-based United League Baseball (ULB) group, has started its month-long season that ends February 24, 2013. Teams include the Edinburg Roadrunners, Rio Grande Valley WhiteWings, McAllen Thunder and Brownsville Stars. All games are played at Harlingen (TX) Field, the regular-season home of the WhiteWings.
Women's National Basketball Association: The WNBA has announced the schedule for its upcoming 2013 season that will start on May 24. The league will have the same 12 teams aligned into Eastern and Western conferences. This will be the league's 17th season.
National Basketball Association: The NBA stated that the Seattle-based group that has reached an agreement to purchase the Sacramento Kings has formally filed to relocate the franchise to Seattle. The city of Sacramento is still trying to come up with some sort of counteroffer to keep the team. The city of Seattle has reached an agreement with the new ownership group to build a new arena. The NBA still needs to approve the sale and the proposed relocation.
International Basketball League: The Olympia (WA) Reign of the springtime IBL has lost its main sponsor and the future of the team for the 2013 season is uncertain. The owner stated that unless a major sponsorship or new ownership comes through in the next few weeks, the team will fold. The IBL season is scheduled to start in mid-April. The Reign played a partial IBL schedule in 2008 and 2009 before becoming a full-schedule IBL team in 2010. The city has a current American Basketball Association team called the Olympia Rise.
American Basketball Association: The ABA announced a new team called the New Orleans Cougars as a 2013-14 expansion team. The league had a proposed team called the New Orleans Blues/Louisiana Blues back in 2004-06, but it never started play.
Florida Basketball Association: The FBA has listed four teams that will be part of its second season in the summer of 2013. The Tampa Bay Rebels, Florida Flight (Orlando) and Heartland Prowl (Lake Wales) return from last season, while the new Palm Beach Knights replace last season's Palm Beach Titans.
Women's Blue Chip Basketball League: The WBCBL announced six new teams that will be part of its 2013 season: the Asheville (NC) Lady Cougars, Atlanta Sting, Georgia-Lina Hurricanes (Augusta, GA), Memphis Hustle, Palm Beach (FL) Sabers and Ohio Dynasty (Columbus).
Continental Indoor Football League: The ten-team CIFL has started its 2013 season. The league had six teams last season, but the Chicago Pythons and Indianapolis Enforcers did not return. Of the other four teams, the Port Huron Predators and Saginaw Sting returned, the Dayton Silverbacks returned as the Dayton Sharks and the Evansville Rage returned as the Owensboro (KY) Rage. The six new CIFL teams include the Erie Explosion from the 2012 Indoor Football League, the Marion (OH) Blue Racers and Kentucky Drillers (Pikeville) from the 2012 United Indoor Football League, along with the Detroit Thunder, Kane County (IL) Dawgs and the Louisville-based Kentucky Xtreme, which played a couple of CIFL exhibition games in 2013. The Cincinnati Commandos team from the 2012 UIFL joined the CIFL, but then decided to suspend operations for the 2013 season.
Arena Football League: The AFL announced a new ownership group for the Chicago Rush franchise, but the team still needs to work out an arena lease for the upcoming 2013 season.
American Indoor Football: The AIF now lists the Baltimore Mariners and a yet-to-be-named team in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (PA) as 2014 expansion teams. An indoor team called the Baltimore Mariners played three seasons (2008-10) in the American Indoor Football Association, which was a predecessor to the current AIF.
National Spring Football League: The minor developmental NSFL plans to have ten teams that will start an outdoor spring season in March 2013. Current teams include the Virgina Beach Stingrays, San Antonio Defenders, Arizona Racers, Los Angeles Xplosion, Rhode Island Navigators, Boston Freedom Fighters, Georgia Blaze and Texas Heat Seekers (Houston). A previously listed team called the Florida Shield is no longer listed.
Rivals Professional Football League: The new RPFL plans to start play in May 2014 with 14 teams across the United States aligned into North and South conferences. Teams will play 11-on-11 outdoor football.
North American Hockey League: The Kalamazoo Junior K-Wings of the Tier II junior-level NASL announced the team will not return for the 2013-14 season.
North American Soccer League: The new Division II NASL team to be based in Loudoun County (VA) has announced it will be called the Virginia Cavalry. The team is expected to start play in the 2014 season.
Pacific Coast Soccer League: The Okanagan Challenge team of the PCSL, which is the top amateur soccer league in western Canada with most teams in British Columbia, has announced it will not compete in the men's Premier Division for the 2013 season. The team had been a member of the PSCL since 1989.
Women's Premier Soccer League - Elite League: After operating as the top level of women's soccer in 2012, the WPSL Elite League currently has six teams listed for its second season in 2013. The Chesapeake Charge and FC Indiana Lionesses are the only two teams of the eight from last season that will join the California Storm, Houston Aces, San Diego SeaLions and Jersey Sky Blues in 2013. The Boston Breakers, Chicago Red Stars and Western New York Flash from the 2012 season joined the new professional National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) for 2013. The four new teams for 2013 all had regular WPSL teams in 2012. The Jersey Sky Blues played as the Millburn Magic in 2012 and will operate as a reserve team for the NWSL's Sky Blue FC pro team in 2013. Another related team called the Jersey Blues-Magic will also be part of the regular WPSL in 2013.
Women's Premier Soccer League: The WPSL Northwest Division plans to add three new teams for the 2013 season. These include the Westside Timbers and Tualatin Hills United SC, both based in the Beaverton (OR) area, along with the new AC Seattle. The WPSL's Portland Rain team, which was rescued and operated by the Portland Timbers of Major League Soccer last season, will not return as the Timbers' ownership started the women's pro team called the Portland Thorns FC in the new National Women's Soccer League (NWSL). The new AC Seattle will have to compete with the Seattle Sounders Women team in the United Soccer Leagues W-League and the Seattle Reign FC pro team in the NWSL.
Prospects Lacrosse League: The new PLL plans to be the first professionally operated summer-collegiate lacrosse league in the United States. The league plans to start with four league-operated teams in the Chicago area for 2013 with expansion and outside ownership planned for 2014. The PLL will allow college lacrosse players with remaining NCAA eligibility a place to compete in the off-season. The four teams announced for the 2013 season are the Midwest Roadsters, Dupage County Cowboys, North Shore Admirals and Windy City Skyscrapers.
Professional Lacrosse League: The Syracuse Stingers indoor lacrosse team, which played as an exhibition team to fill in on the 2012 PLL schedule after the league lost a couple of teams, is still looking to become a professional lacrosse team. The Stingers will hold an exhibition game later this month in Syracuse against a Lacrosse All-Stars team from New York City. The Stingers had been mentioned as a possible PLL expansion team and were also said to be considering the Canadian Lacrosse League. The city last had a pro lacrosse team called the Syracuse Smash in the 2000 season of the National Lacrosse League, but that team moved to Ottawa.
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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