Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report

by Dan Krieger
August 12, 2013 - Eastern League (EL)

BASEBALL

Atlantic Baseball League: The developer of a proposed new ballpark for a potential ABL franchise in Malden (MA), near Boston, is now working toward a 2016 opening. There is still the issue of acquiring some parcels of land for the ballpark, but it is hoped construction will start in the fall of 2014. This project has been in the works for the past several years with original plans to start play in 2014.

Eastern League: At least two groups have put in bids for the lease of the minor league stadium in Ottawa that could lead to bringing a Double-A Eastern League team to Ottawa, possibly in time for the 2015 season. The cost of renovations to the vacant stadium will be one of the main issues in deciding a final lease agreement.

Pecos League: The independent Pecos League reports that it expects seven of its eight teams from 2013 to return for the 2014 season. The return of the Taos (NM) Blizzard is uncertain, as its ballpark does not currently have lighting. The Blizzard started the 2013 season being operated by the developmental New York State League, but the Pecos League stepped in to operate the team when the NYSL pulled out in July. The league wants to stay with eight teams and stated there have been requests to place a team in Rio Rancho (NM), near Albuquerque.

Great Midwest League: The new summer-collegiate Great Midwest League is trying to get off the ground for the 2014 season and is looking as locations in Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota.

BASKETBALL

National Basketball League of Canada: The NBL-Canada has been unable to find new ownership for its Montreal Jazz franchise and has shut it down for the upcoming 2013-14 season. The league hopes to have the team return in 2014-15. The Jazz was a league-operated team that was quickly formed for the 2012-13 season as a replacement for the Laval (Quebec) Kebs team. The Quebec Kebs team from the league's inaugural 2011-11 season relocated from Quebec City to Laval for the 2012-13 season, but the league terminated its operating agreement with Laval just prior to the season. The league had eight teams last season, but will have nine teams in 2013-14 with the loss of Montreal and the addition of two Ontario-based expansion teams called the Brampton A's and Ottawa SkyHawks. The nine teams will be aligned into a five-team Central Division and a four-team Atlantic Division.

North American Basketball Development Leagues Association: The proposed new NABDLA, also known as the BDL, has added an Illinois-based league to its lineup of proposed state-based leagues previously announced for Indiana, Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia and New York. The Illinois league lists the Chicago Cyclones and Chicago Vipers as members with a team called the Hanover Park Elite under development.

Baloncesto Superior Nacional: The ten-team Puerto Rican professional basketball league known as the BSN recently completed its 2013 season. Each team played a 36-game regular season schedule from late March to late June. The Caciques de Humacao and the dormant Gigantes de Carolina merged to become the Caciques de Humacao/Gigantes de Carolina team for the 2013 season with nine home games played in Humacao and nine home games played in Carolina.

American Basketball Association: The ABA announced a new team called the New York Pharoahs (not Pharaohs), based in New York City, will start play in November 2014. The league now lists the Grand Prairie (Alberta) Cowboys team, which was last season's Oakland County (MI) Cowboys team that moved to Canada.

FOOTBALL

Women's Arena Football League: The Houston-based WAFL has started its inaugural 2013 season with four teams called the Atlanta Archers, Dallas Darlings, Houston Lady Oilers and New Orleans Bayou Queens. The league plays 8-on-8 full-contact indoor football. The current schedule has each team hosting a four-team doubleheader event on Saturdays from August 10 to August 31 leading to a championship Diva Bowl on September 7. The WAFL had other proposed teams called the Orlando Eclipse, Tampa Bay Duchess, Omaha Demolition and Jacksonville Cougars, but they were not part of the 2013 season.

Legends Football League - Australia: The women's LFL, formerly known as the Lingerie Football League, recently announced the schedule for the inaugural 2013 season of its Australia-based league. The league will have four teams called the Western Australia Angels (Perth), Victoria Maidens, Queensland Brigade (Brisbane) and New South Wales Surge (Sydney) each playing two home games and two away games from early December 2013 to early February 2014. The LFL also operates the 12-team LFL-United States, which is currently finishing up its fourth full season, and the four-team LFL-Canada, which will start its second season next month.

HOCKEY

United States Hockey League: The 16-team Tier-I USHL, which is the top junior-level league under the governance of USA Hockey, announced it has approved a new team in Madison (WI) that will start play in the 2014-15 season. The league had a previous team based in Madison called the Madison Capitols (1984-91) that was then renamed Wisconsin Capitols (1991-95).

National Hockey League: After reaching an arena lease deal with officials in Glendale (AZ), the new ownership of the Phoenix Coyotes closed on the purchase of the franchise from the NHL. The league has been operating the team for the past four seasons. The team is expected to be renamed the Arizona Coyotes for the 2014-15 season.

Southern Professional Hockey League: The SPHL announced its 2013-14 season schedule that will feature ten teams. Of the nine teams from last season, the Augusta RiverHawks did not return, but the league added two new Illinois-based teams called the Peoria Rivermen and the Bloomington Thunder.

SOCCER

Major League Soccer: The mayors of Orlando (FL) and Orange County (FL) have agreed to a funding plan to build a new soccer-specific stadium in downtown Orlando that is expected to become home to an MLS expansion team. The owner of the Orlando City SC Lions team in the Division-III United Soccer League-PRO league has been spearheading construction of an MLS-style stadium and plans to apply for the Orlando MLS expansion team. The goal is to have the new Orlando-based MLS team start play in 2015.

Evergreen Premier League: The proposed new EPL, which is an elite-level adult men's soccer league based in the state of Washington, announced its first two members are the Bellingham United Hammers and the Tacoma-based South Sound Shock. The Bellingham United has played the past two seasons as part of the British Columbia-based Pacific Coast Soccer League. The South Sound Shock operates both indoor and outdoor teams and its indoor team has been part of the Premier Arena Soccer League for the past two seasons (2011-13). The EPL has received applications from several other soccer teams and wants to start its inaugural 2014 season with eight to ten teams.

OTHER

Continental Indoor Lacrosse League: The semi-pro CILL, which operated the past two years as the Midwest Indoor Lacrosse Association, recently started its 2013 season that runs from early August through September. The original team lineup had ten teams aligned into five-team Eastern and Western conferences. Apparently, the Cleveland Demons, Upstate Bears (Buffalo) and Minnesota JAXX will not be part of the 2013 season as planned and the schedule has been adjusted to include only seven teams.

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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