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Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report

by Dan Krieger
September 3, 2013 - American Hockey League (AHL)

BASEBALL

American Association: The El Paso Diablos of the independent American Association played their final home game at Cohen Stadium in El Paso. With the relocation of the Triple-A Tucson Padres in the Pacific Coast League to a new downtown stadium in El Paso for the 2014 season, the Diablos are not expected to return. The city is working on possible uses for the Cohen Stadium site.

New York-Penn League: A short-season Class-A NYPL team is still expected to relocate to Morgantown (WV) where a new ballpark will be built on the campus of West Virginia University. The ballpark is expected to be ready for the 2015 season.

United League Baseball: The Fort Worth Cats of the independent ULB are reported to be having some financial issues with unpaid bills to employees and vendors. The same has been reported about the league's Alexandria (LA) Aces team, which was shut down by the league a month early this season.

BASKETBALL

National Basketball League of Canada: The NBL-Canada confirmed its team based in Charlottetown on Prince Edward Island will be called the Island Storm after moving across the island where the team was called the Summerside Storm for the past two seasons.

American Basketball League: The ABL, which plays under international (FIBA) basketball rules, announced earlier this summer it would switch to a June-through-August schedule in 2014. The league played its inaugural 2013 season from mid-January to mid-April. The ABL recently announced a restructuring that will remove its previous 12 franchises and executive management staff. As part of an international expansion plan, the ABL will add several international teams and some league-operated franchises that will play an 18-game schedule in 2014.

Beautiful Ballers League: The women's BBL, which started its first season this summer, has announced plans to operate a winter season that will start in November 2013.

Liga Nacional de Baloncesto Profesional: Mexico's top basketball league known as the LNBP has posted its 2013-14 schedule that will feature 14 teams playing a 42-game season from late September 2013 to mid-February 2014. Of the 16 teams from last season, the Barreteros de Zacatecas, Guerreros de Guerrero Cumple and Osos de Guadalajara did not return. A new Acapulco-based team called the Angeles de Guerrero was added.

West Coast Basketball League: Instead of playing its typical spring season, the Los Angeles area's WCBL played a 2013 winter season in February and March with eight teams.

Premier Basketball League: After trying to decide if it would play a winter season or a spring season in 2014, the PBL states it will start its 2014 season in January with plans for expansion. The PBL currently lists five teams-the Rochester RazorSharks, Sauk Valley (IL) Predators, Bloomington (IL) Flex, Indiana Diesels and West Virginia Miners. The PBL played its first five seasons (2008-12) with a winter schedule generally running from January to early April. This past season, the PBL partnered with the Independent Basketball Association for its 2013 spring season and PBL teams played a regular-season schedule from early March through May. The IBA-PBA merger fell apart near the end of the spring season and the PBL and IBA each held its own season-ending playoffs.

FOOTBALL

Arena Football League: The entity known as AFL Global, which is trying to expand Arena Football in China, will sponsor two AFL all-star games, one in Honolulu (HI) and one in Beijing (China), during the month of November 2013.

Continental Indoor Football League: The CIFL announced an expansion team called the Bluegrass Warhorses, based in Lexington (KY), has been added as the league's ninth team for the 2014 season. The Warhorses are listed in the five-team South Division, which includes two other Kentucky teams called the Northern Kentucky River Monsters (Highland Heights) and Kentucky Xtreme (Louisville). A former Lexington indoor football team called the Lexington Horsemen played two seasons (2003-04) in the defunct National Indoor Football League; moved to the United Indoor Football for three seasons (2005-07); and then moved to the arenafootball2 for two seasons (2008-09), changing to the Kentucky Horsemen for the 2009 season.

HOCKEY

United States Premier Hockey League: The new USPHL starts play for the 2013-14 season and will operate three junior-level divisions with teams based in the East and Southeast. The league wants its nine-team Premier Division to be at a level of play similar to that of the Tier-II North American Hockey League or the Tier-I United States Hockey League. The USPHL will have an 18-team Elite Division and a 25-team Empire Division that will be comprised of teams that were part of three different Tier-III leagues in 2012-13. The USPHL will also operate U-18 and U-16 divisions at the "prospect" or midget level.

Quebec Junior AAA Hockey League: The QJAAAHL, which is one of ten leagues in Canada's junior-A Canadian Junior Hockey League, has realigned from 15 teams in 3 divisions to 14 teams in 2 divisions for the 2013-14 season. The owner of the league's Valleyfield Braves pulled the team from the league to create a pro team by the same name in the Ligue de Hockey Nord Americaine (LNAH) for 2013-14.

American Hockey League: The Portland (ME) Pirates of the AHL will play home games in Lewiston (ME) for the first half of the 2013-14 season due to renovations to its home arena. The Pirates and arena management in Portland have been unable to agree on a new lease agreement and completion of the renovations has been pushed back to January 2014. The Portland Junior Pirates team in the new United States Premier Hockey League, a new top-level junior league based in the East, will also play some games in Lewiston this season due to the arena renovations in Portland, but that team announced plans to make a permanent move to Lewiston for the 2014-15 season. Lewiston was recently home for eight seasons (2003-11) to the Lewiston Maineiacs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

SOCCER

Professional Arena Soccer League: The PASL (PASL-Pro) announced the territorial rights for a pro indoor team in Cincinnati have been purchased by the Cincinnati Saints team, which has played the past four winter indoor seasons (2009-13) as part of the lower-level Premier Arena Soccer League (PASL-Premier). The Saints replace the Cincinnati Kings team that had been a league member since the PASL-Pro started play for the 2008-09 season. The Kings started as the 1790 Cincinnati team in 2008-09 and was renamed the 1790 Cincinnati Express for the 2009-10 season. The Express merged with an outdoor team called the Cincinnati Kings from the United Soccer League Premier Development League (PDL) prior to the 2010-11 indoor season and took the Cincinnati Kings name for the past three seasons in the PASL-Pro. The Cincinnati Kings outdoor team dropped out of the PDL after the 2012 season. The Cincinnati Saints plan to operate a men's outdoor team in the National Premier Soccer League and a Lady Saints team in the Midwest-based Women's League Soccer.

In other PASL-Pro news, the league announced an expansion team called the Monterrey (Mexico) Flash will be part of the 2013-14 season. A previous team called the Monterrey Flash was part of Mexico's indoor soccer league called the Liga Mexicana de Futbol Rapido (LMFR) for the 2011 and 2012 seasons. The Flash owner moved the team to Hidalgo (TX) as the Rio Grande Valley Flash for the 2012-13 PASL-Pro season and planned to have the Flash play in both cities and leagues. The Monterrey Flash played four games in the 2013 LMFR regular season before dropping out. A new owner purchased the Rio Grande Valley territory from the Flash ownership this summer and started the Rio Grande Valley La Fiera team for the 2013-14 PASL Pro season.

Premier Arena Soccer League: Due to health issues, the owner of the Tumwater (WA) Pioneers team, which played its first season as part of the PASL-Premier in 2012-13, has decided not to field a team for the 2013-14 season. Tumwater is in the Olympia (WA) area.

OTHER

Professional Bowlers Association League: The team-based PBA League completed its inaugural season in 2013 and recently announced plans for all eight of its teams to return for a 2014 season. The league could consider expansion by the 2015 season.

Dan Krieger is the creator of the "The Leagueology Almanac 2012-13", 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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American Hockey League Stories from September 3, 2013


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