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Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report

by Dan Krieger
January 27, 2014 - Continental Indoor Football League (CIFL)

BASEBALL

American Association: The Joplin (MO) city council approved a lease for the city's baseball stadium with the ownership of the El Paso Diablos from the AA. If proposed stadium improvements in Joplin are completed as planned, the relocated and renamed Diablos team plans to start play in 2015.

South Atlantic League: The Columbia (SC) city council voted to enter into negotiations with the owner of the Savannah Sand Gnats in the low Class-A SAL to build a baseball stadium in Columbia for a minor league baseball team. Although Savannah appears to be the team that would move to Columbia, the team's owner is still trying to get a new stadium built in Savannah. If a new Savannah stadium happens, the owner could purchase another team for relocation to Columbia.

Canadian-American League: The city of Ottawa finalized a lease with the Can-Am League that will place a baseball team in Ottawa starting with the 2015 season. A team called the Ottawa Rapidz was part of the Can-Am League in 2008.

Texas Winter League: The developmental TWL, which is a "pay-to-play" league for players looking to latch on to an independent league team for the 2014 summer season, plans to return in 2014 with six teams each playing a 17-game schedule in the month of February. The 2014 teams will include the Abilene Prairie Dogs, Austin Aces, Edinburg Roadrunners, McAllen Thunder, San Antonio Alamos and Texas Stars. All games will be played at San Antonio's Mission Baseball Academy and Nelson Wolff Stadium, which is home to the San Antonio Missions of the Double-A Texas League

BASKETBALL

Premier Basketball League: After playing only one game in the 2014 season, the expansion West Virginia Angels (Charleston) have been dropped by the league due to issues with the team's ownership. The Angels have been removed from the East Division standings leaving five teams in that division. The league also has a five-team Midwest Division.

Tobacco Road Basketball League: The 13-team TRBL has started its third season that will run from mid-January to mid-June 2014. The league's past two seasons ran from April through June. Teams are aligned into a six-team TRBL East division and a seven-team TRBL West division. For 2014, the Johnson County (NC) Nighthawks travel team was replaced by Neuse River BC (Smithfield, NC), while the Palmetto Flight and South Carolina Allstars were added as new teams. Two "TRBL Sanctioned Opponents" called the East Carolina Stealth and the Triad Heat will each play two games in the 2014 season.

American Basketball Association: The ABA announced a team based in the Roanoke/Salem (VA) area will join for the 2014-15 season. The league also lists the Lafayette (LA) Legends as a new member. The Legends were announced as a 2014 expansion team in the Premier Basketball League before dropping out.

Universal Basketball Association: After playing a few games in early December 2013, the UBA has started the main part of its 2013-14 season with 17 teams aligned into 3 regional conferences. The six-team Southern Conference includes teams from Georgia, the six-team Western Conference has teams from Texas, and the five-team Eastern Conference has teams from Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana. The league evolved from the United Regions Basketball League and started play as the UBA for the 2010-11 season. The UBA also operates the Women's United Basketball Association that just started its third season with six teams in a Southern Conference.

Circuito de Baloncesto de la Costa del Pacifico (CIBACOPA): The CIBACOPA (Pacific Coast Basketball League), Mexico's second professional basketball league next to the Liga Nacional de Baloncesto Profesional (LNBP), plans to have ten teams for its 2014 season with the return of the Caballeros de Culiacan, who sat out last season due to arena renovations. Also, the league's Mineros de Cananea (Sonora) team has moved to the city of Caborca (Sonora) for the 2014 season, which will run from late March to late May 2014.

FOOTBALL

Continental Indoor Football League: The Chicago Slaughter of the CIFL has cancelled its 2014 season that was to have been played at the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates (IL). The Chicago Slaughter previously played three seasons (2007-09) in the CIFL before moving to the IFL for the past three seasons (2010-13). Some personnel previously associated with the Slaughter are planning to operate a new CIFL team called the Chicago Blitz, which has replaced the Slaughter on the CIFL's 2014 team list.

HOCKEY

North Atlantic Professional Hockey League: The proposed independent NAPHL is under development with plans for six teams located in northern New York, Connecticut, New Hampshire and southern Massachusetts. The owner of the Berkshire Black Bears, one of the proposed teams trying to play out of North Adams (MA), is head of the NAPHL. The league would be for players who have lost their eligibility for junior hockey leagues. At one time the Berkshire Black Bears were considered a potential expansion team for the Federal Hockey League.

ECHL: The ECHL has extended the deadline until January 31, 2014 for the Las Vegas Wranglers to find a new home arena for the 2014-15 season. The team was notified the lease at its current arena would not be renewed for next season. The ECHL's San Francisco Bulls franchise has been losing money and the team could fold or relocate in the near future. There is a reported pending agreement with a new ownership group that would move the team to either Oakland or Fresno. The Edmonton Oilers of the National Hockey League have purchased their ECHL Bakersfield Falcons affiliate. There was speculation the Bakersfield ECHL team could change its name by the 2014-15 season.

Central Hockey League: The CHL has approved adding two franchises that could start play in October 2014. Louisville (KY) is one of the league's primary targets for expansion. The city had previous ECHL franchises called the Louisville IceHawks (1990-94) and the Louisville RiverFrogs (1995-98) and a previous American Hockey League team called the Louisville Panthers (1999-01).

American Hockey League: The National Hockey League's Winnipeg Jets are exploring the move of its St. John's IceCaps AHL affiliate from Newfoundland to Thunder Bay (Ontario) where a new arena has been proposed. Any move of the IceCaps would be at least two seasons away, if arena construction goes as planned. The Jets' ownership is one of the partners in the new Thunder Bay arena project.

SOCCER

United Soccer Leagues - PRO: Three USL PRO teams announced new affiliations with Major League Soccer (MLS) clubs for the 2014 season: the Charleston Battery with Vancouver Whitecaps FC, the Wilmington Hammerheads with Toronto FC, and the Sacramento Republic FC with both the Portland Timbers and San Jose Earthquakes. Of the 13 USL PRO teams expected to play in 2014, only the Phoenix FC Wolves, Charlotte Eagles and Los Angeles Blues do not currently have MLS affiliations. Ten of the 19 MLS teams have affiliations with USL PRO teams in place for the upcoming 2014 season. The USL PRO confirmed the Phoenix FC Wolves will return in 2014, but will move its home to Peoria (AZ) and the Peoria Sports Complex, which is a spring training baseball complex for two Major League Baseball teams.

National Premier Soccer League: The men's elite-level NPSL announced the FC Force (Holtsville, CA) has joined as a 2014 expansion team for the West Region's Southwest Conference. The league also announced the addition of the Bayamon-based Puerto Rico FC for the 2014 season.

Evergreen Premier League: The new EPL of Washington, an elite-level adult men's soccer league that will start play in May 2014, announced the Yakima United will be the league's eighth team to replace the FC Three Rivers TriCities club that was dropped last week.

OTHER

National Pro Fastpitch: The women's NPF announced the schedule for its 2014 season that will include four teams-the returning Akron Racers, Chicago Bandits and USSSA Florida Pride (Kissimmee) along with the new Pennsylvania Rebellion (Washington, PA). The Rebellion took over the roster of last season's New York/New Jersey Comets team. The NPF season runs from late May to mid-August.

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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Continental Indoor Football League Stories from January 27, 2014


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