Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report

by Dan Krieger
March 24, 2014 - World TeamTennis (WTT)

BASEBALL

Canadian-American League: The head of the independent Can-Am League is still searching for ownership to run a proposed baseball team in Ottawa (Ontario) starting with the 2015 season. The league is prepared to operate the team until ownership can be found. Along with Ottawa, the league hopes to have two other teams join in 2015 and is trying to add a Montreal team by 2016.

Frontier League: Plans for a proposed ballpark in Franklin (WI), a southern suburb of Milwaukee, have been drawn up for a possible Frontier League franchise, but the project needs taxpayer approval. The 3,000-seat ballpark would be part of The Rock sports complex. Investors would like a team to start play in 2015.

BASKETBALL

Liga Nacional de Baloncesto Profesional-Femenil: The LNBP-Femenil, which is Mexico's new women's pro basketball league sponsored by the top men's league known as the LNBP, has started its inaugural 2014 season with 11 teams that will play 20 games from mid-March to mid-June. Teams include the Aguilas de Tabasco, Angeles de Queretaro, Felinas de Leon, Freseras de Irapuato, Fusion Club del Distrito Federal (Mexico City), Leonas Negras de la Universidad Guadalajara, Mexcaltecas de Tepic, Mieleras de Guanajuato, Petroleras de Minatitlan, Pumas de la Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (Mexico City) and Rieleras de Aquascalientes.

Central Basketball League: Two Florida-based CBL teams called the Martin County Lions and the Fort Pierce Warriors are no longer part of the league and new ownership has taken over the markets and will operate new CBL teams called the Martin County Slammers and Fort Pierce Royals.

American Basketball Association: The ABA announced new teams called the Nevada Desert Storm, Vancouver (British Columbia) Balloholics and a yet-to-be-named second team in Memphis will start play in the 2014-15 season. Vancouver will join the Calgary Crush as part of a new Canada West Division that plans to add more teams. A variation of the "Balloholics" nickname was used by the Michiana Ballaholix, a team based in South Bend (IN) that was announced in August 2013 as a 2014-15 ABA expansion team. The ABA's new Indianapolis expansion team, which recently announced tryouts as the Indianapolis Southsiders, is now called the Naptown All-Stars.

FOOTBALL

American Indoor Football: The AIF started its third season this weekend with seven teams. Of the five teams from last season, the Cape Fear Heroes (Fayetteville, NC), York (PA) Capitals and Washington Eagles return with the Eagles operating as a travel-only team in 2014. The West Virginia Badgers did not return and the Harrisburg Stampede moved to the Professional Indoor Football League. The AIF added four new teams called the Atlanta Sharks, Baltimore Mariners, Cleveland Patriots and Rochester Raiders. As of now, Washington (one game) and Atlanta (four games) are scheduled for road games only. The other five teams are each scheduled for four home games and three road games.

Continental Indoor Football League: The CIFL's Bluegrass Warhorses (Lexington, KY) have cancelled their four remaining home games due to unpaid arena rent and other bills. The team's general manager left the team, but the league is working with the Warhorses to complete the season and it will most likely play the rest of the season on the road. The team will try to reorganize under new ownership for next season.

Ultimate Indoor Football League: The UIFL has yet to announce its 2014 schedule, but it looks like the league will have only four teams-the returning Corpus Christi Fury and Florida Tarpons (Fort Myers) along with the new Missouri Voodoo (Springfield) and Miami Inferno. Two other teams called the Austin Nitro and Capital City Revolt (Columbia, SC) are being planned for 2015. The owner of the Missouri Voodoo has decided not to change the team's nickname, which conflicted with the New Orleans VooDoo of the Arena Football League.

HOCKEY

Federal Hockey League: After holding a neutral-site game in Winston-Salem (NC) earlier this month, the FHL held its second neutral-site game this season in Connellsville (PA), which is about 50 miles south of Pittsburgh. The game between the FHL's Watertown Privateers and Danville Dashers was a way for the Connellsville to showcase its arena for a possible FHL expansion team. The league would like to grow from four to six teams for the 2014-15 season.

North American 3 Hockey League: The NA3HL, a Tier-III junior hockey league affiliated with the Tier-II North American Hockey League, announced the seven teams from the Tier-III American West Hockey League (AWHL) will join the NA3HL for the 2014-15 season as part of a new Frontier Division. The AWHL started play in the 2011-12 season and is comprised of teams based in Wyoming and Montana. An earlier version of the AWHL played as a Tier-II league from 1992 to 2003 with some of the AWHL teams joining the Tier-II NAHL for the 2003-04 season. The NA3HL is in its fourth season after evolving from the Central States Hockey League before the 2010-11 season.

American Hockey League: Officials in Glens Falls (NY), which will be losing the AHL's Adirondack Phantoms after the 2013-14 season, are still seeking an AHL replacement team for next season. An official with the National Hockey League's Calgary Flames, whose current AHL affiliate is the Abbotsford Heat, was reported to have toured the Glens Falls facility last week. The financial terms of the Heat's contract in Abbotsford are subject to review after this season.

SOCCER

United Soccer Leagues - Major Indoor Soccer League: After recently completing its 2013-14 season, the MISL announced plans to restructure its organization and could cancel the 2014-15 season. The league stated several teams had a different philosophy on how to structure a professional indoor soccer league and will not be returning to the MISL. Of the seven teams in the league, the Syracuse Knights, Rochester (NY) Lancers, Baltimore Blast and Missouri Comets (Independence) were exploring alternatives to the MISL and could join the Professional Arena Soccer League for the 2014-15 season. At the end of the 2013-14 season, these four teams had completed their three-year franchise commitments that were put in place when the USL purchased the MISL prior to the 2011-12 season. Currently, only the Milwaukee Wave, St. Louis Ambush and Pennsylvania Roar (Reading) were under contract for the 2014-15 MISL season.

OTHER

USA Rugby League: The USARL announced its 2014 schedule that has the league growing from 6 to 11 teams. Three new teams called the Atlanta Rhinos, Central Florida Warriors (Daytona/Orlando) and Tampa Mayhem will join the returning Jacksonville Axemen in a new South Conference. A North Conference will feature a three-team North-East Division with the returning Rhode Island Rebellion and Boston 13s, along with the new Brooklyn Kings. The North Conference Mid-Atlantic Division will include the returning Philadelphia Fight, DC Slayers and Baltimore Blues, along with the Northern Virginia Eagles team that was part of the 2013 American National Rugby League. The regular season runs from May 31 to July 25, 2014.

World TeamTennis: The Mylan WTT released its 2014 schedule that will feature seven teams each playing a 14-match season in the month of July. A three-team Eastern Conference will feature the Boston Lobsters, Philadelphia Freedoms and Washington (DC) Kastles, while the four-team Western Conference will have the Austin Aces, San Diego Aviators, Springfield (MO) Lasers and Texas Wild (Irving). After the 2013 season, the Orange County (CA) Breakers were sold and moved to become the Austin Aces; the New York Sportimes were sold and relocated to become the San Diego Aviators; and the owner of the Sacramento Capitals moved the team to Las Vegas as the Las Vegas Neon. The Springfield Lasers were moved to the Eastern Conference to replace the relocated New York Sportimes and to keep four teams in each conference. After the WTT terminated the Las Vegas Neon franchise due to legal and financial issues surrounding the team's owner, the league was down to only seven teams and moved Springfield back to the Western Conference.

American Ultimate Disc League: The men's professional AUDL recently posted the schedule for its third season that will run from April 12 to July 12, 2014. Last season the league had 12 teams split into six-team East and Midwest divisions. A new team called the Montreal Royal replaced the departed New Jersey Hammerheads in the East and the league added a new five-team West division with teams called the Salt Lake City Lions, San Francisco Flamethrowers, San Jose Spiders, Seattle Raptors and Vancouver Riptide.

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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