Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report
by Dan Krieger
July 21, 2014 - NBA G League (G League)
Independent Baseball League: The Shovel City Crawlers (Marion, OH) team in the low-level professional IBL folded earlier this month due to a lack of money needed to continue operations. The league's three other teams called the Adrian (MI) Pioneers, Tiffin (OH) Saints and the Marion-based Ohio Travelers road team have continued to play their inaugural 36-game schedules.
Southern League: The Double-A Southern League announced its schedule for 2015 and lists the new Biloxi (MS) team, which will be the relocated Huntsville (AL) Stars. The Biloxi team ownership and city officials have cut a new stadium budget so construction can now begin, but it might not be ready until July or August of 2015. Although the new Biloxi team faces a $10,000 penalty for each home missed next season, it is considering playing the first half of the 2015 season on the road.
South Atlantic League (SALLY): The city of Columbia (SC) voted to raise $35 million toward a new stadium for a possible low Class-A SALLY team. The owner of the league's Savannah Sand Gnats is to supply a relocated team that could be the Sand Gnats or another minor league team. The 2016 season is being targeted for completion of the stadium.
American Association: The commissioner of the 12-team AA expects the Joplin (MO) Blasters, formerly the El Paso Diablos, to be part of the league next year, but there are no other markets under consideration by the league at this time. After the season, the league may have to deal with issues concerning three Texas-based South Division teams in Amarillo, Grand Prairie and Laredo.
United League Baseball: The four-team Texas-based independent ULB is struggling this season and only the Fort Worth Cats are drawing over 1,000 fans per game. The San Angelo Colts are under bankruptcy protection and averaging less than 500 fans per game. The Harlingen-based Rio Grand Valley WhiteWings have also seen its attendance drop. The league's fourth team is the Brownsville Charros team, which does not have its own stadium and plays its home games at Harlingen Field.
Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League: The summer-collegiate PGCBL plan to add a team called the Saugerties (NY) Stallions for the 2015 season.
National Basketball Association Development League (D-League): The NBA's Oklahoma City Thunder, which has owned and operated its Tulsa 66ers D-League affiliate since 2008, plans to move the Tulsa 66ers to Oklahoma City for the upcoming 2014-15 season. The 66ers recently lost its arena lease at the SpiritBank Event Center in suburban Bixby (OK) that served as the team's home for 2008-09 and 2012-14. The 66ers move is still subject to league approval. The Tulsa 66ers entered the D-League when one of the league's 2001-02 charter teams called the Asheville (NC) Altitude was moved to Tulsa for the 2005-06 season.
American Professional Basketball League: The fall-winter APBL is again hosting a 2014 APBL Summer League that includes seven teams called the Brooklyn All-Game, Ocean Eleven, Manhattan Pride, Heart Over Talent, New York City 524, New York City Jaguars and Xmen. A three-game Summer Showcase was planned for this weekend at the home of the Bay Area Shuckers (Severn, MD) between three New York/New Jersey-based APBL teams and three Maryland-based APBL teams.
Arena Football League: The AFL's Orlando Predators team, which has been without an owner for the past two months, has officially come under new ownership and plans to move its home games back to the Amway Center from the University of Central Florida. The new owner has no plans in relocating the team or changing the team's name.
Ultimate Indoor Football League: The Miami Inferno of the UIFL has folded leaving the league with only two remaining teams-the Corpus Christi Fury and the Florida Tarpons. The league's Springfield-based Missouri Voodoo dropped out earlier in the season. Both the Inferno and the Voodoo were new to the UIFL for the 2014 season. The UIFL hopes to added teams called the Austin Nitro and the Capital City Revolt (Columbia, SC) for next season.
Federal Hockey League: The FHL plans to add a sixth team in Berlin (NH) for the upcoming 2014-15 season. The Berlin team will be part of an Eastern Conference with the returning Danbury (CT) Whalers and a yet-to-be-named new team in Watertown (NY). The Western Conference will include the returning Danville (IL) Dashers and Dayton (OH) Demonz along with the expansion SouthWest Pennsylvania Magic based in the Belle Vernon area. The league had four teams last season, but the Watertown Privateers dropped out and the league added new teams in Watertown, Berlin and Pennsylvania.
Southern Professional Hockey League: A new ownership group called Southern Mississippi Hockey will not operate a Biloxi-based team in the SPHL for the 2014-15 season, but plans to start the team for the 2015-16 season. The new Biloxi team will replace the city's former SPHL team called the Mississippi Surge, which suspended operations after the 2013-14 season. The new ownership group wanted to wait a season rather than start this year. The Mississippi Surge had been part of the SPHL for the past five seasons (2009-14) before folding.
Canadian Independent Junior Hockey League: The new pay-to-play CIJHL has applied to join the Amateur Athletic Union and its United Hockey Union. The CIJHL will start this fall with six teams based in the Vancouver (British Columbia) area. Teams will include the Delta Ravens, Fleetwood Falcons (Surrey), Langley Mustangs, Pitt Meadows Foxes, Surrey Rave and Walnut Grove Wolverines (Langley). The AAU/UHU already includes three U.S.-based leagues called the Midwest Junior Hockey League, the Northern States Hockey League and the Western States Hockey League, plus another new Canadian league called the Canadian International Hockey League.
American Soccer League: The new professional ASL plans to start its inaugural fall-spring season next month with eight teams called the AC Crusaders (Egg Harbor/Atlantic City, NJ), Evergreen Diplomats (Northern Virginia), Icon FC (Passaic, NJ), Philadelphia Fury, New Jersey Gladiators (Bergen County), Mass United FC (Lynn/Boston), Rhode Island Reds (Cranston) and Western Mass Pioneers (Ludlow/Springfield). A previously announced team called the New England Force (Stamford, CT) is no longer listed. Teams will each play 10 games in the fall of 2014 and restart with 10 games in the spring of 2015. The league plans to compete at the Division-III level of play.
American National Rugby League: It looks as though the AMNRL is not playing an official schedule for 2014. One AMNRL team called the New York Raiders reports that it combined with the Brooklyn Kings, a new 2014 team in the USA Rugby League.
World Series of Boxing: The team-based international boxing league called the World Series of Boxing (WSB) has announced the 16 teams that will be split into an eight-team Group A and an eight-team Group B for its fifth season in 2014-15. The 12 teams from last season will return and the WSB will add new teams in China, Morocco, Venezuela and another yet-to-be-named team. China had a team called the Beijing Dragons for the WSB's first two seasons. The United States has a team called the USA Knockouts and Mexico has a team called the Guerreros.
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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