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Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report

by Dan Krieger
October 6, 2014 - Continental Indoor Football League (CIFL)

BASEBALL

American Association: The independent AA announced the new Joplin (MO) Blasters team will be placed in the league's South Division when it starts play in 2015. The Blasters are the former El Paso Diablos team, which sat out the 2014 season after announcing a move to Joplin for the 2015 season. The El Paso Diablos were part of a four-team South Division in 2013, so when El Paso sat out in 2014 the league moved the Wichita Wingnuts to the South Division to keep a four-team division. Wichita will remain in the five-team South Division with Joplin and last season's three Texas-based teams called the Amarillo Sox, Grand Prairie AirHogs and Laredo Lemurs. The league's four-team Central Division (Gary SouthShore Railcats, Kansas City T-Bones, Lincoln Saltdogs and Sioux City Explorers) and four-team North Division (Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks, St. Paul Saints, Sioux Falls Canaries and Winnipeg Goldeyes) will remain the same and the AA will have 13 teams in 2014.

Northern League: The revival of the independent Northern League has stalled and stadium plans for a proposed team called the Elkhart (IN) Miracle have not moved forward due to a lack of private financing. The stadium was first announced in June 2013 and the league originally hoped to start play in 2014. Stadium funding for a proposed team in Dyersville (IA) also fell through last year.

South Atlantic League (SALLY): The owner of the Savannah Sand Gnats in the low Class-A SALLY is trying bring an affiliated minor league baseball team to a new stadium in Columbia (SC) by the 2016 season and recently announced a name-the-team contest for the new team. The owner will announce the team name in the spring of 2015, as well as what team will be moving to Columbia. There has been speculation the Sand Gnats will be the team moving, but if Savannah moves forward on a new stadium a different team, possibly from a different league, would be purchased and moved to Columbia. A study commissioned by Savannah recommended the city move forward with construction of a new baseball stadium, but a funding plan would still need to be developed. The Savannah Sand Gnats' lease runs through the 2015 season and the owner does not want to remain in the current outdated stadium.

Mount Rainier Professional Baseball League: The proposed new MRPBL, which will have all teams based in the Pacific Northwest area of the United States when play starts in 2015, announced its sixth team will be the Vancouver (WA) Mud Turtles. Other teams announced are the Centralia (WA) Minotaurs, Grays Harbor Gulls (Hoquiam, WA), Moses Lake (WA) Rattlesnakes, Oregon City (OR) Sasquatch and Skagit Valley Steelheads (Mount Vernon, WA)

BASKETBALL

National Basketball League of Canada: The owner of the NBL-Canada's Ottawa SkyHawks team, which was removed by the league after only one season, has filed a breach of contract lawsuit against the league. The SkyHawks claim the team had lined up an arena in Gatineau for the 2014-15 season just prior to being ousted by the league.

Independent Basketball Association: The IBA's new CyFair Cobras (Kingwood, TX) team has been moved from the full-schedule division to the league's Branding Division of teams that are playing partial schedules during the 2014-15 winter season. The Lansing Capitals have been moved from the Branding Division to the full-schedule division of teams.

American Basketball Association: The ABA has posted its initial 2014-15 alignment that features 73 teams in 9 regional divisions along with 10 travel teams and 2 "at large" teams.

Eastern Basketball Alliance: The EBA has added a team called the Columbia All-Stars, based in Howard County (MD), to the Northern Division of teams for the upcoming 2015 season.

Women's Universal Basketball Association: The WUBA, which is affiliated with the men's Universal Basketball Association, announced plans to return with a new northern division of teams for the league's next season that will start in January 2015. The WUBA started play in the 2011-12 season and has had a Southern Conference of teams in Georgia and Tennessee for all three seasons (2011-14), while a Northern Conference with four Ohio-based teams only participated in the first season. The league plans to have at least four Ohio-based teams in the Columbus and Dayton areas in 2015 and another team called the Cincinnati Lady Slam also plans to be part of the northern division.

FOOTBALL

Indoor Football League: The IFL announced its 2015 season schedule and confirmed the league alignment that will feature a five-team United Conference with the returning Bemidji (MN) Axemen, Cedar Rapids (IA) Titans, Green Bay Blizzard, Sioux Falls (ND) Storm and the new Iowa Barnstormers (Des Moines) and an Intense Conference with the returning Colorado Ice (Fort Collins), Nebraska Danger (Grand Island), Tri-Cities Fever (Kennewick, WA) and the new Billings (MT) Wolves and Wichita Falls (TX) Nighthawks. Last season's Wyoming Cavalry (Casper) ceased operations, while the Allen-based Texas Revolution moved to the new league called Champions Indoor Football. The Cavalry started play back in 2000 and joined the IFL for the 2011 season. The Texas Revolution evolved from the Arkansas Twisters (Little Rock) team that played in all ten seasons (2000-09) of the defunct Arenafootball2. The Twisters planned to join the new reorganized Arena Football League, originally named the AF1, but switched to the IFL as the Arkansas Diamonds for the 2010 season. The Diamonds moved to become the Allen Wranglers for the 2011 season and was renamed the Texas Revolution under new ownership prior to the 2013 IFL season.

Continental Indoor Football League: The CIFL's Northern Kentucky River Monsters, based in Highland Heights (KY), have suspended operations after playing only one season in the league. The team's owner operated a team by the same name in the inaugural 2011 season of the Ultimate Indoor Football League, but left after one season in a dispute with the league. The owner failed in an attempt to start a proposed Muncie (IN) River Monsters team as part of the 2012 CIFL. The Ultimate Indoor Football League evolved into the United Indoor Football League for 2012 and operated a different team called the Northern Kentucky Monsters out of the Highland Heights arena. The league changed back to the Ultimate Indoor Football League for 2013, but without the Northern Kentucky Monsters. The revived Northern Kentucky River Monsters then joined the CIFL for the 2014 season.

X-League Indoor Football: The Chicago Blitz, which played its inaugural 2014 season as part of the Continental Indoor Football League, has moved to the X-League for the 2015 indoor football season. The X-League completed its inaugural season in 2014 with five teams called the Alabama Outlawz (Birmingham), Florida Marine Raiders (Lakeland), Georgia Rampage (Dalton), Savannah Steam and St. Louis Attack. The league has grown to ten teams with the addition of five teams called the Cape Fear Heroes (Fayetteville, NC), Chicago Blitz, Corpus Christi Fury, Florida Tarpons (Estero) and Rio Grande Valley Sol (Hidalgo, TX) from other leagues.

North American Football League: The proposed new professional NAFL announced it will start play with eight teams each playing a six-game schedule from mid-May through June 2015. The four-team AFC Conference will include the Birmingham (AL) Freedom, Memphis Kings, North Carolina Redwolves (Raleigh-Durham) and Orlando Sentinels, while the NFC Conference will feature the Columbus (OH) Flight, Connecticut Colonials, Kentucky Thoroughbreds (Louisville) and Virginia Crusaders (Richmond). The Hartford-based Connecticut Colonials were originally called the Hartford Merchantmen.

HOCKEY

Ligue de Hockey Nord Americaine: The minor pro-level Quebec-based LNAH, or the North American Hockey League, started its 2014-15 season this week and again has eight teams. The Viking de Trois-Rivieres team came under new ownership in the off-season and was renamed the Blizzard Cloutier Nord-Sud Trois-Rivieres. The Braves de Laval team was renamed the Predateurs de Laval. The other six teams remain the same for the 2014-15 season.

United States Hockey League: The Midwest-based Tier-I USHL, which is USA Hockey's top junior hockey league, started its 2014-15 season last weekend. The league grew from 16 to 17 teams and is aligned into a nine-team Eastern Conference and an eight-team Western Conference. Of the eight teams in last season's Eastern Conference, the Indiana Ice did not return but the league added expansion teams called the Bloomington (IL) Thunder and Madison (WI) Capitols. The eight-team Western Conference remained the same as last season.

SOCCER

Major League Soccer: The MLS plans to announce in the near future the ownership group that will replace the league's Chivas USA franchise in Los Angeles. The new ownership group has apparently committed to building a new soccer stadium in the Los Angeles area and the new team will most likely sit out until the 2017 season. After considering other markets like San Diego, Houston, San Antonio and Chicago, the Chivas USA entered the MLS for the 2005 season based in Los Angeles and has been sharing the StubHub Center (previously the Home Depot Center) in Carson (CA) with the league's Los Angeles Galaxy. Prior to the 2014 season, the MLS took control of the Chivas USA, which had been affiliated with the ownership of the Chivas Guadalajara club in Mexico's top professional soccer league.

OTHER

Canadian Lacrosse League: The Southwest Cyclops team in the all-Canadian minor professional indoor lacrosse league known as the CLAX will move to a new arena in Paris (Ontario) for the 2015 season. The Cyclops joined the league last season and played home games at Iroquois Lacrosse Arena in Hagersville (Ontario). The CLAX will be playing its fourth season in 2015.

Dan Krieger is the creator of the Leagues, Teams & Nicknames 2013-14: "The Leagueology Almanac" , 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 October 6, 2014


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