Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report
by Dan Krieger
November 10, 2014 - Federal Hockey League (FHL)
Can-Am League: A new Can-Am League team could return to Skylands Park in Sussex County (NJ) for the 2015 season. The league had a team called the Sussex Skyhawks that played four seasons (2006-09) at Skylands Park before folding. The ballpark was home to an affiliated team called the New Jersey Cardinals in the short-season Class-A New York-Penn League from 1994 through the 2005 season. The Can-Am League had four teams last season and also plans to add the new Ottawa Champions in 2015. The league is also reported to be trying to form a travel team comprised of players from a Japanese independent league.
United League Baseball: The Fort Worth Cats of the independent ULB have lost their lease at LaGrave Field. The league will try to find a new home for the team in the Fort Worth area, but it might have to move to another city in North Texas. The Fort Worth Cats were one of only four teams in the 2014 ULB season with one of those teams (Brownsville Charros) considered as a travel team. The Fort Worth Cats started play in 2001 as part of the short-lived All American Association before moving to the Central Baseball League (CBL) in 2002. The CBL was dissolved after the 2005 season with the Cats moving to the American Association for the next six seasons (2006-11). The Cats played as part of the North American League in 2012 before becoming part of the ULB in 2013. The independent Atlantic League and American Association could try to place a team at LaGrave Field in Fort Worth. The Atlantic League has been trying to find other Texas-based teams for its lone western team called the Sugar Land (TX) Skeeters, while the AA has three Texas-based teams in its Southern Division.
Frontier League: The independent Frontier League announced its 2015 season schedule that will feature the same 14 teams as last season aligned into seven-team East and West divisions. For the third season in a row, one of the teams will be the league-operated Frontier Greys travel team.
Tobacco Road Basketball League: The TRBL started its first fall-winter season this weekend with a seven-team East Division, an eight-team West Division and two sanctioned exhibition teams. The TRBL played its first two seasons of 2012 and 2013 from early April to early June, while a 2014 season ran from mid-January to mid-June. With the switch to a fall-winter season, the TRBL lost five teams called the Fayetteville (NC) Crossover, Carolina Gladiators (Lumberton, NC) , PrimeTime Players (Fort Mill, SC), Queen City Express (Concord, NC) and SC Allstars (Greenville, SC) to the new East Coast Basketball League, which plans to continue with a spring schedule starting in 2015. The Neuse River BC (Smithfield, NC) also did not return, but the TRBL has added new teams called the Winston-Salem Certified, All American Ballers (Fayetteville, NC), Raleigh Revolt, Triangle RunNGun (travel team), Robeson County (NC) Showstoppers, Charlotte Elite, D-Elite Flyers (Auburn, AL), Georgia Kings (Atlanta) and High Point (NC) Heat. The Stealth All Stars (Raleigh) and Burlington (NC) Knights are sanctioned exhibition teams.
Rivals Professional Football League: The RPFL, which wants to become a developmental league to the National Football League, played a short season this past summer with four teams called the Detroit Cougars, Southern Michigan Mustangs, Macomb County (MI) Bearcats and Akron Blaze. The league plans to return in 2015 and lists two Michigan-based expansion teams called the Pontiac Generals and Oakland County Racers. The RPFL wants to develop into a ten-team league with teams playing a 12-game schedule from May to September.
Fall Experimental Football League: The four-team FXFL, which is trying to become a developmental minor league for the National Football League, has cancelled its final regular-season game that was to have been played next week in Omaha between the Omaha Mammoths and Brooklyn Bolts. These teams have the best records in the league with Brooklyn at 4-0 and Omaha at 3-1, so the league was considering a future championship game between these teams at another location. There has been speculation the league ran out of money and could not afford to host the game in Omaha.
National Football League: The owner of the NFL's Oakland Raiders met with officials from San Antonio this week to discuss a possible move of the Raiders to San Antonio. The Raiders have been unable to get a new stadium built in Oakland and share its stadium with Major League Baseball's Oakland A's. The Raiders could be using talk of a move to San Antonio, or possibly to Los Angeles, as leverage for a stadium deal in Oakland.
Federal Hockey League: The FHL's new Steel City Warriors team based out of the Rostraver Ice Gardens in Belle Vernon (PA) started its 2014-15 home season this weekend. The Warriors replace the league's failed SouthWest Pennsylvania Magic, which never got off the ground after playing one road game last month. The Warriors took over the former Magic's schedule and played its first game on the road last weekend against the Danville (IL) Dashers.
Major League Soccer: A Japanese investment group has expressed interest in purchasing the San Antonio Scorpions of the Division-II North American Soccer League and expanding the team's current 8,000-seat stadium for a possible move up to the MLS as an expansion team. The MLS wants to have 24 teams by the 2020 season. The league will have 20 teams in 2015 with the addition of Orlando and New York City and will grow to 22 teams with the addition of Los Angeles and Atlanta in 2017. A decision on the final round of expansion is not expected until sometime in 2015.
United Soccer Leagues - PRO: The Real Salt Lake club from Major League Soccer announced it will own and operate a USL PRO team called the Real Monarchs SLC in the 2015 season. The new Salt Lake City team becomes the fourth USL PRO team, along with the expansion Portland Timbers 2 and Seattle Sounders FC 2 and the second-year Los Angeles Galaxy II, to be owned by an MLS team. The Real Monarchs SLC is the ninth new franchise to join the league for the 2015 season. The team will play its first season at the Real Salt Lake's Rio Tinto Stadium until a recently approved 8,000-seat stadium is completed. The Houston Dynamo of the MLS is still looking to establish a developmental USL PRO league team in the Rio Grande Valley area of Texas (McAllen, Hidalgo, Edinburg) by the 2016 season. The Dynamo wants the Hidalgo-based Rio Grande Valley Vipers of the National Basketball Association D-League to own and operate the team in a new facility to be built for the team. The Dynamo has had its South Texas Academy team located in McAllen since 2007.
World Series of Boxing: The WSB team-based international boxing league announced the China Dragons, Morocco Atlas Lions and Puerto Rico Hurricanes as the names of its new teams in those countries for the 2015 season. The 12 teams from last season will return and the league grew to 16 teams with the addition of new teams in China, Morocco, Puerto Rico and Venezuela. China had a team called the Beijing Dragons for the WSB's first two seasons (2010-12). The United States has a team called the USA Knockouts and Mexico has a team called the Guerreros. The league is aligned into two eight-team groups with teams playing 14 matches within their groups from January through April 2015.
National Indoor Field Lacrosse: The proposed new NIFL, which planned to be the first professional indoor field lacrosse league, will apparently not get off the ground. Earlier this year, the league announced the Buffalo Xtreme and three Ontario-based teams called the Niagara Riptides, St. Catharines Wolfpack and Welland River Rats would start play in the fall of 2014-15. This start was pushed back a year and now appears to be dead.
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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Federal Hockey League Stories from November 10, 2014
- Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report - OSC Original by Dan Krieger
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