Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report

by Dan Krieger
January 8, 2018 - International League (IL)

BASEBALL

International League: Major League Baseball's New York Mets recently purchased the Syracuse Chiefs of the Triple-A International League, but the team will remain an affiliate of the Washington Nationals through the 2018 season. The Syracuse Chiefs are expected to undergo a name change for the 2019 season with the Syracuse Mets as the possible new name.

Pacific Coast League: The Omaha Storm Chasers of the Triple-A PCL plan to pay tribute to the team's former nicknames and it will be renamed the Omaha Golden Spikes and Omaha Royals for selected games in the upcoming 2018 season.

American Association: The planned ballpark at a development in the Franklin (WI) suburb of Milwaukee for a proposed American Association team is being opposed by the neighboring village of Greendale. It was hoped construction could start in the spring of 2018 with completion in time for the 2019 season.

BASKETBALL

American Basketball Association: The ABA announced a Brooklyn-based team called the New York Lightning has been added for the 2018-19 season. The ABA most recently had the Brooklyn Skyrockets team that was part of the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons.

North American Premier Basketball: The new professional NAPB started its inaugural 2018 season last weekend with eight teams called the Albany (NY) Patroons, Kentucky Thoroughbreds (Owensboro), Kansas City Tornados (originally announced as the KC Buzz), Nevada Desert Dogs (Mesquite), Ohio Cardinals (Akron), Rochester (NY) RazorSharks, Vancouver (British Columbia) Knights (originally the Seattle Knights) and the Yakima (WA) Sun Kings. The NAPB was organized by the owner of the Rochester RazorSharks from last season's Premier Basketball League. All NAPB teams are scheduled to play a 32-game season that runs through April 2018.

FOOTBALL

American Arena League: The AAL has added the New England Cavalry (Concord, NH) as another affiliated team for the 2018 season. The Cavalry stated the team will play a total of four road games against AAL teams - two against the Rochester Kings, and one each against the Vermont Bucks and Glens Falls Gladiators. The New England Cavalry was originally listed by the AAL as the New Hampshire Cavalry, which is the Cavalry's associated semi-pro outdoor team that played as the Concord Cavalry in the 2017 East Coast Football League.

Midwest Professional Indoor Football: The regional MPIF recently announced the team called the Chicago Blitz has been added for the league's 2018 season. The Chicago Blitz played in the 2014 season of the former Continental Indoor Football League and two seasons (2015-16) as part of the former American Indoor Football. The MPIF also announced the Cincinnati Flex will return for the 2018 season. The MPIF currently lists seven teams: four (Chicago Blitz, Midway Marauders, Westchester Apaches and Windy City Ravens) in the Chicago area, one (Cincinnati Flex) in Ohio, one (Indianapolis Enforcers) in Indiana and one (Saginaw Wolves) in Michigan. The MPIF started play in 2016.

Fan Controlled Football League: The proposed new interactive FCFL, which plans to be the first fan-controlled professional sports league with fans electronically calling plays, will start in the summer of 2018 with eight teams split into two divisions. The league's prototype team with fans calling plays was the Utah Screaming Eagles (Salt Lake City) of the 2017 Indoor Football League. The Screaming Eagles will be one of the FCFL's eight teams. The league will feature 7-on-7/50-yard indoor football with all games played at one location still to be decided. Atlanta, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Salt Lake City are under consideration to be the league's host city. All games will be one-hour long with all teams playing on the same day. The games will be more of a digital studio production for online participation rather than the traditional arena game atmosphere.

Elite Indoor Football: The semi-pro EIF announced the team called the Atlanta Furious is no longer part of the league. A team called the Rome (GA) Knights has been added to fill in some games that were on the 2018 schedule of the Atlanta Furious. The Rome Knights hope to play a full EIF schedule in 2019.

Canadian Arena League: The proposed new springtime CAL has been announced and is another attempt to create an indoor football league playing by Canadian 3-down rules. The CAL set a January 1, 2018 deadline for prospective teams and that will determine whether the league will start in March 2018 or 2019. Most recently, the Canadian league known as the Global Indoor Football League (GIFL), which was originally called the National Canadian Arena Football League, tried and failed to start in 2014 with four Ontario-based teams called the Guelph Gangsters, Mississauga Meltdown, Oshawa Onslaught and Windsor Waves. The GIFL tried again in 2016 for a proposed 2017 start and announced its first team as the league-operated Buffalo Tribe. The GIFL morphed into the Global Indoor League (GIL), which announced plans to start in 2017 with teams based in the Great Lakes region before folding in 2017. In 2001, several other attempted Canadian indoor leagues like the Canadian Indoor Football League, Indoor Canadian Football League and the International Indoor Football League never got off the ground.

HOCKEY

National Hockey League: The mayor of Calgary thinks a new arena for the NHL's Calgary Flames is a bad investment for the city and the team's owner could consider selling the team if a new arena deal cannot be worked out. The owner of the National Basketball Association's Houston Rockets has expressed interest in an NHL team, so Houston has been mentioned as a possible destination for the Flames.

American Inline Hockey League: The AIHL 2017-18 season started early last month as the league moves into its tenth season. The league is aligned into a ten-team Minor Tier 1 Eastern Conference, a five-team Minor Tier 2 Eastern Conference and a four-team Elite Division Eastern Conference. The AIHL schedule runs through March 2018.

SOCCER

National Independent Soccer Association: The NISA is still planning to launch a Division-III men's league in the spring of 2019 with eight teams. The NISA is also planning to start a new lower-level professional NISA Division-IV league at the same time. The NISA has long-range plans of establishing a system of promotion and relegation between leagues at the Division-I, Division-II, Division-III and Division-IV levels. The NISA would like to partner with the North American Soccer League (NASL) as its Division-II league, if the NASL agrees to a promotion/relegation system and if the NASL survives as it tries to re-establish its Division-II status that was removed after the 2017 season. If the NASL cannot move forward, the NISA will eventually establish its own Division-II league. The NISA has been working with team owners from the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) to establish some of its Division-III teams and some of the proposed professional NISA Division-IV teams are expected to come from the NPSL.

National Premier Soccer League: The NPSL announced an expansion team called Charlottesville (VA) Alliance FC has been added to the league's Northeast Region Mid-Atlantic Conference for the 2018 season.

OTHER

Arena Lacrosse League: The Canadian Ontario-based AAL started play in its second season last week and grew from six to seven teams. All six teams from last season called the Oshawa Outlaws, Paris RiverWolves, Peterborough Timbermen, St. Catharines ShockWave, Six Nations Snipers (Hagersville) and Toronto Monarchs returned, plus the league added a new team called the Whitby Steelhawks. The SteelHawks play home games at the Children's Arena in Oshawa, which is also home to the Oshawa Outlaws. The ALL is also starting a five-team women's league this season.

National Pro FastPitch: The women's NPF announced it has added a team called the Aussie Spirit to the 2018 lineup of teams. The Spirit is operated by Softball Australia and will be based in the Midwest playing home games at locations in Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri and Iowa. The league stated it will have six teams in 2018 that will include the returning Akron Racers, Chicago Bandits, Scrap Yard Dawgs (Houston), the USSSA Florida Pride (Viera, FL) and the Beijing Shougang Eagles travel team from China, along with the Aussie Spirit. One other 2017 team called the Texas Charge (San Marcos) will not return in 2018.

Dan Krieger is the creator of the Leagues, Teams & Nicknames 2015-16: "The Leagueology Almanac" , which tracks the changes in league alignments, franchise movements and team nicknames in today's sports world. The publication is available for sale at www.amazon.com.

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International League Stories from January 8, 2018


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