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Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report

by Dan Krieger
February 12, 2018 - Canadian American League (Can-Am)

BASEBALL

Can-Am League: The Can-Am baseball league announced a national team from the Dominican Republic and the Salina (KS) Stockade baseball team, which is owned and operated by the Pecos League, have been added as travel teams to the 2018 schedule. Both teams will play a three- or four-game series against each of the league's six regular full-schedule teams during the month of June. The Salina Stockade was part of the 2016 Pecos League and played a full schedule as a travel team with limited home games in the 2017 season of the American Association.

Pacific Coast League: The Fresno Grizzlies of the Triple-A PCL will be rebranded as the Zamunda Lions for one game in the 2018 season as a tribute to the 30th anniversary of the movie "Coming to America".

Eastern League: The Hartford (CT) Yard Goats of the Double-A Eastern League will play one game as the Connecticut Steamed Cheeseburgers during the 2018 season as a tribute to the steamed burger that some claim was invented in Connecticut.

Carolina League: The team playing as the Buies Creek (NC) Astros in the high Class-A Carolina League will change its name as it moves into a new stadium in downtown Fayetteville (NC) for the 2019 season. Five potential nicknames (Fatbacks, Fly Traps, Jumpers, Wood Dogs and Woodpeckers) were part of a name-the-team contest started this past June. Woodpeckers or Fatbacks are considered to be the frontrunners for the name to be announced in April. The team's current home is on the campus of Campbell University in Buies Creek, just north of Fayetteville.

International League: The Triple-A International League has set a deadline of March 1, 2018 for the Rochester Red Wings and Monroe County to come to a lease agreement for use of the city's Frontier Field or the Red Wings could play their home games at another location in 2018.

Appalachian League (APPY): The city of Elizabethton (TN) signed an agreement to keep the Elizabethton Twins of the advanced Rookie-level APPY in the city for at least the 2018 season. The city has been trying to get the team's parent, the Minnesota Twins, to help pay for ballpark upgrades and have given the Twins a February 28 deadline to say if they will commit to helping with the cost of the upgrades.

Southwest League of Professional Baseball: The city of Joplin (MO) has approved a stadium lease proposal by Ventura Sports Group, which is the organizer of the Southwest League and trying to bring a team to the city's Joe Becker Stadium. The city can terminate the agreement if a six-team league is not confirmed by October 15, 2018. The league wants to start play with six teams in 2019 and currently five of the six teams are to be located in Texas.

BASKETBALL

American Basketball Association: The ABA announced a new team called the Syracuse Stallions has been added for the 2018-19 season. The ABA had a team called the Syracuse Raging Bullz (originally Bullies) that played six games in the 2007-08 season before dropping out and eventually moving to Rochester (NY). An ABA team called the Syracuse Shockwave tried and failed to get off the ground in the 2010-11, 2011-12 and 2014-15 seasons.

Universal Basketball Association: The men's UBA started its 2018 season last month with 19 teams aligned in three five-team conferences (Northern, Southern and Western) and one four-team conference (Eastern). The UBA season runs from mid-January to mid-June. The UBA has been around since 2009 after evolving from the United Regions Basketball League.

National Professional Basketball Association: The NPBA recently announced a new team called the Kalamazoo (MI) Wildcats has been added.

North American Basketball League: After moving from last season's Premier Basketball League, the four teams in the NABL's new Northeast Division started play last month. Teams include the Dubois (PA) Dream, Jamestown (NY) Jackals, Chautauqua (NY) Hurricane and Washington (DC) Warhawks. Since the PBL played a winter-spring schedule (January to April), the former PBL teams started in January, while the NABL's other three divisions will start in April. The winner of the new Northeast Division will compete with the NABL's three other division winners in the playoffs. Another former PBL team called the Ohio Bootleggers (Columbus) plans to wait to start play again in April as part of the NABL's Midwest Division.

FOOTBALL

Indoor Football League: The league called Champions Indoor Football won a temporary injunction to stop two of its former teams called the West Michigan Ironmen (Muskegon) and Bloomington (IL) Edge from playing in the IFL for the 2018 season. As a result, both teams will not be playing a 2018 season and the IFL will operate with only six teams in one table for the standings. The IFL held a dispersal draft to place Bloomington and West Michigan players on other IFL teams. The Bloomington Edge backed off on plans to try to play an independent schedule in 2018. Per the court ruling, the teams could only play if they were members of the CIF in 2018. Both teams will sit idle in 2018 and will try to reorganize for a return in the IFL for the 2019 season.

American Flag Football League: The proposed new AFFL is launching a 2018 tournament called the U.S. Open of Football that will be an opportunity for flag football players of all athletic backgrounds to participate for cash prizes. The AFFL was announced last year and held a trial game with two 7-on-7 teams in late June. At that time, the AFFL announced it was planning to have eight league-owned teams start play in 2018.

HOCKEY

Eastern Hockey League: The Tier-III junior-level EHL recently announced it will add teams in the markets of Aston (PA), Bedford (MA), Garner (NC), Middletown (NJ), Newark (DE), Newington (CT), Pineville (NC) and Virginia Beach (VA) for the 2018-19 season. The team in Newington will be the new Connecticut Chiefs team, which will basically be a relocation of the current EHL team called the Connecticut Oilers (Hamden). The Middletown team will be the New Jersey 87s, which will upgrade with an EHL team after starting with a 2017-18 expansion team in the lower-level EHL Premier. Some of the other markets could be teams from the current independent Tier-III United States Premier Hockey League.

SOCCER

Major League Soccer: The Austin (TX) Chamber of Commerce is supporting the potential move of the MLS's Columbus (OH) Crew to Austin where the city has been providing options for a new stadium site. Although nothing has been finalized, the ownership of the Columbus Crew has expressed interest in playing in Austin starting with the 2019 season. The team is committed to Columbus for 2018.

United Soccer League - Division-III League: The FC Tucson team, which has been a member of the United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League since 2012, announced plans to join the new USL Division-III league and will be the league's first western team. The league plans to start play in 2019.

North American Soccer League: The NASL has filed a suit against board members of the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) for breach of fiduciary duty due to their conflicts of interest with Major League Soccer and its marketing conglomerate that influenced the USSF's decision not to grant Division-II status to the NASL for the 2018 season. Of the eight teams that finished the 2017 NASL Fall Season, the San Francisco Deltas and FC Edmonton ceased operations, and the Indy Eleven (Indianapolis) and North Carolina FC moved to the Division-II United Soccer League. Since the NASL announced a delay in starting its 2018 season until August, the Jacksonville Armada and Miami FC announced plans to operate teams this summer in the lower-level National Premier Soccer League. Two previously announced 2018 NASL expansion teams called the 1904 SC (San Diego) and California United FC (Orange County) are reported to be considering a delay in starting and a possible move to the USL.

National Premier Soccer League: The men's elite-level NPSL announced the team known as Beaches FC has been renamed the Palm Beach United (Florida) for the upcoming 2018 season.

OTHER

American Ultimate Disc League: The Nashville Nightwatch of the men's professional AUDL announced it will also field a new women's pro team for the upcoming 2018 season. The league's Detroit Mechanix team was the first team to add a 2018 women's team last month. This was a result of a national boycott from players over the AUDL's perceived lack of support for gender equality.

Major League Quidditch: The professional MLQ recently announced the schedule for its fourth season in 2018 that will again feature 16 teams aligned in 4 four-team divisions (East, North, South and West). The only change from last season is the relocation of the Phoenix Sol to Idaho as the Boise Grays in the West division. The 2018 season runs from early June to mid-August. Quidditch is a competitive, full-contact, mixed-gender sport played by athletes around the world. The game involves two seven-player teams with each player mounting a broomstick as they run up and down a field about the size of a hockey rink trying to score points by tossing a volleyball-like quaffle into one of three of the opposing team's hoops.

Dan Krieger is the creator of the Leagues, Teams & Nicknames, 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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Canadian American League Stories from February 12, 2018


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