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Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report

by Dan Krieger
May 7, 2018 - Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL)

BASEBALL

American Association: The Milwaukee area's new Franklin (WI) team that hopes to start play in the 2019 season of the independent American Association announced ten potential farm-themed nicknames for the team: Crop Dusters, Cheesers, Broilers, Farmhands, Haymakers, Barn Owls, Cow Tippers, Bovines, Milk Men and War Pigs. The league's Wichita Wingnuts announced 2018 will be the team's last season at the city's Lawrence Dumont Stadium, which will be torn down and replaced by a new stadium. The mayor of Wichita has been trying to bring an affiliated team from the Triple-A Pacific Coast League to the new stadium along with a professional soccer team. The ownership of the Wingnuts is considering its options and plans to make an announcement during this season as to the long-term outlook for the franchise.

Southern League: Some of the ownership of the Mobile BayBears from the Double-A Southern League are moving to the Huntsville (AL) area in anticipation of the BayBears eventual move to a new ballpark to be built for the team in Madison (AL). The BayBears' ownership is still waiting for relocation permission from the league, Minor League Baseball and Major League Baseball. Once relocation rights are granted, the team will announce groundbreaking for the ballpark and a name-the-team contest. The goal is for the team to start play in the Huntsville area in the 2020 season.

International League: City officials and local business leaders in Worcester (MA) plan to continue discussions about luring the Pawtucket (RI) Red Sox (PawSox) of the Triple-A International League to a proposed stadium in the city. Funding for a new stadium in Pawtucket has hit a delay in the state House of Representatives as some want the team to contribute more funding to the project.

Pioneer League: Officials in Pueblo (CO) are debating whether to include a ballpark for a potential affiliated team, possibly in the high Rookie-level Pioneer League, as part of a new sports complex being planned. The city had affiliated teams back in the 1950s and most recently was home to an independent team called the Pueblo Bighorns in the 1995 season of the former Texas-Louisiana League.

New York-Penn League: The Aberdeen (MD) IronBirds of the short-season Class-A NYPL plan to play two games in the 2018 season as the Harford County Anglers of Aberdeen to coincide with Outdoor Weekend and a bass fishing tournament being held in the area.

BASKETBALL

Canadian Elite Basketball League: The proposed new CEBL announced its inaugural season will start in May 2019 with six teams located in Edmonton (Alberta), Fraser Valley (Abbotsford, British Columbia), Saskatoon (Saskatchewan) and the Ontario markets of Guelph, Hamilton and Niagara. Each team will play a 20-game schedule with a championship series to be held in August.

American Basketball Association: The ABA announced three more teams called the Waldorf (MD) Spartans, Las Vegas Suns and Alexandria (VA) Armor have been added for the 2018-19 season. The ABA had a couple of Maryland-based teams this past season and had several Las Vegas-based teams throughout its history with the Las Vegas Wizards as the most recent team in the 2017-18 season. An ABA travel team called the Hope Trail Blazers was based in Alexandria for the 2008-09 season. The ABA also announced a Miami-based team of ex-felons called X-Freedom will be joining the league.

Women's American Basketball Association: The WABA announced the 16 teams to participate in its 2018 season that will start in August. Of the seven teams from last season, the Mount Vernon (NY) Shamrocks, Long Island Storm, Jersey Expressions, D.C. Cyclones and Middle Georgia Lady Pits are returning, while the Atlanta Justice and Orlando Splash will not return. The league has added 11 new teams called the Boston Clovers, Jersey Shore Riptide, Steel City Queens (Pittsburgh), Cleveland Blaze, Maryland Jewels (Harford County), Dynasty Women's Basketball (Middle River, MD), Illinois Lady Bulldogs (Chicago area), Chicago Lady Steam, Atlanta Angels, Coastal Empire Lady Monarchs (Hinesville, GA) and Gastonia (NC) Greyhounds. Some other new teams called the Gary (IN) Sun Rays, Lady Oracles of Reading (PA), PG Courage (Prince George County, MD) and Lehigh Valley Lady Hunters were announced as new WABA teams, but will not be part of the 2018 season.

FOOTBALL

Champions Indoor Football: The CIF officially announced the termination of the Dallas Marshals franchise for failure to meet contractual obligations to the league. A semi-pro team called the Texas Power, based in the Audelia area of Dallas, has been selected to play the two remaining road games on the Marshals' 2018 schedule. The Texas Power is a member of a Dallas area league called Champion's Edge Indoor Football League, which operated last season as the Mesquite Indoor Football League.

Elite Indoor Football: The Bloomington (IL) Edge, which sat out the 2018 season of Champions Indoor Football (CIF) after a court blocked the team's attempt to move to the Indoor Football League (IFL), will play a team of EIF All-Stars and a game against the EIF's travel team called the New England Bobcats (Hudson, NH) in July 2018. The Edge also has the Rockford (IL) Rams of the Indoor Football Association on its July 2018 schedule. It is uncertain whether the Edge will return to the CIF or go the IFL in 2019.

Alliance of American Football: The proposed new springtime AAF has announced Memphis as its third of eight franchise locations when the league starts play in February 2019. The Atlanta and Orlando markets were previously announced as franchise locations. The AAF is reported to be in discussions with Arizona State University (Tempe) for use of its Sun Devil Stadium as home to a possible Phoenix area AAF franchise. The stadium was home to the National Football League's Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals from 1988 to 2005.

XFL: The proposed new springtime XFL has contacted the city of Orlando about placing a franchise in the city for the league's start in 2020. A team called the Orlando Rage was part of a previous version of the XFL in 2001. Another new springtime league called the Alliance of American Football plans to start in 2019 and has already announced Orlando as one of its franchise locations.

HOCKEY

North American Hockey League: The ownership of the Coulee Region Chill (La Crosse, WI) in the Tier-II junior-level NAHL and the La Crosse Freeze in the Tier-III North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL) has sold its NAHL team, which will be relocated to Chippewa Falls (WI) as the Chippewa Steel for the 2018-19 season. The ownership will keep its NA3HL team in La Crosse, but it will take the Coulee Region Chill name. The buyer of the new Chippewa Steel NAHL team is also the owner of the NA3HL's New Ulm (MN) Steel, which will now become a development team for the NAHL team. The NAHL's Coulee Region Chill had joined the league when the North Iowa Outlaws (Mason City) relocated to the La Crosse area for the 2010-11 season.

Southern Professional Hockey League: A recently approved ticket tax might help the TaxSlayer Center in Moline (IL) obtain a hockey team in either the SPHL or the Tier-I junior-level United States Hockey League for next season, but the deadline to approve any team is next week. The arena had been home to the Quad City Mallards of the ECHL, but the team folded after the 2017-18 season. It is already too late for another Quad City ECHL team to be added for next season.

SOCCER

Canadian Premier League: Canada Soccer has approved four more cities for teams in the new professional CPL that plans to start play in the spring of 2019. Halifax (Nova Scotia), Calgary (Alberta), York (Ontario) and Port City (British Columbia/Vancouver area) will join previously announced teams in Hamilton (Ontario) and Winnipeg (Manitoba). Additional teams in Edmonton (Alberta) and Ottawa (Ontario) are expected to be confirmed to round out the league's first eight members. The Calgary team is expected to be the Calgary Foothills FC that has played the past few seasons in the United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League. The York Region team will be the called the York 9 FC and located in Vaughan. An Edmonton team is expected to be operated by the owners of the FC Edmonton, which was part of the now-dormant North American Soccer League since the 2011 season.

North American Soccer League: The owner of the NASL's New York Cosmos has offered $500 million to the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) if it will allow the NASL a ten-year window to reach certain USSF compliance standards and also eliminate the USSF's apparent favoritism to Major League Soccer and the Division-II United Soccer League. The USSF withdrew the NASL's Division-II status for the 2018 season, so the league is not playing this season and several NASL teams, including the Cosmos, are operating teams in the lower-level National Premier Soccer League for the 2018 season.

OTHER

American Ultimate Disc League: A new women's ultimate team called the Austin Torch has organized and although it receives some assistance from the men's AUDL team called the Austin Sol, there is no official affiliation at this time. The Austin Torch plans to play a few games this summer against other women's teams called the Atlanta Soul and Nashville NightShade. The AUDL's DC Breeze is organizing a women's team that will play an all-women's game against the Raleigh Radiance and a mixed game against the AUDL's Pittsburgh Thunderbirds affiliated mixed team called the Pittsburgh Supercell.

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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Southern Professional Hockey League Stories from May 7, 2018


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