Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report
by Dan Krieger
July 2, 2018 - Federal Hockey League (FHL)
Carolina League: The Potomac Nationals (Woodbridge, VA) of the high Class-A Carolina League have been unsuccessful over the past few years in trying to build a new stadium to remain in Prince William County and are now pursuing a move to a proposed new 5,000-seat stadium to be built in Fredericksburg (VA), about 30 miles southwest of Woodbridge. The city of Fredericksburg will decide later this month whether it will sign a nonbinding letter of intent with the team. A few years ago, both Fredericksburg and nearby Spotsylvania County were in discussions with the Hagerstown (MD) Suns of the low Class-A South Atlantic League about moving to the area, but a stadium deal never materialized.
International League: The Pawtucket Red Sox (PawSox) of the Triple-A International League will play a game next month as the Pawtucket Hot Wieners as a tribute to the hot wiener that is part of the Rhode Island food culture. Although the Rhode Island governor recently signed legislation that would provide some financing for a new PawSox stadium in Pawtucket, the team has still not committed to staying in the city and continues discussions with Worcester (MA) about a new stadium for the team in that market.
Arizona League: The pure Rookie-level AzL recently started its 2018 season and increased from 15 to 18 teams aligned in six-team East, Central and West divisions. The Cubs added a second team and now have Cubs 1 and Cubs 2 teams, the Indians added a second team and now have Indians 1 and Indians 2 teams, and the Giants added a second team and now have the Giants Black and the Giants Orange teams. AzL teams play at complexes in and around the Phoenix area.
Gulf Coast League: The pure Rookie-level GCL recently started its 2018 season and increased from 17 to 18 teams, as the Phillies added a second GCL team in 2018 and now operate both the Phillies East and Phillies West teams. The GCL is aligned in two five-team East and Northwest divisions and two four-team South and Northeast divisions. The Pirates were moved to the Northwest and replaced in the Northeast with Phillies East, while Phillies remain in the Northwest with the Phillies West. Both the Yankees and Tigers also operate two GCL teams under the East and West names.
West Coast League: The summer-collegiate WCL recently announced a new Clark County (WA) team will be added for the 2019 season. The team home will be in Ridgefield near Vancouver (WA).
Canadian Elite Basketball League: Two more of the six teams in the proposed CEBL recently announced team nicknames. The Guelph (Ontario) team will be called the Guelph Nighthawks and the Edmonton (Alberta) team will be called the Edmonton Stingers when the league debuts in May 2019. Two other named teams are the Ontario-based Hamilton Honey Badgers and the Niagara River Lions, who are moving to the CEBL from the National Basketball League of Canada. The CEBL's two remaining unnamed teams will be in Saskatoon (Saskatchewan) and Fraser Valley (Abbotsford, British Columbia).
American Basketball Association: The ABA announced new teams called the Howard Hoops of the Minneapolis/St. Paul area and the Oneonta (NY) Octane will be part of the 2018-19 season. The ABA and its new ABA Mexico league will be starting an ABA Summer Slam Camp later this month in Campeche (Mexico) as part of an international showcase that will feature teams from Mexico, the United States and Belize. A local team called the Tucanes de Campeche, along with current ABA teams called the Chicago Fury, South Florida Gold and West Michigan Lake Hawks are listed as participants.
Arena Football League: Although the AFL is playing with only four teams this season, a new commissioner hired prior to the season says expansion is on the horizon and 12 to 15 cities have expressed interest in an AFL franchise.
National Arena League: An NAL official recently stated the league has received an application from a New York market for the 2019 season, but that application is still being considered and no new team has yet been approved for next season.
American Flag Football League: The proposed new professional AFFL will be completing its 2018 tournament called the U.S. Open of Football later this month. A total of 128 amateur flag football teams have been competing in single-elimination tournament play across the country since March. This weekend, the eight remaining amateur teams start the quarterfinals with the amateur America's Championship to be held on July 14, 2018. The Pro Division tournament-play will start next weekend with four teams called Roadrunners, Ocho, Holdat and Godspeed and its Pro Championship also to be held on July 14, 2018. The amateur America's champion and the Pro champion will compete for a $1 million prize in an Ultimate Final scheduled for July 19, 2018 in Houston. The AFFL was launched with an inaugural trial game between two teams playing 7-on-7 flag football in San Jose on June 27, 2017. When first announced, the AFFL was planning to have eight league-owned teams in an inaugural 2018 season.
Rivals Professional Football League: The developmental RPFL's Northern Conference, which consisted of four Michigan-based teams called the Detroit Cougars, Michigan Bearcats, Oakland County Racers and Pontiac Generals playing a short season schedule in May and June, held its championship game last month. The league's Southern Conference of four Florida-based teams played its season in March and April. The RPFL is also planning a new Atlanta conference of teams to start play in 2019.
Federal Hockey League: Officials in Elmira (NY) are considering a proposal from the lower-level professional FHL for a possible expansion team to start play this fall in the city's First Arena. Elmira was recently home to the Elmira Jackals of the ECHL, but that team folded after the 2016-17 season. The FHL is also reported to be interested in an expansion team based in Mentor (OH), near Cleveland.
Interstate Hockey League: The IHL is new men's senior (adult) full-check hockey league looking to start this fall with four Michigan-based teams called the Hadley Nepessings, Rochester Vipers,Macomb Hurons, and Canton Wolfpack. IHL teams will play a 20-game season starting in October.
USA Central Hockey League: The proposed Texas-based junior-level USACHL wants to start play this fall with six teams and it appears ready to announce Wichita Falls (TX) as its third team. USACHL teams called the Laredo Bucks and Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees (Hidalgo, TX) were announced earlier this year and three other teams are expected to be announced over the next two weeks. A team called the Wichita Falls Wildcats played 13 seasons (2004-17) as part of the Tier-II junior-level North American Hockey League before dropping out after the 2016-17 season.
Major League Soccer: The MLS expansion team for Miami is moving forward with plans to put its new stadium on the site of a golf course near the airport and a referendum will be put before voters in November. The ownership is finalizing the team name with reports that Futbol Club Atletico Miami (Atletico Miami) and Futbol Club Internacional de Miami (Inter Miami) are being considered. The ownership also registered some variations of the Miami Freedom as the team's name.
United Soccer League Division-III: The FC Dallas of Major League Soccer is reported to be organizing a new developmental team that will be a member of the new USL Division-III league that plans to start play in the spring of 2019. The new league has officially announced four founding members and it has several other potential teams that could be announced later this summer.
American Soccer League: The lower-level professional ASL is undergoing some changes for its next season starting this fall with its ASL Pro division and an amateur-level ASL2. The ASL announced a new fee structure and end-of-the-season prize money. The ASL started play in 2014 and has been trying to play separate fall and spring seasons with most teams based in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States.
Major League Quidditch: The MLQ recently started its fourth season early last month and again features 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. The MLQ has one Canadian team and the rest are located throughout the United States. Quidditch is a competitive, full-contact, mixed-gender sport played by athletes around the world and adapted from the game played in the Harry Potter series of books and movies. The MLQ 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 opposing team's hoops.
U.S. Association of Rugby League: The USARL started its 2018 season in the first week of June with 11 teams aligned in a four-team South Conference and a seven-team North Conference. The Southwest Florida Copperheads (Fort Myers) replaced the Central Florida Warriors (Daytona) in the South Conference for 2018. The Rhode Island Rebellion did not return to the North Conference in 2018 due to problems finding enough players to fill its team. The USARL plays from early June to mid-July.
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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Federal Hockey League Stories from July 2, 2018
- Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report - OSC Original by Dan Krieger
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