Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report
by Dan Krieger
July 16, 2018 - United Soccer League Championship (USL)
Atlantic League: The new Atlantic League team to be based in High Point (NC) will be called the High Point Rockers when it starts play next season. Other nicknames up for fan voting were Dragon Claws and Splinters. All nickname choices were associated with furniture because of the High Point-Thomasville's history in the U.S. furniture industry.
International League: The Syracuse Chiefs of the Triple-A International League will be changing its nickname next season as a result of the team being purchased last year by Major League Baseball's New York Mets. The Chiefs have been part of the league since 1961 and were known as the SkyChiefs from 1997 through the 2006 season.
Carolina League: The Potomac Nationals (Woodbridge, VA) of the high Class-A Carolina League have come to a preliminary agreement with the city of Fredericksburg (VA) to assist in funding a new 5,000-seat stadium to be built in the city. The agreement triggers a 120-day review period for the city and the team to further discuss the stadium. If the project moves forward, the stadium could be ready for the 2020 season.
Pioneer League: A proposed ballpark to be built in Pueblo (CO) for the relocated Orem (UT) Owlz of the advanced Rookie-level Pioneer League is moving forward after Pueblo County officials approved two resolutions pertaining to the ballpark proposal.
Expedition League: The city of Helena (MT), whose Helena Brewers team in the advanced Rookie-level Pioneer League is relocating to Colorado Springs next season, was approached by the summer-collegiate Expedition League about hosting a new team. The city appears to be more interested in promoting American Legion and youth baseball rather than getting involved with a new league.
Canadian Elite Basketball League: The proposed new CEBL, which plans to start its inaugural spring-summer season next year with six teams, plans to announce next week its sixth and final team for Fraser Valley that will be based in Abbotsford (British Columbia).
American Basketball Association: The semi-pro ABA recently announced three more new teams called the Ohio Kings, Albuquerque Bull Snakes and Nassau Pride (Nassau County, FL) will start play next season.
National Gridiron League: The Roanoke (VA) franchise in the proposed new indoor NGL announced the team will be called the Virginia Iron Horses when the league starts play in March 2019. The Roanoke team was originally listed as the Virginia Redbirds. The NGL has logos and nicknames for 12 teams aligned in six-team Eastern and Western divisions. Only the Virginia Iron Horses in the Eastern Division and the Kansas Kapitals (Topeka) and Baton Rouge Red Sticks have locations assigned to their logos. The NGL plans to maintain minority ownership in each of the teams.
The Spring League: The Spring League, which is a developmental league and scouting event for professional football talent, held its latest Showcase and game in San Diego this week.
American Arena League: The owner of the AAL's Richmond Roughriders stated the team may be forced out of the city because of a new arena being proposed to replace the ageing Richmond Coliseum. The team has contacted arenas in Reading (PA), Salisbury (MD) and Norfolk (VA) as possible relocation options for next season.
Federal Hockey League: The owner of FHL franchise rights for Elmira (NY) is close to finalizing a deal to bring an FHL team to the city for the 2018-19 season. The city last had the Elmira Jackals team that played seven seasons (2000-07) as part of the former United Hockey League and ten seasons (2007-17) in the ECHL before shutting down after the 2016-17 season. The FHL is also reported to be considering an expansion team near Cleveland in Mentor (OH). The FHL's North Shore Knights (Kingsville, Ontario) released all players and staff after the 2017-18 season and are not expected to return.
United States Hockey League: The Tier-I USHL, which plays at the highest level of junior hockey under USA Hockey, announced its 2018-19 season schedule that will feature the same 17 teams as last season aligned in an eight-team Western Conference and a nine-team Eastern Conference.
American Hockey League: The AHL announced its 2018-19 season schedule that will feature 31 teams with the addition of the Colorado Eagles (Loveland) as the new AHL affiliate of the National Hockey League's Colorado Avalanche. The Avalanche's previous AHL affiliate, the San Antonio Rampage, is the new affiliate of the NHL's St. Louis Blues. Last season, the AHL operated with 30 teams to the NHL's 31 teams, so the St. Louis Blues were without its own AHL affiliate. The AHL moved some teams around in the divisions and will have an Eastern Conference with eight-team Atlantic and North divisions and a Western Conference with an eight-team Central Division and a seven-team Pacific Division.
Da Beauty League: The Da Beauty League started its third season of 4-on-4 summertime ice hockey this week with the same six teams called Bic, RBC Royal Bank, Tradition Companies, TRIA, Velocity Hockey Center and Walser. Each team is sponsored by a local business and is comprised of National Hockey League players, minor hockey league players and college players that are from Minnesota or spend their summers in Minnesota. Three games involving all six teams are played on eight weeknights in a regular season that runs from July 11 to August 15. All games are played at Braemar Arena in Edina (MN).
United Soccer Leagues: The new USL expansion team to be based in Hartford (CT) announced it will be call the Hartford Athletic when it starts play in the 2019 season. Renovations to the city's Dillon Stadium should be completed in time for the 2019 season. The Hartford Athletic and Major League Soccer's New England Revolution are discussing a possible affiliation agreement for the 2019 season. The USL's new El Paso expansion team announced five finalists for the team's nickname that include Estrellas (Spanish for Stars), Lagartos (Spanish for alligators), Stars, Locomotive and Tejanos (a Texas resident of Mexican or Spanish descent). The USL now has six expansion teams (Hartford, Austin, El Paso, New Mexico, Memphis and Birmingham) set for next season, although Austin could drop out if the MLS's Columbus Crew ends up moving to Austin for the 2019 season. The USL's current FC Cincinnati will be moving up to the MLS in 2019, while the USL's Toronto FC II will move down to the new USL Division III league.
Canadian Premier League: The proposed new professional CPL announced its sixth team will be the Forge FC based in Hamilton (Ontario). The CPL plans to start play in 2019 with eight teams and has previously announced five other teams called the Cavalry FC (Calgary), FC Edmonton, HFX Wanderers (Halifax), Valour FC (Winnipeg) and York 9 FC (York Region, Ontario). The next CPL team is expected to be announced new week.
World TeamTennis: The professional WTT started its three-week-long 2018 season this weekend with the same six teams as last season. Teams include the New York Empire, Orange County (CA) Breakers, Philadelphia Freedoms, San Diego Aviators, Springfield (MO) Lasers and Washington (DC) Kastles. The regular-season schedule runs from July 15 through August 2 with a championship match on August 5.
Major League Rugby: The organization called LA Coast Rugby announced it has exclusive negotiating rights for the first MLR team in the Los Angles market and it will start an MLR team in the 2019 season. The professional MLR recently completed its inaugural season with seven teams and previously announced the addition of a New York City-based team for the 2019 season.
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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- Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report - OSC Original by Dan Krieger
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