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Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report

by Dan Krieger
July 30, 2018 - Federal Hockey League (FHL)

BASEBALL

Southern League: With the Mobile BayBears of the Double-A Southern League relocating to a new ballpark in the Madison area of Huntsville (AL) for the 2020 season, ten proposed team nicknames have been announced for fan voting: Army Ants, Comet Jockeys, GloWorms, Lunartics, Moon Possums, Puffy Head Bird Legs, Space Chimps, Space Sloths, ThunderSharks and Trash Pandas.

Carolina League: Since the Potomac Nationals of the high Class-A Carolina League are planning a future move to Fredericksburg (VA), officials in Prince William County (VA) are looking at potential new tenants for the team's stadium in Woodbridge (VA). An independent baseball league has expressed interest in the stadium that could also be used for a sport other than baseball.

Midwest League: The Lansing Lugnuts of the low Class-A Midwest League will be renamed the Lansing Mighty Wombats for a game next month paying tribute to one of the team names from a vintage baseball video game called Backyard Baseball. Humongous Melonheads and Super-Duper Rockets were also considered in fan voting.

Western Major Baseball League: The Canadian summer-collegiate WMBL announced it will change its name to the Western Canadian Baseball League starting with the 2019 season. The current WMBL has 12 teams located in the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Expedition League: The new summer-collegiate Expedition League is currently playing its inaugural 2018 season and is looking to add a team in Rapid City (SD) for next season.

BASKETBALL

The Basketball League: New ownership has taken control of the league called North American Premier Basketball (NAPB), which recently completed its inaugural 2018 winter-spring season with eight teams, and has renamed the league to The Basketball League (TBL). The TBL will start play in January 2019 with at least 12 teams to include the eight NAPB teams that completed the 2018 season, along with new teams called the Raleigh (NC) Firebirds, Tampa Bay Titans, San Diego Waves and a yet-to-be-named team in Bellevue (WA). The eight former NAPB teams include the Albany (NY) Patroons, Kentucky Thoroughbreds (Owensboro), Kansas City Tornados, Nevada Desert Dogs (Mesquite), Ohio Bootleggers (Columbus), Rochester (NY) RazorSharks, Vancouver (British Columbia) Knights and Yakima (WA) Sun Kings. Eventually, the TBL would like to grow to 16 teams.

Women's American Basketball Association: As the WABA plans to start its 2018 season next week, the league announced the St. Louis Spirits, which operated a 2017-18 team in the men's American Basketball Association, will operate a WABA team in 2019. The WABA also has some other proposed 2019 teams like the Lehigh Valley Lady Hunters, Gary (IN) Sun Rays, PG Cougars (Prince George County, MD) and the Lady Oracles of Reading (PA).

FOOTBALL

Arena Football League: The city of Tucson is moving forward with funding to convert the local arena for an indoor football team, which is expected to start play in 2019 as part of the AFL or some other indoor football league.

American Arena League: The AAL's Atlanta Havoc team, which was based out of Buford (GA) in the AAL's inaugural 2018 season, has signed an agreement to play the 2019 season in Florence (SC) where the team will become the Carolina Havoc. The Atlanta Havoc had arena and ownership issues during the 2018 season and the team was not expected to return to the Atlanta area. Other potential new sites considered by the Havoc included Little Rock and Pensacola. The city of Florence was home to a previous team called the Florence Phantoms that played four seasons (2006-09) as part of the former American Indoor Football Association.

Champions Indoor Football: The CIF announced a new team based in Enid (OK), which is about 90 miles north of Oklahoma City, will start play in the league's 2019 season. Enid was home to a professional indoor football team called the Oklahoma Crude that played three seasons (2001-04) in the former National Indoor Football League. A name-the-team contest has been set up for the new team.

American Flag Football League: The proposed new AFFL finished its inaugural amateur and professional tournaments earlier this month. In the amateur America's Championship, the Fighting Cancer team defeated The Money Team and in the Professional's Championship, Godspeed defeated the Ocho team. The amateur Fighting Cancer team defeated the professional Godspeed team in the $1 million winner-take-all Ultimate Championship.

HOCKEY

Federal Hockey League: The lower minor professional FHL officially announced the addition of its sixth team for the 2018-19 season to be called the Mentor (OH) Ice Breakers, based about 25 miles northeast of Cleveland. The FHL confirmed that with the addition of a team in Elmira (NY) last week, it will have six teams for the 2018-19 season with four returning teams called the Watertown (NY) Wolves, Carolina Thunderbirds (Winston-Salem, NC), Port Huron (MI) Prowlers and Danville (IL) Dashers.

National Women's Hockey League: The NWHL announced its 2018-19 season schedule that will feature five teams for the league's fourth season. A new team called the Minnesota Whitecaps (St. Paul) will join the four returning teams from last season called the Boston Pride, Buffalo Beauts, Connecticut Whale (Stamford) and Metropolitan Riveters (Newark). Teams are scheduled to play 16 games from early October 2018 to early March 2019. The league will play one neutral-site game in Pittsburgh during the 2018-19 season.

SOCCER

United Soccer League: The ownership group trying to bring a Division-II USL team to Oakland has now selected Concord (CA), about 20 miles northeast of Oakland, as the location for a proposed new stadium that could be ready for the 2021 season. Another Oakland-based soccer club called the Oakland Roots plans to start men's and women's teams in 2019, but it is uncertain in which leagues the teams will play.

Liga MX: Mexico's top Division-I soccer league known as Liga MX started play last week in its 2018-19 two-part Apertura (Opening)/Clausura (Closing) season with the same 18 clubs that completed the last season. The Apertura portion of the season runs from July to November, while the Clausura runs from January to April. Usually after a season, a Liga MX team is relegated to the lower-level relegation league known as Ascenso MX and a team from the Ascenso MX is promoted to the Liga MX. The BUAP Lobos club of the Liga MX was supposed to be relegated, while the Cafetaleros de Tapachula club of the Ascenso MX was supposed to be promoted to the Liga MX. The Cafetaleros did not meet requirements of the Liga MX and was not promoted, while the Lobos paid a fee to stay in the Liga MX for the 2018-19 season. The Liga MX is considering growth to 20 teams and possibly ending promotion and relegation in the future.

Ascenso MX: Mexico's second-level Ascenso MX started its two-part 2018-19 Apertura/Clausura season last weekend with 15 teams. The league had 16 teams last season, but the Murcielagos FC was relegated to the third-level Liga Premier, while no Liga Premier team was promoted to the Ascenso MX and no Liga MX team was relegated. The Liga Premier's Tepatitlán de Morelos won promotion to the Ascenso MX but did not meet league requirements and their replacement, the Loros UdeC, was also denied promotion.

United Soccer Leagues Division-III League: The Madison (WI) team that is to be part of the new USL Division-III league in 2019 announced Forward Madison and AFC Madison as the two finalists for the team's nickname. Some other contest choices were Madison Acers, Mad City, Madison Blues, Isthmus City and Madison Spokes.

Major Arena Soccer League: The MASL announced the Dallas Sidekicks team has come under new ownership and it will return for the 2018-19 season after sitting out last season.

U.S. Arena Soccer League: The North American Futsal Federation and its professional futsal league known as Major League Futsal plans to start the USARL as a new indoor soccer league with teams in the United States, Canada and Mexico. This league was originally announced in 2017 under the Pro Indoor Soccer League (PISL) name. The USARL plans to start play in October 2018 with eight teams aligned in Midwest and Southwest divisions.

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 30, 2018


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