Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report
by Dan Krieger
September 24, 2018 - American Association (AA)
American Association: The independent American Association expansion team in the Milwaukee suburb of Franklin will be called the Milwaukee Milkmen when it starts play in a new 4,000-seat ballpark expected to be ready for the 2019 season. Barn Owls, Crop Dusters, Haymakers and War Pigs were the other nickname finalists.
Texas Collegiate League: The summer-collegiate TCL is adding a Louisiana-based team called the Baton Rouge Rougarou, named after a mythical Cajun creature, for the 2019 season.
Northwoods League: The summer-collegiate Northwoods League has option agreements for local ball fields in the South Dakota cities of Mitchell and Huron should the league decide to place future teams in those markets.
Australian Baseball League: The Australian Baseball League, which has played with the same six teams since its start in the 2010-11 season and received financial support from Major League Baseball through the 2015-16 season, is adding the Geelong-Korea team and a New Zealand team called Auckland Tuatara for the 2018-19 season. The league will be aligned in four-team North East and South East divisions.
Women's American Basketball Association: The WABA, which is affiliated with the men's American Basketball Association and is in the last few weeks of its 2018 season, now has its 12 teams aligned in an eight-team Northeast Division and a four-team Southeast Division. Although a 13th team called the Jersey Riptides was announced for this season, it never started play and was removed from the standings. The WABA is planning expansion for the 2020 season and will add a St. Louis team in a proposed new Midwest Division and a Nevada-based team in a proposed new West Division.
American Basketball Association: The ABA announced a new team called the Oklahoma Tatanka will start play in the 2019-20 season. Although the team will be based in Muskogee, it will also play games in Tulsa, Tahlequah and other Oklahoma cities.
Alliance of American Football: The proposed outdoor professional AAF, which plans to start its inaugural season in February 2019, announced team names for four its eight teams. The league's four eastern division teams will be called the Atlanta Legends, Birmingham Iron, Memphis Express and Orlando Apollos. The names for the four western division teams in Arizona (Phoenix), Salt Lake City, San Antonio and San Diego will be announced next week.
American Arena League: The AAL announced the first four teams that will be participating in the league's second season in 2019. These teams include the Carolina Energy (Charlotte), Macon (GA) Doom, High Country Grizzlies (Boone, NC) and Peach State Cats (Athens, GA) that all participated in the 2018 season. The Peach State Cats were planned for an arena in Dalton (GA) for the 2018 season, but that did not work out and it played as a 2018 AAL travel-only team. The Macon-based Doom was called the Georgia Doom in 2018, but the league announcement lists the team as the Macon Doom.
Indoor Football League: As part of its rebranding under new ownership, the IFL's Cedar Rapids (IA) Titans team announced its new name will be the Cedar Rapids River Kings when it starts play in the 2019 season. The IFL's Tucson-based expansion team announced it will be called the Tucson Sugar Skulls when it starts play in the 2019 season. A sugar skull is used in Mexican culture as a symbol for the annual Day of the Dead celebration (Dia de los Muertos). Tucson's All Souls Procession is one of the largest Day of the Dead celebrations in the world.
North American 3 Hockey League: The Tier-III junior level NA3HL's new Rochester Rivermen team has been removed from the 2018-19 season schedule before playing a game. The Rivermen tried to start as a new NA3HL team in the Rochester (NY) market when the league's Rochester-based Roc City Royals folded after the 2017-18 season.
United States Premier Hockey League: The Tier-III junior level USPHL started its 2018-19 season schedule last weekend with its Premier and Elite levels of play. The USPHL Premier has 52 teams aligned in 8 regional divisions. An announced new team called the Lake Erie Bighorns (Erie, PA) dropped out two weeks prior to the start of the 2018-19 season due to a lack of players. The USPHL Elite has 22 teams aligned in 4 regional divisions.
Western States Hockey League: The Tahoe Ice Men (South Lake Tahoe, CA) of the WSHL, which plays as a Tier-II junior league under the Amateur Athletic Union's United Hockey Union, has applied for and was approved for dormancy during the 2018-19 season that is to start early next month. The team's arena has ice plant issues that need attention, so the team applied to continue play in the 2019-20 season.
Major Arena Soccer League: The MASL's 2018-19 expansion team for the Toronto suburb of Mississauga announced the team will be called the Mississauga MetroStars. Mississauga's most recent pro indoor soccer team was the Toronto ThunderHawks, which played only the 2000-01 season as part of the former National Professional Soccer League. The MetroStars will play in a four-team Eastern Division.
National Premier Soccer League: The elite-level men's NPSL announced an expansion team called the Denton (TX) Diablos FC has been added for the 2019 season. The league's Junior Lone Star FC has changed its name to the Philadelphia Lone Star FC for its seventh NPSL season in 2019.
United Soccer League: Officials in Loudoun County (VA) have approved plans to build a new training facility for Major League Soccer's D.C. United and it will include a 5,000-seat stadium for D.C. United's own Division-II USL team to be called the Loudoun United FC.
United Soccer Leagues "" Premier Development League: The PDL announced a Bergen County (NJ) team called the Cedar Stars Rush FC has been added as a 2019 expansion team. The new PDL club will be a platform for two local youth programs called Cedar Stars Academy and Rush Soccer. The PDL plans to add at least three other new 2019 teams called Discoveries SC (Rock Hill, SC), Wake FC (Wake County, NC) and the Florida Elite Soccer Academy (Jacksonville).
National Lacrosse League: The indoor NLL's Vancouver Stealth, which was purchased this summer by the National Hockey League's Vancouver Canucks, announced the team's new name will be the Vancouver Warriors when it starts play in the upcoming 2018-19 season. The Vancouver team is also moving its home from Langley (British Columbia) to the Rogers Centre in downtown Vancouver. This Vancouver franchise got its start as the Albany (NY) Attack that played four seasons (2000-03) before relocating to become the San Jose Stealth. The San Jose Stealth played six seasons (2004-09) in the NLL, moved to Everett as the Washington Stealth for four seasons (2010-13), and then to Vancouver for the 2014 season. The NLL had a previous team called the Vancouver Ravens that played three seasons (2002-04) before folding.
Major League Rugby: The professional MLR announced it will add teams in Atlanta and Boston for the league's third season in 2020. The MLR started play with seven teams in its inaugural 2018 season and announced a new team in New York City will be added for the 2019 season. Additional new teams are being considered for the markets of Los Angeles, Washington (DC) and the Toronto area.
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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