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Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report

by Dan Krieger
December 3, 2018 - American Hockey League (AHL)

BASEBALL

International League: The city of Pawtucket (RI) is trying to find a tenant for its McCoy Stadium, which will become available for the 2021 season when the Triple-A International League's Pawtucket Red Sox team moves to a new stadium in Worcester (MA). A team in the affiliated short-season Class-A New York-Penn League or an independent team in the Atlantic League are possibilities, but the older stadium will still need some renovations for a new tenant.

Major League Baseball: The group trying to bring an MLB team to Portland (OR) is expected to announce the site chosen to purchase for a new stadium. The Oakland A's are close to unveiling the site chosen for a new stadium to replace its current home at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. The Tampa Bay Rays are working on plans for a new ballpark in Tampa's Ybor City area to replace its current home in St. Petersburg, which gave the Rays until the end of this year to find a stadium site in the region.

Coastal Plain League: Plans were voted down last month for a proposed ballpark in Mint Hill (NC) near Charlotte that was hoped to become home to a summer-collegiate CPL team.

BASKETBALL

American Professional Basketball League: The semi-pro APBL has returned for its seventh season with 16 teams aligned in a nine-team Metropolitan Conference and a seven-team Regional Conference. The Metropolitan Conference teams are from the New York City metro area, while the Regional Conference teams are from Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Washington (DC) and Philadelphia.

United Basketball League: The semi-pro UBL has posted its 2019 season schedule that will feature teams called the Arkansas Bobcats (Little Rock), Louisiana TimberWolves, Mid South Echoes (Memphis), Dallas Kings, Texas Wranglers and Oklahoma Outlaws. The UBL will hold monthly "cluster" events from January to May and these could include additional teams. The UBL started play in the 2008 season.

FOOTBALL

China Arena Football League: The indoor CAFL, which is considered a professional developmental league for the U.S.-based Arena Football League, recently announced it will hold a player combine in Austin (TX) next week as the league looks for players to participate in the league's return in the fall of 2019. The CAFL held its first season in the fall of 2016 with six teams and planned to move to a spring-summer schedule for its second season in 2018. That season was postponed and the league announced in January 2018 that it would return in the fall of 2019.

American West Football Conference: The proposed new indoor AWFC has added a fifth team called the Sacramento Spartans for its inaugural season starting in 2019. Other teams include the Idaho Horsemen (Nampa), Wenatchee Valley (WA) Skyhawks, Tri-Cities Fire (Kennewick, WA) and Reno Express.

XFL: The proposed professional XFL outdoor football league plans to officially announce next week the participating markets for the league's first season that will start in February 2020. These eight markets are expected to include Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, St. Louis, Seattle, Tampa Bay and Washington (DC). The XFL will own and operate all teams.

American Patriot League: The proposed new APL professional outdoor football league recently announced Mobile (AL) as the league's second market when its starts play in the spring 2019. The APL's first market announced for a team was Daytona Beach. The APL is planning ten teams in two divisions.

HOCKEY

American Hockey League: The AHL is reported to be talking with the new ownership group for the National Hockey League's proposed Seattle expansion team about possible locations for its AHL affiliate. The Northwest region of the United States would be a logical choice and Boise (ID), which is home to the ECHL's Idaho Steelheads team, has been mentioned as one possible site. Other locations said to be under consideration include Reno (NV), Sacramento, Fresno, Spokane (WA) and Salt Lake City.

USA Central Hockey League: The new Texas-based independent junior-level league known as the USACHL is struggling in its first season and two of its four teams called the Texas Lawmen (McAllen) and Wichita Falls (TX) Force are reported to have folded. The Lawmen were unable to sign enough players to continue, while the Force has been locked out of its home arena for lack of lease payments. The USACHL stated some international teams could be brought in to fill in for some of the remaining scheduled games.

Professional Inline Hockey Association: The PIHA, which has been around since 2002, is well into its 2018-19 season that runs from late September to mid-January. The PIHA Pros has an Eastern Conference with a four-team Atlantic Division and a Western Conference with a five-team Rocky Mountain Division. The lower-level PIHA Semi-pros has a six-team Appalachian Division, a five-team Rocky Mountain Division, a five-team Coastal Division and a four-team Aloha Division (Hawaii).

SOCCER

Major Arena Soccer League: The MASL started its 2018-19 season this weekend and increased from 16 to 17 teams. The Cedar Rapids (IA) Rampage and Soles de Sonora (Hermosillo, Mexico) did not return, but the league added the expansion Mississauga MetroStars and Orlando SeaWolves teams, along with the Dallas Sidekicks team that is returning under new ownership after sitting out last season. The MASL Eastern Conference has a four-team Eastern Division and a five-team South Central Division, while the MASL Western Conference has a four-team Southwest Division and a four-team Pacific Division.

Major Arena Soccer League 2: The MASL2, which is the official developmental league of the Major Arena Soccer, started its 2018-19 season this weekend with 15 teams aligned in five-team Mountain, Pacific and Eastern divisions. The league had ten teams in two five-team conferences last season and all ten teams have returned, although the Colorado Blizzard (Denver) was renamed the Colorado Rumble. The MASL2 added five new teams called the Cuervos de Juarez (Mexico), New Mexico Elite (Santa Fe), New Mexico Runners (Albuquerque), Rochester (NY) Lancers and an unnamed Stockton (CA) team, which has since been replaced in the Pacific Division by a team called the Arizona Lightning. The league's Pacific Division schedule has yet to be posted.

Major League Soccer: The St. Louis Board of Aldermen has approved certain tax incentives for a soccer-specific stadium to be built for a proposed MLS expansion team. The St. Louis ownership group is prepared to spend $250 million for the stadium, but will need the MLS to award the city an expansion team.

National Premier Soccer League: A new team called the Stockton FC has been added to the men's elite-level NPSL for the 2019 season. Stockton will be placed in the league's Golden Gate Conference.

National Women's Soccer League: The professional NWSL announced its 2019 season schedule that will feature the same nine teams from the 2018 season. The 2019 schedule will have a 12-day break in early June due to players participating in the FIFA World Cup.

OTHER

American Ultimate Disc League: The AUDL announced the Nashville Nightwatch and San Francisco FlameThrowers franchises have folded and the league will operate with 21 teams in 2019. Nashville had been part of the league for four seasons (2015-18) and San Francisco for five seasons (2014-18). The loss of Nashville will create a five-team South Division and the loss of San Francisco will create a four-team West Division. The six-team East Division and six-team Midwest Division will remain the same. A proposed new West Division team in Portland (OR) will not start play in 2019. The 2019 season will consist of each team playing a 12-game schedule from early April to mid-July.

Major League Lacrosse: The outdoor field lacrosse MLL announced its 2019 season schedule will feature the same nine teams as last season. Each team will play a 16-game schedule from late May to late September. The MLL will be entering its 19th season of play in 2019.

National Lacrosse League: After negotiations on a new collective bargaining agreement delayed the start of the 2018-19 season, the indoor NLL announced each team will still play a full 18-game schedule starting December 15. The NLL also announced it has entered into a partnership with the Arena Lacrosse League (ALL), which has had six teams based in Ontario (Canada) since it started play in 2017. The upcoming ALL season will run from late December 2018 to late March 2019. The partnership agreement is expected to include player movement between the two leagues and development of future NLL coaches, management and players.

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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American Hockey League Stories from December 3, 2018


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