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Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report

by Dan Krieger
December 10, 2018 - Pacific Coast League (PCL)

BASEBALL

Pacific Coast League: With the move of the Triple-A PCL's Las Vegas 51s to a new stadium in the Las Vegas suburb of Summerlin for next season, the team has been renamed the Las Vegas Aviators. The team is owned by The Howard Hughes Corporation whose namesake was involved in the aviation industry.

Southwest Pro Baseball League: With the Yuma-based Arizona Winter League shutting down for 2019, the new Yuma-based SWPBL plans to operate from March 15 to April 13, 2019 as a showcase for players trying to sign on with a team in a summertime league. The SWPBL currently lists four teams called the Silverados, Ducks, Ghost Riders and Ghost Peppers. Teams will each play 20 games all held at the Ray Kroc complex in Yuma.

Expedition League: The summer-collegiate Expedition League's 2019 expansion team for Brandon (Manitoba) has a list of nickname finalists for its name-the-team contest. These include the Wheat City Wonders, Brandon Bullheads, Wheat City Whiskey Jacks, Brandon Bison and Wheat City Threshermen.

Northwoods League: The new Traverse City (MI) team in the summer-collegiate Northwoods League has announced six nickname finalists that include the Black Pearls, Dogmen, Dune Bears, Pit Spitters, Tree Shakers and Sasquatch. The Northwoods League team replaces the city's professional independent Traverse City Beach Bums team that played as part of the Frontier League since the 2006 season. New ownership of Traverse City's Wuerfel Park decided to switch to a summer-collegiate team for 2019.

BASKETBALL

Women's America Basketball Association: The WABA, which is affiliated with the men's American Basketball Association, recently announced new teams called the Montgomery (AL) Malayans, Magic City Lady Warriors (Birmingham, AL) and Chicago Legends have been added as 2019 expansion teams. The WNBA's Middle Georgia Lady Pits (Dublin) have relocated to become the Macon (GA) Blue Diamonds.

FOOTBALL

Freedom Football League: A group of former National Football League players are behind the effort to create the new ten-team FFL as another new spring-summer outdoor football league. The first ten teams will be called the Birmingham Kings, Connecticut Underground, Florida Strong, Oakland Panthers, Ohio Players, Oklahoma City Power, Portland Progress, St. Louis Independence, San Diego Warriors and Texas Revolution. The league has not yet announced a start date.

XFL: The proposed professional XFL outdoor football league officially announced Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, St. Louis, Seattle, Tampa Bay and Washington (DC) will be the locations for teams in the league's first season that will start in February 2020. All XFL markets, except St. Louis, are home to current teams in the National Football League.

American Patriot League: The proposed new APL professional spring outdoor football league recently announced Sacramento (CA) as the third market when its starts play in the spring of 2019. The APL's other announced markets are Daytona Beach and Mobile. The APL is planning to have two four-team divisions called Liberty and Freedom. The league held player tryouts last month and last weekend.

New England Arena League: The proposed new regional NEAL announced the New England Cavalry (Hookset, NH), which played as a travel team in the 2018 American Arena League, will be one of its teams when the league starts play in 2019. The Cavalry will also play some non-league games against some professional indoor football teams in 2019. The NEAL plans to play all league games at one location and it is currently touring the various venues under consideration.

HOCKEY

National Hockey League: The NHL officially approved a Seattle expansion team that will start play at a renovated KeyArena for the 2021-22 season and become the league's 32nd franchise. At that time, the Seattle team will be placed in the Western Conference Pacific Division with the Arizona Coyotes moving to the Western Conference Central Division. Some of the Seattle team nicknames under consideration include Sockeyes, Totems, Metropolitans, Steelheads, Kraken, Sasquatch, Freeze and Emeralds.

Ligue Nord-Americaine de Hockey: The Quebec-based minor professional LNAH, or North American Hockey League, took control of its only U.S.-based team called the Berlin (NH) BlackJacks last month. The team joined as the LNAH's sixth team for the 2018-19 season and was operated by the ownership of the former Federal Hockey League team called the Berlin River Drivers, which played two FHL seasons (2015-17) before dropping out due to high travel costs. The team had played only ten games in the 2018-19 season and suffered from poor attendance at the five home games played. After the LNAH took control, the BlackJacks played a couple of road games, but the league announced this week the team has found a new owner (Pétrole et Propane Bélanger/Belanger Oil and Propane) and a new home in Saint-Jerome where the team will be called the Petroliers du Nord (Oilers of the North). The league has reworked the schedule so the Saint-Jerome team can play a full season schedule.

SOCCER

USL League One: The new Dallas-based team in the USL League One, which is the United Soccer League's Division-III league that will start play with ten teams in 2019, announced it will be called the North Dallas Soccer Club. The new team will be the affiliate of Major League Soccer's Dallas FC. Also, the USL League One's Forward Madison FC (Wisconsin) announced a one-year affiliation with Major League Soccer's Minnesota United FC.

Major League Soccer: In the annual state of the league address, the MLS commissioner stated a 28th team could be announced within the next 12 months. The MLS will also discuss whether it will grow beyond the previously announced 28-team limit, since there are about a half dozen cities still interested in expansion teams. The new Cincinnati team will start play in 2019, Nashville and Miami in 2020, and a 27th team in Austin no later than 2021. St. Louis, Phoenix, Detroit and Sacramento are considered as potential candidates for the 28th team with groups in Charlotte, San Diego, Las Vegas and Louisville also having interest in an MLS expansion team.

National Premier Soccer League: A new team called the High Desert Elite FC has been added to the men's elite-level NPSL for the 2019 season and it will play at the baseball stadium in Adelanto (CA).

National League of Professional Futsal: The NLPF recently announced it will have nine teams for its third season starting in 2019. The Western Conference will have the San Francisco Bay Area Futsal Club, San Francisco Bay City Futsal, San Francisco Di Bufala SC and the San Jose Legends, while the Eastern Conference will include the Metuchen (NJ) Copa FC, Boston Safira Futsal Club, Glenn Dale Sporting Maryland FC, St. George (CT) Futsal and the Toronto United FC.

National Futsal Premier League: The semi-pro NFPL recently posted its inaugural 2019 season schedule that will start early next month with seven teams in its Midwest/Great Lakes division. Teams include the ABK Futsal (Grand Rapids), Mit West Futsal (Canton, MI), Lansing City Futsal, FC Tryzub (Chicago), Ann Arbor Mudpuppies, Columbus Futsal and Futsal Indy.

OTHER

Pacific Rugby Premiership: The PRP announced its 2019 season will start in late January with six teams. The Belmont Shore Rugby Club (Long Beach, CA), Life West Gladiators (Hayward, CA), Old Mission Beach AC (San Diego), San Francisco Golden Gate RFC and Santa Monica Dolphins return from last season, while the Glendale (CO) Merlins replace the Olympic Club Winged "?O (San Francisco). The PRP is also looking to expand in 2020 with possible new clubs in Denver, Utah and Northern California.

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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Pacific Coast League Stories from December 10, 2018


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