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Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report

by Dan Krieger
January 7, 2019 - American Hockey League (AHL)

BASEBALL

California Winter League: The instructional showcase CWL, which is billed as the official winter league of the independent Frontier League, announced its tenth season will run from February 7 to February 26, 2019 with all games again played at a complex in Palm Springs (CA). The league is a showcase for players trying to find a spot on a Frontier League team or other independent league teams that have representatives scouting talent for the 2019 summer season. The 2019 schedule has ten participating teams called the Alberta Grizzly, British Columbia Bombers, Canada A's, Manitoba North Stars, New York Colonials, Oregon Lumberjacks, Palm Springs Chill, Palm Springs Power, Toronto Rush and Washington Blue Sox.

Futures Collegiate Baseball League: The summer-collegiate FCBL is in a legal dispute with its member team called the Martha's Vineyard (MA) Sharks over the Sharks' attempt to move to the New England Collegiate Baseball League for the 2019 season.

BASKETBALL

American Basketball Association: The ABA announced last month a new team called the Northeast Enforcers will be added for the 2019-20 season. The team will be based in South New Jersey and will be placed in the ABA's Northeast Division.

National Basketball Association G-League: The NBA's Denver Nuggets appear to be moving closer to getting their own G-League affiliate, possibly for the 2019-20 season. Denver's northwest suburb of Broomfield has been mentioned as a possible home for the Nuggets' G-League team. When the G-League was the D-League, Broomfield was home to a D-League team called the Colorado 14ers for three seasons (2006-09) until it was sold and moved to Frisco to become the Texas Legends.

United Basketball League: The semi-pro UBL announced its first "cluster" of games for 2019 will be held on January 26 at one location in Dallas with eight teams participating in four games. The UBL has a monthly "cluster" event scheduled through June 2019. A new UBL Women's League has started an inaugural 2018-19 season with eight teams called the Acadiana Dream, Dallas Crest, Dallas Lightning, East Texas Crusaders, Louisiana Lady Hurricanes, Memphis Marauders, Shreveport-Bossier Knightingales and the Texas Lady Outlaws. The schedule runs from mid-December 2018 through June 2019.

Women's United States Basketball Association: The proposed WUSBA, which has been trying to get off the ground with a summertime season since 2010, recently announced another attempt to start play in June 2019 with 12 of its proposed 32 teams. The schedule will run through early September 2019.

Mid-South Basketball Association: The proposed new MSBA announced last month a Nashville-based team called the Tennessee Sting has been added for the league's inaugural 2019 season.

FOOTBALL

National Football League: The new 62,000-seat stadium in Tottenham (England) was designed for both an NFL team and the English Premier League's Tottenham Hotspur soccer team and could be the home of the NFL's Oakland Raiders for the 2019 season. The Raiders are without a home for the 2019 season with plans to move to a new stadium in Las Vegas for the 2020 season. The Tottenham stadium has a separate NFL field below its retractable soccer field and has an agreement to host a least two NFL games per year.

American Arena League: The AAL has realigned its 12 teams into four-team Southern, Northern and Mid-Atlantic divisions for its 2019 season. The AAL first announced its 2019 alignment last month with an eight-team Southern Division and a four-team Northern Division. The Northern Division remains the same, while the High Country Grizzlies, Cape Fear Heroes, Carolina Havoc and Carolina Predators have been moved from the Southern Division to the new Mid-Atlantic Division. The league's Carolina Cowboyz team, based in Pendleton (SC), announced its 2019 home schedule will include only three games. Last season the team was an AAL travel-only team.

Rivals Professional Football League: The developmental RPFL, which is a showcase league for players looking for positions in the National Football League and Canadian Football League, recently held its 2019 player draft for 12 teams. The RPFL has been around since 2014 and last season operated with eight teams that included four Michigan-based teams in a Northern Conference playing all games at a stadium in Pontiac (MI), and four South Florida-based teams in a Southern Conference playing all games at a stadium in Hialeah (FL). The league has added a new four-team Atlanta division of teams for 2019 with teams called the Atlanta Sting, Cobb County Kings, Georgia Power and the Peachtree Heat. All Atlanta games will be played at the Atlanta Silverback Park. The Michigan and Florida teams and playing venues will remain the same for the 2019 season.

HOCKEY

National Hockey League: The head of the NHL's Arizona Coyotes recently stated the team's commitment to the Phoenix market in order to dispel rumors of the team's possible relocation to another market like Houston. The Coyotes want to replace its current home arena but there has been no firm arena proposals. The team announced it will remain at its current home in Glendale through the 2019-20 season. The Coyotes are also reported to be seeking new investors.

American Hockey League: The AHL's Utica (NY) Comets announced a continuation of its affiliation with the National Hockey League's Vancouver Canucks at least through the 2020-21 season. There has been speculation the Canucks would move its AHL affiliate closer to Vancouver after this season. The new agreement is a six-year deal, but the Canucks can opt out after year two or year four of the deal.

SOCCER

USL League Two (United Soccer League): A new amateur developmental team called the Virginia Beach United announced it will play in the 2019 season of the USL League Two, formerly known as the Premier Development League. The area's current team called Virginia Beach City FC has been part of the elite-level National Premier Soccer League since the 2014 season and it plans to place a professional team in the proposed new NPSL Pro league.

Major League Soccer: A group in opposition to a proposed new soccer-specific stadium for an MLS expansion team in Austin has filed a petition trying to force a public vote on any funding for a sports facility. Underlying support for the petition drive is reported to be coming from the owner of the Austin Bold FC, a 2019 expansion team in the Division-II United Soccer League Championship.

United Women's Soccer: A team called AFC Ann Arbor (MI), also known as "The Mighty Oak", will be added as an eighth team in the Midwest Conference of the elite-level UWS for the 2019 season. The UWS also operated a nine-team East Conference and a five-team West Conference in 2018.

Arena Premier League: The semi-professional indoor league called the APL, which is associated with the Canadian Arena Soccer Association, started its 2018-19 season last month with six teams called the Caribbean Stars AC, Croatia AC, Italy AC, Iran AC, Portugal AC and Ukraine AC. All APL games are played at the Canlan Sportsplex in Mississauga (Greater Toronto Area).

OTHER

National Lacrosse League: The commissioner of the indoor NLL recently expressed interest in adding several more Canada-based teams in the future. The NLL has current teams in Vancouver (British Columbia), Calgary (Alberta) and Saskatoon (Saskatchewan) with Halifax (Nova Scotia) getting a team next season. The NLL is said to be considering Ottawa, Montreal and Edmonton, which all hosted NLL teams in the past, along with Winnipeg and Quebec City for possible expansion.

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 January 7, 2019


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