Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report
by Dan Krieger
February 18, 2019 - United States Hockey League (USHL)
Pacific Coast League: A groundbreaking ceremony was held for the new Wichita ballpark that will become home to the relocated New Orleans Baby Cakes of the Triple-A PCL for the 2020 season. The club has started a name-the-team contest and will announce its new Wichita identity later this year.
Liga Norte de Mexico (LNM): Mexico's Class-AA LNM (Northern Mexico League) recently finalized the six teams for its 2019 season that will start on April 12. Five of the 2018 teams will return, but a new team called the La Paz Delfines (Baja California Sur) will replace the Tecate Indios (Baja California) team that requested dormancy for the 2019 season. In the 2018 season, each of the six LNM teams were affiliated with two teams in Mexico's top Triple-A Liga Mexicana de Beisbol (LMB), or Mexican Baseball League, but the LMB is not renewing its official affiliation agreement with the LNM for the 2019 season.
Major League Baseball: A potential ownership group trying to bring an MLB team back to Montreal has selected a potential new stadium site near downtown Montreal.
Central Basketball Association: The men's semi-pro CBA announced its seventh season will start next month with seven of the eight teams returning from last season. Only the Danville-based Illinois Coal Miners will not return with the other teams to include the Baltimore Shuckers, Bowling Green (KY) Hornets, Fort Wayne Flite, Indianapolis Blaze, Jackson (TN) Eagles, Memphis Rail Runners and Middle Tennessee Storm (Nashville). Each team will play an eight-game schedule through April 2019.
Florida Basketball Association: The men's FBA announced a team called the Tampa Gunners has been added as a travel-only "branding" team for the upcoming 2019 season.
Universal Basketball Association: The men's UBA announced a team called the Cincinnati Movement has been added as an expansion team for its upcoming 2019 season.
Women's American Basketball Association: The WABA, which is affiliated with the men's American Basketball Association, announced a team called the Southern Maryland Swans (Charles County) has been added for the 2019 season.
International Arena Football League: The new IAFL has posted a 2019 season schedule that will run from early March through June and feature seven teams. The IAFL also announced a new team called the Dallas Trojans has been added and it basically replaces a previously announced Houston Wolverines team that disappeared. Other teams include the Austin Wild, Football Mexicah (Mexico City), Temple (TX) Demons, Rio Grande Valley Dorados (Hidalgo), San Antonio Knights and Tampico Lagartos (Mexico).
National Arena League: The NAL's Lehigh Valley Steelhawks (Allentown, PA) officially announced this week the team will sit out the 2019 season as new local ownership is sought for the team. The Lehigh Valley Steelhawks started out playing its first two seasons (2011-12) in the Indoor Football League, three seasons (2013-15) in the Professional Indoor Football League, one season (2016) in American Indoor Football and the past two seasons (2017-18) in the NAL.
Elite Indoor Football: The EIF announced a new team called the Music City Fire (Nashville) will start in the league's 2020 season. The Youngstown Federals team, which is listed on the EIF team directory, recently announced the team will play an independent schedule in 2019 and join a league in 2020.
Arena Football League: The AFL announced its 2019 season schedule will feature six teams each playing a 12-game schedule from April 26 to July 21, 2019. The four teams from last season will return and the AFL will add two yet-to-be named teams in Atlantic City (NJ) and Columbus (OH).
National Football League: With the NFL's Oakland Raiders still undecided on a home field for the 2019 season, the cities of Tucson (AZ) and Birmingham (AL) have proposed splitting the Raiders' 2019 home games between the two cities.
Quebec Major Junior Hockey League: The commissioner of the 18-team QMJHL, which is one of three major-junior leagues under the organization called the Canadian Hockey League, stated there is no possibility of expansion at this time. St. John's (Newfoundland), which was home to a former QMJHL team called the Fog Devils for three seasons (2005-08), was under consideration but is now home to a pro team in the ECHL. The city of Fredericton (New Brunswick) has been discussed but its local arena is not up to league standards.
United States Hockey League: The city council in Olathe (KS) has approved rezoning of a former shopping mall site for a potential mixed-used development to include an arena that could become home to a future Kansas City-based team in the Tier-I junior-level USHL. The developer would like to break ground on the new arena this June with completion by late 2020. Plans for a competing proposed development in nearby Overland Park (KS) also include a hockey arena. The ownership of the Missouri Mavericks (Independence, MO) in the professional ECHL was granted a Kansas City expansion franchise in the USHL back in 2016 and this ownership group is now linked to the Olathe development.
National Premier Soccer League: Some teams in the West Region of the men's elite-level NPSL started their 2019 season schedules last weekend. The NPSL's 2019 alignment features over 90 teams aligned in four regions: the 25-team West Region with three divisions, the 21-team Midwest Region with three divisions, the 22-team Northeast Region with three divisions and the 26-team Southeast Region with four divisions. The 2019 schedule runs from early February to mid-July.
League1 Ontario: Canada's provincial pro-am senior-level League1 Ontario recently announced the addition of three new teams to its Women's Division for the 2019 season. The Ottawa South United and the Alliance United SC, which have been operating teams in the Men's Division, will join the league with the FC Oshawa for the 2019 season. As of now, the Women's Division will have 14 teams in 2019, while the Men's Division will have 16 teams.
Canadian Premier League: Canada's new professional CPL recently announced the first game of its inaugural season will be held on April 27, 2019. The league will have seven teams across Canada to include the Cavalry FC (Calgary), FC Edmonton, Forge FC (Hamilton), HFX Wanderers (Halifax), Pacific FC (Langford, British Columbia), Valour FC (Winnipeg) and York 9 FC (Greater Toronto Area).
National Independent Soccer Association: The proposed new NISA was granted Division-III status by the United States Soccer Federation for the 2019 season. The league will start in August and play a fall-to-spring European schedule. Four announced markets are Philadelphia, Atlanta, Charlotte, and New England (Norwich, CT) with Daytona Beach, San Diego, Los Angeles and Rhode Island considered to be the others.
Premier Lacrosse League: The proposed new professional outdoor lacrosse PLL, which will be a six-team touring league starting in June 2019, announced its first weekend event will be held at Boston's Gillette Stadium on June 1 and 2. The PLL will make stops in 12 major markets, the rest of which will be selected from a list of 30 potential tour locations. The PLL and the Women's Professional Lacrosse League (WPLL) will partner with the U.S. Lacrosse governing body to develop players for the U.S National Training & Development Program. The five-team WPLL will start its second season in 2019.
Major League Quidditch: The MLQ has undergone some restructuring heading into its fifth season for 2019. The league started last season with 16 teams aligned in four-team divisions, but it has eliminated the West Division, added three new locations, and will operate with three five-team North, South and East divisions in 2019. The West Division's Boise Grays team was dropped during the 2018 season and the division's other three teams called the Salt Lake City Hive, Los Angeles Guardians and San Francisco Argonauts were shut down after the 2018 season. The MLQ added three new locations with San Antonio (Soldados) going to the South, Minneapolis and Toronto to the North, and the existing Rochester Whiteout moving from the North to the East. The 2019 season will run from June through August.
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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United States Hockey League Stories from February 18, 2019
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- USHL Names Players of the Week for Week 21 - USHL
- Pietila USHL Goaltender of the Week for 2nd Time in February - Cedar Rapids RoughRiders
- Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report - OSC Original by Dan Krieger
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