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Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report

by Dan Krieger
July 1, 2019 - American Hockey League (AHL)

BASEBALL

Gulf Coast League: The pure Rookie-level GCL recently started its 2019 season and again has 18 teams now aligned in a five-team East, a seven-team North and a six-team South. The GCL had four divisions last season, but the Braves (from the Northeast) and the Pirates (from the Northwest) were moved to the South and the remaining Northeast and Northwest teams were merged into a North division. The Tigers, Phillies and Yankees each have two GCL teams called East and West in the 2019 season. GCL teams are operated by Major League Baseball clubs and play out of spring training complexes throughout Florida.

Carolina League: Site work on a new stadium in Fredericksburg (VA) for the high Class-A Carolina League's Potomac Nationals will start next month with the stadium expected to be ready for the 2020 season. The team will then relocate from its current home in Woodbridge (VA) and it will be rebranded. The team has had over 2,400 responses to a name-the-team contest started this past April.

Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League: The new ownership of the Jamestown (NY) Jammers in the summer-collegiate PGCBL has assumed the ballpark lease from previous ownership and the team is expected to return to the league in 2020 with the lease running through the 2025 season. The Jammers sat out the 2019 season as previous ownership donated the team to a Jamestown-based nonprofit group.

Can-Am League: The Ottawa Champions of the independent Can-Am League have fallen behind on stadium lease payments and its lease has been terminated. The team will now pay an hourly rate and per-game fees for certain stadium expenses, so the team can survive better financially.

BASKETBALL

Liga Nacional de Baloncesto Profesional: The LNBP, Mexico's top professional basketball league, recently announced the teams and alignment for its 2019-20 season that will start in September. Last season, the LNBP had 14 teams aligned in seven-team North (Conferencia Norte) and South (Conferencia Sur) conferences, but this season the league will expand to 18 teams aligned in nine-team East (Zona Este) and West (Zona Oeste) divisions. All 14 teams from last season will return and join new teams called the Astros de Jalisco (Guadalajara), Dorados de Chihuahua, Pioneros de Quintana Roo and Plateros de Fresnillo. All of these new locations have had previous LNBP teams in the past. An LNBP team called the Dorados de Chihuahua last played in 2009 and a team called the Pioneros de Quintana Roo last played in the 2015-16 season. Fresnillo had an LNBP team called the Gambusinos that last played in 2006, while Guadalajara had the Tecos de la Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara (UAG) that left in 2009 and the Osos de Guadalajara that last played in the 2012-13 season.

Women's Basketball Development Association: As the 32-team WBDA, which formerly operated as the Women's Blue Chip Basketball League, enters into the last month of its 2019 season, there were a couple of changes to teams in the 15-team Western Conference. The Birmingham Queens have been renamed the Birmingham Legends and the Las Tucson Sol has come under new ownership and was renamed the Finesse Flight based in the Phoenix area.

National Basketball Association: The NBA's Golden State Warriors will be moving this fall from Oakland to a new arena in San Francisco, but the team will not be renamed the San Francisco Warriors as originally speculated. The NBA's Philadelphia Warriors relocated to become the San Francisco Warriors for the 1962-63 season and then moved to Oakland as the Golden State Warriors for the 1971-72 season.

FOOTBALL

American Flag Football League: The AFFL, which has been trying to develop a franchise-based professional league, held its second annual tournament June 14-16, 2019. A total of 128 amateur teams played in regional competitions from late April to early June to narrow the field to 16 tournament teams in the America's Team division. Two pro teams called the Florida Fury and Fighting Cancer comprised the tournament's Pro Teams division. The Fighting Cancer pro team defeated the Texas Money Team amateur team in The Ultimate Final game.

Fan Controlled Football League: The proposed new indoor interactive FCFL, which plans to be the first fan-controlled professional sports league with fans electronically calling plays, was supposed to start play this summer with eight teams but it looks like that has been pushed back to a start in the fall. The FCFL will play 7-on-7 indoor football with all games played on a fifty-yard indoor field at a location-to-be-announced in Las Vegas. The league has announced owners for six of its eight teams.

HOCKEY

American Hockey League: The National Hockey League's new Seattle expansion team has filed an application with the AHL to place its AHL affiliate in Palm Springs (CA). Plans call for the AHL's 32nd team to start play in the 2021-22 season, the same season Seattle will start as the NHL's 32nd team. The group renovating the KeyArena in Seattle for the NHL team will also build a proposed new 10,000-seat arena in Palm Springs. The Seattle NHL ownership had considered purchasing and relocating a current AHL team but will now start a brand new team, if the AHL approves its application.

Great Metro Hockey League: Canada's Ontario/Quebec-based junior-level GMHL will add a GMHL West division for the 2019-20 season with its territory to include British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan. The division will be comprised of the Western Provincial Hockey Association, which played as the four-team Provincial Division in the 2018-19 junior-level Western States Hockey League that has its other teams in the western half of the United States. For the 2018-19 season, the WSHL Provincial Division included the Saskatchewan-based Meadow Lake Mustangs and three Alberta-based teams called the Edson Aeros, Hinton Wildcats and Cold Lake Wings.

Western States Hockey League: The junior-level WSHL, which considers itself as a Tier-II league under the Amateur Athletic Union's United Hockey Union, announced the Long Beach (CA) Bombers have come under new management and the team is now called the Long Beach Jets. The WSHL has dropped its Provincial Division of four teams based in western Canada. The league previously announced new teams called the Pueblo (CO) Bulls and Las Vegas Thunderbirds will start play in 2019-20.

Ontario Junior Hockey League: The OJHL, which is one of ten member leagues in the Junior-A Canadian Junior Hockey League, will have two franchise relocations as part of ownership changes for the 2019-20 season. The Newmarket Hurricanes are now the Milton Menace and the Kingston Voyageurs are now the Collingwood Colts.

SOCCER

United Soccer League – USL Championship: The Division-II USL Championship has expressed interest in establishing a new team in Baltimore. A team called the Crystal Palace Baltimore played three seasons (2007-09) as part of the Division-III USL Second Division league and the 2010 season as part of a United States Soccer Federation Division-II league. The USL Championship's Nashville SC will move up to join Major League Soccer next season and keep that name, so it is uncertain what will become of the Nashville SC team in the USL Championship. The MLS team wants to have a USL Championship affiliate, but both teams will not be able to co-exist in the Nashville market.

Professional Futsal League: The proposed PFL, which has been trying to create a national futsal league with regional conferences since 2015, announced plans to host a PFL International Challenge in August at the Allen (TX) Events Center with four participating teams: Team USA, FC Barcelona U23, Team Australia and the Dallas Sidekicks indoor team from the Major Arena Soccer League.

OTHER

Interstate Box Lacrosse Association: The IBLA recently started its third season with nine affiliated Regional Box Lacrosse Leagues (RBLL) in Ohio, Pacific Northwest, California, Missouri, Nebraska, Colorado, Minnesota, New England and New Jersey. Each RBBL has two to four teams that compete in regional competition leading to a National Championship tournament to be held this year in 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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American Hockey League Stories from July 1, 2019


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