Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report
by Dan Krieger
August 12, 2019 - Atlantic League (AtL)
Atlantic League: Officials in Gastonia (NC) have expressed interest in a professional team from the independent Atlantic League becoming the tenant for the city's proposed new baseball stadium. The city is the current home to the Gastonia Grizzlies of the summer-collegiate Coastal Plain League. The Atlantic League appears to be the leading candidate after the city recently heard presentations from that league, the independent United Shore Professional Baseball League and the Gastonia Grizzlies. A team affiliated with Major League Baseball would not be an option due to Gastonia's proximity to the Triple-A Charlotte Knights and the low Class-A Hickory Crawdads. The Atlantic League added a North Carolina-based team called the High Point Rockers for the 2019 season and it is based about 100 miles northeast of Gastonia. The Gastonia Grizzlies would most likely move out if a professional team came to the city.
International League: The Lehigh Valley IronPigs (Allentown, PA) of the Triple-A International League will play a game later this month as the Lehigh Valley IronPugs due to a misspelling of IronPigs on a T-shirt order for a giveaway planned for the game.
Pacific Coast League: The Des Moines-based Iowa Cubs of the Triple-A PCL will play a game later this month as the Iowa Caucuses in a tribute to Iowa's First in the Nation status in the presidential election process.
Pioneer League: The Missoula (MT) Osprey of the advanced Rookie-level Pioneer League announced it will push back a decision on the team's new nickname for the 2020 season from early next month to early November so it can have merchandise ready for the announcement. The team came under new ownership prior to the 2019 season and this was the first ownership change since the Lethbridge (Alberta) Black Diamonds team moved to Missoula to become the Osprey for the 1999 season.
American Professional Basketball League: Earlier this summer, the APBL announced it had ceased operations after seven seasons of play. The APBL started play in a 2012-13 fall-winter season when the Atlantic Coast Professional Basketball League (ACPBL) ceased operations after its 2011-12 season. Some former ACPBL teams, some teams from the Eastern Basketball Alliance and some new teams then formed the APBL. Throughout its history, the APBL had teams based in the New York City/New Jersey metropolitan area, the Philadelphia area, Washington (DC), Maryland, Virginia and Delaware.
American Basketball Association: The semi-pro ABA announced two more teams called the Milwaukee Cavaliers and the Connecticut Headliners will start play in the upcoming 2019-20 season. The ABA stated this would be its first Connecticut team, but the Hartford-based Connecticut Top Ballerz participated in the league's 2011-12 season. The league also announced a team called the Little Chicago Bootleggers, based in Bristol (VA), will start play next season.
Arena Football League: After sitting out the AFL's 2018 and 2019 seasons due to renovations at its home arena, the Cleveland Gladiators could return to the league for the 2020 season. The six-team AFL is looking to add two to four teams for next season.
China Arena Football League: The indoor CAFL, which is considered a professional developmental league for the U.S.-based Arena Football League and other indoor leagues, stated it will announce the teams and schedule for its next season on September 1, 2019. The CAFL held its first season in the fall of 2016 with six China-based teams and planned to switch to a spring-summer schedule for its second season in 2018. That season was postponed and the league announced it would return in the fall of 2019.
Alberta Junior Hockey League: The Calgary Mustangs of Canada's Junior-A AJHL were granted a leave of absence for the upcoming 2019-20 season. The Mustangs were denied an attempt to move the team to Strathmore, just north of Calgary, so they decided to sit out the season. With the loss of the Mustangs, the AJHL will have an unbalanced alignment with an eight-team North Division and a seven-team South Division. The AJHL is a member of the ten-league Junior-A Canadian Junior Hockey League.
Maritime Junior Hockey League: The St. Stephen Aces (New Brunswick) of Canada's Junior-A MJHL were sold to a group in Fredericton (New Brunswick) and the team will operate as the Fredericton Red Wings starting with the 2019-20 season. The MJHL is member of the ten-league Junior-A Canadian Junior Hockey League and has a six-team South Division with teams based in Nova Scotia and a six-team North Division with five teams in New Brunswick and one on Prince Edward Island.
Eastern Hockey League: The Tier-III junior-level EHL will add two teams called the Seacoast Spartans (Exeter, NH) and the Railers Junior Hockey Club (Worcester, MA) to its 2019-20 New England Conference. The Seacoast Spartans purchased last season's Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights and moved the team to Exeter. The city of Worcester (MA) is also home to the Worcester Railers HC of the minor professional ECHL.
Interstate Hockey League: The proposed senior-level semi-pro IHL, which plans to have all 12 teams based in markets throughout Michigan, has been struggling to get off the ground as planned for the 2019-20 season and now appears it will not be paying players this season.
U.S. Premiership: The new pro developmental U.S Premiership, which started play in late June with a six-team South Florida Division, has replaced the previously listed Omega Select International (Port St. Lucie) with the Racing de Broward FC, based in Fort Lauderdale. The South Florida Division will be one of several regional divisions the league is planning for a proposed 50 teams across the United States.
United States Arena Professional Soccer League: The Texas-based USAPSL completed its inaugural 2019 season late last month with four teams called the FC Amarillo Bombers, FC Falls Town Flyers (Wichita Falls), FC Lubbock Renegades and FC West Texas Rumbleweeds (Odessa). All teams played eight games except the league's travel-only Lubbock team that played only six games.
United Women's Lacrosse League: The field lacrosse UWLX did not return for a fourth season in 2019. Over the past three summers, four UWLX teams called the Baltimore Pride, Boston Storm, Long Island Sound and Philadelphia Force each played a about four games as part of weekend lacrosse events.
Dan Krieger is the creator of 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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