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Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report

by Dan Krieger
August 19, 2019 - American Hockey League (AHL)

BASEBALL

Frontier League: The independent Frontier League's River City Rascals team, which is based in the St. Louis suburb of O'Fallon, announced it will cease operations after this season. The city is looking into the possibility of a new Frontier League franchise replacing the team for the 2020 season. If that doesn't happen, the league could add a travel team to keep it at an even ten teams. There has also been talk of a possible Frontier League/Can-Am League merger in the future. The River City Rascals started play in the 1999 season after taking over the league's Zanesville (OH) Greys franchise, which had played four seasons (1993-96) before going dormant for two seasons (1997-98), and moving it to O'Fallon.

Western Canada Baseball League: The Edmonton Prospects of the summer-collegiate WCBL will see its ballpark lease expire in March 2020 and it is uncertain as to whether or not the city will renew its lease with the team.

Expedition League: The summer-collegiate Expedition League is looking to add a team in Laramie (WY) for the 2020 season. A summer-collegiate team called the Laramie Colts was a member of the Rocky Mountain Baseball League from 2005 through the 2018 season.

BASKETBALL

American Basketball Association: The semi-pro ABA announced a team called the Portland (OR) Freeze is a late addition for the league's Far West Division for the 2019-20 season..

Women's American Basketball Association: The WABA confirmed the Long Island Storm is not participating in the 2019 season as originally announced. The league also confirmed new teams will be added in San Diego, Tulsa (OK), Muskogee (OK) and Houston for the 2020 season.

FOOTBALL

Elite Indoor Football: The semi-pro EIF recently announced teams called the Texas Stealth, Texas Grim Reapers (Fort Worth) and Texas Takeover will be part of a new 2020 Texas Division. The Stealth and Grim Reapers will both play home games in Mansfield (TX). The EIF also announced a team called the Sarasota County (FL) Thunder will be part of the league's 2020 season.

Indoor Football League: The Albuquerque-based Duke City Gladiators, which played the past five seasons (2015 through 2019) as part of Champions Indoor Football, plan to announce next week its membership application has been accepted by the IFL and the team will be part of the 2020 IFL season.

HOCKEY

American Hockey League: The proposed new AHL team to be affiliated with the National Hockey League's Seattle expansion team, and possibly based in Palm Springs (CA), was reported to have registered the Palm Springs Firebirds as a potential team name. The AHL has yet to approve the Palm Springs team.

Greater Metropolitan Hockey League: The Tillsonburg Hurricanes (Ontario) of Canada's independent junior-level GMHL have ceased operations for the 2019-20 season. The team had been part of the league since the 2016-17 season.

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League: The Cape Breton Screaming Eagles (Sydney, Nova Scotia) of the major-junior QMJHL announced a change of the team's name to the Cape Breton Eagles starting with the 2019-20 season. The Cape Breton Screaming Eagles joined the league for the 1997-98 season.

Western States Hockey League: The junior-level WSHL, which is part of the Amateur Athletic Union's United Hockey Union, announced its alignment for the 2019-20 season that will feature 23 teams in four divisions. The WSHL had 23 teams in five divisions last season, but the Mountain and Mid-Western divisions have been merged into one Mountain/Mid-Western Division for 2019-20. Teams called the Cheyenne Stampede, Casper Bobcats, Cold Lake Wings (Alberta), Hinton Wildcats (Alberta) and the Long Beach Bombers, which were sold and renamed the Jets after last season, will not return for 2019-20. New teams called the Pueblo (CO) Bulls, Barrhead Bombers (Alberta), Las Vegas Thunderbirds, Hinton Timberwolves and Cold Lake Hornets have been added for the 2019-20 season.

SOCCER

Major League Soccer: Several reports indicate MLS will announce next week that St. Louis will be the location of the league's 28th team with the 2022 season as a targeted start. MLS has 24 teams this season with Nashville and Miami to start play in 2020 and Austin in 2021. The league previously announced plans to expand to 30 teams, so an additional two expansion slots will be available.

National Women's Soccer League: The ownership of the men's Louisville City FC in the United Soccer League's Division-II USL Championship has had preliminary discussions with the NWSL about a possible Louisville-based expansion team, but no decision has been made. The Louisville City FC is trying to build a new 14,000-seat soccer-specific stadium near downtown Louisville.

Major Arena Soccer League: The MASL announced an official affiliation process with the second-division MASL2 (M2) in which MASL teams will be affiliated with an M2 team and can each sign up to five players to two-way contracts each season. The MASL is also hoping the program will attract new M2 teams looking to move up the indoor soccer pyramid. The M2 had 15 participating teams last season, while the MASL previously announced it will operate with 17 teams for the upcoming 2019-20 season.

National Premier Soccer League – Members Cup: The elite-level NPSL's new six-team fall-season competition called the Members Cup started play last weekend. Each team will play a ten-game schedule that will run through October. The NPSL's fall competition was originally called the Founders Cup, which was to be a precursor for a proposed Division-III professional league operated by the NPSL. The NPSL was unable to obtain Division-III sanctioning and had issues obtaining liability insurance for a league that was to have a mix of amateur and professional players.

National Independent Soccer Association: The new Division-III professional NISA, which will start its inaugural 2019 fall season next weekend with eight participating teams, announced teams called the Detroit City FC, Chattanooga FC and the Oakland Roots have officially joined the new league. The Oakland Roots will be one of the eight teams in the 2019 NISA fall season, while Detroit City FC and Chattanooga FC will start play in the NISA's 2020 spring season. The Detroit City FC and Chattanooga FC have been members of the elite-level National Premier Soccer League and are currently participating in the NPSL's Members Cup competition this fall.

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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American Hockey League Stories from August 19, 2019


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