leagueology   n: the study of the history and evolution of sports leagues that includes the tracking of
changes to league alignments, team nicknames, and franchise movements.

Weekly Sports League & Franchise Report ©

"Tracking league and franchise activity in today's sports world."
by Dan Krieger

March 21, 2010


Can-Am League: The Nashua-based American Defenders of New Hampshire franchise, which relocated to Pittsfield (MA) for the upcoming 2010 Can-Am season, has been renamed the Pittsfield Colonials. The American Defenders franchise started its history as the Nashua Pride, an original member of the Atlantic Baseball League in 1998. The Pride switched to the Can-Am League in 2006 and the franchise was renamed the American Defenders under new ownership for the 2009 season. Other nickname finalists for Pittsfield included the Green Sox, Pittbulls, and Power. Other than the move of the American Defenders, the league's five other teams-the Brockton (MA) Rox, New Jersey Jackals, Quebec Capitales, Sussex County (NJ) Skyhawks, and Worcester Tornadoes-will remain the same for 2010.

United League Baseball: The Ventura Sports Group has been selected by the city of Laredo, which is home to the ULB's Laredo Broncos, to be the operator of the city's new minor league stadium scheduled to open for the 2012 season. The group currently owns and operates the Grand Prairie AirHogs and El Paso Diablos of the American Association and was recently selected to operate a reported AA team in Montgomery County near Houston for the 2012 season.

New York State League: The NYSL, which is billed as America's Pro Development League, will stock and operate the Desert Valley Mountain Lions and West Texas Roadhogs franchises in the four-team Continental Baseball League for 2010. The NYSL also plans to operate its summertime developmental program in the New York City area in 2010. For the past two seasons, the NYSL has had two league-run teams called the Capitols and Federals participating in a month-long schedule near New York City.

Prospect League: The summer-collegiate Prospect League has grown from 11 to 15 teams for its second season in 2010 with the addition of the DeKalb County Liners (Sycamore, IL), Nashville (TN) Outlaws, Terre Haute (IN) Rex, and West Virginia Miners (Beckley). The North Coast Knights became the Lorain County (OH) Ironmen under new ownership. The league alignment will have three five-team divisions.


International Basketball League: A team called the Ohio Hidden Gems plans to join the IBL in the near future and is listed for a couple of games against the league's Holland Blast in the upcoming 2010 season. The Hidden Gems organization operates a women's team called Columbus (OH) Hidden Gems that started play last season in the Women's Blue Chip Basketball League. At one time last year, the IBL had a proposed team called the Columbus (OH) Cavalry listed as "Coming Soon".

West Coast Basketball League: The WCBL and its top team called the Santa Barbara Breakers plan to return for a third season that will start on April 15, 2010.

American Basketball Association: The ABA has announced that the Fayetteville (NC) Flight franchise will be part of its 2010-11 season. The Flight will be placed in the league's new Mid-Atlantic Division. Fayetteville will also be home to the Carolina Cougarz in the new Continental Basketball League that plans to start play next month.

United States Basketball Association: The USBA has cancelled all local team tryouts and a proposed start to its inaugural 2010 season early next month is uncertain. The league planned to start with 14 teams in 3 divisions. The USBA has been in the planning stages for the past few years and had cancelled previous plans to start play in 2008 and 2009.

World Basketball Association Exposure League: Some of the WBA teams have posted their 16-game schedules for a 2010 season that will run from mid-May to mid-July. Some schedules include games against the Marietta (GA) Storm, which will apparently return after sitting out the 2009 season. It looks as though the WBA will have seven teams: the Decatur (AL) Court Kings, Gwinnett Majic, Jacksonville Bluewaves, Marietta Storm, Franklin (TN) Knights, Florida Flight, and Tupelo (MS) Rock-n-Rollers.

CIBACOPA (Circuito de Baloncesto de la Costa del Pacifico): Mexico's Pacific Coast basketball league known as CIBACOPA has started its 2010 season with 12 teams split into North and South divisions. All ten teams from last season have returned and the league added two new teams. The new Zonkeys de Tijuana and Bomberos de Mexicali were added to the North Division, while the Trigueros de Ciudad Obregon (Sonora) were moved to the South Division.


Southern Indoor Football League: The proposed Houston Lightning franchise will not be part of the 2010 SIFL season as planned. This reduces the league to five teams for its second season. The league is working with the North Texas Crunch of the semi-pro Independent Indoor Football Alliance to fill in at least two of Houston's scheduled games. The Crunch filled in for a couple of SIFL games last season when the Florida Kings left the league after one game.

United Football League: The UFL is planning for the future and wants to place a team in London (England) and is also considering locations in Canada and Mexico for possible franchises.

American Professional Football League: The semi-pro indoor APFL has announced its 2010 schedule that will include indoor home games against teams from the semi-pro Central Plains Football League, which plays outdoor football under indoor rules (8-man teams on 50-yard fields). The 2010 APFL teams include the Iowa Blackhawks (Council Bluffs), Kansas Koyotes (Topeka), Mid-Missouri Outlaws (Sedalia), and Springfield (MO) Wolf Pack. The Junction City (KS) Force of the CPFL is also listed as an APFL team, as the Force will play a road game against each of the APFL teams in 2010. Other CPFL teams appearing on APFL home schedules include the Missouri Mustangs, Topeka Thunder, and West Missouri Kings. The Mid-Missouri Outlaws were part of the CPFL for the past three seasons (2007-09).


Federal Hockey League: The proposed FHL has announced a fifth team called the Broome County (NY) Barons that will be part of its inaugural 2010-11 season. The Barons will be based in the city of Vestal in the Binghamton area, which is home to the Binghamton Senators of the American Hockey League. The area had a team called the Binghamton Barons for two seasons (1976-78) in the New York-Penn Major Hockey League.

American Hockey League: Now that the AHL's Portland Pirates have ended negotiations about a move to Albany (NY) for next season, Albany is reported to be negotiating with the Lowell (MA) Devils, the AHL affiliate of the New Jersey Devils in the National Hockey League. The Devils had their AHL affiliate in Albany operating as the River Rats for 13 seasons before moving it to Lowell and purchasing the Lock Monsters for the 2006-07 season. The Albany River Rats have been affiliated with the Carolina Hurricanes since 2006, but Carolina is moving its AHL affiliate to Charlotte next season. Also, the NHL's Columbus Blue Jackets are considering a move of its AHL affiliate (Syracuse Crunch) to Springfield (MA), which is losing its Springfield Falcons' affiliation with the NHL's Edmonton Oilers.

Continental Hockey Association: The CHA will only operate its Junior-B league in 2010-11 and plans to eliminate its Junior-C league. The CHA started play in 1996 as a Junior-C league and added a league at the Junior-B level in 2005-06.

International Junior Hockey League: The IJHL plans to expand next season by more than doubling the number of teams in its current seven-team Super Elite (Junior-B) designation. The IJHL plans to create a New England Division and a Mid-Atlantic Division within the Super Elite designation for 2010-11. The owner of the New York Aviators, which played as part of the 2009-10 North East Professional Hockey League, plans to switch to the IJHL for 2010-11.

Major League Roller Hockey: The MLRH plans to end its 2009-10 season with a championship series next weekend in Detroit featuring the Chicago RollerSnakes, Michigan Thunder, D.C. FiliBusters, Detroit Revolution, and South Carolina Buccaneers. The MLRH also plans to announce next week a proposed 2010 summer pro tour on both the east and west coasts.


Major League Soccer: The MLS averted a possible player strike and stoppage of league play for its upcoming 2010 season by signing a new collective bargaining agreement with its players.

United Soccer Leagues - Premier Development League: The PDL's Ocean City (NJ) Barons have been renamed the Ocean City FC Nor'easters for the upcoming 2010 season, as the team ended its relationship with the South Jersey Barons youth academy in the past off-season. The club started in 1997 as the South Jersey Barons in the USL's D3 Pro League. The club moved to the PDL in 2003 and eventually settled in Ocean City as the Barons in 2005.