1997 Realignment

Excerpts from a 1997 offseason PGBL announcement:

On January 21, Brian Dexter resigned as CEO and General Manager of the Tijuana franchise after three straight division titles and the team’s first World Series appearance. In his five seasons, the Golden Eagles never finished below .500, with a second-place finish in his first season. …  Following Dexter’s resignation, the league removed the CEOs of the Denver and Bay Area franchises and anticipates a resignation from San Antonio’s CEO.

For 1997, the league hopes to once and for all establish solid geographical divisions and halt the frequent franchise relocation that has occurred over the past several seasons. … The North League will still feature the Maple Leaf Division – with only Canadian teams – and a Norris Division of teams from the northern United States. The South League’s Confederate Division will feature teams from the southeastern U.S., and the Cactus Division (formerly the NAFTA) teams will come from the southwestern U.S. and Mexico.

The plan will be implemented due to a number of relocations this offseason: The Boston Rockies have moved and will now be the Brooklyn Dodgers; the Montreal Canadiens are now the San Antonio Outlaws; and the Los Angeles Riot has become the Cleveland Tribe. In order to maintain the Confederate Division, New Orleans’ planned move to Bay Area has been rescinded, and the Hartford Rangers will return to Atlanta and be known as the Rebels. Also, the league will allow the Denver Bears to become the Las Vegas Gamblers, and the Tijuana franchise will return to its original nickname of Tequila Swiggers.

With all relocation complete, the season’s final realignment will effect six teams. Vancouver and Brooklyn remain in the North League but switch divisions. Manitoba moves from what was the NAFTA Division to the NL Maple Leaf; Cleveland leaves the SL for the Norris Division; Finally, Montreal’s move to San Antonio and Denver’s relocation to Las Vegas will slot both teams in the new Cactus Division.

Any teams wishing further relocation following this season will be restricted to its division’s geographical boundaries, and also be required to pay the PGBL officials with a case of beer. … Any new GM or CEO is allowed one franchise movement free of charge.


Enclosed with this press release is a copy of the original 1997 draft order, a league directory and a historical listing of all past postseason series. …


1997 ORIGINAL DRAFT ORDER: 1. San Jose Hammerheads; 2. Memphis Melee; 3. Minnesota Muskies; 4. Brooklyn Dodgers; 5. Cleveland Tribe; 6. New Orleans Jazz; 7. Vancouver Wildcats; 8. San Antonio Outlaws; 9. Atlanta Rebels; 10. Las Vegas Gamblers; 11.Ottawa Otters; 12. Manitoba Tigers; 13. Toronto BlueBirds; 14. Charlotte Hornets; 15. Tijuana Tequila Swiggers; 16. Chicago Cardinals.




Maple Leaf Division

Manitoba Tigers – Minh Le

Ottawa Otters – Tom Fresso

Toronto BlueBirds – Douglas Czurylo

Vancouver Wildcats – Joe Deacon

Norris Division

Brooklyn Dodgers – Pat Eriksen

Chicago Cardinals – Phil Geiersbach

Cleveland Tribe – Ken Holowczak

Minnesota Muskies – Phil Bellagamba



Confederate Division

Atlanta Rebels –

Charlotte Hornets – Alex Czurylo

Memphis Melee – Mike Adams

New Orleans Jazz (was Bay Area) –

Cactus Division

Las Vegas Gamblers –

San Antonio Outlaws –

San Jose Hammerheads – Keith Kustra

Tijuana Tequila Swiggers –



(Home-field advantage teams underlined)

NL Division Series

1996 – Toronto BlueBirds (D.Czurylo) def. Ottawa Otters (Fresso)

SL Division Series

1996 – Tijuana Golden Eagles (Dexter) def. Manitoba Tigers (Le)

NL Championship Series

1990 – Toronto BlueBirds def. Boston Bulls (Walker)

1991 – Toronto BlueBirds def. Seattle Sharks (Flaws)

1992 – Calgary Flames (Flaws) def. Toronto BlueBirds

1993 – Toronto BlueBirds def. Calgary Flames

1994 – Chicago Cardinals (Geiersbach) def. Toronto BlueBirds

1995 – Chicago Cardinals def. Toronto BlueBirds

1996 – Chicago Cardinals def. Toronto BlueBirds

SL Championship Series

1990 – Los Angeles Raiders (A.Czurylo) def. Miami Dolphins

1991 – Charlotte Hornets def. Orlando Magic (Deacon)

1992 – Charloote Hornets def. Orlando Magic

1993 – Charlotte Hornets def. Texas Oilers (Deacon)

1994 – Charlotte Hornets def. Tijuana Golden Eagles

1995 – Charlotte Hornets def. Tijuana Golden Eagles

1996 – Tijuana Golden Eagles def. Charlotte Hornets

World Series

1990 – Los Angeles Raiders def. Toronto BlueBirds

1991 – Charlotte Hornets def. Toronto BlueBirds

1992 – Charlotte Hornets def. Calgary Flames

1993 – Charlotte Hornets def. Toronto BlueBirds

1994 – Chicago Cardinals def. Charlotte Hornets

1995 – Charlotte Hornets def. Chicago Cardinals

1996 – Chicago Cardinals def. Tijuana Golden Eagles