Bloomington Edge, West Michigan Ironmen join IFL from CIF Sept 12, 2017 17:31:43 GMT -8
Post by David on Sept 12, 2017 17:31:43 GMT -8
On a day when the Wichita Falls Nighthawks announced their move to Champions Indoor Football, the Indoor Football League announced that the Bloomington Edge and the West Michigan Ironmen would join for the 2018 Season.
"We're thrilled to announce the additions of the Bloomington Edge and the West Michigan Ironmen," IFL Commissioner Michael Allshouse said in the league's press release. "It's a pleasure to welcome these fantastic and passionate markets to the IFL. Both of these organizations provide an exciting championship quality product and tremendous partnerships for all members of the League."
Bloomington's return to the IFL is a reunion of sorts for the IFL. Based in Bloomington, Illinois, the franchise began as the Bloomington Extreme before changing their name to the Edge in 2012. They began playing three seasons in United Indoor Football before joining the newly formed Indoor Football League in 2009. In their four seasons in the IFL, Bloomington winning eight or more games and qualifying for the playoffs in each season.
In 2013, the Edge left the IFL and proceeded to play in three different indoor football leagues, including the Champions Professional Indoor Football League (2013-2014), X-League Indoor Football League (2015), and most recently Champions Indoor Football (2016-2017).
According to Edge owner Omar Khokhar, the team's move back to the IFL was based on the IFL having "titans" of indoor football, including ex-AFL franchises in the Iowa Barnstormers and Arizona Rattlers. According to the league's press release, Khokhar also cited "top-notch" rivals in proximity to the team, as well as the IFL's digital media platform (YouTube) as "an attractive platform to our business partners and will help continue to grow our brand."
The Edge will play their home games at the Grossinger Motors Arena, the team's home since 2006.
Meanwhile, the West Michigan Ironmen join the IFL as the new kids on the block. Entering their third season of professional indoor football, the Ironmen are playing in their third league in as many seasons.
"The Ironmen are excited to join a league with such a rich history and high level of play," said West Michigan Owner Terrance Williams in the league press release. "We look forward to competing with teams that have long histories of success at the highest level of indoor football, while maintaining our established rivalry with the Bloomington Edge."
The Ironmen have seen mixed success in their two seasons; after finishing 6-1 and making a run at the AIF Championship in 2016, West Michigan finished their lone season in the CIF with a 4-8 record and failing to make the playoffs.
Established in 2015, the Ironmen play their home games at L.C. Walker Arena in Muskegon, Michigan. They are the second team based out of Muskegon to play in the IFL; the Muskegon Thunder played in the IFL in 2009 before moving to Grand Rapids, Michigan, as the West Michigan ThunderHawks in 2010. The team would fold the following season.
The additions of the Edge and the Ironmen is the first bit of good news in what has been a tremendous turnover for the IFL this off-season. Upon the conclusion of the 2017 season, the league first lost the Spokane Empire, who announced they were ceasing operations for 2018. Then, the league lost both the Salt Lake Screaming Eagles and the Colorado Crush, whose ownership, Project FANchise, left the league to start their own "Interactive Football League."
In August, the Sioux Falls Storm announced they would be joining the CIF after 9 seasons in the IFL. The Wichita Falls Nighthawks, rumored to join the CIF as far back as July, officially confirmed their move on Tuesday.
The IFL stated it would unveil more announcements regarding 2018 in the upcoming weeks. Currently, the league is preparing for its annual Board of Directors Meetings, set to take place in Las Vegas, Nevada, October 2 through October 3.
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