BREAKING: Gladiators officially announced move to IFL Aug 14, 2019 10:35:36 GMT -8
Post by Nevadanut on Aug 14, 2019 10:35:36 GMT -8
UPDATED 8/20/19 ...
ALBUQUERQUE, NM - The Indoor Football league has come to New Mexico.
The team made the formal announcement today at a press conference. The team made the formal announcement of its move from Champions Indoor Football to the IFL beginning next season on Aug. 20. It will be the sixth year of the franchise overall and the first in the IFL. The team is owned by Gina Prieskorn-Thomas.
Players, coaches, management staff and IFL commissioner Mike Allshouse were inattendance at the event. Also attending was Iowa Barnsormers owner/gemeral manager John Pettit and Kevin Guy, head coach of the Arizona Rattlers and owner of the Tucson Sugar Skulls. The event was held at Dave & Busters in Albuquerque.
An exclusive confidential source to SCtoC confirmed to this site on July 22 that the Gladiators would depart the CIF and will join the IFL beginning next season, so the announcement was not unexpected. Duke City requested its releasefrom the CIF and that league announced on July 25 it had granted the team's release. The action paved the way for Duke City to decide its own fate, specifically to join the IFL.
The Gladiators, based out of Albuquerque, are the latest in a recent southwestern United States expansion of the IFL. The Arizona Rattlers moved from the Arena Football League to the IFL prior to the 2017 season. Two expansion teams -- the San Diego Strike Force and the Tucson Sugar Skulls -- joined the league prior to the recently completed 2019 season. The Rattlers have advanced to the playoffs in all three of their IFL seasons, winning the United Bowl in 2017, and falling to the Sioux Falls Storm in the 2019 United Bowl. The Sugar Skulls reached the playoffs in their inaugural season, but lost to the Storm in the first round.
With the IFL expanding, the now four teams which make up the region on league map is expected to make for easier travel among those four when it comes to scheduling purposes.
The Gladiators play their home games at Tingley Coliseum in Albuquerque. The arena, which opened in 1957, has been host several concert and local sports teams, including, most recently the Albuquerque Thunderbirds of the National Basketball Associations Developmental League (now known as the G-League). Tingley seats a capacity of 11,571 persons with 9,286 permanent seats.
Among the musicians who have played concerts at Tingley Coliseum are Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, Van Halen, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Rush, Fleetwood Mac, Tina Turner, Prince, Eric Clapton, Neil Young, Bon Jovi, Eric Church, Tina Turner and several others. The arena also has hosted the WWE and the 1987 Miss USA pageant.
We at SCtoC have learned, through confidential sources, that a meeting is being held this month to discuss the addition of as many as five expansion teams in one particular region of the country which is currently untapped by IFL geography. Our analysis, however, is that only three of those have realistic traction to join in 2020.
Duke City has won the past two CIF championships. During the recently completed 2019 season, they finished first in the South Conference at 9-3. They defeated the Amarillo Venom, 70-62, in the conference championship game before holding off the Salina Liberty in the Champions Bowl by a mark of 35-29. The Gladiators' mark of 10-2 in 2018 earned them first in the South Conference. A 44-39 win over the Wichita Force enabled them to advance to the conference championship, where they posted a 41-28 win over the Texas Revolution. The Gladiators claimed the 2018 Champions Bowl with a 31-27 decision over the Sioux City Bandits.
They made the playoffs in 2017, but lost the conference semifinal to the Venom. Duke City has never posted a losing record, with their worst mark being 6-6 in 2016. Overall, the team has posted a 39-20 record in nearly it's five regular seasons, as well as a 5-1 record in the CIF playoffs.
The 2019 champion Gladiators were coached by Dominic Bramante. Notable indoor football players on the roster included QB Caleb Holbrook, and receivers Dello Davis and Antonio Bray.
The Gladiators are the third CIF team in two off seasons to make the jump from CIF to the IFL. Last year summer/fall, the Quad City Steamwheelers and the Bismarck Bucks made the move. Quad City finished the regular season 6-8 and missed the playoffs due to it's 55-50 regular season finale loss to the expansion Tucson Sugar Skulls. While Bismarck struggled en route to a 12-2 season, its signature win came in week 10; a 51-48 home win over Quad City.
Duke City began play in CIF in 2015 as a late replacement for the New Mexico Stars, who opted to join the North American Indoor Football league. The Gladiators had also considered joining that league before being brought into CIF with a reduced regular season schedule of 11 games. The schedule included some non-league games due to unreliable scheduling and arena availability.
With the move, the Gladiators join the IFL's 10 returning teams; the Rattlers, Storm, Strike Force, Sugar Skulls, Bucks, Steamwheelers, Cedar Rapids River Kings, Green Bay Blizzard, Iowa Barnstormers and Nebraska Danger.
The Danger may be in flux as owner Charlie Bosselman has put the team up for sale. Should a buyer not be found, they could go dormant or fold for next year. SCtoC has learned of an unconfirmed rumor that the Storm may be up for sale, but there has been no corroboration that there is truth to that rumor.
The league will enter its 12 season in 2020, which makes it the longest continually running indoor/arena football league in the United States.
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