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I figured since there is no CMISL section on here I will post the articles I discover about the league. I'm afraid some of these early articles may not be in chronological order. These are the only articles I could still find by using Google, so unfortunately the first games are missing.
Sat, March 31, 2007
Alliance to feed off fans
Indoor soccer squad out to impress in home debut
By JIM BENDER, SUN MEDIA
The game has been referred to as "hockey without ice," or without sticks, for that matter, and Winnipeg's own indoor soccer side will make its home debut this afternoon.
The Alliance will play host to the Edmonton Drillers in the final doubleheader of the fledgling Canadian Major Indoor Soccer League's "showcase season" at MTS Centre at 2 p.m.
"We will be competitive," vowed Alliance co-coach Chic Devenney. "The adrenaline, the excitement from the fans, we're going to feed off that ... The players are ready, we've just got to do a few little things in the game.
"One is being aggressive, which is being fast to the ball. The second is, we want to have a controlled buildup. I want to make sure we have composure in front of the net so we can out the ball in there. That's what we want to do -- score and score often."
It seems they've already scored with the fans as more than 5,000 have bought tickets to the match and more are available at the door.
The players are determined to make amends for dropping both sides of a doubleheader to the Accelerators in Saskatoon last week.
"The players from Saskatoon had a little bit more experience than we had, so we had to calm down the (younger) players and help them out," said striker Wolde Harris. "We played some good football in spurts. I look forward to playing better this weekend.
"Now, we know exactly what the game's about at this level and they're really excited and looking forward to it, especially playing in front of a home crowd ... I always want to play in front of a lot of people ... and I'm happy for the younger guys where they're playing on a stage where they're being seen and being exposed to a high level of play."
An Alliance press release dubbed Harris 'the Golden Boy.'
"That's the first I've heard that one, but, you know, I have a lot of gold in my mouth so I guess that one can stick," he said smiling.
"When we reflect on the (Saskatoon) game, we matched them in most of the game -- skill-wise and technically," said midfielder Rob Gale. "We fell down on set pieces.
"It's new to us as a franchise and new to our coaches ... and they really picked us apart there, which is something we've been working on in training.
"But apart from that, it was a great atmosphere. It was really fast-paced and really enjoyable for the fans and the players alike. The younger players should benefit from that experience and can take that into the new game so we can really put on a show at home."
THROW-INS: Owners and/or GMs, including Alliance owner Bill Stewart will meet before the game to discuss an official schedule that could start as soon as this November ... Both G Jeff Seney (toe) and M Vinny Ferlaino (charleyhorse) will miss the match with injuries suffered against Saskatoon last week.
ON THE BALL
- Game played on regulation-sized hockey rink covered with artificial turf.
- Each goal seven feet high and 14 feet wide.
- Six per side, including goalkeeper. Players can change on the fly.
- Two games of four 10-minute quarters -- first and second running time, third and fourth stop time.
- If doubleheader split, winner decided by shootout where each shooter has five seconds to score and can play the rebound.
- Goals scored within the three-point line are worth one point; outside, three.
Fri, March 30, 2007
Indoor footy finds fans
Future for league looks good, says owner
By JIM BENDER, SUN MEDIA
A meeting of the indoor soccer minds at the MTS Centre on Sunday will likely result in the official formation of the fledgling league.
Owners and/or general managers from the four teams that now comprise the Canadian Major Indoor Soccer League will discuss kicking off a real season before the final doubleheader of its "showcase season" between the Winnipeg Alliance and Edmonton Drillers that starts at 2 p.m.
The decision will be announced either Sunday or Monday, Alliance owner Bill Stewart said yesterday.
Stewart was thrilled that more than 5,000 tickets have already been sold for Sunday's match and seemed unperturbed that both Saskatoon and Calgary barely drew 2,000 to each of their doubleheaders. In fact, he is getting good vibes from the other three cities.
"The owner in Edmonton is very excited; he wants to move forward," said Stewart, a Manitoba native. "Saskatoon wants to move forward. Calgary wants to move forward. We all have our problems because we just entered into one-game leases so, we need to go back into the market and get new leases. We need to work out some things but they're real supportive. All of us are trying to move the league forward."
The Drilllers lured 3,500 to their match.
Should the owners decide to go ahead, the league would likely start this November and play a 10-12-week winter schedule, followed by a two-week playoff ending by late February or early March, Stewart said.
"We all need to get into the same room and work that out," he said, adding that his side could easily co-exist with the Manitoba Moose by playing weekend matinees but must still work out an agreement. "I anticipate that we'll be able to work out our lease here in Winnipeg."
Calgary, however, needs to find a new venue and Saskatoon must be able to average 3,000 fans, Stewart said.
"We're going to add one or two more cities," he added. "We've had interest from Eastern Canada and a couple of cities in the West."
CMISL founder Mel Kowalchuk has been handling those discussions and Stewart did not know their identity. But he is thrilled with the local reaction.
"My goal's always been 4-5,000 and we've exceeded the 5,000 so this model works," he said. "If we get 6-7,000 here, I definitely want to continue. What I've noticed and what we really went after was we wanted to see the local soccer community support this showcase game and they really stepped up."
Stewart, who declined to divulge how much he has invested thus far, figures each club will need a 22 or 24-man roster that will be governed by a salary cap and teams will fly to different cities, playing only on weekends.
"Sunday, we should be able to disclose a lot more about what we'd do about a salary cap," he said.
Everyone involved figures the indoor game will capture the imagination of local fans.
"It's like hockey without the ice," said Stewart.
"It's a very fast game," added Wolde Harris, a pro striker that Stewart signed before the Alliance played in Saskatoon last Friday. "It was my first time playing indoor in an organized fashion. So, it was very fast-paced, very physical and I was very impressed with that." http://www.winnipegsun.com/Sports/Ot...70089-sun.html
They are planning to push this ball forward cautiously.
Spurred by the 7,000-plus that showed up for the Winnipeg Alliance-Edmonton Drillers "showcase" match at the MTS Centre yesterday, the Canadian Major Indoor Soccer League has decided to go ahead with plans for a real season.
"The Winnipeg Alliance is probably the reason we are moving forward a little quicker than we wanted because (Alliance owner) Bill Stewart and his group and the fans here in Winnipeg showed us what they can draw if we work real hard at it," CMISL president Mel Kowalchuk said after the owners and/or GMs of the four current franchises met before the doubleheader.
"We expected crowds Iike this in years three and four but not the first year. So Bill's certainly set the trend for all of us and we're very pleased."
Before they can go ahead, each club must secure a lease with their respective venues and another meeting is planned for Calgary later this month.
"The thing is, everybody else wants to do it but we don't want to do it to the point where we push it too far," said Stewart. "So we're probably looking at an abbreviated season.
"But there's a lot of work that we have to do as owners to ensure that we can move forward. The MTS Centre's been great to work with, but the bottom line is we need to sit down with them now and try to enter a lease that makes sense."
Yesterday's crowd prompted Stewart to push his partners.
"I'm absolutely impressed, absolutely blown away," he said. "I am absolutely convinced that this is a viable market. Being the last game here gave us an extra three weeks to get out there and sell and penetrate the soccer community. That really helped us."
On the other hand, both Calgary and Saskatoon drew 2,000, Edmonton about 3,500.
"We did discuss expansion a little bit," Kowalchuk said. "We do have teams that are interested but we're not sure we're going to permit them to play in our league with a full schedule or a modified schedule. We're thinking a new team coming in will have to showcase it because each one of us learned a lot (from showcase games).
"We might go with as many as five or six teams, but right now it's looking like it might be four."
Kowalchuk said interest has been expressed by six Eastern teams and two in the West, but did not identify them.
"This gives the kids something to look forward to," said the Alliance's Jordan Goetting. "When I grew up, we had the Winnipeg Fury, then nothing for the longest time ... So, it will be inspiring for a lot of the young kids." http://www.winnipegsun.com/Sports/Ot...96178-sun.html
Mon, April 2, 2007
Fans flock indoors
New soccer league proving popular
By JIM BENDER, SUN MEDIA
They lost the doubleheader but won the hearts of local supporters.
The Winnipeg Alliance dropped both ends of the Canadian Major Indoor Soccer League's showcase match to the Edmonton Drillers before a mind-boggling 7,727 spectators at MTS Centre yesterday.
And that was no April Fool's joke. Nor was the total spiked by thousands of giveaways, Alliance owner Bill Stewart insisted.
"It was awesome," said Jordan Goetting, the Winnipeg defender/midfielder who scored his side's only two goals. "We expected 4,000 and to have this ... The kids are always going to be phenomenal but the support from other people was tremendous. And we don't get that in Manitoba.
"It's so nice to finally see that they're going to be supportive of the whole organization."
The Drillers, who had left their best player at home, won the first match 6-1 and the second 2-1 in a pair of fast-paced, physical battles.
"I'm really enjoying this, it's very aggressive," said Angelo Manfredi, a fan and friend of some Alliance players. "They're all really into it and I'm liking it. I really liked Tom Foderaro's hit. I know they (Drillers) weren't too pleased about that but Tom's a good guy, so it's all good."
Foderaro received a charging penalty for drilling a Driller into the boards.
"It's a pretty fast-paced game and it's getting pretty physical," said Katie Parker, wearing an Alliance jersey. "I've got a lot of friends on the team, they're doing well and I'm cheering them on.
"I would definitely pay to watch the guys over a whole season. I just want to support the guys and hopefully, they'll start a women's team up."
Not all fans were thrilled with the indoor game, though.
"I don't like the boards," said Colleen Dacosta. "I don't like it when they use the boards because some of their goals were scored just using the boards. Outdoors, you don't use the boards."
Although she and her partner, Salam Palani, had free tickets, Dacosca said she would pay to support the squad over a whole season. And Stewart et al are making plans for a real season that could start in November.
Todd Rattee, Eddy Sidra, Phil Pavacic, John Konye, Oliver Brkin and Mark Spiller scored for Edmonton in the first game while Spiller and Pavacic scored in the second. Goetting was the only Alliance who could solve Edmonton goalkeeping.
"I don't score a lot of goals, so,it was kind of nice. Too bad it's not a regular thing." said Goetting, who also scored in a shootout exhibition.
Winnipeg goalkeeper Dylan O'Connor did not allow a goal after being inserted for the last quarter.
"It was nerve-wracking when I first got out there. but when I got out on to the field it was way better and I settled down and had a lot of fun," he said.
"Both the games were entertaining, we just have to learn how to put the ball in the net," said Alliance co-coach Chic Devenney. "I am disappointed but I'm looking upon this as the future. Our future is just beginning. We're beginning to establish a team, a rhythm, a philosophy for the game." http://www.winnipegsun.com/Sports/Ot...96176-sun.html
First soccer showcase shows drawing power
Winnipeg Alliance loses two before strong crowd
Mon Apr 2 2007
By Allan Besson
MARC GALLANT / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
MARQUEE midfielder Nikola Vignjevic stayed home to be best man at a friend's wedding. It didn't matter, though, as his Edmonton Drillers took the Winnipeg Alliance FC to the cleaners 6-1 in the first of two Canadian Major Indoor Soccer League showcase games played at MTS Centre Sunday. The Drillers also won the second game 2-1.
The 7,727 fans who almost filled the lower bowl didn't mind, however, as they cheered the Alliance and lined five-deep to get autographs following the games.
Also wearing smiles were Alliance owner Bill Stewart and the three other league owners, who had gathered this weekend to decide the league's future. Calgary and Saskatoon are the other two teams in the league. Between games, they announced they will meet later this month to discuss strategy for moving toward regular season play next year.
Lauren Zarrillo and her father Bruno took in the show, and liked what they saw. "I play soccer for East St. Paul," said 10-year-old Lauren. "I'm having fun, and I think it's good. I hope (we'll go again if the league stays), if my mom and dad buy tickets.
"I think it was excellent," said her father. "At field level, it was a lot more physical than I thought, and it was entertaining. It was good family entertainment."
Zarrillo said he would support the team next year, "as long as they do it at the Goldeyes level, where it's affordable for the whole family."
"We want to pursue a full league schedule for next year," said Mel Kowalchuk, president of the CMISL. "Now a full league schedule might be a modified version. For example, six home and six away games, but the first thing we all have to do is have secure leases in each building."
Kowalchuk said Winnipeg's success was the catalyst to move forward a little more quickly than planned. "Bill Stewart, his group, and the fans here in Winnipeg showed us what they can draw if we worked hard at it. We had expected crowds like this in years three and four, but not in the first year."
Stewart dispelled the rumour that of the total tickets sold, close to 3,000 were giveaways. "Go poll Ticketmaster," he retorted. "They have the numbers. We have been absolutely blown away by the response. We did a lot better than we thought we would. We just need to pick it up on the field now."
The possibility of expansion was also discussed. "We have teams that are interested, and we will discuss it when we meet in Calgary," said Kowalchuk. "We're not sure if we're going to permit them to play in our league with a full or modified schedule next year. We're thinking that for a new team to come in they have to showcase it first."
Soccer league wants to run full schedule soon
Kevin Mitchell, The StarPhoenix
Published: Thursday, April 05, 2007
The Canadian Major Indoor Soccer League can't count its success in dollar-signs -- the Saskatoon Accelerators lost a small bundle a few weeks ago -- but the loop wants to kick its game up several notches in November.
The fledgling league, which recently completed a so-called showcase schedule that featured one doubleheader in each of its four cities, is talking about running a full schedule several months down the road.
"It's our intent to go ahead," says league president Mel Kowalchuk, who also owns the Saskatoon franchise.
"I wouldn't say it's 100 per cent, but I'm confident it's going to happen."
Saskatoon's heard that from all kinds of pro leagues in the past, only to have things go horribly wrong.
But Kowalchuk insists he's different He says the brief showcases allowed his league to flash its wares to fans, sponsors and media while helping team owners figure out what works and what doesn't.
The league, which also includes teams in Winnipeg, Edmonton and Calgary, had originally planned to run another showcase series early next year before launching a full schedule in 2008-09.
But the league's other owners pushed for a quicker start-date, and the 7,727 fans who witnessed last weekend's doubleheader in Winnipeg fueled their determination.
Saskatoon drew an announced crowd of 2,102 -- approximately 1,500 actually paid -- for a March 23 sweep of Winnipeg. Those games were poorly marketed and relied on a large walk-up -- mistakes Kowalchuk says won't happen again.
"We all learned something (from the showcase experience)," said Kowalchuk, who blames his absentee-owner status -- he lives in Edmonton -- for the promotional shortfall.
Kowalchuk continues to look for Saskatoon-based franchise partners.
The commissioner sees teams playing 12 doubleheaders apiece next season, with six at home and six on the road.
"Each one of us owners has different things we want to see or do," said Kowalchuk, who hopes to have the league's plans spelled out after an April 21 meeting in Calgary. "We all agreed we have to get down to details before we're 100 per cent certain we're going to go this route. Right now, we are certain, but there's some roadblocks to clear."
Those roadblocks, he says, include what kind of lease deals the teams can negotiate with their respective arenas. He also says they'll have to decide whether expanding by a couple of teams is a good or bad idea heading into a first full season.
Asked if Saskatoon will field a team whether he finds a partner or not, Kowalchuk responds "in all probability, yes."
He said he also plans to sit down with Regina-based coach Kevin Holness and talk about bringing him back for next season. Holness coached the Accelerators to 5-2 and 3-2 wins over Winnipeg.
THE Canadian Major Indoor Soccer League has reprimanded Saskatoon Accelerators head coach Kevin Holness for comments made while wearing a wireless microphone during the side's tryout camp earlier this month.
As per CMISL policy, details of the reprimand will not be disclosed.
"Upon further investigation as to whether Kevin stated he wanted to 'humiliate' the Winnipeg Alliance FC when the team played in Saskatoon March 23, even though Kevin did not use the word humiliate, I have determined he did make a statement which could be interpreted as disrespectful," said CMISL president Mel Kowalchuk.
"Kevin was wearing a microphone on the day in question and his choice of words warranted a reprimand.
"In Kevin's defence, I am convinced beyond all doubt what he said was nothing more than a tactic coaches sometimes use to build intensity and determination in their players."
Winnipeg will be playing Edmonton Drillers Sunday in the final Showcase exhibition match for this year, beginning at 2 p.m. at the MTS Centre.
Footy faithful cheer kickoff
Nearly 2,000 watch United, Drillers twin bill
Michael Petrie, Calgary Herald
Published: Sunday, March 11, 2007
They didn't barricade the locker-room doors and force the sides to keep playing, but Calgary soccer fans walked away wanting more.
A doubleheader of indoor soccer at the Corral on Saturday afternoon was well received, as almost 2,000 footy faithful watched Calgary United FC play the Edmonton Drillers.
"We wanted to showcase and get people interested," said Chris Baker, owner of United FC. "Hopefully, they'll come back next time and bring some friends. We got a good turnout, people were enjoying it.
"The Calgary team played well, you can see there's lot of talent there. I think it's a good start."
United beat Edmonton 5-1 in the opener and lost the second, 2-0. There was some obvious skill on both squads and the games were largely entertaining.
The teams will play a return twin bill on March 18, while the Saskatoon Accelerators and Winnipeg Alliance FC are set for a similar home-and-away later this month.
The four teams comprise the Canadian Major Indoor Soccer League -- a fledgling circuit that will play abbreviated seasons this year and next, in order to gauge interest and work out kinks before beginning full play in 2008-09.
There's no shortage of soccer fans across this country and the CMISL hopes to slowly and deliberately cultivate a following.
"We face failures from the past and people tend to look at you that way," said Mel Kowalchuk, Drillers owner and acting commissioner. "All we're saying is give us a chance and judge us for what we're doing, what we're trying to do."
Attempts at selling soccer have failed time and time again in Canada, but Baker and Kowalchuk claim they've learned from other people's mistakes. They see potential and say teams from Eastern Canada already are interested in joining.
But rather than hopping behind the wheel, turning the key and screaming down an icy mountain road, these guys are checking all their mirrors and fastening their seatbelts before pulling out of the driveway.
Kowalchuk was involved with the National Professional Soccer League when the Edmonton Drillers aimed to draw 12,000 people per game, the league spent $50,000 on some players and flights for a single road trip cost as much as $20,000.
These won't be issues when the CMISL gets fired up.
"We can sit back after this mini-season and look at what we did right, and what we did wrong," said Kowalchuk. "If you go play a 20-game season -- 10 home, 10 away -- you've got a million things wrong. Now, we can see the 10 things we've got wrong and correct them."