Manchester Wolves af2 Franchise To Cease Operations
MANCHESTER, NH-- The Manchester Wolves announced today that the franchise will not join the new Arena Football 1 League for the 2010 season and instead will cease operations.
"It is with a great deal of sadness that we make this announcement, but after careful consideration and analysis, the owners of the Wolves decided that the structure of the new league was not in the best interests of our franchise," said Wolves General Manager Stephanie Bike.
The Wolves played from 2002 to 2009 in the arenafootball2 league and called Manchester home after relocating from Connecticut in 2003. The team enjoyed its most successful season in 2008, making it all the way to the af2 American Conference Championship game. After the Arena Football League (AFL), which owned 50.1 percent of the af2, suspended operations this past winter and then folded recently, the af2 became defunct.
The newly created Arena Football 1 League is proceeding with plans to play in 2010 with a two-tiered structure comprised of some former AFL teams, some former af2 teams, and some new franchises, but at this stage there would only be a maximum of eight teams in the second division and none are to be located in the Northeast. The closest franchise would be based in Huntsville, Alabama and that would make travel costs for the Wolves prohibitive and the travel schedule unreasonable.
"We would have to fly to every away game over the course of the 16-game regular season, and then there would be the playoffs. Several of the teams we would play will be located on the west coast in the Pacific time zone and most of the others will be based in markets that are extremely difficult to connect to and from Manchester," said Bike. "From a travel perspective alone, it doesn't make sense for the Wolves to be a part of the new league."
Moreover, joining the second tier of the new league with only eight potential teams would compromise the Wolves from a competition standpoint. With being forced to travel around the country for away games and play in different time zones, the team would have fewer days each week to implement the game plan and maintain a regular practice schedule. Away games scheduled in successive weeks would exacerbate the problem.
Wolves Principal Owner Steven Schubert said that all options were explored before the difficult decision to fold the franchise was reached.
"We would have liked to move forward and been part of the new Arena Football 1 League, and we wanted to keep a professional football franchise right here in Manchester and in New Hampshire," he said. "But it simply was not feasible from both an economic perspective and from a football perspective."
The entire Wolves organization remains grateful to the loyal and ardent fans, corporate sponsors, and the entire community which supported the team throughout its many years in Manchester.
"The strong support which the Wolves enjoyed was a big part of the team's success, both on and off the field," said Schubert. "Our fans were the best in the af2 and we shall always appreciate them along with the contributions of everyone who became a part of the Wolves family."
• Discuss this story on the arenafootball2 message board...
arenafootball2 Stories from October 30, 2009
- Manchester Wolves af2 Franchise To Cease Operations - Manchester Wolves
The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.