Fever announce Dormancy, shake things up in the IFL

The 2016 Indoor Football League playoffs have not even started yet and already things are shaking up between which teams will be in or out for the 2017 season.

Tri-Cities shook things up yet again when they announced their dormancy on Thursday, so naturally we’re breaking things down from the beginning.

How we got here

In 2016, the IFL featured ten teams from across the United States. By next season there could be a few more.

In the world of Arena Football, leagues change all the time. Whether it’s too many expenses to keep track of, not enough success, or even teams switching to a different league, things change.

Well, change is exactly what is in store for the Indoor Football League, and it’s coming from all corners. In 2017 the IFL could see 11 or more teams in action.

At the one point in last year’s offseason it looked as though the IFL would feature 12 teams, this year, in 2016. The league brought 10 teams from 2015, and were gaining Spokane from the AFL and Minnesota as an expansion team.

Then November came along and the IFL terminated the Bemidji Axemen’s membership, due to the team failing to meet their operational standards and commitments. Fast forward two months to January and the Minnesota Havok announced they wouldn’t play this season due to lack of fundraising. That brought the total back down to 10.

Colorado Owner, Wigley, announces illness

On March 7th, Colorado Crush Owner Thomas Wigley announced the team was for sale, because he was terminally ill and could not continue to operate the team in 2017.

A buyer for the Crush has not yet been found. However John Petit, Co-Owner of the Iowa Barnstormers and also the chairman of the IFL Expansion Committee says he thinks Colorado could remain a team.

“Colorado is not necessarily out, they are working with other buyers already there,” Petit said. “I think it looks pretty good for Colorado to stay in.”

Utah launches a team that’s run by the Fans

After the 2016 season was in full swing, a unique, fan-oriented team was announced to start things off in Utah in ’17. Fans would choose the name of the team, the colors, amongst other team-related decisions.

“I think it’s interesting. We’ll see how it does,” Petit said. “I think some of the stuff is a little far fetched of what you can get done, but it’s always good to start something new.”

Tri-Cities Declares Dormancy for 2017 IFL Season

The Tri-Cities Fever announced Thursday that they would declare dormancy for the 2017 season and beyond.

This means the Fever will remain on good terms with the IFL, but would not play in the 2017 season. The team and its assets can be sold locally or in another location, and could also move to another location – along with league approval.

It seemed as though the Fever were hurting for money, however, because they played in-state for, Spokane, four times during the 2016 IFL Season.

Where the IFL stands now?

Now for the big part of this, where does the IFL sit for the 2017 season?

Currently the United Conference features Sioux Falls, Cedar Rapids, Wichita Falls, Iowa, and Green Bay. On the other side, however, is Spokane, Nebraska, Billings, Colorado, and what looks to be an easy spot for Utah to slide into.

That leaves the IFL with 10 teams heading into next year, however Petit did say there was another possibility.

“There probably will be one more additional team besides Utah,” Petit said.

Could that additional team reside in Minnesota right now, the same one that just was not ready for the season last year? That might be the best bet for any unannounced expansions at the moment.

“You want to take the right teams, you don’t mind expanding,” Petit said. “You want to expand in the right directions and with the right ownership groups so that you don’t have a situation like we had in Minnesota. You never say I want to have four more teams, if it’s one it great, if it’s none, then that’s the right decision.”