The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

May 4, 2010

Arena football returning to War Memorial

JOHNSTOWN — After a three-year hiatus, arena football is headed back to Johnstown.

The Canton, Ohio-based Ultimate Indoor Football League announced Tuesday that Johnstown was selected as the first location for the new league, which will begin play in February.

The team will play seven regular-season games at Cambria County War Memorial Arena, said Tim Landis, the arena’s general manager.

“Arena football works in a lot of markets like Johnstown,” Landis said.

“We’re very excited.”

The arena holds about 4,000 people.

League owners Michael Taylor and Andrew Haines approached SMG, the arena’s management company, a few months ago about bringing indoor football to the Flood City.

“We looked at different markets, and Johnstown made sense,” Taylor said.

He said Johnstown has a fan base to support the team. But Taylor added that the key is providing a family-friendly environment with affordable tickets.

“Our goal is to provide entertainment and value,” Taylor said. “I think we’ll surprise a lot of people with our prices.

“We strive to be the most fan-friendly professional sports league in the country,” he said.

News coverage of the loss of the Johns-town Chiefs hockey team led to negotiation of a three-year deal for indoor football, Landis said. 

The league will begin with about six teams, each carrying a roster of 18 players and playing a 14-game season. Locations of other teams will be announced in coming weeks.

The game pits two groups of eight players on a 50-yard field.

Fans also will have a chance to name Johnstown’s new football team. The winner will receive a free ticket to the home opener, and one winner will receive season tickets.

To suggest a name, go to www.theuifl.com.

Johnstown previously has been home to three indoor football teams. The last one, the Johnstown Riverhawks of the American Indoor Football League, played from 2005-2008.

Landis is hopeful the new team will be around longer.

“The time is right,” he said.

“Like we said all along, we will do our due diligence in finding the right fit for the market.”

 

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