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Spokane Shock

Shock to join new arena football league

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af2, AFL teams to combine for 2010 season

SPOKANE, Wash. - The Shock are, in fact, moving to a new league.  At least that's the "official" unofficial word until a formal announcement is made sometime within the next few weeks.

The owner of the two-time af2 champion team, Brady Nelson, said Wednesday the Shock will join a newly-formed league comprised of at least a twenty teams.  The new organization would include a mix of current af2 teams and teams from the defunct AFL, and would include a schedule of eight home games - just like last season.

"It's something we've been working on for several months," said Nelson.  "As soon as the AFL announced they were not playing in December we knew we'd play this season, but..."

It was that "but" that got the wheels turning for Brady and other owners.  Nelson said once the Arena Football League was forced into Chapter 7 bankruptcy he formed a backup plan to leave the af2 at the end of the season and join a new league.

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 "It's definitely going to be the most exciting year of football that we've been a part of," said Shock owner Brady Nelson. (Photo: SWX)

"The Shock are gonna be back in 2010," said Nelson. "Nothing's changed, we're still going to be the Spokane Shock but we are going to be in a new league, and we're going to be with a bunch of new teams, which is going to be very good for us."

Brady said playing on a new league against teams in bigger cities gives his team a chance to test itself against good AFL teams who have won championships at the highest level of indoor football.  The official word on which teams will form the new league isn't expected for another several weeks.  Brady said af2 teams couldn't get going on the necessary paperwork until current league contracts expired, which was last week.

Forming a new league gives the Spokane Shock, and other teams, a new opportunity to recruit players from all over the indoor football world - and beyond.  Nelson said his team is currently recruiting players from the AFL, af2 and the NFL. The Spokesman-Review reported Wednesday the team is working to retain current coach Adam Shackleford, though it's not clear how many players from last year's team will still be with the Shock when the new league goes live next year.

One downside to the Shock's decision to change leagues is the dissolution of the rivalry with the Tri-Cities Fever.  Nelson said Tri-Cities will, in fact, be in operation next year.  The two teams will "be in the same overall league", but won't be scheduled to play each other.

Moving leagues, Brady said, finally answers the question he's been hearing every single week from Shock supporters for years of whether he'd consider moving the team to a higher level. 

"Previously it just never made any sense, financially it would never work," explained Nelson.  "We would have needed twice as many seats and a bigger city.  But now with a new model - we had a lot of input on how to make this work - and it will work for us."

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