The return of indoor football to Dayton

The Miami Valley Silverbacks will be back this year- playing at Hara Arena. Owner Jeff Kolaczkowski has hired Ryan Evans as GM.

They’ll be holding tryouts on Saturday, Oct. 23, at Englewood Indoor Soccer.

The team is working on their website- www.silverbacksfootball.com and more details will begin to appear over the next few weeks.

Coaching staff that is in place so far:

  • Derrick Sheppard- Head Coach
  • Michael Kiraly-Director of Football Operations
  • Head & Line Coach-Derrick Shepperd
  • Offense Coordinator & Receivers Coach-James Scott
  • Line Coach-Bill Nelson
  • Defensive Coordinator & Defensive Backs Coach-Reginald Jones
  • Line Coach- Lorenzo Burke

More will be announced at their “We are back” press conference on Oct. 19 at 2:30 pm at Hara Arena.

Local news coverage of any minor league sports other than the Dragons has been lackluster at best. Maybe, with an increased focus on generating unique local content, this incarnation of the Silverbacks will get more coverage from mainstream media.

Remember- you heard it here first.

Are you ready for some football?

Pro soccer in the heart of Dayton- and few people noticed

I looked on the Dayton Daily News Sports page today for a story about the Columbus Crew vs the Dayton Dutch Lions playing at UD’s Baujan field– and didn’t see a thing.
But, at 6:30 p.m. the two teams, both leading their respective leagues- took the field and played “football.”

Now granted, some of the serious soccer crazies are at home, glued to their sets watching the World Cup- along with the rest of the world, but, this was the big leagues- and the Dayton Daily News didn’t have a story.

Baujan Field is known to UD students- but, for most- you’d never know it’s there. Tucked away behind the old fieldhouse- it was built in 1925- and now is home to the very successful UD soccer programs. I’m not sure of the capacity- but, this should have been a 7,000+ attendance- thanks to all the youth soccer in the community. Sadly, I’d guess that it wasn’t half that.

With all the stories the DDN doesn’t cover, I’m wondering if it’s time to sue to change the name to the “Dayton Daily” or of late, “The Touchdown Jesus Times”

BTW- the Crew won 3-0. For the first year Dayton Dutch Lions, that almost counts as a win. However, Dayton’s soccer community really took a beating- from the sound of the crowd, there were more Crew fans there than Dayton fans.

Is the Dayton Daily News folding? Editor caught in questionable position!

Such a nice holiday present for the Dayton Gems professional hockey team from the worthless parasites at the Dayton Daily News, Front page “Are the Dayton Gems folding? B 1” and the headline, top of page on sports section “Gems owner fears IHL takeover.”

Considering the paper couldn’t get a story in the Thanksgiving day paper about the game that ended at 9:45 on Wednesday- it’s amazing they can get this “blockbuster” story in today’s post Turkey day paper with their limited staff.

Yep- it’s filed by “David DiCenzo” a “contributing writer”- and it wasn’t available online until- oh, around 9:30 am.

The whole article refutes the claim from the league. What rookie owner Richard Bruner feels he brings to the table by sharing an e-mail that suggests that the league may take action is questionable, unless he’s looking for an excuse to scare investors off- and have a way to blame the Dayton Daily News if the rumors turn out to be true.

Sports marketing isn’t easy, especially on a shoestring budget. Many owners make the mistake of looking at UD Basketball or the Dayton Dragons and believe that they, too, can fill a house with fans. What they miss out is that both organizations have deep pockets. top-notch professional management, and unique customized facilities.

UD Arena was built for basketball. With it’s saddle-roof design that brings the roof down low over the court- it makes for a noisy building- with all the attention focused on the game. It’s the only facility I’ve been in that actually prevents people on one side in the nosebleed seats from seeing those sitting in pauperdom across the court from them.

The Dragons field is as near best-in-class as they come. Even the concessions are top-notch (even though staffed by “volunteers” instead of tax-paying employees). They effectively forced UD to up its game in decor and food service.

The Dayton Daily News apparently now also is home to the gurus of sports marketing- because they had the nerve to suggest that WSU drop their Division 1 men’s basketball ticket price to $5 today. Considering that Men’s basketball funds the rest of the athletic department, a move like this would destroy the program. Even with sellouts every game, the $50K raised wouldn’t be enough to field a team. Plus, when your ticket price is that low, attending has no real meaning- “Honey, it’s snowing, we’ll skip the game- it’s only $20.” It’s a lesson that the Gems need to learn as well- with $5 tickets, free parking and $1 beer, the house was still more empty than full on Wednesday night.

Let’s get back to the Dayton Daily News folding- the headline of this article- yep, they fold the paper every day- otherwise it would be too big and flat to fit in their newspaper boxes. As to the editor being caught in a questionable position- we’ll see where this Gems story ends up.

But, I have a suggestion for the paper- since readership is dropping so much, maybe they start giving away the paper every day and see if they can make it up on volume…. sounds like a great business strategy, don’t you think?

Please welcome the Dayton Gems, ’cause we need some good news

The new Dayton Gems Logo

The new Dayton Gems Logo

Tonight the Pittsburgh Penguins pushed the Stanley Cup to a decisive game 7, giving die-hard hockey fans one last great game of the season.

Today, the Dayton Gems made their official announcement to return to Hara Arena in the fall. It’s not the same team, or even the same league although the names are the same- and even some of the staff- with Warren Back and Guy Trottier on board.

The “International Hockey League” or IHL is far from international, or really much of a league- with six teams, all within an easy bus trip from each other. It’s not a developmental league like the ECHL, or affiliated with anything glamorous like the NHL; it’s workingman’s hockey, to be played in a hockey barn that time has forgotten, for all the right reasons.

The league understands that hockey is a fast, physical sport- and is even bringing in a 19th man to the roster- a “utility man”- which translates to “Goon” to those who know the game. It’ll be a hall where you can call the ref an idiot, spill your beer on the floor (as long as you buy more) and scream to vent the weeks frustrations and feel great about it the next day. It won’t cost a fortune and there won’t be “luxury boxes” and ways to blow the corporate expense account (if they still exist).

If you remember the movie “Slap Shot” with Paul Newman, you’ll know exactly what we’re talking about- less the Hanson brothers and “foiling up.”

The Wamplers built that building in farmland, before the Salem Mall, RIP, and the Trotwood connector, or any talk of TIFs or handouts from government. They still own it, even though they’ve had to compete with facilities paid for with tax dollars, like the Dayton Convention Center, the Nutter Center, and even the Schuster (many Daytonians saw their first concert there).

It’s an honest effort, by honest people to put on very honest hockey.

There hasn’t been one request for a handout, tax increase, or new building to be built or financed with tax dollars. Refreshing.

So, why wasn’t the head of the Dayton Chamber of Commerce there? The Mayor of Dayton, the County Commission? Will they beat the business community over the head to buy season tickets like they did for the Dragons? Not a chance. Just the Trotwood Mayor and Commission, who I’ve worked with before- and found to be well meaning people who care deeply about their community.

We’ll hear all kinds of naysayers and negativity, but not from this aging hockey player. I’m not going to rush out and buy season tickets, because I just can’t commit to tying up that many evenings, but, I’ll definitely scrape up some money to buy some vouchers for a few nights of hockey once they get their site up at www.daytongems.net

I’d urge you to as well. Because this will be our team- the team of the workingman, with aspirations to be exactly what we are. There will be no prima-donnas on the ice- or in the stands, just people who love the game of hockey- played the way it should be played, for the love of the game.

Go Gems. And, even though I like both teams- Go Pens, because they are the underdogs in Game 7 in Detroit, and I always root for the underdog.