Spokane Empire to cease operations and will not play football in - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Spokane Empire to cease operations and will not play football in 2018

The Spokane Empire will not play football in the 2018 The Spokane Empire will not play football in the 2018

The Spokane Empire have announced that they will cease operations and will not be be playing football in the 2018 season.

The Empire's franchise began as the Spokane Shock in the summer of 2005 as a part of the af2 league. During their time in the af2, the Shock won the league championship in 2006 and 2009, while also making the playoffs every year in the league (2006-2009). In September of 2009, the Shock became a member of the Arena Football League and took the league by storm, finishing with a 16-3 regular season record and claiming a No. 1 seed in the playoffs. The Shock would go on to win the Arena Bowl in 2010, their only championship as a member of the AFL.

In September of 2015, the Shock announced they would join the Indoor Football League, but could not reach an agreement for the team's trademark and logos, which were owned by the AFL. In December of 2015, the Spokane Empire's team name and logo were announced after a 'team name contest' was held in in October. The Empire played their first season in the IFL, going 12–4 in their inaugural campaign and making the playoffs. The Empire would advance to the United Bowl after beating the Nebraska Danger in the Intense Conference Championship game 55-44, but would fall to the Sioux Falls Storm 55-34 in the championship. In 2017, the Empire finished the season 8-8 and failed to make the playoffs.

The Empire ownership released a statement on Wednesday about the decision to cease operations:

"We would like to thank the players, coaches, sponsors, fans and the entire Spokane Empire organization for another terrific season of professional indoor football. We came up short of our pre-season goals but it was not for a lack of effort.
When we took over the Spokane Shock franchise four years ago, we felt we could provide great family entertainment at an affordable price while putting a competitive team on the field for The Inland Northwest to enjoy for many years to come. When we made the decision to leave the challenged Arena Football League two years ago and join the Indoor Football League, we did so with the desire to become part of a league with a solid foundation and committed ownership groups which we believed would allow us to continue the effort to offer up affordable sports entertainment with a winning team on the field.  With strong local support, we felt confident the business would thrive.
After much deliberation, we have made the decision not to play football for the 2018 season to allow ourselves time to explore our alternatives including identifying potential local partners who would like to join in the effort to continue indoor football in Spokane or an outright sale of the team.  We will be refunding all 2018 season ticket deposits to the legion of faithful fans who continue to support the team. 
To our current and former players, coaches and employees, thank you for your years of hard work, dedication, and commitment to Spokane indoor football.
And to all our passionate fans who continued to support the team and came out week after week, year after year, you were the backbone of the franchise. We thank you!"
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