AFL decides to suspend operations; Spokane Shock could see benefits
NEW YORK - First they were shutting down. Then they weren't. Now they are - probably. The Arena Football League on Monday canceled its 2009 season, pending the agreement of the players union.
The announcement came just days after AFL commissioners said they would keep the league in operation, but would make drastic changes to secure the its viability for the future. The decision to close up shop was made Sunday during a conference call with owners.
The league gave no timetable for its return.
The 16-team organization had delayed indefinitely the start of free agency, the release of next season's schedule and a dispersal draft to award players from the defunct New Orleans Voodoo. The league has also not selected a permanent replacement for longtime commissioner David Baker, who resigned from the 22-year-old league two days before the ArenaBowl in July.
The move in no way affects the af2, the league which includes the Spokane Shock. In fact, the suspension could wind up benefiting the team, forcing former players who had moved up to the AFL to return to their af2 roots.
Several Shock players do have a financial stake in the shutdown, however. Players like Nick Davila and Raul Vijil had drawn interest from AFL teams, and were hoping to sign contracts with those teams this winter.