Muskegon Thunder Hold Fan Meet and Greet
by Randy Snow
Originally posted on OurSportsCentral.com, Sunday, March 18, 2007
St. Patrick's Day is supposed to be about the wearing of the green, but on Saturday, there was a sea of powder blue at the Muskegon Thunder Season Kickoff Party which was held at the Great Lakes Downs Racetrack in Muskegon. The racetrack is one of the team's sponsors and is letting the team use one of their conference rooms for studying game films this season.
There was a plethora of Thunder merchandise for sale at the event and fans could enter drawings to win one of two team helmets or one of two official league footballs, both autographed by the entire team. The team's Static Shock Dance Team was also on hand.
Thunder owner Dan Pringle is excited to get the season underway. "I think the team has made some great strides in learning the system," Pringle said. "We're looking pretty sharp. That will be fine tuned this week and we'll be ready to go. I'm just looking forward to getting the guys on the field and seeing how it goes."
Pringle also feels that the other two Continental Indoor Football League teams in Michigan, the Kalamazoo Xplosion and the Port Huron Pirates, will be great rivals for his team. "Both of those teams are natural rivals for us in the sports world stemming from the hockey history all three of us have. The type of fan that enjoys hockey is going to enjoy this style of football because it's quick, there's a lot of action and I think it's going to cross over in all three cities."
Thunder head coach Shane Fairfield has his team down to the required number of players for the start of the season and is also ready to see his team in action on the field against another team. "You watch the games on video, but you still don't know where you're at," said Fairfield. "Being that the league is so spread out now, you really can't scrimmage anybody. You'd like to scrimmage someone from the other division and not someone you're going to play (in the regular season)."
The team's first game is on Saturday, March 24 in Steubenville, Ohio as part of a double-header. It was originally scheduled to be played in Wooster, Ohio against the Wayne County Rumble, but a problem with the lease agreement at the arena there caused the Rumble to move to a new venue just north of Akron. The league offered to hold the first Rumble game at the St. John Arena in Steubenville for the renamed Summit County Rumble at two o'clock. That game will be followed by the regularly scheduled Steubenville Stampede game against the New York/New Jersey Revolution at seven o'clock.
"The league is helping us out with overnight rooms and a meal," Fairfield said. "The league is accommodating us well. It's showing its true colors of professionalism and how serious they are about making the CIFL one of the premier indoor football leagues."
The double-header is being called the Showdown in Steubenville.