The Kalamazoo Xplosion, of the Continental Indoor Football League, may be a new team in the second-year league, but several players with local ties -- as well as some of the team's coaching staff -- already have experience in the indoor game.
As a major winter storm recently raged outside, 13 of the 30 to 40 invited players were able to attend the first night of minicamp at SoccerZone in Oshtemo Township.
One player who braved the elements was Bryan Lape, a linebacker who played at Western Michigan University from 1998 to 2002 and was the first player signed by the Xplosion in October.
Lape drove all the way in from the Jackson area to attend the first night of minicamp.
"I wanted to get back in the game,'' Lape said. "Every time I'd come back to watch Western play I'd get that feeling in my stomach that I wanted to get back on the field.''
Lape has been reunited on the team with a couple of his former WMU teammates -- coach Anthony Allsbury and kicker Brad Selent.
Xplosion assistant coach Allsbury played at WMU from 1999 to 2002. Allsbury was an assistant coach with the league's Battle Creek Crunch last year, but he also played in seven games as a defensive end, recording 5.5 sacks and 16 tackles for the team.
Selent, of Three Rivers, who played at WMU from 1997 to 2000, was selected as one of the school's All-Century Top 100 Players in 2005. He is a 1997 graduate of Paw Paw High School and played for the Detroit Fury of the Arena Football League in 2002.
He also was with the Battle Creek Crunch last season, which played at Kellogg Arena. The Crunch folded after the season.
"It's going to be exciting,'' Selent said of playing in Kalamazoo again. "Hopefully this team will take off and do well.''