The West Michigan Ironmen, who began play in 2016 in the American Indoor Football league (AIF), will move to the CIF for their second season.
“We are excited to be a part of such a well established, well organized, and competitive league,” said Ironmen owner Terrence Williams. “The CIF will provide a product that our fans will be excited to see week in and week out. We are grateful for the opportunity the AIF provided for us to lay a foundation, but are excited to take a step forward into the next tier of indoor football.”
The Ironmen were officially voted into the league on Thursday.
Dr. Ken Vehec and several other owners, including former Kansas City Chiefs player Will Shields, have purchased a franchise that will play in the Kansas City, Missouri market. Vehec has been part of the ownership of other indoor football teams and brings a experienced crew with him to run this new team. “We intend to bring a fan friendly, affordable product to that is part of the community and a competitor on the field the city can be proud of,” Vehec said. The name of the team and where they will play has not yet been announced.
The league also previously approved the Belton, Texas-based CenTex Cavalry as a new expansion franchise. The team is owned and operated by the Central Texas Sports Management Group. The Cavalry will replace the San Angelo Bandits, who folded after the 2016 season.
The league has also reportedly approved an expansion franchise that will be based in Bismarck, North Dakota. KFYR-TV in Bismarck reported Monday that an announcment of the new franchise has been planned.
The Mesquite Marshals, who played their inaugural season in 2016, have been renamed and are now the Dallas Marshals. Despite the name change, the team will continue to play in the Dallas suburb of Mesquite.
According to a media release, the CIF will consist of 16 total teams for the 2017 seasons with franchises based in Texas, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, New Mexico and North Dakota.
The league will also change its division alignment for the 2017 season to incorporate the new teams, expanding from 2 to 3 divisions (North, South and Central). The league will announce in the coming weeks how each division will be divided.