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Seattle Timberwolves of Indoor Football League leaving Kent after two seasons
The professional Indoor Football League is leaving Kent and the ShoWare Center after just two seasons.
Owners of the Seattle Timberwolves, previously known as the Kent Predators until a name change midway through the 2011 season, are looking at moving the team to Everett.
Whether or not the team ends up at the Comcast Arena in Everett for the 2012 season remains to be seen. But the team is out of Kent.
"The Timberwolves will not be playing at the ShoWare in 2012," said Tim Higgins, ShoWare general manager, in a phone interview Tuesday. "It was a business decision reached by their ownership."
Crews were moving furniture Tuesday out of the team's offices on East Meeker Street in downtown Kent. The shades were drawn on the storefront's windows and doors and a pickup and trailer were loaded with office furniture to haul away.
The team had four coaches, three owners and two names in just two years and struggled to draw fans. The league's regular season runs from February through June.
"They averaged about 1,200 per game," Higgins said.
The team had a year-to-year contract with the city-owned arena and paid all of its bills, Higgins said.
"We wish them success in Everett," Higgins said. "And my door is open to anyone who wants to start a team in Kent."
Tom Dowling, a Lakewood businessman, bought the Kent Predators in April midway through last season. That's when the team changed names. Dowling said at the time he planned to keep the team in Kent beyond the 2011 season.
Mike Barry, general manager of the Timberwolves, met last week with the Everett Public Facilities Board about playing in 2012 or maybe 2013 at the Comcast Arena, according to the Everett Herald website.
Barry or Dowling could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Dowling said after he bought the team that he wanted to reach into the Seattle market in an effort to boost attendance, which dropped even more in 2011 after averaging about 2,000 fans per game in 2010.
Other Pacific Northwest teams have struggled to survive in the Indoor Football League, based in Richmond, Va. The Wenatchee Valley Venom shut down after the 2011 season. The Billings Outlaws closed up after the 2010 season. The Anchorage team folded midway through the 2010 season.
Seattle had a 5-9 record last season and finished third in the four-team Pacific Division behind Tri-Cities and Fairbanks. Seattle also was 5-9 in 2010. The team played seven home games each year at the ShoWare Center.
Most of the players were former college players. Players were paid $225 per game.
The league started in 2008 with the merger of the Intense Football League and United Indoor Football. The league runs a 14-game schedule from March through June, followed by playoffs. The league had 22 teams last season in 14 states.