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City indoor football team is sidelined by league shutdown

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Fort Wayne’s NBC) – The promise of professional arena football in Fort Wayne in 2019 is now off the table.

The National Gridiron League is now confirming that it has shut down operations for the 2019 campaign, and it’s not clear if the league can make a comeback going forward.

The Allen County Memorial Coliseum had dates set to host at least a half dozen games involving the Indiana Blue Bombers starting in May.

We now know the fledgling league has canceled its slate of games in 2019.

Memorial Coliseum GM Randy Brown is declining comment about the situation until he gets something in writing from league officials.

There are a lot of unanswered questions regarding a possible sale of the league to new owners, and whether there will indeed be games in 2020.

Casey Hofmann and his family had a blast years ago attending Fort Wayne Freedom arena games, so he jumped at the chance to put money down on four season tickets for the Blue Bombers.

But when a month passed with nothing but confusing emails from the team, he began to get a sinking feeling.

“It also said in the link that you’ve got to pay for your tickets and then they’ll send you the down payment back, which was a big red flag for everybody I think for what’s going on,” Hofmann said.

At least three “ex” players from the wildly successful University of St. Francis football program, including former star wide-out Austin Coleman, were on the Blue Bombers roster.

We reached out to Coleman and Nashawn Lewis, but at the time of this report we had not made a connection.

Kevin Donley coached the trio, and knows this outcome is tough to swallow.

“Our mission here is to prepare our players for life after football. It’s a dream, you know, every kid’s dream to be in the big leagues someday,” Donley said.

The National Gridiron League has posted online that it will work with all 2019 season ticket holders in transferring their packages into 2020 season ticket packages.

Jeff Neumeyer

Jeff Neumeyer is a reporter for WPTA.

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