By: Lucas Punkari | Posted: Thursday, Dec 11, 2014 12:38 pm
Football fans in Airdrie can start making their plans to attend the Ed Eggerer Athletic Park on a regular basis on Saturday’s in the summer.
That’s because the Airdrie Irish senior men’s football team has been officially accepted into the Alberta Football League (AFL) for the 2015 season following the league’s annual general meeting in Edmonton on Dec. 6.
“It’s very exciting for us to be officially in the league now,” Irish President Matt Squires said.
“This has been a work-in-progress since the summer, and it’s an overwhelming feeling of relief to have been accepted into the AFL.”
“However, the real work starts now in order to get ready for the 2015 regular season,” he added.
The Irish, which are named after the University of Notre Dame football program in South Bend, Indiana, submitted a business plan and expansion bid to the AFL at the general meeting on Dec. 6, which was then voted on by the eight other team presidents for approval.
The AFL, which had teams in St. Albert, Edmonton, Lloydminster, Fort McMurray, Grande Prairie, Red Deer, and a pair in Calgary during the 2014 season, is a semi-pro league that allows players to continue to play football after their high school, university, or Canadian Football League (CFL) careers have come to an end.
“After we made our presence known to the community on Oct. 6 that we would be submitting a bid, it’s been pretty busy leading up to the league meeting in Edmonton,” Squires said.
“We’ve been active in the community recruiting sponsors, putting the final touches together on our jerseys, and getting more interest from football players in the area.”
“We’ve also seen a ton of excitement from people on Facebook and Twitter even before we were officially announced into the league,” he added.
“We’ve been getting questions already about when season tickets will go on sale and where people can get Irish merchandise, and that’s been awesome to see.”
It will still be a while until the Irish take part in it first AFL game, as it will take on the Calgary Gators in Calgary on June 6, 2015, before hosting its first home game on June 13, 2015 against the Grande Prairie Drillers in a 5 p.m. game at Ed Eggerer Athletic Park.
“After the holidays wind down, we’re going to be finalizing our off-season training schedule and when we will have any exhibition games,” Squires said. For more information on the Irish, visit its official website at airdrieirish.com