Sports

Jan 6, 2014 7:15 PM by Scott Breen - MTN Sports

Billings close to deal with Indoor Football League

BILLINGS - Indoor football is staging a comeback in Billings.

The Billings Wolves would begin play in the Indoor Football League starting in 2015, announced IFL Director of Business Development Mike McCoy on Monday at MetraPark, along with Wolves Minority Owner/G.M. Marc Burr and MetraPark General Manager Bill Dutcher.

Burr, of Billings, and majority team owner Ronald Benzel are actively searching for coaches and players to join the Wolves.

The Wolves' addition would bring the IFL's team total to 10, joining squads from Bemidji, MN, Grand Island, NE, Colorado Springs, CO, Cedar Rapids, IA, Kennewick, WA, Green Bay, WI, Sioux Falls, IA, Plano, TX, and Casper, WY.

"We need a place in Montana and that's why I'm here," said McCoy. "We're adding teams and this is a great place to play. You've got a beautiful building and a history of success in the past. You're a perfect fit for us."

Part of McCoy's purpose for the trip to Billings was to close the deal sooner rather than later.

"When the tornado hit Billings and things sort of went south, it hurt us as a league as well," said McCoy. "I used to bring teams up here to play, and we'd always leave with a loss. The crowds were always fantastic and you don't forget those things. When this name (Billings) came up, I jumped on it."

Dutcher also expressed an eagerness for bringing the IFL back to Billings.

"This is exciting," he said. "The season hits right after high school basketball wraps up, so timing is perfect. And our staff is excited with the new amenities and building reconstruction from acoustics right down to technical details."

Dutcher said the return of indoor football has actually been in the works for a few months.

"I started checking in with the IFL last year periodically," he said. "The routing for teams in the league and the economy here are key points on why Billings is a great fit."

Billings hasn't showcased an indoor team since 2010 when the Outlaws won a league championship. Billings also won league titles in 2006 and 2009.

The first indoor football team to play in Billings was the Thunderbolts in 2000 as part of the Indoor Football League. Billings later played in the National Indoor Football League and the United Football League before rejoining the IFL in 2009.

The Sioux Falls Storm won last year's league championship 43-40 over the Nebraska Danger. The Danger missed a game-tying field goal as time expired.

The Storm on Monday announced that former Billings Outlaws quarterback Chris Dixon is returning to Sioux Falls for another season. Dixon led Sioux Falls to league championships in 2011 and 2012.

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