Professional arena football is returning to New Hampshire next spring.
The New Hampshire Brigade will be among the nine teams in the newly created Can-Am Indoor Arena Football League and are scheduled to play all six of their home games at JFK Coliseum in Manchester.
The team is owned by current Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) American Stock Car driver Timothy Viens, a native of South Hero, Vt.
Viens has a football background. Before entering his racing career, Viens was a kicker for Glenville State College (1999-2000) in Glenville, W.Va. Viens later played four years of semi-professional football before competing in arena football with the Daytona Thunder (2006-08).
The Brigade will begin their inaugural season on the road against the Vermont Bucks, who will play their home games in Burlington at Gutterson Fieldhouse, home of the University of the Vermont Catamounts.
Six of the eight scheduled games for the Brigade will be played at JFK Coliseum, beginning with the home opener against non-league opponent Baltimore on Friday, April 7 at 7:05 p.m.
The Brigade will be part of the four-team Eastern Division, aligned with the Vermont Bucks, Connecticut Chiefs and Glens Falls Gladiators. The five-team Western Division will include the Buffalo Blitz, Lockport Lightning, Niagara Falls, N.Y., Ontario Niagara Spartans and Rochester Kings.
The team roster has not been announced yet, but the head coach will be former University of New Hampshire football player Mark Stevens of Lynn, Mass. Stevens, 54, is currently the head coach of the Granite State Destroyers of the New England Football League (AA) semi-professional team.
Keith Scher will serve as general manager of the Brigade. Scher was named the 2013 NEFL executive of the year. He is a graduate of Southern Connecticut State University, where he played football for the Owls.
The director of scouting for the Brigade is 68-year-old Donnie Williams, whose brief NFL career was five games with the Los Angeles Rams in 1970 as a receiver. The Brigade plan to hold practice sessions in the spring at the Nashua Sports Academy.
The Brigade will arrive seven years after the Manchester Wolves of the af2 league played their final season in 2009 at the former Verizon Wireless Arena (now SNHU Arena) in Manchester. The Wolves were owned by local investors led by former NFL player and Manchester Central/UMass-Amherst standout Steve Schubert.
In six seasons in Manchester, the Wolves were 52-44 with five appearances in the playoffs.
- Home games at JFK Coliseum, Manchester
- Friday, March 31: At Vermont Bucks, 7:05 p.m.
- Friday, April 7: Baltimore Vengeance, 7:05 p.m.
- Saturday, April 15: Glens Falls Gladiators, 7:05 p.m.
- Friday, April 21: Cap City Bulls, 7:05 p.m.
- Saturday, April 29: Open date
- Saturday, May 6: At Ontario Niagara Spartans, 7:05 p.m.
- Saturday, May 13: Rochester Kings, 7:05 p.m.
- Saturday, May 20: Vermont Bucks, 7:05 p.m.
- Saturday, May 27: Connecticut Chiefs, 7:05 p.m.