Michael "Marty" Matarazzo
PROactive Sports Management
Canadian players to make up new football league
Jul. 20, 2001. 03:39 PM
From the Canadian Press
A new indoor football league featuring nine Canadian-based teams is slated
to begin play in 2002.
The league, which will be called the International Indoor Football League,
will kick off in February with teams in Ottawa, Montreal, Hamilton, London,
the Toronto area, Quebec City, Halifax, St. John and Moncton. It might also
include teams from the United States as well, said league president Ed
``We're going to be a bus league,'' Dubaj said from the league's Flint.,
Mich., office. ``We're going to use a lot of local Canadian kids.
``We're going to try to develop a lot of kids who are getting overlooked
still want to play football but have graduated and had their shot in the CFL
but didn't make it.''
Many details about the league haven't yet been finalized. But it will
consist mostly of Canadian players. Teams will carry about 24 players, with
only four or five being imports. Players will be paid a maximum of $250 each
Dubaj and Joe Galat, a former CFL head coach with the Montreal Concorde and
B.C. Lions, are the principle figures in the upstart league, which will be
based in both Montreal and Flint. Dubaj and Galat will also be the owners
and operating partners of franchises in Ottawa and Montreal, respectively.
Galat also served as a football analyst with CBC and coached with the NFL's
New York Giants and Houston Oilers as well as with the Memphis Southmen of
the World Football League. Dubaj was a player-personnel director with the
Southmen and also was the owner of the Dallas Diamonds, a women's pro
Galat will also act as the league's commissioner.
The regular season will consist of between 14 and 16 games, with playoffs.
Each team will play with eight players aside.
Dubaj said he hasn't decided yet where the Ottawa club will play - either
the Corel Centre in nearby Kanata, Ont., or the Ottawa Civic Centre - while
the Montreal franchise is looking to play at the Molson Centre, the home of
the NHL's Montreal Canadiens.
The venture is certainly a risky one, given the struggles of the Arena
Football League's Toronto Phantoms. After attracting more than 10,000 fans
to their first game, the Phantoms have seen their attendance decline to
about 6,000 spectators despite being in contention for a division title.
But Dubaj said the International Indoor Football League is patterning
after AFL2, the arena football league's developmental league that has been
very successful in smaller American cities.
``Our break-even point is 3,800, so it's a whole different ballgame,''
said. ``I've seen it in the U.S. where these communities rally to these
teams and it becomes part of their identity.``We hope to do the same thing
with this league.''
Dubaj doesn't foresee any problem with arena football trying to go
head-to-head with hockey in its Canadian centres.
``I've been saying for years that the game should be played in Canada,'' he
said. ``You've got tremendous population bases and venues to play in up
``You're talking about 14-16 game seasons, the arenas are dark for a lot of
dates and are receptive to hosting.''