York will soon welcome indoor professional football -- but not until it finishes converting ice into turf.

One of the two York City Ice Arena rinks is transmogrifying into an indoor football field, with 220 feet of thin green carpet now enveloping it. Its ice was removed last weekend.

The rink will be the home turf of the York Capitals, the city's new American Indoor Football team.

Rolling it out: Earlier this week, several of the team's athletes and volunteers rolled chunks of the field onto the rink.

The walls had yet to be completely painted with sponsor logos, and the field still needed to be outfitted with markings and team logos, said wide receiver Silas Daniels.

The ice was cleared from the rink last week by a team of workers including Dick Lefever, top, the arena s maintenance supervisor.
The ice was cleared from the rink last week by a team of workers including Dick Lefever, top, the arena s maintenance supervisor. (John A. Pavoncello photo)

"It's going to look a whole lot better," he said.

Daniels, a Jacksonville, Fla., native, is in his seventh year of professional indoor football. The Auburn University alumnus stood next

to the hockey bench and gazed at the unfinished field with a slight smile and boyish eagerness.

"I'm excited," he said. "It's finally here."

And the Capitals' home is just about complete.

"(The conversion) is about a two- or three-day process," said John Morris, majority owner of the team and CEO of the league.

High hopes: Morris, who lives in Baltimore, said the York facility is the smallest in the league, which will make it extremely loud. He said it will hold a crowd of about 1,300 to 1,500 people.

He called the response from the city "unbelievable" and said he has high hopes for the franchise.

"We want this to be the hottest ticket in town," he said.

And Daniels said the team feels firsthand the support from local fans.

"We know how important a professional football team is to York," he said.

The upcoming season: The American Indoor Football season runs from March to June. York will join the five-team East Coast division and play four of its eight games at home.

Coach Ulander Giles, above, sprays lines for the York Capitals indoor football team Tuesday at the York City Ice Arena. The Capitals will play their
Coach Ulander Giles, above, sprays lines for the York Capitals indoor football team Tuesday at the York City Ice Arena. The Capitals will play their opening game Saturday against the Washington Eagles. (John A. Pavoncello photo)

The sport is similar to arena football and features eight players on each team. At just half the size of a standard football field, play tends to move much faster, Daniels said. There are about seven different indoor football leagues nationwide.

Indoor football at any level tends to emphasize the passing game.

The football surface will remain on the rink throughout the season. The facility's other skating rink will remain open to the public.

Tickets: All of the facility's 84 floor seats have sold out for the season, but Morris said the team plans to take out a nonessential wall and install a couple of floor boxes before this weekend's action. That would add 28 floor seats to the setup, and they'd be available for purchase.

He said about 75 percent of general admission sales for indoor football are normally bought on game day. He predicted about half will be available Saturday.

"I doubt that we'll have a lot left come game day for walkup," he said.

VIP lounge and general admission seating are still available. Visit yorkcapitals.com to purchase tickets.

-- Reach Mollie Durkin at mdurkin@yorkdispatch.com.

Catch the first game

The York Capitals (0-0) will face the Washington Eagles (0-2) on Saturday at 7 p.m. The Capitals' inaugural game will take place at the York City Ice Arena on Vander Avenue.

VIP lounge seats and general admission seating are available at yorkcapitals.com. General admission is $15. Fans can also listen to the game live at www.herbfm.com.