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Championship indoor football team leaving York, will relocate to Harrisburg
On the heels of a undefeated American Indoor Football league championship season, the York Capitals are on the move.
The league announced Wednesday that the team will relocate to the Farm Show Complex & Expo Center in Dauphin County and will officially be renamed the Central Pa. Capitals.
The York Capitals, whose inaugural season came in 2013, played their home games at the York City Ice Arena.
According to team owner Isaac Carn, the operation had simply outgrown it's York home.
"Our objective was just to get bigger and better every year," Carn said. "It worked out a lot better than I expected it to. I didn't expect to move this soon. But the season we had just kind of took me over the edge."
AIF league owner John Morris also cited the size of the York venue as a reason for the move. Morris also noted trouble gaining sponsorship from local businesses as playing a role.
"It was a tough go getting sponsorship in there, and the biggest reason was we could only draw so much in the way of fans," Morris said "The sponsors want to make sure they're getting the bang for their buck."
No issues with the Ice Arena, beyond size, were noted.
"The facility itself is nice," Morris said. "Mike Cleveland, the general manager there, everyone supported the team, we couldn't have asked for anything more from them. But bottom line, at the end of the day, we were very limited in terms of what we could do financially."
The Farm Show Complex was once home to the now-defunct Harrisburg Stampede. That venue offers a larger seating capacity, and thus more opportunity for revenue. Having a prior relationship with the arena and businesses in the area was also a key to landing in Dauphin County.
According to both Morris and Carn, other venues in the York area, such as the Utz Arena at the York Expo Center, were considered before the move.
However, issues with the facility's layout played a factor in an agreement not being reached.
"I didn't want to have to come in and reinvent the wheel just to play ball there," Carn said.
The Capitals had experienced success with a fair number of former Stampede players after the Stampede suspended operations in 2014. The Capitals featured a pair of former York High standouts in wide receiver Malik Generett and defensive end Javan Matthews.
The York teamed capped a 10-0 season in 2015 by winning the AIF title, 58-30, at home against the Chicago Blitz. Quarterback E.J. Nemeth was named the league's Most Valuable Player for his efforts.
Both Morris and Carn spoke highly of the support the Capitals received from the community during the team's time in York.
"We love the city of York, they really embraced us," Carn said.
Morris echoed that sentiment, saying: "The fans were awesome, they were loud, they were having a great time. I love the area. The fans supported us all year long, and I wouldn't have changed it for anything."
— Reach Elijah Armold at firstname.lastname@example.org