Arena football still coming to Middlebury

MIDDLEBURY — The COVID-19 pandemic forced the Vermont Brew professional arena football team to punt its 2020 and 2021 seasons, but the squad has announced plans to kick off at Middlebury’s Memorial Sports Center during the spring of 2022.

The Independent reported back in 2018 the Brew had an interest in playing its home games at Memorial Sports Center. Plans called for the team to debut in 2019, but the Elite Indoor Football League didn’t have enough teams to make a go of it at that time, noted Mike McAuliffe, president of the Friends of Middlebury Hockey group that manages the sports center.

Unfortunately, the pandemic further delayed the Vermont Brew’s anticipated kickoff, but the team’s roll-out is finally in sight, according to McAuliffe, who expects final details to be sorted out this winter.

“We have an agreement in principle with the (Brew) ownership and management folks,” McAuliffe said last week. “They fully intend to make Middlebury their home.”

The Brew would begin its season immediately after the sports center’s ice surface is removed next March.

Along with giving Middlebury-area residents a local professional sports team to root for, a deal with Vermont Brew would further Memorial Sports Center’s mission of becoming a year-round sports hub. The building is currently used most intensively by hockey and ice skating enthusiasts during the winter.

Brew Assistant General Manager Mike Mazzella confirmed on Monday the Brew will have a booth at Addison County Fair & Field Days, Aug. 10-14. Prospective players and arena football fans are invited to learn more about the team. Mazzella also plans to attend Vergennes Day on Aug. 28, and the Champlain Valley Fair (Aug. 27 to Sept. 5).

Claude Flynn is the Vermont Brew coach and will start assembling his roster this fall, according to Mazzella. The team is currently deciding whether to rejoin the Elite Indoor Football League or a different league that Mazzella declined to identify at this time.

The team’s website includes job postings for a “game day operations coordinator” and a “director of in-game entertainment.”

“We are proud to call Middlebury, Vt., home,” the website states.

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