The National Arena League has officially added a new expansion team for the 2018 campaign. The Massachusetts Pirates, from Worcester, MA, will play their home games in the DCU Center. It is a 12,339 seat venue that has hosted numerous sports tenants over the years. It is also currently is the home the East Coast Hockey League’s Worcester Railers.
The Pirates will become the third arena/indoor football team to call the DCU Center home, following the AFL’s Massachusetts Marauders (1994) and the CIFL’s New England Surge (2007-2008).
The Pirates owner is Rick Buffington, a native of Somerset, MA. Buffington was the former head coach of the CIFL New England Surge, who played in the same arena as the Pirates will, the DCU Center.
Additionally, the Pirates will join the list of four NAL teams already committed for the rapidly approaching 2018 season, while two others franchises are working out some off-season issues. Among the four committed teams are: Jacksonville Sharks, Columbus Lions, Lehigh Valley Steelhawks, Jersey Flight.
The Monterrey Steel and Georgia Firebirds are still working on some off-season adjustments before committing for 2018.
As for more 2018 expansion, the league is in the final steps of the lease negotiations in five new markets. This means the NAL could have five new teams if the leases are agreed upon. Although late in the process, there is one additional team (making a sixth new team) that is now in the mix.
The majority of 2018 NAL expansion is expected to take place in the next 30-45 days, as new exciting announcements like the Pirates, will be rolling in soon.
A Blast From the Past
Over the years, Worcester has hosted arena football before. Most recently they hosted a CIFL team, the New England Surge, but in 1994 they also had the Massachusetts Marauders.
The Marauders were based in Worcester, MA. They were a member of the AFL from 1988 to 1994. Originally, the team was established in Detriot, as the Detriot Drive. Detriot were members of the AFL from 1988 to 1993. The Drive then moved to Worcester in 1994 and played there through the end of the 1994 season.
The franchise had four AFL championships. All of their championships were won while it was based in Detroit. The first three occurred in a three-peat, from 1988 to 1990, and the final one occurred in 1992.
They competed in 1994 as the Massachusetts Marauders, but folded after going 8–4 in their first and only season in Worcester.
The New England Surge
The New England Surge were an indoor football team that was a member of the Continental Indoor Football League in 2007 to 2008. The Surge played their home games at the DCU Center in downtown Worcester. After completion of the 2008 season in the CIFL, the Surge folded.