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New Jersey AUDL Franchise Folds, DC Franchise Avoids Same Fate With New Investor

by in News with 15 Comments

The AUDL’s New Jersey Hammerheads franchise will not return in 2014 after owner Bob Kokai, facing financial pressures, decided to suspend operations.

“We have a lot of respect for Bob for doing what he did and getting the franchise as far as he did and we wish him the best going forward,” said AUDL Commissioner Steve Gordon.

The Hammerheads were the league’s worst performing team last season, finishing the year with a 2-14 record. Like many Eastern Division AUDL teams, they struggled to fill seats at home.

The league now retains control of the franchise and is open to restarting it with new ownership in 2015 if someone steps forward with interest in buying the franchise.

The Montreal Royal — the East’s only expansion franchise in 2014 — will effectively replace New Jersey in the six-team Division.

Hammerheads’ General Manager Dennis Gunn declined comment for this story.

***

The DC Breeze were facing a similar situation to the Hammerheads, but a new investor has infused cash into the franchise; the Breeze will return in 2014.

Don Grage, a DC-area businessman, reached out to the league with interest in being involved. He has purchased 50% ownership from current owner Aaron Foreman.

“I’m excited to have Don Grage aboard,” said Gordon. “He is not only an intelligent guy, but his skill set is very complimentary to what Aaron’s is.”

Grage will be the managing partner effective immediately.

The Breeze finished just ahead of the Hammerheads in the 2013 season with a 4-12 record. Like New Jersey, attendance at home games was sparse in 2013, often tallying less than 100 people.

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About Charlie Eisenhood

Charlie Eisenhood is the editor-in-chief of Ultiworld. You can reach him by email (charlie@ultiworld.com) or on Twitter (@ceisenhood).

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  • Bob

    “The Montreal Royal — the East’s only expansion franchise in 2014 — will effectively replace New Jersey in the six-team Division.”

    This should have an interesting effect on the finances of the other teams as well. The travel expenses for Philly, DC, and NY just got significantly higher, heading up to Montreal for the night instead of a hop across the river to Jersey and back in a few hours or less.

    • Bill Bourret

      I’m kinda surprised, does Montreal (or Canada, for that matter) have a large ultimate presence? Wish the AUDL would venture south…

      • L

        Ultimate in Montreal, like most large Canadian cities, is gigantic with a large focus on league play. According to the Montreal Ultimate Associacion Website, in 2010 they had 2800 members; I’m sure it’s much more now.

        • Jack

          Mephisto has a decent record at CUC’s. Not to mention Odyssey’s men are strong (CUC’12 champs, U.S. Open ’13 Champs). Plus they are close enough to draw talent from Ottawa.

          • Go Royal

            Montreal membership is now at 3500 players. Some of the owners were employee from the league in Mtl and played in mephisto and odyssée.

        • Bill Bourret

          Wow! Did not know that. Thanks!

  • ericmwilliams

    Darn it Jersey, first the logo then the Nets now this?

  • Yeezus

    I was served expired food at a hammerheads game.

  • hammerhead

    STEAK!

  • Kim K

    not sure if Hammerheads or Rutgers rofl

  • Kick r0cks fish

    Now where are the 10 fans for every home hammerheads game going to watch lousy ultimate on Saturdays?

  • Kenny Calello

    Lol “we have a lot of respect for Bob for doing what he did”.. What was that? Run a franchise into the ground, not pay his players and then let everyone find out the team won’t be coming out next year by an article on ultiworld? I wouldn’t qualify that as respectable.

  • AGS – Gun Noize ’12 player

    Where will Venose play??

  • mapleleaf

    hope all the AUDL players have passports! Isn’t it time to change league name to CAUDL?

  • Pingback: AUDL Portland Franchise Owned By MLU GM, Blocking AUDL Expansion For Years | Ultiworld

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