The relocation of the AIA Fire from Fairbanks to Chugiak took a bold step forward yesterday, giving their new local fanbase something to cheer for: a new name and logo. The former Fire are now officially known as the Chugiak-Eagle River Chinooks.
The team will be building almost from scratch in the Eagle River area and will need to generate a supportive local fanbase over the next several months leading up to the 2012 season. According to the article in the Chugiak-Eagle River Star, this effort is being headed up by a group of local volunteers who have formed a booster club for the team. The club announced the logo at their most recent meeting and stressed the need to raise approximately $50,000 as well as secure local host families for players.
According to the AIA Baseball website, the club’s parent organization is working on rolling out a new website that will help promote the new team and their new identity. GM Chris Beck has promised more details in the coming weeks, as the new site comes online.
Rumors flew last season about the potential changes, which were pretty much confirmed as the season wore on and the team booked a game at their future home, Loretta French Park. I have supported the move, enthusiastically though a bit cautiously, and now that it’s set in stone I’m really amped up about it. I did some imagining about how the team might make Loretta French Park its home, and now we’ll get to see how it pans out in reality, which is exciting.
A team in the Eagle River area consolidates the league and will cut down on travel costs. Three of the league’s six teams are now located within the Municipality of Anchorage; four of the six within the metro area. As far as this blog is concerned, it gives me the opportunity to give better coverage to more teams. With four teams having their home field within driving distance — and Loretta French Park is very accessible for me — this should enable me to give a more balanced and varied coverage for next season.
In any event, I’d like to personally urge all ABL fans, and especially those in the team’s new hometown, roll out the red carpet for this team. This move definitely strengthens the league as a whole and need the fans to help them make their first season in their new home a success. We’ll keep you posted as more ways to support the team — and the other clubs of the ABL — come to light leading up to the 2012 season!