11/17/2016 4:04 PM -
JACKSONVILLE – The Jacksonville Sharks announced today that they will join the National Arena League (NAL) for the upcoming 2017 season.
The National Arena League will begin its inaugural season in March 2017 and will complete its regular season in June. The season will last 14 weeks, with two bye weeks. Sea Best Field at the Jacksonville Veteran’s Memorial Arena will continue to be the home for the Sharks in 2017.
“The last few months have been very tough on us, stated Operating Manager Jeff Bouchy. When we knew we were not going to continue in the AFL, the search for a new League began. It was never an option not to continue as we have built up so much fan loyalty over the years. We just love the game and our community too much.”
Prior to the decision to switch leagues, the Sharks spent seven seasons in the Arena Football League, becoming the first team in league history to win division championships in each of its first four years. The Sharks’ success continued as they won ArenaBowl XXIV in 2011 against the Arizona Rattlers, a franchise that also made the decision to leave the AFL this year for another league.
During their time with the AFL, the Sharks had an overall record of 88-55 with a home record of 45-23, making two ArenaBowl appearances. The Sharks have had more playoff wins than any other team in the AFL’s American Conference with an 8-5 postseason record.
“We are extremely excited to be joining the NAL and continuing to build on the foundation of Sharks football. Nothing will change about the Sharks’ game day experience, Bouchy continued. It will continue to be the most fan-friendly, entertaining and affordable night out you can experience. As with every year, the team roster changes, but we expect to have many of our core players returning this season, including QB Tommy Grady and FB Derrick Ross, to help lead us to win the inaugural NAL Championship game.
The NAL will have at least 8 teams in its inaugural year, including one team in Mexico, scheduled to announce by the end of the month. The inaugural season will conclude during the weekend of June 17. The 4-team playoff will begin the weekend of June 24. The winners of the first-round playoff games will then have a bye week and will play in the first NAL Championship Game the weekend of July 8. The game will be hosted by the highest seeded team. The Sharks’ new opponents include: Columbus Lions (Columbus, GA), Dayton Wolfpack (Dayton, OH), Lehigh Valley Steelhawks (Allentown, PA), Corpus Christi Rage (Corpus Christi, TX), Georgia Firebirds (Albany, GA), and the High Country Grizzlies (Boone, NC).
About the Jacksonville Sharks
The Jacksonville Sharks are members of the National Arena League (NAL). The ArenaBowl XXIV and four-time South Division Champions are presented by Sea Best Seafood and play all home games on Sea Best Field at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena. Sharks Nation Memberships for the 2017 season are now available. Shark Nation Memberships start as low as $99. To become a Shark Nation member or for more information please call (904) 621-0700. Follow the Sharks on facebook at facebook.com/jaxsharks and on Twitter @jaxsharks, as well as the Attack Dance Team at facebook.com/sharkattackdance and Chum at facebook.com/chumsharks.