Star-Bulletin Sports

Tuesday, January 11, 2000

I P F L _ F O O T B A L L

trouble sinks

The defending IPFL champs
can't find enough financial
backing to play this season

By Pat Bigold


The Hawaii Hammerheads indoor professional football franchise has folded, according to a principal co-owner.

The Hammerheads, the first Hawaii pro team to win a league championship, do not have the investors to go another season in the Indoor Professional Football League, according to George Hetherington, one of about a half-dozen investors who stuck with the team.

"We did everything we said we were going to do," said Hetherington. "The only thing we weren't able to do was come back. We don't have that one investor with real deep pockets, a real sports fan who just wants to have a pro team and is able to afford continual losses until the thing catches fire. That's the person we hoped we had."

Hetherington, who would not reveal how much the operation has lost, said the Hammerheads would not have been able to break even for a second straight year.

"Nobody wanted to go forward and lose another God-knows-how-much next season," he said.

On Aug. 22, the day after Hawaii won the IPFL championship in an upset against the favored Texas Terminators in Austin, Texas, Hetherington and co-owner Robert Wu made verbal commitments to bring the team back for the 2000 season.

"We'll be back in a big way," said Hetherington.

But yesterday Hetherington said he and his co-investors were confident back then that they could land the key investor(s) needed to go another season.

"We really tried hard to come back, and we put our best efforts into it," said Hetherington.

"I'm going to miss having a season. But we lost hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars. It's too bad, but there's no way that this team could make money," said Hetherington. "We could sell 5,000 seats at the Blaisdell and lose money."

Diamond championship rings the owners promised their players in August have yet to be delivered, according to Hetherington. But he said the delay is on the manufacturer's side. He said the stones were being cut in Germany.

Hetherington promised the rings will be awarded, possibly this month.

"We have a commitment to the players, the rings are on order and they will get their rings obviously," he said.

The Hammerheads, who existed only one season under that name, included 18 former University of Hawaii football players and were coached by former UH offensive coordinator Guy Benjamin.

IPFL commissioner Mike Storen said yesterday he had not officially heard that the Hammerheads were folding.

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