Star-Bulletin Sports

Monday, January 4, 1999

I N D O O R _F O O T B A L L

New owners for
Hawaii’s PIFL team

By Pat Bigold


Ownership of Hawaii's indoor professional football franchise has changed hands and will continue to operate in a league with two fewer teams.

Mike Vasconcellos, who served as athletic director at Chaminade for 18 years, has been appointed general manager of the Hawaii Hammerheads, formerly known as the Honolulu Hurricanes.

The Hammerheads will open their season in the Professional Indoor Football League and play a 16-game schedule from April to August. The PIFL has been reduced from eight to six teams this season.

Hawaii will join the Biloxi (Miss.) Bisons, the Idaho Stallions, Louisiana Bayou Beasts, the Rocky Mountain Thunder and the Texas Terminators.

Vasconcellos said the league has plans to add two more teams.

''This team now has a strong ownership group and we will have ideas to get people into the games without it costing them an arm and a leg,'' he said.

Vasconcellos said he believes the eight-man game has its appeal.

''This is a different kind of football,'' he said. ''It's like fast-break basketball or like hockey. The collisions are a lot more demonstrative than they are on a regular field.''

The club is expected to name a head coach on Jan. 18.

The new owners are Straub chief executive officer Dr. Blake Waterhouse, former Hawaii Winter Baseball League owner Duane Kurisu, insurance company executive Carl Hennrich, Borthwick Group owners John and Diane Farias Jr., Borthwick general manager Scott Sells, Robertson and Co. Jewelers owner Robert Wu and Regal Travel owner Ray Miyashiro.

The franchise was inaugurated last year by an ownership group that included Rev. John Frederick, the team's co-coach; Sig Schuster, the CEO; Dennis Enomoto; Neil Wiedemann; Louis "Sonny" Souza, the team's on-field coach; and James K. Wong.

''We have some ideas to market this franchise,'' said Vasconcellos.

He said last year's ticket prices were set between $30 and $45, but the Hammerheads are considering a $10 rate of admission.

''For every $10 ticket, two kids will get in free,'' said Vasconcellos.

He said there will be a tryout combine at the Blaisdell Arena on Jan. 24 and Jan. 25.

Vasconcellos said the Hammerheads have set up shop at 1507 Kapiolani Blvd., near the Blaisdell, where they will play their games.

He said the indoor franchise drew about 5,500 for its first game last year and 3,800 for the second, but averaged between 500 and 1,000 per game after that.

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