The Washington Wolfpack logo is revealed during the Everett AFL team’s press conference Thursday night at Tony V’s Garage in Everett. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

The Washington Wolfpack logo is revealed during the Everett AFL team’s press conference Thursday night at Tony V’s Garage in Everett. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

Washington Wolfpack: Everett’s arena football team gets a name

The franchise announced its team name with a howl Thursday night. The team also signed its first player.

EVERETT — With a mighty howl from head coach JR Wells, Everett’s newest indoor football team was officially christened.

Everett’s entry into the relaunched Arena Football League will be the Washington Wolfpack, the team announced Thursday night during a press conference at Tony V’s Garage in downtown Everett.

“The Washington Wolfpack, we are live!” Wells bellowed, followed by an extended wolf howl.

The Wolfpack, who will play home games at Angel of the Winds Arena, are one of 16 teams in the newest edition of the AFL, which opens its inaugural season in April. This is the latest attempt to bring indoor football to Everett — past teams included the Everett Hawks (2005-07), Everett Destroyers (2009) and Everett Raptors (2012).

In addition to the team’s name and logo, the first Wolfpack player was introduced, former University of Montana cornerback J.R. Nelson.

The name Wolfpack was chosen via an online public vote, with the other candidates being Night Howlers, Werewolves and Cascades. Washington co-owner Mike Thomas said Wolfpack won out by a single vote over Werewolves.

“I’m very excited that they picked (Wolfpack),” Thomas said. “With us being the Washington Wolfpack it means a lot to me because of how wolves travel in a pack. We’re going to attack it as family, as a unit, as unified.”

The team colors are blue, teal and purple. The logo, designed by the AFL’s creative team, is a straight-on view of a wolf’s head. The team added its own small Pacific Northwest flourish, with evergreen trees denoting the inside of the wolf’s ears.

Following the unveiling of the team’s name, the Wolfpack brought Nelson on stage for a contract signing ceremony, making him the first player in team history. Nelson, who trains youth athletes in Lynden, played at Montana from 2012-16, earning honorable mention All-Big Sky Conference recognition in 2015. The rangy 6-foot-2 cornerback was signed by the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs as a non-drafted free agent in 2017, and he spent the offseason with the team before a foot injury cut short his time with Kansas City. Nelson didn’t play football again until last year, when he joined the Everett Royals, a semipro team founded and operated by Thomas.

“Man, it’s great,” Nelson said about being the franchise’s first player. “I just want to get started. I’m training, working hard, coach JR already is getting me with a good training crew and preparing for the highest level, so we’re going into this full-go. It’s very exciting, I just want the opportunity, and to be at the forefront is a blessing.”

Head coach JR Wells, left, and JR Nelson, right, during the Everett AFL team’s press conference Thursday night at Tony V’s Garage in Everett.. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

Head coach JR Wells, left, and JR Nelson, right, during the Everett AFL team’s press conference Thursday night at Tony V’s Garage in Everett.. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

The team also introduced the third member of its ownership group, Kelly Fahey, the owner of PacWest Sales in Mukilteo. The ownership group was originally announced as Thomas and Miguel Morga, along with an unnamed third person.

Past attempts at bringing indoor football to Everett had little success. The Hawks folded amid unpaid bills by owner Sam Adams. The Raptors folded after one season. And the Destroyers never even made it to Game 1. But Thomas believes the reason it will work this time corresponds with the new name: the collaborative nature of a Wolfpack.

“We’re coming into this a little bit different,” Thomas said. “A lot of people keep talking to me about (past attempts), and I wasn’t here then so I don’t know. All I know is what I’m about, and I’m about family, love and community. I heard the last football team wasn’t really about the community. I believe this is the community’s team. A lot of the people on our board are in the community. So we’re doing this different, it’s about one sound.”

Thomas added: “I feel we’re moving right on time,” in terms of the organization’s progress. “We’re right on track for everything that needs to be done. I’ve never been more excited about anything else.”

The next step for the Wolfpack is building a 25-player roster around Nelson. The Wolfpack are holding a combine on Nov. 18 at Everett Soccer Arena to evaluate local talent. The combine has space for 85 players. Those interested in trying out can sign up on the team’s website. A national combine is scheduled for Dallas in January. Thomas hopes to have a team in place by Feb. 1.

Washington’s 10-game regular season schedule is expected to be announced a day earlier than the local combine on Nov. 17. The team will also play two preseason games. Ticket information will be available on the team’s website at a later date.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Sports

Matt King of Team United States swims in the Men's 4x100m Medley Relay final at the World Aquatics Championships in Doha, Qatar, Sunday, Feb. 18, 2024. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
Community roundup: Glacier Peak grad captures gold at swim worlds

Plus, an Edmonds College basketball coach reaches a milestone, and spring teams at Edmonds and Everett nab top-10 NWAC rankings.

Monroe players hug after a tough loss during a 3A girls game between Monroe and Roosevelt at Roosevelt High School on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024, in Seattle, WA. Monroe fell, 58-37. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Monroe’s charmed run ends against Roosevelt in 3A state regionals

After winning three loser-out games to reach state, the Bearcats struggle with the Rough Riders’ tenacious press in a 58-37 loss.

X
State basketball roundup for Tuesday, Feb. 20

Prep state basketball roundup for Tuesday, Feb. 20: (Note for coaches/scorekeepers: To… Continue reading

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith (7) plays against the Arizona Cardinals in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Jan. 7, 2024, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Seahawks position overview: Will Smith still hold reins at QB?

The veteran’s 2024 salary recently became guaranteed, but a trade is still possible.

Seattle Mariners pitcher George Kirby during a baseball game against the Oakland Athletics in Oakland, Calif., Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2023. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Mariners’ strike-throwing machine Kirby hones his craft in solitude

George Kirby spent his offseason training without distractions — or a catcher — in his hometown.

Snohomish’s Sienna Capelli and Arlington’s Samara Morrow scramble for the ball during the 3A girls district championship game on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2024 in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Seedings announced for high school basketball state tournaments

Who, when and where area teams are playing in the state regional round.

X
Silvertips extend franchise-long playoff streak

Everett clinched a WHL postseason berth during a 2-1-1 week, which included a split with top contender Portland.

X
Vote for The Herald’s Prep Athlete of the Week for Feb. 12-18

The Athlete of the Week nominees for Feb. 12-18. Voting closes at… Continue reading

Glacier Peak’s Gil Mossburg and Moses Lake's Dayton Regan wrestle during the 4A boys 150-pound championship match during Mat Classic XXXV on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2024, at the Tacoma Dome in Tacoma. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Five Snohomish County boys win titles at Mat Classic XXXV

Redemption was the theme as three seniors won championships after falling in finals a year ago. Two others repeated as state-title winners.

Glacier Peak’s Karianne Baldwin celebrates winning the 4A/3A girls 125-pound championship match during Mat Classic XXXV on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2024, at the Tacoma Dome in Tacoma. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Glacier Peak’s Baldwin ties county record with 3rd title at Mat Classic XXXV

The senior claims the 125-pound championship and joins Marysville Pilchuck’s Alivia White as local three-time winners.

Lake Stevens junior Camden Blevins-Mohr swims his way to a state title in the 100 yard butterfly during the WIAA 4A Boys Swim and Dive Championships on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2024, at the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Boys state swim: Lake Stevens junior, relay team claim state titles

Plus, more from Saturday’s 4A, 3A and 1A/2A state championships, including a title winner from Archbishop Murphy.

Snohomish players reacts to winning the 3A girls district championship on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2024 in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Late putback lifts Snohomish girls past Arlington in 3A district title game

Tyler Gildersleeve-Stiles delivers the decisive basket in the Panthers’ 45-43 win.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.