Angel of the Winds Arena is set to be the home of Everett’s new Arena football team, which begins play in April. (Jake Goldstein-Street / The Herald)

Angel of the Winds Arena is set to be the home of Everett’s new Arena football team, which begins play in April. (Jake Goldstein-Street / The Herald)

Patterson: After past fails, can arena football thrive in Everett?

The turbulent past of arena football in the city stems from the opening of the Everett Events Center, now Angel of the Winds Arena, in 2003.

You know that definition of insanity? The one often attributed (inaccurately, apparently) to Albert Einstein? Well, regardless of who coined it, it goes like this: Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

So if you think the group bringing arena football back to Everett is crazy, I understand where you’re coming from.

On Tuesday the ownership group of the newest Everett arena football venture officially introduced itself. Mike Thomas and Miguel Morga of the semipro Everett Royals announced themselves as part owners of the yet-to-be-named franchise that will play at Everett’s Angel of the Winds Arena. The team is one of 16 in the rebooted Arena Football League, which plans to open its inaugural season in April.

And Thomas, Morga and company are hoping to succeed where previous attempts didn’t.

The rocky history of arena football in Everett stems from the opening of the Everett Events Center, which is now Angel of the Winds Arena, in 2003. The arena opened with the WHL’s Everett Silvertips as the anchor tenant, and the Silvertips caught lightning in a bottle. A ragtag group of castoffs shocked the hockey world as they won the U.S. Division and Western Conference championships en route to reaching the WHL final as an expansion team. A huge buzz swirled throughout Snohomish County, which in turn generated huge crowds as the Silvertips regularly packed the 8,149-seat arena. There was an energy and sense of civic pride in Everett unlike anything experienced before.

Seeing the success of the Silvertips, several other sports tried to piggyback on that wave of excitement. Basketball (Everett Explosion), lacrosse (Washington Stealth) and even roller derby (Tilted Thunder Rail Birds) tried their luck at Angel of the Winds without much success. But no sport has tried to make Everett its home more than arena football.

Our first arena football team was the Everett Hawks. Owned by former Seattle Seahawks defensive tackle Sam Adams, the Hawks played the 2005 season in the NIFL and 2006-07 in af2. However, after the 2007 season the team folded amidst claims of unpaid taxes and outstanding debts to local merchants.

There were several efforts at filling the void left by the Hawks’ demise. Attempts like the Everett Stealth/Stallions and Everett Destroyers never made it to Game 1. The Everett Raptors managed to field a team in the Indoor Football League in 2012, but lasted just one season before their parent company filed for bankruptcy.

So history is not on the new organization’s side.

The latest effort got off to a rather inauspicious start, too. News broke in July about the launch of the new Arena Football League locations, with Everett being one of the 16 cities listed as homes for franchises. There was just one problem: No one from Angel of the Winds Arena, which was the only feasible building in Everett which could house a team, or the Everett Public Facilities District, which owns Angel of the Winds, had heard anything about it. There was also no sign of an ownership group. That snafu doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in those who run the league.

But you know what? I’ve been lurking at The Herald long enough that I was around for that first attempt at arena football in Everett, and initially it worked. In the Hawks’ first season they drew about 4,000 spectators per game while they went undefeated during the regular season. People in the community seemed genuinely excited about the team. The Hawks weren’t able to sustain that success, but they showed the possibility is there.

The new owners are locally based and seem committed. They just secured an agreement to play at Angel of the Winds, so the team has a home. Now they get their chance to succeed where others failed.

And good luck to them. History suggests it’s going to be an uphill battle. But here’s hoping arena football finds its footing in Everett this time around.

Follow Nick Patterson on Twitter at @NickHPatterson.

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