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Dragons Soar in Preparation for Big Apple

Padraic Meehan
Wednesday January 31, 2001

Following a league-wide schism over the Barnstormers` destiny, the final decision out of Chicago was a resounding "YES," to Uniondale, NY. And so far, it has paid off beautifully. For the first time in the AFL`s 15-year history, the words "Committed ownership" and Successful team" have been used in the same sentence with "New York franchise." Charles Wang, Sanjay Kumar, and Russell Artzt, the three reasons for professional sports on Long Island, officially rescued the troubled Barnstormers in November 2000, only months after they purchased the dormant New York Islanders.

The team has made their splash in New York with media coverage, marketing, and public acceptance; three things once considered pipe dreams for the Knights and the CityHawks. With marketing comes media coverage and public acceptance and obviously the Dragons have been doing their marketing. As of January 28th, they have sold approximately 1200 season tickets and have been lightly covered by Newsday, Long Island`s answer to the New York Times.

The Dragons have already begun promoting the team in many ways. Nighttime television advertisements during popular programming like David Letterman`s Late Show. Recently, during a New York Islanders game, Dragons` quarterback Aaron Garcia came out on the ice after the 2nd period and tossed mini-footballs into the crowd. At the same game, Garcia, Robert Stewart, and Rodney Filer were 3 of 8 players who were on the concourse signing autographs and greeting fans.

Sure the team is doing great before the season, but don`t forget, there`s still a game to be played. And to solidify the team`s fate, the Dragons have signed OL/DL Robert Stewart, 4th All-time in the AFL`s sack category and re-signed QB Aaron Garcia who has eclipsed records set by Kurt Warner and future Canton citizen John Elway. Stewart, a Lineman for the doomed Charlotte Rage, came remarkably close to playing Arena Football at the Coliseum 4 years ago, but the league shot down the Rage’s attempted move to Long Island.

With 3 months to go before the season and a roster growing in talent, it appears that New York is finally ready for Arena Football and vice versa.

Padraic Meehan was a writer for ArenaFan Online from 2000 to 2001.
The opinions expressed in the article above are only those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts, opinions, or official stance of ArenaFan Online or its staff, or the Arena Football League, or any AFL or af2 teams.
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