The Indoor Football League (IFL) is proud to announce the 2016 Team Awards for outstanding achievements during the IFL regular season.
Franchise of the Year: Sioux Falls Storm
The Sioux Falls Storm have been named the 2016 IFL Franchise of the Year. Selected by their peers, factors considered for achieving this award consisted of attendance, sales, public relations, marketing, on-field performance, community involvement and overall representation of the IFL.
"For the past 17 years this franchise has striven for excellence on and off the field," said Storm Owner Todd Tryon. "We've always prided ourselves in setting the standard for all of professional indoor football. Recruit great people, create and atmosphere that people want to be a part of, and then get out of the way!"
The Sioux Falls Storm posted a league-best 15-1 record in 2016 and will be hosting the United Conference Championship on July 16th. During the 2016 season, the five-time IFL United Bowl Champions, led the IFL in attendance averaging 7,532 fans per game and posted a new IFL attendance record of 9,972 fans during their Week 8 matchup. Off the field, the Storm continued to set benchmarks in public relations and community involvement. For the second consecutive season, the Storm have contributed and raised over $100,000 for the betterment of the Sioux Falls community.
Executive of the Year: Ryan Eucker (Director of Operations, Spokane Empire)
Spokane Empire Director of Operations Ryan Eucker has been named the 2016 IFL Executive of the Year. Under Eucker's leadership the Empire not only experienced a smooth transition to the IFL but also a successful rebranding of the team.
"I am grateful and humbled to receive this type of recognition from my peers," said Eucker. "This award is truly a testament to the Empire organization as a whole. Our ownership, staff, coaches, and players have put a tremendous amount of effort and heart into our inaugural season as a member of the Indoor Football League."
Spokane transitioned to the Empire to represent the historic indoor football market's long history within the railroad industry. Under Eucker's leadership Spokane quickly became a strong force in the IFL as the team finished with the best record in the Intense Conference (12-4) and will host the Intense Conference Championship on July 17th. In addition, the Empire ranked near the top of the league in attendance and sales, averaging 5,275 fans per game.
Best Fan Base: Sioux Falls Storm
For the third consecutive season the Sioux Falls Storm are the recipients of the IFL's Best Fan Base award. The award is given to the team with the fans that show the most enthusiasm, energy, and overall appreciation for their team. Storm fans continue to embrace the team at unprecedented levels as the Storm broke their own IFL single game attendance record in 2016. A record 9,982 fans attended the Storm's week 8 game at the Denny Sanford Premier Center and the team finished the season leading the IFL in average attendance with 7,532 fans per game.
Best Game Operations: Green Bay Blizzard
The Green Bay Blizzard have been awarded Best Game Day Operations for a second consecutive season. The Blizzard pride themselves in putting on a great show for their home fans, constantly creating the most interactive and innovative on-field promotions. Additionally, the team's game-day presentations, unique half-time shows, giveaways, mascots and music help make the Resch Center one of the most entertaining venues in the IFL. The team has earned this award in four of the last five years.
Best Cheerleader/Dance Team: Colorado Crush
The Colorado Crush have earned the Best Cheerleader/Dance Team award in 2016. The "Crushables" have earned the designation for a second consecutive season and continue to establish themselves as one of the preeminent dance teams in all of indoor football. The award is based on talent, attractiveness, uniforms and crowd interaction.
Community Relations Award: Sioux Falls Storm
The Community Relations award is presented to the team that best exemplifies outstanding service to their community. The Sioux Falls Storm continue to distinguish themselves as leaders in the Sioux Falls community with their support of programs such as the Feeding South Dakota Backpack program, SURVIVEiT, Chip In For Heroes, Cure SMA, and many others in 2016. In support of these programs, the Storm raised over $100,000 for the Sioux Falls community this season. Over the last two years the Storm have raised almost a quarter of a million dollars for the community.
Hospitality Award: Iowa Barnstormers
The Iowa Barnstormers have earned the Hospitality Award in 2016. The hospitality award is given to the team that provided the best overall experience for the visiting team while on the road. The Barnstormers earned the award as the team was judged to have the best host hotel, pre- and post-game meals and other accommodations that exceeded expectations.
Best Website/Social Media: Spokane Empire
The Spokane Empire have been awarded Best Website/Social Media in 2016. The Empire earn the award based on a variety of factors such as aesthetics, ease of use, up-to-date information, content and fan interaction. The Empire lead the IFL with over 39,000 Facebook likes.
Best Mascot: Green Bay Blizzard
The Best Mascot of the 2016 season goes the Green Bay Blizzard. Bruiser the yeti has made his home in the frozen tundra of Green Bay for many years. In 2016, Bruiser was officially joined by his niece and nephew, Blizz & Bling who appear at many community events around the greater Green Bay area. The Green Bay mascots were named the most creative, energetic and talented mascots in the IFL.
Best Media Relations: Cedar Rapids Titans
The Cedar Rapids Titans have been awarded Best Media Relations. The Titans earned the designation based on their media involvement, press releases, game notes, articles, media guides and overall content.
The opening round of the 2016 playoffs commences this Saturday as the Billings Wolves host in the Nebraska Danger in the Intense Conference and the Cedar Rapids Titans host the Wichita Falls Nighthawks in the United Conference. All IFL playoff games can be seen live on IFLLive.tv!