West Michigan Ironmen
|West Michigan Ironmen|
Play in L. C. Walker Arena
in Muskegon, Michigan
|Team colors||Maroon, gold, black, white|
|Owner(s)||Tim Taylor, Mario Flores|
|General manager||Nate Smith|
|Head coach||Nate Smith|
|West Michigan Ironmen (2016–present)|
|League championships (1)|
|Conference championships (0)|
|Division championships (1)|
|Playoff appearances (3)|
The West Michigan Ironmen are a professional indoor football team based in Muskegon, Michigan (and representing the larger region which also includes Grand Rapids and Holland), the Ironmen play their home games at L.C. Walker Arena. The team joined American Indoor Football (AIF) in 2016. The AIF ceased operations following the 2016 season, leaving the Ironmen without a league. They joined Champions Indoor Football for the 2017 season. For the 2018 season, the team was originally announced to have joined the Indoor Football League, however, the team was forced to sit out the 2018 Indoor Football League season. The team was then sold and played in the regional Midwest Professional Indoor Football for the 2018 season until they could rejoin the CIF in 2019. However, they were not among the list of members for the 2019 CIF season and instead joined the American Arena League.
The Ironmen are the second indoor football team to play in Muskegon, after the Muskegon Thunder which played in the Continental Indoor Football League for the 2007 and 2008 seasons and later the Indoor Football League for its inaugural 2009 season before moving to Grand Rapids and becoming the West Michigan ThunderHawks the next year.
American Indoor Football
In July 2015, it was announced that Terrence Williams was awarded an expansion team in American Indoor Football (AIF) for the 2016 season. After a "name-the-team" contest, the nickname Ironmen was chosen for the expansion franchise.
The Ironmen dropped their first game of the season, but would win every game following that, en route to a berth in the AIF Championship Game. The Ironmen would lose the AIF Championship Game to the Columbus Lions, 32–74, after the game was cut short by multiple altercations leading the Ironmen to leave the field citing safety reasons.
On July 18, 2016, the AIF announced it was ceasing operations leaving the team without a league.
Champions Indoor Football and Indoor Football League
The Ironmen announced on September 26, that it was joining Champions Indoor Football (CIF) for the 2017 season. The Ironmen went 4–8 and missed the playoffs.
On September 12, 2017, the Indoor Football League announced it had added the West Michigan Ironmen, as well as the Bloomington Edge, from the CIF. The CIF then attempted to sue the IFL, Edge, and Ironmen for leaving the CIF after the two teams had already signed league affiliation agreements with the CIF for the 2018 season. While the CIF did drop the lawsuit against the IFL, it filed for an injunction against the Edge and Ironmen teams from participating in the IFL for breaking the terms of their signed affiliation agreements. A temporary injunction from participation against the two teams was granted on January 31, 2018, with the judge citing that both teams had been bribed into breaking their contracts with the CIF.
Both teams participation in the IFL was suspended for the 2018 season, while still considered members, and Bloomington announced both teams would play independent schedules. As part of the injunction, the Ironmen cannot play any games for as long as the 2018 CIF season lasts.
Midwest Professional Indoor Football
On March 3, 2018, owner Terrence Williams then posted on social media that he had sold the team to another local group and the Ironmen would be participating in the semi-professional regional Midwest Professional Indoor Football (MPIF) for the 2018 season. The Ironmen went undefeated at 3–0 through the MPIF season with several teams folding during the season. On April 21, 2018, the first-seed Ironmen beat the second-seed and defending MPIF champion Midway Marauders 68–44 at home to win the MPIF championship.
Two days after winning the MPIF championship, the Ironmen were accepted to return to the CIF for the 2019 season. Upon the release of the 2019 season schedule, the Ironmen were not listed as members.
Statistics and records
|League Champions||Conference Champions||Division Champions||Playoff berth||League leader|
|Season||League||Conference||Division||Regular season||Postseason results|
|2016||AIF||Northern||1st||6||1||0||Won Northern Semifinals (Freedom) 78–37|
Won Northern Championship (Steelhawks) 42–35
Lost AIF Championship Game (Lions) 32–74
|2018||MPIF||1st||3||0||0||Won Semifinals (Apaches) 73–8|
Won MPIF Championship (Marauders) 68–44
|2019||AAL||Midwest||1st[a]||5||1||0||Won division final (Indianapolis) 71–0|
Lost Semifinal (Roughriders) 6–45
|Totals||18||10||0||All-time regular season record (2016–2019)|
|5||2||—||All-time postseason record (2016–2019)|
|23||12||0||All-time regular season and postseason record (2016–2019)|
- The AAL counted all games played by member teams, including games against non-league members, and forfeits in the league standings for the 2019 season.
Head coach records
Note: Statistics are correct through the end of the 2019 AAL regular season.
|Tyrese Lynk||2016–2018||13||9||0||.565||4||1||Won 2018 MPIF championship|
- "Ironmen Announce Team Information for 2019 Season". Facebook. January 18, 2019.
- "West Michigan Ironmen GM says franchise ready to roll for arena football opener". MLive.com. March 7, 2018.
- "CIF Announced First Expansion Team for 2019". CIF. April 23, 2018.
- Mark Opfermann (July 1, 2015). "Indoor football franchise in works for Muskegon in 2016". www.mlive.com. MLive Media Group. Retrieved July 20, 2016.
- "West Michigan indoor football team has nickname, hires OV grad as coach". MLive.com. Muskegon Chronicle. November 10, 2015. Retrieved November 12, 2015.
- Mark Opfermann (June 11, 2016). "West Michigan Ironmen advance to league championship game". www.mlive.com. MLive Media Group. Retrieved July 20, 2016.
- Mark Opfermann (June 19, 2016). "West Michigan Ironmen fall short in title game ended early by altercation". www.mlive.com. MLive Media Group. Retrieved June 20, 2016.
- "IFL Announces Addition of Bloomington & West Michigan". IFL. September 12, 2017.
- "Tryon addresses legal aspect of switching leagues". KWSN. October 5, 2017.
- "TEMPORARY INJUNCTION BARS RENEGADE TEAMS FROM LEAVING C.P.I.F.L." KSCJ. January 31, 2018.
- "Ironmen will be independent in 2018, due to ruling that leaves them without a league". Local Sports Journal. February 6, 2018.
- "Edge Statement on CIF Legal Action". Bloomington Edge. Retrieved February 6, 2018.
- "Barred from IFL, Edge to play as independent". The Pantagraph. February 6, 2018.
- "CIF Publishes 2019 Schedule Featuring 2 Conferences". GoCIF.net. October 30, 2018.
- "It's Official: The American Arena League (AAL) & Midwest Professional Indoor Football League (MPIF) Come to Terms". OurSportsCentral.com. January 19, 2019.