Indoor arena football to return to Roanoke

Team name will be Virginia Iron Horses

ROANOKE, Va. – After an absence spanning over a decade, indoor arena football is coming back to Roanoke. 

The Berglund Center is welcoming the Virginia Iron Horses team for spring 2019. 

The National Gridiron League will debut a new spring indoor football league in 12 cities across America in March. Roanoke’s team, the Virginia Iron Horses, will play its first home game next spring. 

The NGL was founded in 2017 as a minor league alternative to the National Football League to become a destination for recent college football graduates. 

The last arena football team in this area was the Roanoke Steam, which played at the Berglund Center (then the Roanoke Civic Center) for three years and folded in May 2002. 

Robin Bennett is one of the local owners of Roanoke's hockey team, The Rail Yard Dawgs and co-owner of Sports Haven, the company that manages the merchandise for the team,

"We have to travel quite a ways to go to a major league event. So why not have a minor leagues here and see these players on their way up or on the way down if they still want to play ball," said Bennett. 

Landon Howard with Visit Virginia's Blue Ridge said sports is growing in Roanoke.

"Last year we had 189 sporting events and tournaments. This year of 2018 we are well over 200," said Howard. 

He and many others at the team announcement are ready to give arena football another chance and believes it will be supported in the area.

Season tickets for the Virginia Iron Horses go on sale this fall. For more information on the Virginia Iron Horses and League, click here.