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Sanford Center looks to indoor football team

BEMIDJI —Sanford Center management is exploring the possibility of bringing an indoor football team to Bemidji.

Curtis Webb, the center’s executive director, said he has reached out to Robert Loving, the commissioner of the Indoor Football League about the possibility.

Webb said one reason to bring a team here is to establish a second tenant besides Bemidji State University and “keep the building busy.” The indoor football schedule would start right after the college hockey season ends and last until the early summer, Webb said. That would include six to eight home games.

A major obstacle, however, would be finding someone who would be interested in owning a team. Webb solicited help from the Sanford Center Advisory Board members during their Monday morning to find if there’s any interest locally to own a team.

“I think we could get a team,” Webb said. “It’s a matter of is there someone who wants to be an owner.”

The nine-team league consists of mainly Midwest markets but does not have a team in Minnesota or North Dakota

“(Loving) was very encouraged by our geographic presence and things like that,” Webb said.

Indoor football is played by many of the same basic rules as traditional football, except it’s played on a smaller field and thus is usually faster-paced and high-scoring.

Rotary conference

Sanford Center staff said they learned a lot about hosting conventions after their first major one last weekend.

The district Rotary convention was held at the Sanford Center April 24-27, bringing 500 people into Bemidji.

Georgette Bloom, the convention sales manager at the Sanford Center, said last week that there were a few technical issues, but overall the convention “went great.” She added that the experience will help staff know what to expect with other large conventions.

Webb said the event grossed about $10,000 for the facility.

“At the end of the day, it wasn’t a huge windfall, but it was a good show for us,” Webb said.

City manager John Chattin, who sits on the advisory board, said Rotary members he talked to said it was the best conference they’ve attended.

John Hageman

John Hageman covers North Dakota politics from the Forum News Service bureau in Bismarck. He attended the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities, where he studied journalism and political science, and he previously worked at the Grand Forks Herald and Bemidji Pioneer.  

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