High travel costs ground Arctic Predators

Rindi White
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News

WASILLA -- High travel costs have led Wasilla's indoor football team, the Arctic Predators, to sit out three games in its first season playing in the American Indoor Football Association.

Coach Hans Deemer said the team has "some financial things to overcome," and he's working on a late-season restructuring that may include shifting ownership to a group of businesses. It's too early to talk specifics, he said.

The bottom line, Deemer said, is that the team isn't going away. With its first season mostly wrapped up, Deemer said he's proud of the team's record.

"We're really one game out of the playoff in our first year. We were on a three-game winning streak," he said.

The Predators kicked off the year with three losses but came back with a string of wins. They're now fifth in the AIFA western conference with four conference games left to play. The season wraps up in July.

Deemer's broader goal is to get an AIFA team in Anchorage so some of the games can happen without high travel costs.

While travel costs were a known hurdle going into the season, they were unexpectedly high, Deemer said.

"Us going down (to play a Lower 48 team) is like a $12,000 to $14,000 trip. Someone coming up here is like $24,000," he said.

The summer tourist season is part of the reason for the higher cost. Airline tickets are expensive, and the prices for hotels and buses jump in summer.

Deemer said the team has had a good first season thanks to the help of many local businesses and a fan base that grew to nearly 1,000 this year.

Find Rindi White online at adn.com/contact/rwhite or call 352-6709.