Name for Albany AFL team unveiled

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The incoming Albany arena football team will have a new identity as the team name was revealed on Tuesday.

It was down to four choices: Fire, Phoenix, the Machine, and the Empire.

“The AFL is coming home to Albany, but we aren’t just building a team, we’re building an Empire.”

Many fans are excited to see arena football come back to the Times Union Center.

“I like the name,” Audrey Murray said. “It’s a cool name.”

Memories of the previous arena league teams haven’t faded from the minds of fans.

“When the Albany Firebirds were here, I was here for them,” William Murray said. “When the Conquest was here, and I’ll fully support the Empire as well. That’s a very catchy name. It represents the Capital District.”

The Empire’s brass connected the team’s name to a larger message about what they’re trying to accomplish in Albany.

“I looked at it, an empire, from a football perspective,” owner Ron Jaworski said. “That’s what jumped out at me. We want to build an empire – a dominant empire – and the word empire just embodied what this Albany team is going to be about and what this community is about.”

“It echoed everything I believe as far as what an arena football team should be,” head coach Rob Keefe said. “I mean, it talks about the region. I think it speaks to the fan base. I think it speaks to the dominance that we want to partake on the field.”

The Empire is holding open tryouts on Saturday, but the night kicked off the start to the inaugural season.

“I’ll be honest with you,” Dave Pearson said. “I was marginal when I came, but now I’m super excited. Good to see the energy by these people. I’m looking forward to the first game.”

The 2018 season starts on April 14 against the Philadelphia Soul at the TU Center.

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