Traverse City Record-Eagle

Traverse City Wolves

November 8, 2007

Semi-pro franchise coming to TC

TC Wolves could start playing in 2009 season

TRAVERSE CITY -- The Boys of Summer may be getting some company.

Former Eastern Michigan University football player Daniel Skibbe has announced the formation of a semi-professional football team in Traverse City that he hopes will begin play in the summer of 2009.

The Traverse City Wolves would be the second minor-league sports team to call Traverse City home, following in the footsteps of the TC Beach Bums independent league baseball team, which opened play in May 2006 at Wuerfel Park.

"This is a great football community," said Skibbe, who moved from Detroit five years ago and coached for two seasons under Josh Merchant at Elk Rapids. "When I came up here I realized that northern Michigan not only has a lot of talented players, but disciplined ones, too.

"You don't get to play football after high school unless you're gifted and go on to college," he said. "So this league is for guys who play for the love of the game."

Skibbe, 33, said he hopes the Wolves can play their home games at either Thirlby Field or Wuerfel Park, although he understands the hurdles he would face at both locations.

Thirlby Field does not have locker rooms or permanent bathrooms, and the field itself is already used by three high school teams -- TC Central, West and St. Francis. And Wuerfel Park is already a busy place in the summer, with the Beach Bums playing games there May through Labor Day weekend.

That's why Leslye Wuerfel, general manager and chief financial officer for the Beach Bums, said the Wolves won't be playing their games there.

"During the baseball season, we're a baseball facility," Wuerfel said Wednesday.

Thirlby Field appears to be a better fit. Skibbe said the Wolves would be willing to donate "10 percent of our gate" to Traverse City Area Public Schools and the "Fourth and Goal" organization to help complete the planned upgrades at Thirlby.

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