FOOTBALL: Semi-pro Tri-City Northstars launch their season
The football season in Grand Forks begins Saturday; yes, Saturday. The semi-pro Tri-City Northstars will kick off their season at Cushman Field against the Bismarck Wolves in a Midwest Premier Football League game. Kickoff is set for 4 p.m. The N...
The football season in Grand Forks begins Saturday; yes, Saturday.
The semi-pro Tri-City Northstars will kick off their season at Cushman Field against the Bismarck Wolves in a Midwest Premier Football League game. Kickoff is set for 4 p.m.
The Northstars won the MPFL last season and finished the season ranked No. 6 in a national semi-pro football poll, according to owner J.J. Kern.
The team’s mission again is to win another league championship.
“We’re coming off a championship from last year and we’ve added more depth this year,” said Kern. “As long as we stay healthy we have a good chance to defend the title. We have more depth than we’ve ever had.”
The Northstars will play 10 games, with the league championship game scheduled for Aug. 6. Also, Tri-City will meet the Fargo Invaders on Aug. 29 in the I-29 Bowl.
Kern said the Northstars roster is around 60 players, with 38 having played college football.
Roughly 75 percent of the players are from the immediate area, but some travel a considerable distance to play. Kern said one player will make the trip from Rapid City, S.D., each week to play with the Northstars.
Also, there is a father-son combination on the team, dad Rick Axpell and son Alex Axpell. And there are two sets of brothers on the team, he added.
The semi-pro teams provides an opportunity for former college and high school players to continue to play the sport.
In addition, there will be a number of activities surrounding Saturday’s game.
Former Minnesota Vikings running back Ted Brown is scheduled to appear for a meet-and-greet beginning at 1 p.m. at the Grand Cities Mall. He also will be at the game.
There will be horse-and-carriage rides available from the mall to Cushman Field, said Kern. And Blind Joe will sing the national anthem and will perform after the game.
After Saturday’s opener, the Northstars will host Minneapolis on May 21.
Other games this season are scheduled against Duluth, Ogilvie, Minn., Burnsville, Minn., Minot and Duluth.
Kern said his team, which has new uniforms, is ready to go.
“We have so much more support behind us this year,” said Kern.