Columbus Destroyers Tickets
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The Columbus Destroyers is an Arena Football League team. Its franchise was founded in Buffalo, New York in 1999 by Buffalo-area businessman Mark Hamister. The team was relocated to Columbus, Ohio in 2004 and has been playing there since then. The Destroyers mascot's name is Bruiser.
The name Destroyers came from a naming contest and alluded to the naval ship of the same name. The Destroyers began playing during the 1999 AFL season, playing their home games at HSBC Arena. They lost their very first game to New England Sea Wolves 59-25 in front of 13,214 fans on April 30, 1999.
The Destroyers initially attracted high attendance levels, but lack of victory caused some decline. The first head coach, Dave Whinham, was fired in the middle of the Destroyers' second season after an abysmal 1-17 record.
Former Bills player Ray Bentley was selected as his replacement. He also couldn't lead the Destroyers to a winning season. In 2002, the team had a 6-8 season. They made it to the playoffs but lost in the first round. Bentley resigned after that and was replaced by Ron Selesky.
Selesky's record was lackluster 5-11 in 2003. The team went unnoticed by the media and suffered from a lack of local support. NBC had even blacked out all of their games in 2003.
The talks of a re-location of The Destroyers began after the end of 2003 season. By then, the Destroyers had lost $5 million.
The Destroyers owner Hamister and his partner Todd Berman were in the running to buy the Buffalo Sabres of the NHL, but a deal could not worked out. After that, Hamister announced the relocation of the Destroyers to Columbus, Ohio for the 2004 season.
The Destroyers moved to Columbus and were sold to John H. McConnell, majority owner of the Blue Jackets and accountant Jim Renacci. Joey Galloway, former Ohio State football standout and NFL wide receiver and Mark Hamister also had shares in the team.
The Columbus Destroyers played their home games in the downtown Nationwide Arena, which they shared with the National Hockey League's Columbus Blue Jackets. Here, they lost their very first game against the Carolina Cobras by 54-53 in front 17,171 fans.
In their first two years, The Columbus Destroyers often marketed people from The Ohio State University football program. For the 2004 season, it relied on head coach Earle Bruce, the former coach of Ohio State and front office worker Chris Spielman.
In the 2005 season, Spielman became head coach of the team and much of the Destroyers merchandise bore his name. However, as the 2006 season approached, the team appeared to have dropped promoting Ohio State personalities.
Since then, the Destroyers have enjoyed relatively more success, finishing 8-8 in 2006 and making a run all the way to Arena Bowl XXI in 2007.
On July 7, 2007 they defeated the heavily favored Dallas Desperados. ESPN ranked it as one of history's top upsets. One week later on July 14th, 2007 The Destroyers reached their first Arena Bowl after defeating the heavily favored Georgia Force 66-56.
The playoff run ended on July 29 when they lost to San Jose Sabercats 55-33 in front of a sellout crowd in New Orleans Arena. On May 24, 2008 the Arena Football League announced that it is returning to Buffalo with a new franchise. The Destroyers will play in the AFL's minor league system, af2.
The Destroyers are better received in Columbus then they were in Buffalo. Their attendance levels are amongst the highest in AFL. Their home games are televised on Columbus Sports Network while their radio partner is Wink 107.1 FM.