WICHITA, Kan. - A new ownership group has secured a deal with a different league to keep professional indoor soccer in Wichita. For the last couple of years, the Wichita Wings have been playing professional soccer at Hartman Arena in Park City. But, a month ago, Wichita Wings owner Wink Hartman said he was selling the team after just two years. His relationship with the leaders of the Major Indoor Soccer League had soured. Today, local businessman Blake Shumaker, who owns Service Body Shop, announced an agreement to field an indoor team in the Professional Arena Soccer League under the name FC Wichita, LLC.
Due to trademark obligations, the team may not be able to use the name 'Wichita Wings' for at least one season. Original Wings coach Roy Turner is happy to hear that soccer will continue in Wichita. He and others believe the PASL appears to have a more sustainable business model. "There's a lot of ex-Wings players in (PASL) management," Turner said. "There is a chance to revisit these people and everything else... To keep the light going, if you will."
There are still a lot of question, however. Like will the team be called the Wings? What will their logo look like? And where will they play their games? But the fans say, at least the news is positive.
Shumaker runs the Wichita Wings youth soccer Association and helped Wink Hartman secure trademark usage of the Wings name two years ago. He has secured front office space in Old Town. Shumaker says he also has plans to eventually start up a developmental outdoor team in Wichita that could promote local talent to either play indoor in the PASL or in other professional outdoor leagues.
The new indoor soccer club could very likely play at Hartman arena. It is not a 100% done deal yet. The other options are Intrust Bank arena or the new 6,000 seat arena at the Kansas Star Casino near Mulvane.
In a press release prepared by Shumaker, PASL commissioner Kevin Milliken said Wichita has always been a great soccer community. "The last month of constant communication with FC Wichita has given me a great feel for this ownership group," Milliken said. "I couldn't be happier with their soccer knowledge and passion for the game in Wichita."