Play in Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena
in Spokane, Washington
|Team colors||Blue, orange, gold, white|
|Mascot||Shox The Fox|
|Head coach||Cedric Walker|
|League championships (3)|
|Conference championships (2)|
|Division championships (8)|
|Playoff appearances (11)|
The Spokane Shock were a professional indoor American football team based in Spokane, Washington, that played their home games at the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena. The team was initially a member of arenafootball2 (af2), the Shock won division titles in all four seasons and ArenaCups in 2006 and 2009 before they joined the Arena Football League (AFL) in its 2010 relaunch. The team advanced to the playoffs three times after joining the AFL, winning ArenaBowl XXIII in their first season, making them the only arena football franchise to win both the ArenaCup and the ArenaBowl.
The AFL franchise was folded in October 2015 and the ownership group obtained a franchise in the Indoor Football League (IFL), known as the Spokane Empire, as the rights to the Shock name still belonged to the AFL. They played in the IFL as the Empire for the 2016 and 2017 seasons. On July 12, 2017, owner Nader Naini announced that the Empire would cease operations, citing financial issues. About a year after the Empire folded, Naini claims to have traded the Empire branding to the AFL for the original Shock trademarks.
In 2019, former Seattle Seahawks' player Sam Adams announced he was relaunching the team for the 2020 season. Adams had obtained the trademarks of the Shock name from Naini and re-joined the Indoor Football League. The Shock were removed from the IFL after failing to reach a lease agreement in 2022.
For many years, there were proposals to bring an arena football team to Spokane. In summer 2005, owner Brady Nelson teamed up with two additional partners to bring a team to Spokane. On August 26, 2005, during af2 league meetings in Bossier City, Louisiana, league commissioner Jerry Kurz accepted Nelson's proposal for a Spokane af2 team. The Shock was one of three expansion teams to begin playing in 2006. The other two were the Everett Hawks, and the Stockton Lightning.
On October 12, 2005, the Shock announced that Chris Siegfried would be the franchise's inaugural coach. By the end of 2005, 13 players had been signed. On February 28, 2006, the Spokane Shock sold their 2,000th season ticket. On March 22, 2006, 3,000 season tickets had been sold. On March 30, 2006, the Spokane Shock played their inaugural game against the Stockton Lightning and won 41–40.
The Shock put together a significant inaugural season, posting a 14–2 regular-season record and a first-place finish in the National Conference Western Division. During the af2 playoffs, the Shock defeated the Bakersfield Blitz and the Arkansas Twisters en route to winning the af2 National Conference championship and a berth in ArenaCup VII against the Green Bay Blizzard in San Juan, Puerto Rico. On August 26, the Shock defeated the Blizzard by a score of 57–34 to win ArenaCup VII. The Spokane Shock became the first expansion team in af2 history to advance to, and win, the ArenaCup. The Shock led the league in attendance with an average of 10,313 fans per home game.
As a result of the team's excellent play, head coach Chris Siegfried was named the af2 Head Coach of the Year for the 2006 season. Four Shock players also earned All-af2 National Conference honors as well. WR/LB Charles Frederick, OLS Ed Ta'amu and DS Rob Keefe earned first-team honors while OL/DL Jerome Stevens earned second-team accolades.
On September 4, 2006, Spokane head coach Chris Siegfried accepted the offensive coordinator position for the AFL's Kansas City Brigade. On September 20, 2006, the Spokane Shock announced that former Louisville Fire offensive coordinator Adam Shackleford would become their new head coach. The 2007 Shock won their second consecutive division title with a 12–4 record. The Shock then fell in the first round of the af2 playoffs to the Louisville Fire.
In 2008, the Shock fielded another talented team, opening the season with eleven straight wins before losing to the South Georgia Wildcats on a last second field goal. It was the only Shock loss during the regular season, qualifying for the playoffs and clinching home field advantage until the ArenaCup. The Shock faced the Tennessee Valley Vipers on August 25, 2008, in ArenaCup IX. Tennessee Valley was forced to play with its backup quarterback for most of the game after their starter was injured during the first drive. The game was close throughout and regulation ended with a tie to send the ArenaCup into its first ever overtime. After the Shock scored a touchdown and a successful extra point, Tennessee Valley matched them with a touchdown, but went for a two-point conversion and succeeded, to capture their first ArenaCup championship.
The Shock put together another 15–1 regular season in 2009. The Shock again advanced to the ArenaCup, defeating the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Pioneers 74–27 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
On September 27, 2009, the Spokane Shock became part of the Arena Football 1, an entity founded by multiple af2 organizations along with several of the recently defunct Arena Football League (AFL) teams, that was created to replace AFL. In November 2009, Arena Football 1 purchased the assets from the AFL's bankruptcy auction and rebranded as a continuation of the Arena Football League.
The Shock promoted defensive backs' coach Rob Keefe to the head coaching position. The team continued their success in the relaunched league, finishing the regular season with a 16–3 record claiming the first seed in the playoffs. The Shock advanced to ArenaBowl XXIII against the 13–6 Tampa Bay Storm. In front of a franchise record crowd of 11,017, the Shock defeated the Storm 69–57 behind nine touchdown passes from Kyle Rowley.
On July 9, 2011, the Shock hosted an outdoor game at Spokane's Joe Albi Stadium. The Shock went 9–9 for the season, lost in the first round of the playoffs, and fired head coach Rob Keefe following the season. The Shock promoted offensive coordinator, Andy Olson to head coach for 2012 and improved to 10–8, but failed to qualify for the playoffs for the first time in the team's existence. Prior to the 2013 season, the Shock lost quarterback Kyle Rowley in free agency but quarterback Erik Meyer put together an MVP 2013 season, also winning Offensive Player of the Year. Wide Receiver Adron Tennell won Receiver of the Year. The Shock went 14–4 and lost in the conference championship.
In January 2014, it was announced that Brady Nelson had sold the Shock to Arena Football Partners, LLC., an ownership group led by Nader Naini.
In 2015, after losing former MVP and Offensive Player of the Year, Erik Meyer, and former Wide Receiver of the Year Adron Tennell to division rival, San Jose. The Shock made the playoffs, but lost to the Arizona Rattlers 72–41. Following the season, Olson announced that he would not be returning to coach the Shock in 2016 and the Shock re-hired Adam Shackleford away from the Tri-Cities Fever.
Beginning on August 10, 2015, talk began surfacing about a possible move to the Indoor Football League by Shock owner Nader Naini, who was heavily involved with bringing Scott Butera to the AFL as its new commissioner. He accused the AFL and some of its teams of cheating, favoring the more established franchises and not fulfilling obligations to improve the product, forcing him to weigh options for the team's future which includes dropping to the IFL, a move that some players expressed unhappiness and disappointment about. However, IFL commissioner Mike Allshouse was quick to point out, "At this point, it would be improper to comment about any team that is associated with another league."
The move was officially confirmed on September 1, 2015. This made 2016 the second straight year that an established AFL franchise moved to the IFL following the Iowa Barnstormers. However, the Spokane franchise had to operate under a different identity, as the Arena Football League announced on October 12 that the team and league could not reach an agreement for the team's trademark and logos, which are owned by the AFL. A press release from the AFL indicated that the league would retain the rights to the Shock name and logos. However, the team retained the Shock's history and went by a new name for the 2016 season, and a name-the-team contest had the franchise become known as the Spokane Empire.
The 2016 Spokane Empire went 12–4 in their inaugural IFL campaign. They advanced to the championship game by winning the Intense Conference championship beating the Nebraska Danger 55–44, but fell to the Sioux Falls Storm 55–34 in the final. They came close to an achievement that had not been done before; winning three different league championships in their first season in the league with the af2's ArenaCup, the AFL's ArenaBowl and the IFL's United Bowl.
The following 2017 season, the team went 8–8 and missed the playoffs for only the second time in franchise history. On July 12, 2017, owner Nader Naini announced that the Empire had ceased operations, citing financial issues. About a year after the Empire folded, Naini claims to have traded the Empire branding to the AFL, which became the Albany Empire, for the original Shock trademarks.
In 2019, Naini sold the Shock trademark and remaining assets to former Seattle Seahawks' player Sam Adams with the intention of relaunching the Shock in the IFL for the 2020 season. The IFL announced the return of the Shock on November 1, 2019. Adams brought in the head coach of the Carolina Cobras as the new head coach of the Shock. However, before the Shock could play a game, the 2020 season was postponed and eventually cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic shutting down most venues due to social distancing measures. Adams stated the Shock would still play games in 2020 against any other team regardless of schedule once the government allowed venues to re-open, which did not come to fruition.
The Shock played their first game since relaunching on May 15, 2021, in a 36–33 loss to the Frisco Fighters to start their 2021 season. Spokane advanced to the 2021 IFL playoffs, but were eliminated on August 28 in a quarterfinal game against Frisco.
In February 15, 2022, it was reported that Adams and the Shock had not signed lease with the arena for the 2022 season set to start in March. Adams was required to pay the arena by December 31, 2021, but the wired payment did not clear the bank. He signed the lease later that day, but the arena had yet to be issued the $128,000 security bond and Adams had until February 23 or the lease would be terminated. It was extended to February 24, but Adams still did not make the payment in time and the Shock lost their lease for the 2022 seasond. The Shock were subsequently removed from the IFL later that evening. Adams stated he was applying to join the National Arena League (NAL), which is mostly based on the east coast, but the NAL quickly dismissed the idea.
Spokane Shock arena football attendance records show the largest crowds: 10,662 vs. Tennessee Valley (Arena Cup 9 - August 25, 2008); 10,659 twice during 2008 regular season, and smallest crowds: 7,267 vs. Stockton 2009 playoffs (August 1, 2009); 9,387 vs. Stockton on March 30, 2006 (inaugural game).
|Year||Total Att||Average||League rank||Sellouts / Games|
|2006 (af2)||79,213||9,902||1st||4 of 8|
|2007 (af2)||84,556||10,570||1st||8 of 8|
|2008 (af2)||84,705||10,588||1st||8 of 8|
|2009 (af2)||83,306||10,413||1st||5 of 8|
|Total||331,780||10,368||—||25 of 32|
Total all-time attendance, including playoff games while part of the af2 (2006–2009): 422,584
Total all-time sellouts including playoff games: 27
The Spokane Shock sold out the Spokane Arena for 19 consecutive regular season games starting with the regular season finale in 2006, and continuing to the second game in 2009. The last non-sellout regular season game was on June 26, 2009.
|Year||Total Att||Average||League Rank||Sellouts / Games|
|2010||82,509||10,313||5th||1 of 8|
|2011||92,497||10,277||3rd||0 of 9[a]|
|2012||81,206||9,023||6th||0 of 9|
|2013||83,669||9,296||3rd||1 of 9|
|2014||80,814||8,979||6th||1 of 9|
|2015||72,314||8,034||8th||0 of 9|
|Total||493,009||9,302||—||3 of 53|
The Spokane Shock played the first outdoor arena football game on July 9, 2011, at Joe Albi Stadium in Spokane. A Spokane Shock record crowd of 16,233 watched the Shock beat the Utah Blaze 76–49. Joe Albi Stadium holds between 20,000 and 24,000 for football. The shaded side of the stadium was filled to capacity, while the sunny side was about half full. Daytime temperatures reached over 90 °F (50 °C) that day, and game time was pushed back to 6:00 PM PDT as a result.
The following Shock players were named to All-Arena Teams:
The following Shock players were named to All-Ironman Teams:
Note: Statistics are correct through the end of the 2021 Indoor Football League season.
|Chris Siegfried||2006||14||2||0||.875||3||0||af2 Coach of the Year|
Main article: List of Spokane Shock seasons
Naini acquired the Shock trademark about a year after the franchise folded, trading the Empire name to the AFL in exchange for the Shock trademark. Adams “worked it out” with Naini to acquire the Shock brand