The Triangle Torch (also known as the East Carolina Torch) was a professional indoor football team playing in North Carolina. The team first played as the Triangle Torch in Raleigh, North Carolina, and was named after the larger Research Triangle region. The Torch started in 2016 as an expansion franchise of American Indoor Football (AIF). The AIF ceased operations and the Torch joined Supreme Indoor Football for the 2017 season. For the 2018 season, the team relocated to Kenansville, North Carolina, as the East Carolina Torch, and joined the American Arena League for its inaugural season.
Played in North Carolina
|Team colors||Red, gold, black, white|
|Head coach||Chris McKinney|
|League championships (0)|
|Conference championships (0)|
|Division championships (0)|
|Playoff appearances (1)|
The Torch was the third indoor football team to play in Raleigh, after the Carolina Cobras of the Arena Football League (2000–2002) and the Raleigh Rebels of the Atlantic Indoor Football League (2005–2006).
In August 2015, it was announced that an American Indoor Football (AIF) expansion team called the Triangle Torch would begin play in Raleigh, North Carolina, with home games to be played in Dorton Arena. The team was originally owned by George Stuphen, whose son played for the Alabama Hammers. Stuphen decided to bring a team to Raleigh due to talent in the area.
The Torch opened up their inaugural season with a 55–33 victory over the Winston Wildcats on March 20, 2016. Following the 2016 season, American Indoor Football ceased operations, and the Torch were left without a league.
In September 2016, Supreme Indoor Football (SIF) listed the Torch as a member. The Torch later confirmed they had joined the SIF on October 28. The team was sold in 2017 to David Foster, Harold Turner, and head coach Chris McKinney.
After going undefeated through the 2017 SIF season, the team lost the championship game to the Cape Fear Heroes. Not long after the game, the Torch announced they would be leaving the SIF. One month later, they were added to the newly formed American Arena League (AAL). Prior to the start of the 2018 AAL season, the Torch lost owners Harold Turner and David Foster to other business opportunities, leaving coach Chris McKinney as the sole owner from the previous season's ownership transition. In March 2018, the Torch also announced via social media they would have to play the season nearly 90 miles from Raleigh in Kenansville, North Carolina, at the Duplin County Events Center. With the new location, the team changed its name to the East Carolina Torch.
The Torch opened the 2018 season on the road with a 28–38 loss to the High Country Grizzlies before winning their first home game 51–12 over the Upstate Dragons. The team canceled and forfeited their second home game on May 5 against the Cape Fear Heroes. They won 69–6 over the AAL affiliate travel team Carolina Cowboys at home. In the following game at the Richmond Roughriders, they lost and had two players suspended for the rest of the season an illegal low block on a receiver in motion. After a 2–3 record and three home games remaining, the Torch canceled the rest of their 2018 season on May 26.
Following the 2018 season, the Torch began calling themselves the Capital City Torch but, as of August 2018[update], did not have a lease for an arena in the Raleigh area. On November 14, 2018, Torch owner and head coach Chris McKinney was hired by the Cape Fear Heroes as its head coach for 2019 and the Torch shut down operations.
Season-by-season results edit
|League Champions||Division Champions||Playoff Berth||League Leader|
|Season||Team||League||Division||Regular season||Postseason results|
|2017||2017||SIF||1st||6||0||0||Lost SIF Championship (Heroes) 24–30|
|Totals||11||10||0||0–1 in postseason|
- Includes four forfeited home games
Head coaches' records edit
Note: Statistics are correct through the end of the 2018 American Arena League season.
- "Chris McKinney: Leader of the Triangle Torch in-studio with the Sports Shop". August 7, 2017.
- "Front Office and Coaches". Triangle Torch. Retrieved July 6, 2017.
- Tom Shanahan (January 6, 2016). "Pro indoor football returns to the Triangle". www.newsobserver.com. The News & Observer. Retrieved May 10, 2016.
- "AIF in Raleigh NC begins today as new team has been awarded to Raleigh, NC". Triangle Torch. August 12, 2015. Retrieved August 12, 2015.
- Christian Candeloro (March 21, 2016). "Triangle Torch offers unorthodox entertainment". www.technicianonline.com. Technician. Retrieved April 18, 2016.
- "DAVID FOSTER, THE TRIANGLE TORCH AND THE AAL". ArenaFootballInsider.com. July 24, 2017.
- "ARENA FOOTBALL TEAM COMING TO EASTERN NORTH CAROLINA". WWAY. April 26, 2018.
- "AAL issues suspensions, fines in response to Saturday's Roughriders fracas". Richmond Times-Dispatch. May 23, 2018.
- "August 2, 2018 Facebook post by Triangle Torch". Facebook. August 2, 2018.
- "Heroes announce new leadership for 2019 arena season". The Fayetteville Observer. November 14, 2018.
- "2018 American Arena League Final Regular Season Standings and Playoff Pairings". AAL. June 12, 2018. Archived from the original on June 13, 2018.