Hawaii Gridiron League

Hawaii's fledgling football league struggles despite being filled with passionate, talented players. How long can it last?

Taking a break from regularly scheduled Scout/UH news, we look briefly into the Hawaii Gridiron League, Hawaii's only remaining professional football league/team now that Islanders and the AFL/HPFL have folded here. I'll admit that I have not yet made it out to a game. Still I know people who have both attended as well as who have participated and it seems to be the ultimate form of weekend warrior-ing. Everyone who participates has another job. And everyone who participates plays because at their core, they love the game. This kind of love is hard to replicate. Not when youre in college and dealing with agents and school and 21-year-old distractions and certainly not when you're in the NFL and you have the weight and expectations of the world (figuratively of course) heaped upon you.

The league's mission statement (taken from their website) is "to unite the most talented and committed football players and coaches here in the Islands and develop their skills resulting in one of the most exciting and competitive football leagues in the world. The HGL major league style platform will provide our players with the opportunity to once again play the game they grew to love and if they take full advantage of this chance can potentially lead to the opportunity to advance their playing careers to the more established professional leagues such as the NFL, CFL, AFL and the X-League of Japan. The ultimate goal of the HGL is to become the supreme conference in the World Gridiron Association and show to other international gridiron leagues that no football is greater than the HGL. In doing so not only do we gain worldwide respect for football here in the islands but we also have another platform to spread Aloha around the globe resultin in Hawaii being the hub from Golbal Gridiron Competition."

One of the confusing things I came across when doing research for this piece is that there are (or were) actually two different leagues here. The HGL and the HPFL (Hawaii Professional Football League.) The latter was founded in 2010 by Carson Peapealalo and appears to be defunct. HGL lists their founder and CEO as Darrick Branch (who many of you will remember from some of the first great UH teams in the 90's.) It appears that two of the HPFL teams (the Honolulu Volcanoes and the Kailua Storm) carried over between the two leagues (the other two HPFL teams, the Waianae Sharks and the Ko'olau Hurricanes, no longer exist.) In addition to the Volcanoes and the Storm, there are also 6 other HGL teams. The East Side Kings, the Ewa Beach Cane Spiders, the Pearl City Paniolos, Tribal Warriors and Waikiki Stingrays. The HGL website has not currently built out rosters for these individual teams. That being said, people who have gone to games tell me that there are a ton of former warriors involved, both in playing and in administration (including Bryant Moniz, Keao Monteilh, Ashley Lelie and many others.) I really do hope something like this continues. I understand that the likelihood of it serving as a springboard for players to make it into the NFL is incomprehensibly slim. Still, football is more than just the NFL's millions. It's therapeutic and ultimately a way of life. I would not disparage anyone trying to chase that dream. No matter where it takes them.


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