ALBANY — The Albany Empire is set to ride again in 2021.
Albany’s National Arena League franchise announced Tuesday that the team will be named the Empire when it takes the field at Times Union Center in April 2021, continuing the legacy of the Albany Empire Arena Football League team, which posted a 22-7 record between 2018 and 2019 — highlighted by an ArenaBowl XXXII championship in 2019 — before the franchise ceased operations when the AFL was dissolved.
“It has been one of the most exciting thrills of my professional career acquiring the Albany Empire,” Empire owner Ron Tridico said in a press release announcing the name. “We would like to thank the National Arena League, its owners, and the city of Albany for their patience and dedication. We look forward to returning to the Capital Region and continuing the amazing winning tradition that has been laid before us.”
The Empire is now part of the NAL, which currently consists of nine teams. Head coach Rob Keefe, who led the Empire to the ArenaBowl title, will return as Albany’s head coach.
“I am very excited that I will once again be the head coach of the organization called the Albany Empire. The Empire name is synonymous with winning and excitement,” Keefe said in the press release. “We are going to do everything possible to win games and continue to build an awesome culture for Albany and the Capital Region.”