When the Pro team list for Huntington Beach was released last week by the NPPL, it was indeed a shocker. The news release (which has since been taken down) looked a little something like this:
2013 NPPL Pro Team division is set at 15 teams. Over the off-season the NPPL has seen a new stream of up and coming talent in the pro player ranks. Like in any other sport players get older and retire while new young players take over. The NPPL Pro 7 man format caters to the new player as the format is very dynamic, methodical and strategic. Today’s 7 man player must be smarter, have more skill and above be a team player in order to play the S7 Format. This season will mark the beginning of a new era for Pro 7 Man teams and players as they compete for big cash and the coveted NPPL World Series Title.
NPPL 2013 Pro Teams:
1. San Diego Dynasty
2. DC Arsenal
3. San Antonio X Factor
4. Vancouver Vendetta
5. San Francisco Explicit
6. New England Avalanche
7. Portland Uprising
8. Phoenix Contact
9. Camp Pendleton Raiders
10. New Orleans Warped Army
11. Orange County Flashpoint
12. Philadelphia Energy
13. Fort Wayne Outlaws
14. Buffalo Crush
15. LA Paintball Gateway”
In light of these turn of events, the NPPL seems to be left with little options due to the mass exodus of the traditional NPPL pro teams jumping ship to the PSP. It brings to mind a quote by Hunter S. Thompson, “ When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.” I really can’t think of a better way to put this breakthrough in better context. With unprecedented change comes unprecedented action. The NPPL was faced with a tough decision and it made one. By bringing up teams from its lower divisions to fill in the pro ranks the NPPL will continue to be the leading 7 man series in the world.
To give us a little idea of what the 2012 team list consisted of, here are the rankings of the NPPL 2012 pro teams.
Only seven teams from the 2012 season remain. The top four teams, including the NPPL Champions Sacramento XSV, left for the PSP. Other top competitors like Tampa Bay Damage, Edmonton Impact, and LA Infamous have decided to consolidate resources and to only compete in the PSP. This is leaving a huge power gap in the league and puts San Diego Dynasty in a good position to retake the NPPL Championship crown. Typically, newcomers into the pro division have a difficult time getting to Sunday, much less the finals, but with this power vacuum that just took place this should lead us to a very exciting year. Teams like San Francisco Explicit, Portland Uprising, and Vancouver Vendetta who were the new kids on the block a few years ago will now get their chance to welcome all of the new blood and possibly find themselves on the podium consistently this year.
The big question on everyone’s mind at the moment is: Who are all of these new pro teams? Where did they come from? To somebody who doesn’t follow the divisional teams in the NPPL, some of these newer teams look like they just appeared out of thin air. While at the moment I can’t answer all of the questions about these new teams, I can point you in the right direction. We know that Phoenix Contact dropped in at the end of the year at the Vegas Championships. Camp Pendleton Raiders were the Division 1 Champions in 2012. Philadelphia Energy is made up mostly of the Division 1 Dynasty 2 squad with the addition of Bear Degidio along with some other players.
Who are the rest of these unsung heroes of our sport braving the upcoming storm of the 2013 NPPL season? Who will rise? Who will fall? One thing is for sure…these new teams are going to need your support. Make sure to check out their facebook fan pages and give them a like so you can follow these teams as they battle it out to win the coveted Pro NPPL Championship.
1. San Diego Dynasty: https://www.facebook.com/DynastyPaintball
2. Arsenal Crush (took over for DC Arsenal after they dropped out of NPPL): N/A
3. San Antonio X Factor: https://www.facebook.com/SanAntonioXFACTOR
4. Vancouver Vendetta: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Vancouver-Vendetta-NPPL-Professional-Team/183486618424980
5. San Francisco Explicit: https://www.facebook.com/sanfranciscoexplicit
6. New England Avalanche: https://www.facebook.com/pages/New-England-Avalanche/170521546392710
7. Portland Uprising: https://www.facebook.com/PortlandUprising
8. Phoenix Contact: https://www.facebook.com/phxcontact
9. Camp Pendleton Raiders: https://www.facebook.com/camppendletonraiders
10. New Orleans Warped Army: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Warped-Army/298652163415
11. Orange County Flashpoint: https://www.facebook.com/OrangeCountyFlashpoint
12. Philadelphia Energy: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Philadelphia-Energy/151253535038972
13. Fort Wayne Outlaws: N/A
14. Buffalo Crush: https://www.facebook.com/CrUshPaintballTeam
15. LA Paintball Gateway: https://www.facebook.com/paintballgateway
Everyone at Social Paintball would like to wish the best of luck to everyone competing in the 2013 NPPL Season.
You can keep up to date with the latest NPPL Surf City open scores at http://nppl.com/nppl-hb-2013-scores/.