By S.C. Zuba
After four years of ownership, the Lowe family has decided to sell the Rockford Thunder, leaving the defending Cowles Cup champions looking for a new home or buyer before the start of the 2010 season.
In a press release, former Thunder owner Robert D. Lowe made the following statement: “It comes with a very heavy heart and at a time of positives that our family has decided to put our women’s professional fast pitch team up for sale.”
Lowe added: “The team had its best year in 2009, and we couldn’t be happier with it ending with a much-deserved title for the girls. But we feel now is the right time for a new owner. I want to thank all the great fans, the hard work of General Manager Aaron M. Moore, assistant Dave Desanti, the entire staff and players, and so many other individuals. We would also like to thank the Village of Roscoe and the group at Stateline Youth Athletics for everything they’ve done to bring the Thunder where they are today.”
The Thunder, one of the original teams to form the National Pro Fastpitch league, began playing in 2003 in Houston, Texas. Lowe purchased the Thunder in 2006 while the team was still in Houston, and left the team there for one season before moving it to Rockford in 2007.
The NPF league has taken over the rights to the team and the roster as they wait for a buyer.
“What we know is Bob Lowe no longer owns the team,” NPF Commissioner Cheri Kempf said in a telephone interview last Monday from Nashville, Tenn. “The way it would continue (in Roscoe) is if someone from there bought it. But that territory and that roster are both for sale.”
According to Kempf, an Atlanta-based group had signed a letter of intent to purchase the team, yet the group failed to meet the deadline to finalize the deal.
As of now, there is a great deal of uncertainty as to who will be operating the Thunder next season, and where they will be doing so. NPF players are scheduled to report to their teams in May. The schedule for the 2010 season has not yet been released.
If the league cannot find a buyer by the start of the season, it will be forced to operate the team itself, which is something the league is hoping to avoid.
Losing the Thunder would be a great loss for all of the Rockford area as the Thunder are the only professional team that calls Rockford home.
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From the Dec. 16-22, 2009 issue