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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Chicago Bandits' Ownership Changes Hands

The twice-defending NPF champion Chicago Bandits will have new faces almost across the board in the front office and in leadership positions as they seek to win their third consecutive title in 2017.

General manager Aaron Moore and owner Bill Sokolis have both departed their positions with the club, as has director of ticket sales and broadcaster Johnny Sole. Head coach Mike Steuerwald accepted a position as assistant general manager of the rival Scrap Yard Dawgs just days ago.

Moore is now a high school head coach in the Des Plaines, Illinois (Chicago surbuban) area.

In a statement to Justin's World, Sokolis said "The structure is already in place... in (Rosemont mayor) Brad Stephens and his enormous exposure and network to the corporate world, and his unending love for the game, I could not have found a better partner to pass the torch to."

Sokolis added that he feels he has "brought the organization as far as (he) was able" and intends to stay involved in the sport, saying "I will always be a part of the Bandits".

In contrast to some rumors, Sokolis said that, while financial issues did play a role, they were not among the most prevalent factors that convinced him it was time to move on from the team; he cited his health and grandchildren among those that were on the list.

Stephens, an official reaching nearly a decade of service and expected to easily win re-election this spring, told JWOS that the city of Rosemont believes in the team and that there are many benefits to keeping the team around the village (Rosemont's official classification).

The city of Rosemont paid a $50,000 "licensing fee" to the NPF to acquire the franchise, and received various credits from the league as a thanks for the town's previous contributions to women's softball and the NPF league. Stephens says that the village's trustees believe that the initial investment will be recouped through various avenues of sales, including concessions.

Stephens said the village of Rosemont will oversee the team and Rosemont employee Toni Calmeyn has been named the team's general manager.

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