Rush to return in 2010

After a one-year absence, the Arena Football League's Chicago Rush is returning in 2010, the franchise announced Thursday.

The Chicago franchise is owned by Chicago Gridiron, LLC., a group of Chicago-based investors led by managing partner William Niro, one of the original founders of the Arena Football League, and including Dr. Ciro Cirrincione.

The group has chosen to name the team the Rush and play its games at Allstate Arena.

"It is hard for me to express how excited I am about the Arena Football One league and our ownership of the new team here in Chicago," Niro said. "As someone who witnessed the original AFL grow from its' infancy to a successful sports league which entertained millions of fans each year, it broke my heart to witness the events of the last 12 months.

"Now that we have a new league, it is my goal to provide great sports entertainment to our fan base for many years to come."

Chicago Gridiron has hired Mike Hohensee as its coach. Hohensee coached the first Rush team from 2001-2008, posting a 83-57 overall record and leading the Rush to four Central Division titles and the 2006 ArenaBowl championship.

"I can't wait to kick off in April," Hohensee said. "Arena Football is in my blood. I fell in love with the game as a player nearly 25 years ago and have been involved in the sport ever since. No city in the country is as passionate about the game as the fans here in Chicago, and I am going to do my best to bring another championship to this great city."

Joining Hohensee will be newly named team president Ken Valdiserri, a former long-time front office executive of the Chicago Bears (1984-2000) and White Sox (1980-83). Recently, Valdiserri has served as the president of Mike Ditka's charitable organization, the Gridiron Greats Assistance Fund, which provides medical grants and pro bono medical assistance to retired NFL players in need.

The new team's office will be located at 920 W. Golf Road in Schaumburg.