The Book Closes on Seattle Thunder
More than a decade ago, Corey Field first set out on the PSP professional division field with his newly minted team, Seattle Thunder. Featuring a diverse roster of the Pacific Northwest's best players, Corey took over the mantle as the owner of the premiere professional team from the region, with the ghosts of the Portland Naughty Dogs still looming.
The team was a diverse mix of young and hungry upstarts and league veterans all looking to make their mark when they entered the first event of the 2012 PSP season in Galveston. They did something quite unexpected of rookie xball teams, and they made Sunday their first event as an official PSP pro team. However, they would have to wait nearly a month to play that Sunday match, as a freak storm pushed the Galveston playoffs into event two of the season where teams would play an entire Sunday playoff the Thursday before event 2 started. They may not have won the event, but they set the stage that paintball is still strong in one of the most forgotten regions of the country.
Thunder would spend the next few seasons fighting to keep their pro status in the final days of the PSP tournament series and did enough to earn an invite into the NXL, what would be the newest premiere tournament xball league in the country. Thunder would retain their position in the NXL pro division for the next seven seasons, never being in serious threat of relegation. Across their final two seasons of professional play, Thunder was able to make some serious noise, placing in the top six a total of six events and pushing some of the best teams in the sport to their breaking point.
Corey Field unintentionally became the patron saint of paintball in the Northwest in the process. Known for his generosity and support of growing the game, hundreds and thousands of players would come through his field, watching his team, and the dream of paintball would be ignited in many because of his dedication to the growth and sustainability of Northwestern paintball.
As of the start of the 2023 season, the Seattle Thunder Franchise final sale would be completed and the team will now move forward as a Northeast team from Brooklyn, known as the Bears. It brings the end of an era to the PNW's favorite professional team but not without the fingerprints of Thunder all over the pro division and the sports popularity in the region.
From Iconic Paintball and the rest of the sport, we just want to thank Seattle Thunder and Corey Field for all the growth they helped to create for the sport, and for all those they inspired to get out and play the game. We loved watching you play on the field as both fans and analysts of the game the last decade. We wish you the best as you move forward in your paintball endeavors.
The WNXL has added yet another professional franchise coming off its inaugural season as the worlds premiere women's professional paintball league. The New Jersey High Rollers will join the WNXL as the NXL's 10th official franchise and are the second Northeast team to join the pro division.
Franchise owner Allie Balmores is the mind behind the leagues newest program and the team will be based out of Quickshot Paintball located in Shamong, New Jersey. For full details, read to complete press release below.
Infamous strikes back! Joe Barrett Signs with Los Angeles for 2023! NXL Professional Paintball News
Infamous shores up their backline after departure of Cody Mickowski
Joe Barrett announced that he would be departing San Diego Aftermath just a few weeks ago, and now he has decided to sign with Los Angeles Infamous for the 2023 season. This is a move that continues the youth movement trend for Los Angeles, as they now have the fourth youngest roster in the NXL Professional Paintball division.
Joe played a key role for Aftermath in 2022 as a disciplined and stoic gunfighter. He additionally has greatly improved as an offensive player in the center of the field over the last year with San Diego, and he should fit right in to an Infamous roster that needs a more stout center attack. By signing on Joe Barrett, Infamous now can focus on a rebuild around their core roster of Kali Rudolph, Harrison Frye, Ryan Hall, and Jonah Jamroz as the next great Infamous lineup. We talked with Joe a bit about the move;
Q: What led to your choice to sign with Infamous?
Infamous is a historic team name that has existed and had success since I was a little kid. To become part of the alumni that has seen the greats like Chris Lasoya, Travis Lemanski, Kevin Rudolph and so many more is something that’s hard to pass on. I have been looking to join into not just a top team, but a standing core with veteran players that can help me learn and grow once again.
Q: What role do you see yourself playing with Infamous?
I am a plug and play guy. I have always focused on big communication, survivability and gun skills, so I will play whatever role is asked. However I’ve enjoyed attacking and putting pressure on teams, so I would enjoy the ability to continue developing into this ability and purpose for them.
Q: You have a ton of off the field connection with Harrison, will that play a key role in quickly acclimating to this roster for you?
Absolutely. Harrison is actually the player I have known the longest in the league, back to our regional league days. We have traveled the world together, so the synergy is natural at the point. If I watch over him, he usually shoots a lot of people. If he goes and dies blowing games open, he knows I will live and close it out. This was a major benefit that made the decision less difficult
Biggest Takeaways from the move to Infamous;
In one of the more shocking developments of the 2023 NXL preseason so far, longtime veteran defensive star of Los Angeles Infamous, Cody Mickowski, has parted ways with the team to sign with San Antonio XFactor for 2023. The moves comes as a surprise as Cody was one of the core members of the Infamous franchise and brand for more than half a decade.
The move is massive in scale for XFactor, as they finally get their replacement field general following the departure of Archie Montemayor last season. Cody should instantly plug into the starting lineup beside Colt Roberts, Meter Ninios, Billy Bernacchia, and LJ Parrish and provide a much needed boost to the anchor position on the field for San Antonio.
Players like Billy Bernacchia and LJ Parrish really benefit greatly from having a solid and anchored gun on the field like Cody, and his elite ability to command players down the field while providing some of the best zone control in the game will really improve the offensive attack for XFactor.
We believe this move will really balance the XFactor roster out and gives Coach Ryan Brand arguably the most weapons he has had on the field since the departure of Montemayor. This may very well move XFactor into the top two or three spot in the NXL Pro division and we believe it will lead to an event win in 2023 for this franchise after not winning and event since 2019. Anchors like Cody are very rare in the NXL, with the elite echelon being guys like Margott, Rabackoff, Harmon, and Cody; and this is a massive addition for one of the fan favorite NXL franchises.
Biggest Takeaways from this move
San Diego Aftermath hosting mega-practice tryout with some of the countrys' top young players planning to go.
Next weekend, San Diego Aftermath is hosting a mega-practice tryout with invitations sent out to some of the nations top young players as they prepare to rebuild their roster around their young core. With rumors already swirling about a few new pickups, Im sure we will get more clarity after the tryouts next weekend.
Mike Hinman, the owner of Aftermath, has always specialized in finding uncut gems in the paintball world and polishing them into top level star players with athletes like Marcello Margott, Alex Goldman, Raney Stanczak, and Dalton Vanderbyl all coming from the legendary Hinman coaching tree.
We will provide further updates as to who is attending the tryouts and who makes the cut.
Baltimore Revo adds talented offensive pair in Shon Saucedo and Caleb Abuhl for the 2023 season.
Baltimore Revo has made a big splash to start off their 2023 preseason with the signing of Caleb Abuhl, formerly of NRG Elite, and Shon Saucedo, formerly of Infamous. Both players are very competant offensive attackers down the snake side of the field and each bring their own individual style in the way the play
5 Biggest Takeaways from the move.
Abuhl tends to be a bit more of a bowling ball down the snake side of the field and bullies his way down the snake. While sometimes this pays off with big multi-elimination games, he can sometimes overextend or get into gunfights from poor position. Overall though, Abuhl will immediately become the top snake option for Revo, their biggest position of need coming into the offseason.
For Shon Saucedo, he is joining Baltimore after starting the year with San Antonio XFactor, and then moving to Los Angeles Infamous mid season. Shon is the perfect complement to a bully-style snake player like Abuhl, and Shons precise, timing based offensive approach will help to keep the Revo snake game hard to scout throughout events.
Arguably the two biggest storylines to emerge from this signing have to be the way this will open up the field for Stephen Omara. Omara is one of the games most elite players at floating around the field and playing in blind spots, and a shored up snake attack means he can go back to his more natural role as an insert player. Additionally, this also means the offensive load for Revo wont be solely on 2021 Dorito Player of the Year Chris Schehrs shoulders. I think with a more potent snake attack, we will see an even more refined Schehr in 2023.
Benny Carroll also becomes a beneficary of this move for much the same reason, it takes opposing guns off him on the break and moves them wide, opening up the talented center playes options on the field. Benny really emerged as the 2022 season went on as a very capable player in the center. With Henry Sentz anchoring the back line, we could see one of the most versatile and aggressive Revo rosters in years.
Much of the burden with quickly getting the new additions to the roster acclimated to the teams style will be on veteran snakeside 2, Rob Velez. Velez is incredibly poised and he has great body posture and bunker presence. His veteran experience will be a key piece in rapidly getting the Revo snake attack up to speed and he should be on early watch lists as a potential breakout player of the year.
Overall, we rate this move as an "A". It instantly filled a much needed hole in the Revo roster, and brings in two very talented offensive players. Im sure Tom Fore and Henry Sentz still have a few more moves planned, so check back for more updates!
Tampa Bay Damage Signs Raney Stanczak for the 2023 Season; Returns to former team.
NXL star player, Raney Stanczak, has signed with his former team Tampa Bay Damage for the 2023. Raney will depart San Antonio XFactor after a four year stint with San Antonio that saw Raney help bring two event wins and five finals visits over his tenure with the franchise.
The move comes as a bit of a surprise after Damage had their best season in a decade behind star players Jason and Jacob Edwards. Raney will immediately be a starting player and fill the final starting spot that Tampa Bay has struggled to find a consistent player in. The projected starting lineup for Damage for 2023 will be Jason Edwards, Jacob Edwards, Raney Stanczak, Chad Busiere, and Keith Brown as of now.
The addition also brings up the conversation that Tampa Bay very well may be the best defensive unit in the NXL after the addition of Stanczak. One of the most reactionary and poised players in the pro NXL division, Stanczak will bring closing ability that was sorely needed during the 2022 campaign, and his emotional leadership will be a critical add to a Tampa roster that can struggle to make comebacks.
Damage may now very well be the best defensive unit in the NXL with only Dynasty able to match their backline star power. Of course, the depth of Damage will still be on full display after a 2022 campaign saw Head Coach Joey Blute utilize the depth of his roster more than any other pro NXL coach. It will be interesting to see exactly how Coach Blute uses Raney on the field with an already talented anchor player in Jason Edwards; he may potentially become more of a center attack player akin to his early usage with XFactor in 2019. This would allow Damage to move Chad Busiere back into more of a dorito attack role and balance out Tampa Bay's spacing pretty effectively.
San Diego Dynasty Wins the NXL Champions Cup in near mercy rule victory over Tampa Bay Damage
Behind stellay play from Ryan Greenspan, Oliver Lang, Dalton Vanderbyl, and Marcello Margott, San Diego Dynasty has won the NXL Champions Cup and $40,000 with it! They are now three time champions of the World Cup over the last three years in the NXL.
Behind huge performances from Oliver Lang, Ryan Greenspan, and Alex Fraige, San Diego Dynasty is the 2022 Season Title Champion.
Live updates from the NXL World Cup
Follow along here and on our social media to get all the newest updates from the NXL Paintball World Cup. The 2022 season ends with everything on the line in pro paintball and the semi pro title race. Who will be relegated? Who will be promoted?