Want to watch some sports?
Want to watch? There's ice hockey, baseball and football teams in town and lots of motor sports.
Pro hockey has been a winter staple at the Crown Coliseum since the facility opened in 1997. That inaugural team, the Fayetteville Force, was a member of the Central Hockey League for four seasons.
After a one-year absence, hockey returned in 2002. The Cape Fear FireAntz spent two seasons in two leagues before the formation of the Southern Professional Hockey League for 2004-05, when the team was renamed the Fayetteville FireAntz. The FireAntz captured the SPHL's President’s Cup championship in 2006-07.
Hockey has drawn well each season since the SPHL was launched, with the Antz luring a league-record crowd of 9,446 on Nov. 16, 2007. Games at the Crown have drawn the eight largest SPHL crowds, and the Antz have topped the 100,000 mark for regular-season attendace four times in their eight-year run.
In 2012-13, the FireAntz will be coached by Mark DeSantis, who played in more than 1,000 minor league games before retiring. He spent the past three seasons as an assistant coach with the CHL's Rapid City (S.D.) Rush. He is tasked with reviving a team that has missed the SPHL playoffs two years in a row after making the postseason in each of the league’s first six seasons. 321-0123 or fireantzhockey.com.
Another long-running, successful franchise is the city's collegiate summer league baseball team, the Fayetteville SwampDogs. The Dogs joined the Coastal Plain League in 2001, two years after the summer circuit was established.
SwampDogs products who have made it to the major leagues include: relief pitcher David Aardsma, who played for five MLB teams over six seasons; Baltimore Orioles infielder Mark Reynolds, who bashed 44 home runs in 2009 for the Arizona Diamondbacks; and outfielder Andy Dirks, who is in his second season with the Detroit Tigers.
Fayetteville plays its home games on Legion Road at J.P. Riddle Stadium. 426-5900 or goswampdogs.com.
Cape Fear Heroes
Another ongoing indoor sport at the Crown Coliseum is indoor football. Several tenants have called the Crown home, including an af2 franchise, the Cape Fear Wildcats, that moved to Albany, Ga., after a three-year run.
In 2007, the Fayetteville Guard went 12-0 and won the National Indoor Football League championship. Most recently, in 2012, the Cape Fear Heroes went unbeaten in a nine-game schedule, including a 79-27 rout of the California Eagles for the American Indoor Football crown. 835-0919 or capefearheroes.com.
The Cape Fear region is a hotbed for racing of many types, but primarily dirt stock car action and drag racing. The stock car season generally runs from late March through mid-October, while straight-line action runs virtually year-round at some region tracks.
Major events in the region include: the Carolina Clash Super Late Model Series at Fayetteville Motor Speedway multiple times annually; the PASS South, CARS Pro Cup and UARA-STARS circuits on the asphalt at Dillon (S.C.) Motor Speedway; two stops by the All Harley Drag Racing Association at Rockingham Dragway; IHRA Summit Pro-Am events at Rockingham and Dunn-Benson Dragstrip; and the NASCAR K&N Pro East and UARA Late Model tours at Rockingham Speedway.
In April 2012, NASCAR racing returned to Rockingham for the first time in eight years with a Camping World Truck Series race that was won by Kasey Kahne.
Updated: August 2012