It was in the late nineties when a group of Vermont semi pro football players who were then playing for the Plattsburg North Stars started to feel the strain of ferry tickets, gas and travel across the lake to play football.
The talk of starting up a Vermont semi pro football team seemed inviting and in 1998 the talk began but nothing materialized. There was talk about just getting a bunch of guys together and just play “ pick up tackle football” in a park somewhere. These guys loved the game but the love was waning due to the time and expense of traveling across the lake to play.
In 2000 two men, Dave Baldwin and Matt Timney, players for the Plattsburg North Stars, took the talk into action and replied to an ad in the paper from the New England Football League looking for new teams for their Boston based league. Former Plattsburg Head Coach Doug “ Doc” Perez was asked to be the new Head Coach and to take on the financial burden of being the new owner of the proposed team. A short time later they were approved admission to the league and the three met with others who were interested in starting a new team in Vermont.
Amongst all the talk regarding forming a team, which would need players, a field, and sponsors, was to officially name the team. Suggestions were made for the “Green Mountain Boys”, “The Vipers” and various others. Then Dave Baldwin brought up the name “Ice Storm” which was inspired by the 1998 ice storm that hit Vermont and caused so much damage. The name stuck and Blue and Silver became the team colors.
After many phone calls, meetings, and money was brought in, the organization got off the ground with the “Vermont Ice Storm” looking forward to their first season starting in 2001.
The initial work and vision by Dave Baldwin and Matt Timney catapulted the Ice Storm to be the successful organization that it has been over the last decade. Dave is quick to credit Angel, his wife and mother of his three children, for standing behind him and supporting him, while they and many others worked to make the team a reality.
2001 was the inaugural year of the Vermont Ice Storm. But a number of the coaches and players on the Storm that first season already possessed a collective "history" of sorts in the world of semi-pro football. As members of the Plattsburgh North Stars of the Empire Football League, these men had coached and played semi-pro football together for as many as ten years for the team across the lake in New York.
Beginning in 1991, the first year of the Plattsburgh team, a few dozen stalwart Vermonters, who were supremely motivated to play and to coach football, traveled across the lake to be involved in semi-pro ball. Taking the Grand Isle Ferry at their own expense, these men had to spend five or six hours in order to be able to attend each and every practice in Plattsburgh.
By the Ice Storm’s start-up year of 2001 and the inspiration and drive to create a new football team inspired by linebacker Dave Baldwin and defensive lineman Matt Timney, our new Head Coach Doug “Doc” Perez, our Special Teams Coordinator Mike LaBarre, our Wide Receiver Player-Coach Troy Canada and offensive lineman Russell Humphrey, linebacker Jim Buzzi, had all been members of the North Stars (by then re-named the Lake City Stars) teams of the ‘90s. Tired of the long commute and having every game be an "away from home" game, these men, and several others who have since retired, formed the nucleus of the group that started up the Vermont Ice Storm.
The Ice Storm entered the New England Football League in 2001 at the “A” level, and became winners immediately. Going 6-1 during the regular season, the Storm ended up winning a playoff game at home and, then, losing in the Championship Game to Southern Maine.
02 through 05 saw the Ice Storm establish itself as a championship and winning football team at the "AA" level. The Ice Storm defeated the New England Stars in Boston 18-0 for their first Championship. (See special tributes on web site (02). In 2004 the team made it to another Championship game. Although defeated by the Conn. Thunder, Vermont finished the season as the Pioneer (Northern) Division Champions and conference runner-up. (See special tributes on web site (04)
In 2006, the Vermont Ice Storm achieved a long held goal; to enter into the Empire Football League and play at the “AAA” level. Proving some detractors wrong, the Storm moved up to the “AAA” level and continued its winning ways.
Going 8-2 during the regular season, the Storm won a first round playoff game – for the 6th season in a row - against its cross-lake rivals from Plattsburgh. This was the third victory of the season against the Lake City Stars and it set up a semi-final loss to the Watertown Red and Black in Watertown.
At the end of the season, the Storm was honored with an invitation to play in the National Championship Tournament at the “AAA” level. A first round, on-the-road victory against the Blitzin’ Bears from Massachusetts proved that after six long years of hard work on the part of several hundred people Vermont belonged at the highest levels of the sport.
The Storm lost in the quarter finals to an Albany team that went on to play in the National Championship game in Florida, losing in overtime against the Washington DC Explosion a team the Ice Storm would meet and beat in the USA Bowl in 2009(representing the 2008 season). The Final “AAA” record for 2006, 10-4.
The 2007 and 2008 teams were the best Ice Storm teams to date winning an EFL championship and named AFA National Champions in (07) and a USA Bowl National championship in (08) and finishing up both season campaigns 15-1. (See special tributes on web sight (07) and (08)
At the end of the 2008 year, Head Coach Doc Perez, Offensive Coordinator Scott Aguglia, and a host of men from the two national title seasons retired. The ensuing 2009 campaign, led by former player and new Head Coach Darren Haynes, was a long and hard one, made more difficult by the fact that everyone in the football world was "out to get" the somewhat weakened Ice Storm. The team, behind Coach Haynes, and his vast football knowledge, rallied in the late going of that season, and kept several powerhouse teams to low scores and remained competitive until the end.
In 2010 an original member of the Ice Storm family returned to the team. Former player, defensive coordinator, and board member Mike Salmon returned to the team as Head Coach after a three year hiatus. Back with Salmon came many veterans from previous Ice Storm teams including the championship teams from 2007 and 08.
Together they helped Vermont return to it's winning ways. Finishing the regular season at 6-2 Vermont traveled to Watertown for a first round play-off game. They were defeated by the Red and Black to end their season, but along the way re-established themselves as a competitive team in the "AAA" Empire Football League. Their signature win was defeating the eventual Champions from Plattsburgh as they delt them their lone setback of the entire year.
2011 saw the Ice Storm take a one year "leave of absense" from the EFL for re-organizational purposes.
In 2012 they are returning to the Empire Football League under new ownership under RedzoneVT LLC. (See Ownership page)
In its previous ten years of existence, the Ice Storm has acquired a reputation for solid, sophisticated, clean, hard football, that is known far and wide.
Winning just under 70% of its games at the "A", "AA", and "AAA" levels of semi-pro football, going through a six year streak of undefeated home playoff games, and winning a N.E.F.L. Championship in 2002, an E.F.L. Championship and a National Championship in 2007, and another National Championship in 2008, the Ice Storm are excited to return to the field in 2012.
After a year off the Vermont Ice Storm are moving on with the pride, tradition, and determination to improve even upon its momentous previous achievements!
by Angel Baldwin
Vermont's first of the modern era
Semi-Pro football Team
Proclamation of the Teams Championship Season in 2002
The game was played in a driving wind and rainstorm, with the on-the-field temperature dipping down to 38. In control all the way, the Vermont Ice Storm became “AA” Champions of the New England Football League with an 18-0 shutout upset of the home team.
Final Record = 10-2-1 Overall (counting pre-season)
Proclamation of the Teams Championship Season in 2007
Winning at home against Chateaugua in the opening round of the playoffs, the Storm hosted the perennial power-house Watertown Red and Black for the EFL championship. On a cold, muddy field, in a 9-8 game that went down to the wire (the Storm scored to take away the final victory with just 4 seconds remaining in regulation), the Vermont Ice Storm completed a "perfect season" at 15-0 as Empire Football League Champions.
At the end of the year, the American Football Association named the Ice Storm its "2007 National Champions." But since there are several organizations that name national champions, the Ice Storm opted to play in a "bowl game". Vermont decended upon Miami, FL in Jan of 2008 to play in the USA Bowl AAA National Championship game and see if still another accolade could be achieved.
Losing by just one touchdown (22-14) to the Detroit Black Ravens, the Ice Storm finished the season with still another trophy, this one for the USA Bowl's 2nd Place-in-the-Country to finish the 2007 campaign 15-1.