Mile High Grizzlies: Articles

Tuesday, July 14
What is the CFC

Scott Bondy - 4/29/2008

At what age should a man’s dream to play football be squashed? Who’s to say he’s too old, too slow even when the passion still burns within to compete.

The Colorado Football Conference, the oldest semi-pro football league in the country, can somewhat answer those questions. If you like football, and you have the drive to play, you’d better check them out. Little known but full of heart, these guys epitomize what football is really about. And they do it all along the Front Range.

The Colorado Football Conference kicked off in 1987, pretty much with a bunch of guys who wouldn’t give up their dreams to play. It was a moderately organized backyard-type game. Once people started hearing about it though, more and more teams showed and wanted part of the action. From high school graduates to guys who couldn’t cut it in the pros, the range of talent is baffling.

“It recreational football at the next level,” explains league commissioner Mark Segobiano, who has been with the league since its inaugural season. “It’s comparable to AAA in baseball.”

The term “working class” gets thrown around a lot when discussing the league’s players and that makes a lot of sense when you look at the roots. Some of the first teams to join the league were comprised of law enforcement and fire fighters.

And while the league has expanded, everyone is still part of the working class.

Even league commissioner Segobiano for example. He’s been with the league the whole way. His playing background goes as far as high school, but like many of the other guys who formed this league, he couldn’t give it up. Segobiano has been a player, coach, champion and owner in this league prior to being named Commish. He’s seen and done everything possible. Football has just been a bonus the entire ride.

“I’ve witnessed this league go from somewhat of a sandlot league to a very clean cut and structured organization,” he says proudly. “The guys or there have the same heart—if not greater—but don’t necessarily have the same talents.”

But before you envision a bunch of out-of-shape old guys, that isn’t entirely true however.

While there are a great number of guys with minimal experience, you also have players with college, semi-pro and even professional experience. Yes, that includes some ex-NFL guys.

Guys who went to college or the pros and had career ending injuries, guys who couldn’t buckle down with grades, guys who turned pro and had some bad luck—they’re all represented.

This league isn’t just for those on the down-slope, however. The CFC is also used as a booster league. Since it is considered semi-pro, which doesn’t pay it’s participants, some athletes can keep their eligibility. Between the structure that the league offers and the dedication of it’s coaches, the league can help some guys regain focus.

“Many of these guys have aspirations of to play at the next level, which is arena football,” says Segobiano. “The Colorado Football Conference can certainly help.”

The guys practice once or twice a week with one game on the weekend. So obviously the coaches have a lot to do with the successes in the league. It takes a good deal of work and smarts to get guys ready to compete with such little prep.

Lou Florez is one of those guys and one of the best in the league. He’s been involved with coaching for over 10 years, the last seven in the CFC. After playing some college ball for Colorado State, he took up coaching on a part-time basis for Chatfield assisting the offensive line. From there he got involved with the CFC and things really took off. He’s got six CFC championship titles (all with the Denver Titans), three of them coming as head coach.

But one question remains when considering the wide talent range and little preparation: just how does a league like this maintain some sort of balance?

Well, for the past six years it hasn’t. The Titans have swept every championship and finally for the 2008 season there will be some changes. A couple teams were added, which now leaves the total at 10, and Florez has the challenge of coaching one of them. The Cobras will start their inaugural season in late May and who better to guide them than Florez?

“We’ve got to start from the ground up,” he explains with a certain sense of excitement. “I’m out here recruiting, calling coaches, trying to get this team going. When (the Titans) went to the championship game all those times it was one of the best experiences I’ve been involved with…Now I’ve got a new task ahead and it’s exhilarating.”

In fact that’s the same way Florez describes the league in general. He talks about the league as if it were the NFL. And why not, for some of these guys it might as well be.   

Tuesday, July 14
Grizzlies Team Photographer Wins Award!

04/24/2009 9:51 PM

Denver Daily News Photographer Hector Acevedo Wins Media Award

The Central Hockey League (CHL) announced today that Hector Acevedo, staff photographer for the Denver Daily News, has won the inaugural Central Hockey League Media Services Award.  The award will be ‘Presented annually to the media member that has provided outstanding service to and coverage of the CHL while helping to further the recognition of the league’s brand’.

Along with his duties with the Denver Daily News, Acevedo also serves as the team photographer for the Rocky Mountain Rage and the Broomfield Event Center.  He also works for many other media outlets in the Denver Metro area as a freelance photographer and provides visiting CHL teams and the CHL league office with game photos during and after the event.  In addition to the CHL, he has covered the Colorado Avalanche and the University of Denver hockey program.  He is known for capturing spontaneity, emotion and action and the true spirit of hockey.  His reputation for sharp clear images and anticipation of what is going to happen is his trademark.

“Hector continually provides outstanding photos for the league’s use in publications and on the league website as well as providing action shots for all CHL teams that visit Broomfield,” said Bob Hoffman, the CHL’s Director of Communications.  “The shots he provides, the service he brings and the always positive attitude makes him great to deal with and a true asset to the CHL.”

The Laredo, Texas native has been working in photojournalism since completion of his degree at the Colorado Institute of Art in 1982, where his expertise was photography.  He began his career working for weekly newspapers in Spanish and English to build his portfolio.  He also attended George Mason University where he was a double major in Psychology and Spanish.  He currently resides in Aurora, Colorado with his wife Della and son Miguel.

“Hector was an easy choice for the Rage’s team photographer,” said Erin Pahl, Director of Media Relations, Broomfield Sports and Entertainment.  “I met him while working with the University of Denver Hockey team and I quickly noticed the quality of his work and his reputation in the community.  I became an instant fan.”