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Shock set sights on title

The Spokane Shock came close to returning to the top of the AFL last year, but they couldn't hang on to a halftime lead and lost to eventual champion Arizona in the National Conference title game. Losing stings, especially when it comes so close to the ultimate goal, but it also serves as motivation in the offseason.

The Shock want to take the next step, the next two actually and win the ArenaBowl this season.

Here's more from Shock training camp.

Three Shock games on ESPN2

Three Spokane Shock games, two against Arena Football League newcomer Los Angeles, will be televised as part of ESPN's 11-game schedule. It was previously announced that four Shock games are part of CBS Sports Network's 20-game lineup.

Both Shock-Kiss games in Los Angeles, one on Sunday, May 4, and another on Saturday, June 28, and Spokane's home game versus Tampa Bay on Monday, July 21, will air on ESPN2.

More than 90 AFL games will be shown on ESPN3, the network's on-line streaming service.

Here's the complete ESPN schedule.

 

Shock defeat Chicago Rush 69-47

S-R photojournalist Tyler Tjomsland covered the Shock's win against Chicago.  Check out a big picture gallery of his photos.

Shock vs. Predators (May 11)

S-R photojournalist Jesse Tinsley covered the Shock's home game against the Orlando Predators on Saturday. Check out a big picture gallery of his photos.

Shock open against Rattlers

S-R photojournalist Colin Mulvany covered the Shock opener against the Arizona Rattlers.  Check out a big picture gallery of his photos.

Ex-Shock player in solitary confinement

Judy Reisner wants her son, Kevin Ellison, to get mental health treatment, but he sits in the Spokane County Jail. (SRPhoto/Dan Pelle)

A former pro football player arrested for arson in June remains in solitary confinement at the Spokane County Jail, and his mother says his mental health issues will worsen without treatment.

Kevin Marcus Ellison, 25, who was a starting linebacker and defensive back for the Spokane Shock arena football team, has twice been denied release from jail for mental health treatment. His lawyer appealed U.S. Magistrate Cynthia Imbrogno’s last decision, but U.S. District Court Judge Lonny Suko rejected the appeal Aug. 1, citing in part an altercation Ellison had with jailers last month.

Ellison’s mother, Judy Reisner, traveled from Los Angeles to Spokane to visit Ellison in jail on Wednesday. He’s not doing well, she said.

Read the rest of my story here.

Past coverage:

June 20: Kevin Ellison to stay in jail without bail

June 14: Shock player says God told him to start fire

Watch me talk about this story with KHQ's Dave Cotton:

Shock players moving out of Big Trout Lodge

This Big Trout Lodge apartment was heavily damaged in a fire allegedly set by a Spokane Shock player. SR file photo.

Players of the Spokane Shock team have spent this week moving out of the team provided apartments in the Big Trout Lodge in Liberty Lake even though their lease isn't up for another month. This comes after Shock player Kevin Ellison was arrested and charged with arson for a June 14 fire that started in his bedroom. He told investigators that he set the fire because God told him to, according to federal court documents. The team and the apartment complex managers are calling the move a mutual decision. Click here for more details.

Berkley fishing truck coming to White Elephant

FISHING — The Berkley Experience exhibit is coming to the North Division White Elephant store Thursday through Saturday with a variety of promotions and demonstrations for anglers.

  • Bring a fishing reel and get it filled with up to 200 yards of fishing line for $1 — or free with any purchase.
  • See seminars on reel maintenance, rod basics and line selection.
  • Get tips on setting up reels to minimize backlash.

In addition to the fishing stuff…

  • Enter drawing for tickets to Friday's Spokane Shock game.
  • Get your photo snapped with the Spokane Shock Rockstar Dance Team.

Kevin Ellison to stay in jail without bail

A pro football player who claims God told him to start a fire at his apartment complex in Liberty Lake will remain in jail amid concerns about his mental health.

Kevin Marcus Ellison, 25, who was dismissed from the Spokane Shock arena football team after his arrest June 14, repeatedly claimed to be Jesus Christ, including to an elderly woman who was at the hospital when Ellison was treated for smoke inhalation, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Aine Ahmed.

“He may have some mental issues,” Ahmed said.

Ellison also told Shock general manager Ryan Rigmaiden “that he was Jesus Christ, and that he was part of the rapture, and that God told him to start the fire,” Ahmed said. “He did not believe it (the fire) was going to harm him because God told him he'd protect him.”

Ellison told Rigmaiden he started the fire with a marijuana blunt.

Ellison, a former standout defense back for the University of Southern California Trojans, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to a grand jury indictment charging him with malicious use of fire to damage commercial property. He faces five to 20 years in prison if convicted.

His public defender, Kim Deater, asked for Ellison to be allowed to leave jail and live with his mother and brother in Los Angeles, though she said they wants him to undergo mental health treatment.

“They think that might be an issue,” Deater said.

Deater described Ellison as “a good friend, a good teammate, a good son, a good player.”

She said his success in football shows he can work toward a goal with a large group of people.

“That takes cooperation, that takes a bond, and that takes character,” Deater said.

She also said Ellison did not tell the elderly woman at the hospital that he was Jesus - he simply grasped her hand and prayed with her.

But Imbrogno ordered Ellison to stay in the Spokane County Jail after Ahmed described a series of bizarre behavior that included statements from a Shock dancer who said she fears Ellison.

“She became afraid of Mr. Ellison after he texted her specifically that he was Jesus Christ,” Ahmed said.

The woman, who was not identified, also said Ellison asked her to marry him just moments after meeting her.

He said Ellison's roommate, Chris Tucker, told investigators that Ellison told him he'd been Baptized just a few days before the fire. Tucker also said Ellison had offered him Vicodin to ease his pain while at an away game in Chicago recently.

It was Tucker who first realized there was a fire in the apartment he shared with Ellison.

The defensive lineman for the Shock told investigators he first thought the smoke was from burning food. He even took the batteries out of the smoke detector in his bedroom before he realized the fire was coming from Ellison's room, Ahmed said. He alerted Ellison to the fire, but Ellison told him “I'm good.” and didn't leave.

Ellison escaped the fire by jumping from a window of the third-floor apartment. The fire caused about $100,000 in damage. Ahmed emphasized that children live next door to Ellison's apartment.

Ellison was drafted in the sixth round by the San Diego Chargers in 2009. He was released by the team following a May 2010 arrest in San Diego on a controlled-substance charge after police reportedly found 100 Vicodin tablets in his car without a prescription. The charges was dropped.

Ellison joined the Seattle Seahawks but was released shortly before the 2010 season opener.

Shock Player: God Said To Start Fire

A pro football player who leapt from his burning third-floor apartment in Liberty Lake Thursday said he started the blaze with a marijuana blunt because God told him to, authorities say. Kevin Marcus Ellison, 25, a starting linebacker/defensive back for the Spokane Shock arena football team, initially told firefighters that he’d been smoking in bed, but evidence collected at the scene didn’t match that explanation, said Spokane Valley Fire Marshal Kevin Miller. Ellison was arrested during a follow-up interview at Deaconess Medical Center where he was being treated for smoke inhalation. “We were looking for smoking materials,” Miller said. “We ruled out any accidental cause”/Nina Culver, Meghann Cuniff & Jim Meehan, SR. More here. (SR photo)

Question: Do you believe Ellison that God told him to start the apartment fire with a marijuana blunt?

Shock player: God told me to start fire

A pro football player who leapt from his burning third-floor apartment in Liberty Lake Thursday said he started the blaze with a marijuana blunt because God told him to, authorities say.

 Kevin Marcus Ellison, 25, a starting linebacker/defensive back for the Spokane Shock arena football team, initially told firefighters that he’d been smoking in bed, but evidence collected at the scene didn’t match that explanation, said Spokane Valley Fire Marshal Kevin Miller.

Read the rest of the story here.

News Quiz Offers Shock Tickets, More

If it's Monday, it must be time for a new current-events quiz. Simply by participating this week, you'll be eligible for three random drawings for Spokane Shock football tickets. And if you finish at the top of the leaderboard, a $50 Davenport Hotel gift card could be yours. Good luck! Last week's winners: Thomas Fricks of Veradale (gift card) and John Owen of Spokane Valley (Regal Cinemas movie tickets). This week's News Quiz here.

DFO: Only 3 Berry Pickers on the leaderboard so far this week: Lolo, Duffer & KCres.

Win Spokane Shock tickets

Spokane Shock tickets are being offered to people who complete The Spokesman-Review weekly news quiz dated March 18.

Simply take the quiz, and you're eligible to win drawings that will be held today (Friday). We will have two separate drawing for two Spokane Shock tickets each time. The game is next Friday against San Jose in the Spokane Arena.

The overall champ wins a $50 gift card to the Davenport hotel. Good luck to everyone!

News Quiz Offers Shock Tickets

Bob Springli of Hayden won the secondary raffle prize in the weekly News Quiz contest — two tickets to the Bighorn Outdoor Adventure Show. Carleen Wickstrom of Spokane won the $50 Davenport Hotel gift certificate for being the best guesser. This week, the Spokesman-Review will have two random drawings on Friday, each for two tickets to the next Spokane Shock home football game. You can take the quiz by clicking on the “That's News for You” button in the righthand rail or here.

  • 3 HBO commenters are on the leaderboard: Lolo, Eddie Torreal & Kcres

AM: Shock Lose Opener In Overtime

Shock the Fox has a few words for Iowa's Jason Simpson before a kickoff in the 1st quarter during the season opener Monday in the Spokane Arena. Iowa escaped with a 69-63 overtime victory. (SR photo: Dan Pelle)

Question: Do you follow the Spokane Shock?

Rowley joins Pittsburgh Power

Quarterback Kyle Rowley's time with the Spokane Shock is over. He has joined the Pittsburgh Power.  Here is the AFL release. 

Shock sign eight free agents

Spokane added eight free agents, including 6-foot-6 wide receiver Aaron Fairooz and former University of Massachusetts quarterback Kyle Havens. Fairooz signed with the Shock in 2010 but spent the last two seasons with CFL Saskatchewan.

Monday was the first day AFL teams could sign free agents. More below on the Shock's newest additions.

In other AFL news, the Tulsa Talons are relocating to San Antonio. ArenaBowl MVP Aaron Garcia won't return to Jacksonville and many believe the ex-WSU QB is San Antonio-bound.

New Spokane Shock head coach Andy Olson

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New Spokane Shock head coach Andy Olson talks to the media Monday

INW: Shock To Play 1st Outdoor Game

The defending Arena Football League champion Spokane Shock will play their first outdoor football game this Saturday at Joe Albi Stadium in Spokane, against the Utah Blaze. Here, crews ready Albi Stadium for Saturday's Shock-Blaze outdoor game under the watchful eye of “Joe Fan,” a sculpture by Vincent De Felice. Story here. (SR photo: Christopher Anderson)

Question: Do you follow the Spokane Shock?

Live chat with Spokane Shock owner Brady Nelson

Spokane Shock owner Brady Nelson has had the Midas touch with Arena Football in Spokane.

The Shock won the af2 championship in its first season in 2006, captured the ArenaCup title again in 2009 and won the Arena Football League title in 2010. All three titles were won with different head coaches.

Brady was named af2 Executive of the Year twice. The Shock continue to boast strong season ticket sales and consistently sell out the Spokane Arena. All that success has created high expectations in Spokane and the current tumultuous season has drawn critics. The team is in last place in its division with a 3-5 record, four games behind division-leading Arizona.

He sat down at the computer on Thursday and the fingers were flying. He tried to get to every question. Watch the replay to read all the responses.

Live chat with Spokane Shock Head Coach Rob Keefe starting at noon

Rob Keefe has had a huge impact on the Spokane Shock arena football team, as both a player and coach. Keefe was a fan favorite as a defensive back for the Shock in their debut season in 2006, a season that ended with the Shock capturing the league title. Keefe took over as head coach last season and led the Shock to the Arena Football League title.

This season has tested Keefe. The Shock lost their first three games, but recovered in a big way with a 61-34 win over Kansas City last Friday in the Arena.

With a bye this week, Keefe has agreed to take time from his schedule to answer questions from fans in a live chat Thursday at noon.

If you have questions about the Shock or coach Keefe, be sure to check in at spokesman.com/sportschat at noon on Thursday.  Use the widget to the right to sign up for a reminder. You can submit a question in advance by sending it to sports@spokesman.com.

Shock vs. Kansas City

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The Spokane Shock take on Kansas City in the Arena on Friday, April 1, 2011.

Spokane Shock first practice

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The Spokane Shock held their first training-camp practice on Saturday, Feb. 19, 2011.

Slide show: Shock celebration

Here is a slide show with photos from Wednesday evening’s Spokane Shock championship celebration held outside the Spokane Arena.

Shock Capture ArenaBowl XXIII 69-57

The best team in the Arena Football League saved its best for last. The Spokane Shock, despite losing two defensive starters in the first 5 minutes, put together their most complete performance of the season, punctuating their inaugural AFL campaign with a convincing 69-57 ArenaBowl XXIII victory over the Tampa Bay Storm on Friday in front of a franchise-record 11,017 at the Arena. The No. 1-ranked Shock (16-3) will hang another championship banner on the Arena walls, to go along with the two Spokane earned in four seasons as a member of arenafootball2. Tampa Bay (13-6), the most successful franchise in the AFL’s 23-year history, was denied as it tried to add to its league-record five titles/Jim Meehan, SR. More here.

Question: Did you watch any Spokane Shock games at the Spokane Arena this year?

PM: Shock, Storm Battling @ Arena

Spokane  Shock quarterback Kyle Rowley gets solid protection from his line as he throws a touchdown to Shaun Kauleinamoku in first half action against the Arizona Rattlers at the  Spokane Arena last month. Rowley is facing a stiff Storm rush afternoon as they began ArenaBowl championship play at 5 o’clock against the visiting Tampa Bay Storm at Spokane Arena. Jim Meehan’s SR story about today’s game here. And: Folo Ryan Pitts’ Twitter from game here. (SR file photo: Christopher Anderson)

Question: Anyone dare to predict final score?

Shock Invite To Rossi Upsets Tribe

Here is a little-known fact about the Spokane Shock: Their playing field has a name. That name honors one of their major sponsors. The name is Spokane Tribe Field, and the Spokane Tribal leadership is not pleased that the Shock have invited Dino Rossi, the Republican challenger to U.S. Senator Patty Murray,  to take the field as honorary captain for tonight’s sold-out ArenaBowl game against the Tampa Bay Storm. In addition to an inappropriate mixing of politics and sports, the Tribe says in a press release this afternoon that Rossi has been particularly unfriendly to Indian Country issues. Two years ago, during his second failed run against Gov. Christine Gregoire, Rossi said the Spokane and other Washington tribes “laundered” casino money by contributing to Gregoire. The Rossi campaign ran attack ads on the issue all fall in 2008, calling the money “a payoff” and a “quid pro quo”/Kevin Taylor, Inlander. More here. (SR file photo of Shock owner Brady Nelson)

DFO: Beth Bollinger/Accidentally Rabbit Trails contacted me today re: this. She exchanged e-mails with Shock Owner Brady Nelson this morning to express her anger. You can read those exchanges in descending order here.

Question: Should sports franchises be extra careful in inviting politicians to serve as an honorary captain for the team or throw out a first pitch?

Storm Unhappy w/Shock Vuvuzelas

From In the Huddle with JD: “With the game being played in Spokane, the Shock are trying to do whatever they can to increase their home field advantage by selling vuvuzelas. For those not in the know, vuvuzelas are obnoxious horns that are all the rage in South Africa at soccer matches. The horns made the soccer events almost unwatchable. Distributing the horns is tip toeing on a gray area in the rules. The AFL does not allow mechanical noise makers. There is debate whether or not the vuvuzelas fall in that category/Jason Dixon, Tampa Bay Storm Arena Football League Web official Web site). More here. (AP file photo of World Cup vuvuzela, for illustrative purposes)

Question: Should vuvuzelas be allowed at the Arena Football League championship in Spokane Friday afternoon?

Huey Whittaker envisioned ArenaBowl matchup

Spokane Shock receiver Huey Whittaker, a former Tampa Bay Storm player, expected to see his former teammates in Friday’s ArenaBowl. Read more here.

Shock Sells Vuvuzelas For Title Game

The Spokane Shock are selling vuvuzelas — those annoying horns that made the World Cup all that more difficult to watch — for Arena Football League championship showdown with the Tampa Bay storm Friday night in Spokane. Seriously. You can buy them for $6 at the Shock office now. Or for $8 at the Spokane Arena on game day. But why would you?

Question: Would you be more or less likely to attend an Arena Football League championship game, if you knew you had to put up with the sound of vuvuzelas?