Anyone interested in entering a team in CrossFit Maui’s 19th Annual Hawaii 7 On 7 Flag Football League should contact Danny Crowell at (808)870-4422.
The League is scheduled to start on December 17, 2016. At this time CrossFit Maui is accepting the 1st 11 teams to register.
WAILUKU—The current Hawaii Flag Football League sponsored by CrossFit Maui is actually an extension of the former Hawaii Football League that Danny Crowell organized in the mid 1990s.
Crowell, a former Maui High School running back who played at Linfield College and the University of Hawaii before signing as a free-agent with the National Football League’s St. Louis Cardinals, resurrected the Hawaii Adult Football League that was born in 1991.
By 1994, the Hawaii Adult Football League had nine teams participating in an eight-game season. There were three teams from Oahu, including then league champions Halawa Hurricanes, three from the Big Island and three from Kauai. Back then the league was constantly going through changes, from the Hawaii Semi-Pro Football League to the Hawaii Adult Football League to the Hawaii Football League. Maui looked to enter the League with a team but the organizer didn’t have it together. Out of frustration the Maui Stars were born at Danny Crowell’s gym which is (was at the time of this artical) CrossFit Maui. Crowell would eventually serve as President of the Maui Stars and Commissioner of the HFL while playing running back and linebacker for the Maui Stars.
The Stars ruled the HFL and were perennial “Tsunami Bowl” Champions. At its peak in the late ’90s, more than 400 players and 50 coaches from across the 50th state participated. During a two-year stretch, from 1995 to 1997, more than a dozen HFL players received invitations for NFL, CFL, WLAF and Arena football tryouts.
With diminishing community support and growing travel expenses, the HFL faded into the sunset after the 2005 season. But during the 1999 season Crowell introduced Flag Football to the Valley Isle and it has become larger than the HFL. “We’re in our 12th season now,” Crowell said. “We’ve come a long way, from the 1st year having 4 teams and playing games on week nights at the stadium to playing games all day Saturday and Sunday, with as many as 17 teams participating, to the 11-team, 10-game format we have now.”
Crowell says the players make the league what it is. “We had our share of growing pains, but we’ve always emphasized fun first,” Crowell said. Family was another important element Crowell insisted on. Today wives, girlfriends, parents and their children enjoy watching the games every Saturday at Keopuolani “The Pit” Field. “Now each game is an hour long, we start at 8 a.m. and by 1 o’clock we’re done,” Crowell added. “The other key factor is the rules of the game. Over the years the players have come to learn the rules and respect the game. Part of that success came because we insist on the players serving as officials at least one Saturday on the schedule.”
During the transition from pads to flags, Crowell simply added Flag Football to the Hawaii Football League (HFL) moniker and now since CrossFit Maui is helping out, the name is now CrossFit Maui’s Hawaii Flag Football League. Today many current and former Maui Interscholastic League football players participate, along with others who never got a chance to play high school ball — for whatever reason — also share in the success of the league. The bottom line is, Crowell says, “Football is fun and that’s why we play.”
~Rodney S. Yap