CHICAGO (September 29, 2017) – The Professional Bowlers Association’s PBA League will return to Bayside Bowl in Portland, Maine, in April where the most fun-loving, raucous fans in bowling will help celebrate the PBAL's sixth season, closing out the ESPN portion of the inaugural Go Bowling! PBA Tour schedule with four consecutive Sunday telecasts, including the PBA League Elias Cup finals on Sunday, May 13, at 1 p.m. EDT.
Leading the eight-team pack into the fast-paced sixth season will be player-manager Norm Duke’s Dallas Strikers, in search of their third consecutive Elias Cup. Chasing the Strikers again will be the hometown Portland Lumberjacks, managed by Tim Mack; the Silver Lake Atom Splitters, managed by Mark Baker; the Philadelphia Hitmen, managed by Jason Couch; L.A. X, managed by Andrew Cain; the New York City WTT KingPins, managed by Carolyn Dorin-Ballard; the Motown Muscle, managed by Del Ballard, and the Brooklyn Styles, managed by Johnny Petraglia.
In keeping with tradition, the PBA League will officially get underway with team managers announcing the names of three players from their 2017 rosters who they want to protect when the annual player draft is held. On January 7 Duke and Mack (Dallas and Portland) will name three players from their 2017 rosters they want to retain for the new season. On January 14, Baker and Couch (Silver Lake and Philadelphia) will announce their three protected players. Cain and Dorin-Ballard (L.A. and New York City) will select their three protected players by no later than January 21, and Ballard and Petraglia (Motown and Brooklyn) will have until January 28 to name their three protected players.
All eight teams will then round out their five-player rosters in the PBA League Draft which will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 13, in Indianapolis, site of the Go Bowling! PBA 60th Anniversary Classic, at Woodland Bowl. The draft will be live streamed on PBA’s online bowling channel, Xtra Frame, with teams picking in reverse order of how they finished in 2017. That means Brooklyn will select first – in both rounds – followed by Motown, New York City, L.A., Philadelphia, Silver Lake, Portland and Dallas. Of note, the 2018 draft will not use the serpentine order used in previous years.
There also will be a change in eligibility rules for players wanting to enter the 2018 draft pool. Players who will be eligible for the draft must finish in the top 75 on the 2017-18 PBA Tour-World Bowling Tour earnings money list for 2017 through the 2018 PBA Tournament of Champions which ends February 11. Players from 2017 teams who are not protected by their team managers will not be automatically eligible for the draft. The eligibility list will be published on Feb. 11; eligible players must then declare their intention to participate in the draft by Feb. 12.
The PBA League’s return to Portland will get underway with the PBA Xtra Frame Maine Shootout April 17-19, with a PBA Tour title at stake in an open-entry event that will be covered from start to finish on Xtra Frame.
On Friday, April 20, all PBA League teams will bowl an eight-game Baker format “seeding tournament” to determine seeding positions for the Baker format single-elimination match play bracket.
The PBAL quarterfinals will take place on Saturday, April 21, with the No. 1 seeded team vs. No. 8 and No. 4 vs. No. 5 on the first ESPN telecast that will air on Sunday, April 22. Immediately following on Saturday will be the second round of quarterfinal round matches between team No. 2 vs. No. 7, and No. 3 vs. No. 6. Those matches will air on ESPN on Sunday, April 29. All quarterfinal matches will be “best of two-game” Baker format team contests with a one-ball rolloff to break any ties.
Saturday’s winning teams will advance to the semifinal round on Sunday, April 22, at noon. The semifinal round winners will then bowl for the Elias Cup later on Sunday. The semifinal matches will air on ESPN on Sunday, May 6, with the Elias Cup finals airing on May 13.
All PBA League matches will be live streamed as they happen on ESPN3 and the ESPN app.
At the conclusion of the competition, the PBA will announce the Mark Roth PBA League Most Valuable Player.
2018 PBA LEAGUE SCHEDULE
Jan. 7 – Deadline for Dallas Strikers & Portland Lumberjacks to protect three rostered players
Jan. 14 – Deadline for Silver Lake Atom Splitters & Philadelphia Hitmen to protect three rostered players
Jan. 21 – Deadline for L.A. X and NYC WTT KingPins to protect three rostered players
Jan. 28 – Deadline for Motown Muscle & Brooklyn Styles to protect three rostered players
Feb. 12 – Deadline for eligible players to declare for the 2018 PBA League Draft
Feb. 13 – 2018 PBA League Draft, Indianapolis
April 17-20 – PBA Xtra Frame Maine Shootout, Bayside Bowl, Portland, Maine (companion event open to all players)
April 20 – PBA League eight-game Baker format seeding tournament, Bayside Bowl
April 21 – PBA League quarterfinal matches one (#1 seed vs. #8 seed) and two (#4 seed vs. #5 seed), and matches three (#2 seed vs. #7 seed) and four (#3 seed vs. #6 seed), Bayside Bowl
April 22 – ESPN telecast of quarterfinal matches one and two, 1 p.m. EDT
April 22 – Semifinal matches one (winners of quarterfinal matches one and two) and two (winners of quarterfinal matches three and four); Elias Cup finals (semifinal round winners), Bayside Bowl
April 29 – ESPN telecast of quarterfinal matches three and four, 1 p.m.
May 6 – ESPN telecast of semifinal matches, 1 p.m.
May 13 – ESPN telecast of Elias Cup championship match, 1 p.m.
HISTORY OF PBA LEAGUE ELIAS CUP CHAMPIONS
2013 NYC WTT KingPins presented by GEICO (Tommy Jones/Jack Jurek/John Szczerbinski/Scott Norton/Pete Weber/Kelly Kulick).
2014 Silver Lake Atom Splitters (Bryon Smith/Chris Barnes/Dom Barrett/Wes Malott/Tommy Jones).
2015 Bass Pro Shops Silver Lake Atom Splitters (Mika Koivuniemi/Chris Barnes/Craig Nidiffer/Tom Daugherty/Dick Allen)
2016 GoBowling.com Dallas Strikers (Norm Duke/Bill O’Neill/Shawn Maldonado/BJ Moore/Tommy Jones)
2017 Shipyard Brewing Dallas Strikers (Bill O’Neill/Norm Duke/Rhino Page/BJ Moore/Tommy Jones)
HISTORY OF MARK ROTH PBA LEAGUE MVP AWARD WINNERS
2014 Chris Barnes
2015 Dick Allen
2016 Tommy Jones
2017 Norm Duke