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Mass. Pirates to Leave Worcester, Announce New Venue

By Tom Marino | October 24, 2023
Last Updated: October 24, 2023

WORCESTER – The Massachusetts Pirates are leaving Worcester.

Th4e team announced it will hold a press conference on Tuesday, Oct. 24, at 4:45 PM at Plainridge Park Casino in Plainville where it will announce its new venue and future plans.

Plainridge Park Casino opened sports betting soon after it became legal in Massachusetts in January.

The Pirates was the third indoor football team Worcester. The Detroit Drive moved to Worcester to become the Massachusetts Marauders for its 1994 season in the Arena Football League, then folded. The New England Surge, a Continental Indoor Football League team,  played two seasons in Worcester, then ceased operations.

All three teams played their games at the DCU Center. The venue was called the Worcester Centrum when the Mauraders played there.

The Pirates have played at the DCU Center since its inaugural season, which began in April 2018. Its lease expired with the end of its 2023 season.

In a message on the Pirates website on August 9, team co-owner Jawad Yatim said the team was evaluating its options and had “participated in conversations with various arenas including the DCU Center, other venues within the Bay State and outside of New England.” He also said, “I can confirm that this will be strictly a business decision.”

Its first two years were played in the National Arena League (NAL). After the 2019 season, the team announced it was leaving the league after it created a new league via a merger with Champions Indoor Football. Two weeks later, the merger was dissolved. The Pirates rejoined the league, but never played another NAL game.

The 2020 season was cancelled due to COVID-19. The Pirates became the first team on the East Coast in the Indoor Football League (IFL) for the 2021 season. Heading into the 2024 season, The Pirates are the only team in the northeast in the league.

The Pirates won the IFL championship in 2021. In 2022 and 2023, the team lost both of its first round playoff games.

The team is co-owned by a Hassan and Jawad Yatim, who are father and son. Hassan is involved in several ventures. According to public corporate records, he also the founder of Hmyatim Ventures LLC, and the owner of Riverside Gulf at 1530 Concord St. in Framingham, Gulf Station/ Chop Chop Convenience at 590 Southbridge St. and 528 Pleasant St. in Worcester, and multiple business entities registered to a virtual office in Marlborough. He is co-founder and the former Chief Operating Officer of Yatco Energy, which currently operates 13 retail gas station and convenience stores in Massachusetts and one in Connecticut.

Before becoming co-owner of the Massachusetts Pirates, Jawad Yatim was a professional football player in the AFL China and IFL, according to his LinkedIn page.

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