By Dave Hart

MUSKEGON – West Michigan Ironmen fans might have wondered what happened to the team’s scheduled road game this weekend against the Chicago Aztecs.

It never happened, because the Aztecs no longer exist.

When the Ironmen joined the American Arena League this season, they learned they would be playing in the three-team Midwestern Division, along with the Aztecs and Indianapolis Enforcers.

The Ironmen were scheduled to play the Aztecs three times this season, including once at L.C. Walker Arena. So when that team folded, it left a huge hole in their schedule.

Fortunately the league stepped up a few weeks ago when the news of Chicago’s departure became official, and scheduled games for West Michigan on May 4 and May 18, when they were originally scheduled to play the Aztecs.

The Ironmen will now travel to Kentucky to play the Louisville Xtreme on May 4, and will host that team on May 18. The Xtreme last played as a franchise in the Continental Indoor Football league back in 2014.

Louisville will take Chicago’s place in the Midwestern Division, and the top two teams in the division will make the postseason playoffs. That’s a change from the original plan, when only the division champion was supposed to make the playoffs.

Ironmen head coach Nate Smith said it was a relief that the league managed to fill some of the hole in his team’s schedule.

“The league was very proactive in filling the dates that became open for our team,” Smith told “The guys would have loved to have the travel game this weekend, but we are glad we did not lose out on any of our home games.

“The Xtreme will be a great test for our team.”

West Michigan now has five games remaining on its regular season schedule, with two games against both the Xtreme and Indianapolis Enforcers and a single game against the West Virginia Roughriders.

The Ironmen will host West Virginia at L.C. Walker Arena on Friday. Kickoff is set for 7:15 p.m.

“We are pretty hopeful we can make the playoffs this year,” Smith said. “The league will be adding more teams and there are going to be some more positive announcements coming soon.”