Father-to-be gets job in Hawai'i
By Kyle Sakamoto
Advertiser Staff Writer
Who: San Diego Riptide (4-5) vs. Hawaiian Islanders (6-4)
Where: Blaisdell Arena
When: 6:30 p.m. today
Admission: $25 lower bowl (reserved); $15 upper bowl sidelines (reserved); $10 upper bowl end zones (general); $7 youths. Parking is $5.
Radio: Live on 1500 AM
Promotions: Family FANFest from 4:30 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. in Blaisdell parking lot. Free.
Discounted tickets: Show GEICO insurance card and receive 50 percent off general admission; Times Royal Card members, Oceanic Kupa'a cardholders receive $2 off; Hawai'i Speed & Quickness Camp participants receive free admission to an Islanders home game with the purchase of an adult general admission ticket.
He's been around
The leagues Halakilangi Muagututia has played in or tried out for:
Regional Football League: Mobile Admirals (Ala.) 1998
Canadian Football League: Toronto Argonauts, 1998
Spring Football League: Los Angeles Dragons, 2000
XFL: Chicago Enforcers, 2001
NFL: San Francisco 49ers, 2001
Arena Football League: Chicago Rush (2003) and Las Vegas Gladiators (2003, 2004)
arenafootball2: Mobile Wizards (2002), Central Valley Coyotes (Fresno, Calif.) 2004 and Hawaiian Islanders 2004
But instead of wanting her husband close to home in Concord, Calif., Lenora told him to leave the Central Valley Coyotes (Fresno, Calif.), travel across the Pacific Ocean and play for the Islanders.
"She was the main one who made me come here," said Muagututia, whose wife works for Aloha Airlines in Oakland. "She's my agent. She calls all the teams and flies me out for tryouts."
Muagututia played in nine games this season for Central Valley and was second on the team with 27 tackles, but he and his wife said they felt he had a better chance of playing at a higher level if he switched teams. He said the Coyotes head coaching change early last week from Cree Morris to Fred Biletnikoff Jr. didn't influence his decision to leave.
After just a week of practice with the Islanders (6-4), Muagututia made the 19-man roster as a defensive specialist for tonight's game against the San Diego Riptide (4-5). Kickoff for the arenafootball2 West Division game is 6:30 at Blaisdell Arena.
"We're real fortunate he became available to us last week and he fits in real well," said Islanders head coach Cal Lee.
Because of his long first name, Muagututia, who is of Samoan ancestry, requested his teammates call him "Kalani."
Muagututia, 28, has been a well-traveled player since completing his college eligibility at Texas-El Paso in 1997. He football resumé includes seven leagues, 10 teams and eight cities.
He played 10 games for the Arena Football League's Chicago Rush last season before being cut, and finished the season with the Las Vegas Gladiators. He credited Lenora with getting him a job in the afl, and his goal is to get back into the league.
"As long as I go out there and do my best and get the best (game) tape I can get, it'll give me a better chance to play at the next level," Muagututia said.
He tried out for Las Vegas earlier this year, but was released in training camp. He then joined Central Valley.
Muagututia said he and Lenora only saw each other on weekends after she would drive three hours from Concord to Fresno to watch the Coyotes play.
Now he's living with relatives in La'ie.
"It was a hard decision to come down here," Muagututia said. "But I want to get a better job next year for my family. We think about the big picture."
He and Lenora met at a Fiji concert in Las Vegas in 2000, and got married last November.
"I wish we were together here," he said. "At the end of the season I'm going back to take care of her before she has the baby."
The Islanders' regular season ends July 31. ArenaCup 2004 will be in late August.
Roster moves: The Islanders activated lineman Evile Puna (knee) off the short-term injured list and placed lineman Antoine Simpson (concussion) on the short-term list.
On the radio: Injured Islander Eddie Klaneski will be the analyst for tonight's radio broadcast on KUMU2 (1500 AM). Klaneski, a defensive specialist, is out for the season with a partially torn anterior cruciate ligament and torn meniscus in his right knee. He is scheduled for surgery next week.
Ex-Islander Noga signs with Central Valley
Al Noga, former University of Hawai'i All-American defensive lineman and Minnesota Vikings defensive end, has signed with the Central Valley Coyotes of the arenafootball2 league.
Noga, who earned All-American honors at UH in 1986, was a defensive coordinator with the Hawaiian Islanders in 2002. His first game will be in two weeks against Oklahoma City.
Noga, 38, is a Farrington High alum.
The Islanders will play at Central Valley July 24.