Lively Tales About Dead Teams

Archive for the ‘RHI’ tag

1995-1996 Oklahoma Coyotes

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Roller Hockey International (1995-1996)

Born: March 20, 1995 - The Atlanta Fire Ants relocate to Oklahoma City.
Died: February 1997 - The Coyotes go on hiatus and later move to Las Vegas.

Arena: Myriad Convention Center (13,398)

Team Colors: Red, Black & Gold

Owners: John O’Shea & Don Smith

 

The Oklahoma Coyotes played two seasons of summer Roller Hockey at the Myriad Convention Center.  The franchise began life in Atlanta, Georgia in 1994 as an expansion team in Roller Hockey International, but left after one season of disappointing attendance in that city’s Omni Coliseum.  The new Oklahoma investors, Don Smith of Oklahoma City and John O’Shea of New York, hoped to capitalize on the massive popularity at the time of the Oklahoma City Blazers ice hockey team.  During the mid-1990′s the Blazers were one of the biggest box office draws in all of minor league hockey.

The success of the Blazers failed to rub off.  The Coyotes averaged an estimated 2,200 fans per game during their two-year residency at the 13,000-seat Myriad.  In December 1996, local investor Don Smith gave up his interest in the team, leaving no real connection to the city.  The team claimed it couldn’t get decent dates for the summer of 1997 at the Myriad and explored moving permanently to Billy Balloo’s, a recreational roller hockey arena that already served as the Coyote’s practice facility.  When that move failed, the Coyotes withdrew from Roller Hockey International in February 1997 to re-group and attempt to return to play in 1998.  In December 1997, the Coyotes moved their operations to Loas Vegas.

RHI itself shut down in late 1997 to re-organize and did not play in 1998.  The league made a comeback attempt in 1999 and long-time Coyotes owner John O’Shea took the team out of mothballs after a two-and-a-half year absence.  The Las Vegas Coyotes played one final campaign at a 1,500-seat arena in Nevada before Roller Hockey International went out of business for good in 2000.

Down on the rink, the Coyotes failed to make the playoffs in either of their seasons in Oklahoma.  Winger Doug Lawrence was a bright spot in 1995, leading RHI in total scoring (23 goals, 68 assists).

 

==Links==

Roller Hockey International Media Guides

Roller Hockey International Programs

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Written by andycrossley

February 5th, 2014 at 3:22 pm

1994-1999 San Jose Rhinos

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Roller Hockey International (1994-1997)

Born: 1994 – RHI expansion franchise.
Died: Postseason 1999 – RHI ceases operations.

Arena: San Jose Arena (17,190)

Team Colors: Purple, Gold, Black & White

Owner: Rich Shillington

 

The San Jose Rhinos were a Roller Hockey International franchise that played out of the San Jose Arena during the mid-to-late 1990′s.  During their second season in the summer of 1995, the Rhinos won the Murphy Cup championship of RHI by defeating the Montreal Roadrunners in the championship game.

After years of declining membership, RHI collapsed in the fall of 1997 due to internal financial disputes between the remaining owners and league CEO Larry King.  The 1998 season was cancelled and the league appeared to be dead.  Improbably, the league returned for a comeback season in 1999 and the Rhinos came out of cold storage to play one final season.  But nobody paid much attention and Roller Hockey International faded quietly into history before another season could be staged.

 

==Links==

Roller Hockey International Media Guides

Roller Hockey International Programs

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Written by andycrossley

February 5th, 2014 at 12:32 am

1993-1996 Oakland Skates

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Oakland SkatesRoller Hockey International (1993-1996)

Born: 1993 – RHI founding franchise.
Died: October 1996 – The Skates cease operations.

Arenas:

Team Colors: Teal, Purple & Black

Owners: Murray Simkin, Bill Schoen, Bill Bettinelli & Gail Bettinelli

 

The Oakland Skates were one of 12 founding franchises in Roller Hockey International, a 1993 start-up league that tried to capitalize on the recreation inline skating boom of the early 1990′s.

During the inaugural season of RHI in 1993 the Skates nabbed the 8th and final playoff spot despite a less-than-mediocre 5-9 record.  They upset the St. Louis Vipers and the Calgary Rad’z* in the quarters and semis to earn an improbable trip to the Murphy Cup finals against the Anaheim Bullfrogs.  The undefeated Bulldogs (15-0-1) made quick work of the Skates, sweeping the series 2 games to 0 in September 1993.

The Skates played their first three seasons in the enormous Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Arena, home to the NBA’s Golden State Warriors.  The building was far too big for the team’s small cult following.  The Skates averaged just 2,710 fans per game for 12 home dates in 1995.  The Skates had to play the 1996 season in the 80-year old Henry J. Kaiser Arena in downtown Oakland due to renovations at the Coliseum.

The majority owner of the Skates was restaurateur Murray Simkin.  At league meetings shortly after the 1996 season, he withdrew the Skates from RHI to go on a hiatus for the 1997 season.  The team never returned to activity.  RHI itself took a hiatus in 1998, briefly returned for a low-profile 1999 season, and the vanished for good at the turn of the century.

 

==Links==

Roller Hockey International Media Guides

Roller Hockey International Programs

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1996 Denver Daredevils

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Denver DaredevilsRoller Hockey International (1996)

Born: 1996 – RHI expansion franchise.
Died:Postseason 1996 – The Daredevils cease operations.

Arena: McNichols Arena (16,061)

Team Colors: Daredevil Blue, Purple, Yellow & Red

Owners: Norton Herrick, Stephen Kurtz & Paul Jacobs

 

The Denver Daredevils were one of two expansion teams admitted to the shaky Roller Hockey International (1993-1999) for the 1996 season.  The Long Island Jawz were the other one and both clubs went bust after just one season, condemned for eternity to FWIL’s One-Year Wonders file.

The Daredevils finished last place in their division with a 8-17-3 record.  Daredevils Head Coach Kevin Cheveldayoff was a former 1st round draft pick of the New York Islanders (1988).  He later became an accomplished front office executive in the minors and the NHL.  As of this writing in 2014, Cheveldayoff is General Manager of the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets.

Team owner Norton Herrick also owned RHI’s league champion Orlando Jackals during the 1996 season.

 

==Links==

1996 Denver Daredevils Statistics on HockeyDB.com 

Roller Hockey International Media Guides

Roller Hockey International Programs

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Written by andycrossley

February 4th, 2014 at 9:57 pm

1996 Long Island Jawz

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Long Island JawzRoller Hockey International (1996)

Born: 1995 – RHI expansion franchise.
Died: July 1996 – The Jawz announce they will disband after the 1996 season.

Arena: Nassau Coliseum (16,297)

Team Colors: Blue, Silver, Black & Red

Owner: Jim Leahy

 

The Long Island Jawz made a brief appearance in Roller Hockey International, playing a single campaign in the summer of 1996.  The owners of the Jawz – who also owned RHI’s New Jersey Rockin’ Rollers franchise – got into an acrimonious battle with Spectacor Management Group (SMG), managers of the Nassau Coliseum, over advertising placement rights and threw in the towel before the team’s inaugural season was even over.  In July 1996, just one month after starting play, the Jawz announced they would fold after completing the 1996 RHI schedule.

The team was pretty good, finishing 16-9-3 under Head Coach Phil DeGaetano.  Winger Hugo Belanger (48 goals, 53 assists) recorded the only 100-point season on RHI’s history and won the league’s Player-of-the-Year Award.  Another key player was Glen Metropolit (39 goals, 37 assists) who later enjoyed a 9-year NHL career between 1999 and 2010.

 

==Links==

1996 Long Island Jawz Statistics on HockeyDB.com 

Roller Hockey International Media Guides

Roller Hockey International Programs

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Written by andycrossley

February 4th, 2014 at 9:21 pm