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1993-1996 Vancouver Voodoo

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Vancouver VoodooRoller Hockey International (1993-1996)

Born: 1993 – RHI founding franchise
Folded: December 18, 1996

Arenas:

Team Colors:

Owners: 

Murphy Cup Championships: None

 

The Vancouver Voodoo were a modestly popular novelty hockey outfit during the mid-1990’s. The Voodoo were one of 12 original franchises in Roller Hockey International in 1993. RHI was an attempt to capitalize on the recreational in-line skating boom of the era. Teams played on a Sport Court surface layed down over the concrete sub-flooring of NBA and NHL arenas. The league gained exposure from a national cable television contract with ESPN that ran from 1993 until 1996.

Most Roller Hockey International players were minor league hockey players moonlighting during their summer off-season. A handful of retired NHL stars, such as Bryan Trottier and Ron Duguay, played in the league. The Voodoo featured former Canuck Jose Charbonneau, who led RHI in scoring during the league’s debut season in 1993.  Charbonneau used his Roller Hockey showcase to earn a new contract in the NHL with the Canucks. Bruising Vancouver native Sasha Lakovic also wet on to play in the NHL after playing for the Voodoo.

The Voodoo were founded by former Vancouver Canucks enforcer Tiger Williams and Mike King. Williams was (and still as, as of 2017) the NHL’s all-time leading in penalty minutes. In April 1996, Orca Bay Sports & Entertainment, parent company of the Canucks and the NBA’s Vancouver Grizzlies, purchased the Voodoo. The Voodoo moved into the brand-new General Motors Place for the summer 1996 campaign. But Orca Bay changed hands in November 1996. New owner John McCaw folded the Roller Hockey franchise in December 1996, just eight months after Orca Bay acquired the team.

The Voodoo won the division for all four seasons of their existence. The team under-performed in the postseason though and never made it past the second round of the playoffs.

 

Vancouver Voodoo Shop

Wheelers, Dealers, Pucks & Bucks: A Rocking History of Roller Hockey Interational. Richard Neil Graham

 

Voodoo Video

Voodoo vs. the San Jose Rhinos at San Jose Arena from a 1994 ESPN broadcast.

In Memoriam

Sasha Lakovic (Voodoo ’93-’94) died from brain cancer on April 25, 2017 at the age of 45. CBC News obituary.

 

Links

Roller Hockey International Media Guides

Roller Hockey International Programs

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July 21, 1995 – San Jose Rhinos vs. Vancouver Voodoo

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San Jose Rhinos vs. Vancouver Voodoo
July 21, 1995
San Jose Arena
Attendance:

Roller Hockey International Programs
58 pages

 

An attractive program from an obscure league.  This is from the San Jose Rhinos (1994-1997, 1999) of Roller Hockey International, a mid-1990’s effort to capitalize on the in-line skating craze in the United States.  While the games drew well in a few cities (the Anaheim Bullfrogs sometimes had crowds in excess of 10,000), RHI’s lack of an organic fan base and the tremendous expense of travelling by air and playing in major league arenas doomed the league after six seasons.

This program is from the third season of RHI in the summer of 1995.  The Rhinos won the Murphy Cup championship this season.  The league’s trophy was named after Dennis Murphy, one of the league’s founders and a serial sports promoter who also helped to launch the American Basketball Association, World Hockey Association and World Team Tennis in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s.

The compact RHI season played out over three months from June to August.  The Rhinos commissioned an illustration class in the art department at San Jose State University to design the cover art for 1995.  They chose three winning designs and created a different program cover for each month of the season.  This program is the July 1995 edition.

Rhinos Head Coach Roy Sommer coached the ice hockey Richmond (VA) Renegades of the East Coast Hockey League during the winter.  Most of the Rhinos players on this 1995 league championship team were vacationing Renegades players who followed Sommer to California to earn a summer time paycheck.

 

==Links==

San Jose Rhinos Home Page

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Written by AC

April 2nd, 2012 at 3:33 pm

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