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Hockey and Other Roller Games Discussions about hockey played on inline skates, quad roller skates, and ice skates. Also includes discussions about other games played on skates such as roller basketball and rollersoccer.

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Old November 9th, 2007, 10:17 PM   #1
Kathie Fry
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Default Major League Roller Hockey Returns in 2008

Press release from Major League Roller Hockey

Quote:
PRO ROLLER HOCKEY IS BACK

MLRH Returns to Full Pro Status beginning April, 2008

Grand Rapids, MI - Major League Roller Hockey (MLRH) has announced that they will, once again, be the only professional Inline Hockey League in North America when the puck drops on their 2008 Season.

“This will be the rebirth of professional inline hockey in the United States” says Chief Executive Officer Matthew O'Neill. “For several months we have been sharing our ideas with a number of associates throughout the hockey community, and we’ve determined that the time is right and this year is going to be something special.” MLRH will return to an April through August season and will remain the only full-contact roller hockey league world-wide. They will also continue their policy of only one team per major market. “It's the only way to present a high quality product” said O'Neill.

“Beginning play in April also allows us to take advantage of several minor league venues with enhanced seating. Additionally, it frees up the best hockey players, ice or roller, from college and pro teams as well as some of the established players currently playing in MLRH.”

A return to glory days

MLRH was founded in 1998 by entrepreneur Bill Raue. While MLRH operated successfully in it’s inaugural years (attracting as many as 10,000 fans at the Pond in Anaheim for it’s Championships), the league fell victim to the demise of a rival league and was brought down as pro roller hockey flamed out in 1999. “There were so many bad feelings when RHI folded with $40 million in losses that it was virtually impossible to play at the professional level,” said Raue.

MLRH has operated throughout the Midwest and Eastern seaboard playing with primarily amateur players. “It was a good way to keep our name in front of the public,” said Raue. “We had a lot of fun but, realistically, we were not going to get back to the Glory Days depending on some of the guys that drifted through the league. The partnering with a professional ice league will add professionalism and commitment.”

Under the agreement between Raue and the Elite Sports Group (ESG), Raue will retain the rights to MLRH Properties and remain involved with the league, primarily in a marketing and advertising capacity. “Matt O’Neill has a vision, great enthusiasm and a solid track record in business and I will do all I can to help him make it happen,” said Raue.

The announcement of the 2008 MLRH Professional Season, has been a surprise to some inline hockey enthusiasts based across North America, but to the ice hockey brass, it has just been a matter of time. “It was nice to be able to have our guys keep in shape over the summer months, while being able to play in their hometown” stated a former United Hockey League Head Coach. “I didn't have to worry about the guys that were playing MLRH or RHI coming back to camp 15 - 20 pounds overweight. They came back ready to play.”

O'Neill added, “We are working on a national television deal with a sports cable network and are hopeful that the 2008 MLRH Finals will be broadcast nationwide, with additional game of the week broadcasts in regional spots. We will play with 8-10 teams in major markets but they will be very, very good teams and a hugely entertaining product.”

Elite Sports Group partner, David Vernier, will serve as the Commissioner for MLRH. “Dave is going to be our guy that puts a great plan into place; he was great at getting our camps and tournaments off the ground throughout the Midwest.”

Vernier will be in charge of day to day operations of the league, including acting as a liaison between the numerous ice hockey Players Association’s and MLRH, as well as working closely with the owners and players of Major League Roller Hockey. “Dave is going to focus a lot of time and energy expanding out product across North America,” said O'Neill.

League officials indicate that, to increase the competition, players will be paid for every win and receive a lesser amount for losses. Coaches will be paid with incentive contracts as well. Play begins on April 19th with the ESG Cup Finals set to wrap up the weekend of August 15 th.
For more information see the Major League Roller Hockey (MLRH) Web site.
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