|St. Louis Vipers|
|Most titles||Anaheim Bullfrogs (2)|
League president Dennis Murphy had been involved in the establishment of the American Basketball Association, World Hockey Association and World TeamTennis. RHI hoped to capitalize on the inline skating boom of the early 1990s. Key parts of its success were its stance on no guaranteed contracts, instead teams would all split prize money.
Murphy saw big potential for the sport and believed that inline hockey could become the #1 hockey sport in the US. The league had plans to expand to up to 24 teams, including some from Europe, by 1997. However, RHI became known for its unstable franchises, instability in the league's front office itself, little media coverage and many teams struggling to attract crowds - while the Anaheim Bullfrogs led in attendance with an average of 9800, seven teams attracted less than 4000 on average, while the whole league's attendance averaged around 5000 by 1996.
Ultimately, after five seasons of play and a fading in the inline skating boom, RHI folded in 1998 with two of its franchises joining Major League Roller Hockey: the Buffalo Wings and its premier club, the Anaheim Bullfrogs. After folding there was a movement to revamp and come back the following year as Major League Hockey, but it never came to fruition. RHI was revived in 1999, with a 10-team roster that included five holdovers that had played in RHI in 1997: the Anaheim Bullfrogs, Buffalo Wings, Minnesota Blue Ox, San Jose Rhinos and St. Louis Vipers.
The league cancelled the 2000 season and the league finally ceased operations in 2001 when their sites were limited to arenas in California.
The St. Louis Vipers were resurrected in 2020 as an expansion team of the National Roller Hockey League.
The rules in the RHI were similar to but not identical to those of ice hockey. Besides the obvious difference of playing on a floor instead of ice, the RHI had four players and a goalie at a time on the playing surface opposed to ice hockey's five and a goalie. Minor penalties were only a minute and a half as opposed to two minutes and major penalties were four minutes instead of five.
There were no blue lines therefore no offside; however, there was still illegal clearing (icing) and a different version of offside--a player could skate over the red line before the puck; however, the player couldn't receive a pass over the line. The puck itself was lighter, at 3 oz. and made of red plastic as opposed to a 5 oz. black rubber ice hockey puck. There were four 12-minute quarters opposed to the NHL's three 20-minute periods. A tied score at the end of regulation time in the regular season would go straight to a shootout instead of overtime.
The playoffs followed a best-of-three series format; however, the third game was not a full 48 minute game. Instead it was just a regular 12-minute quarter called "the mini game". If the teams were tied at the end of the quarter a sudden-death overtime period would follow.
|St. Louis Vipers||1||0|
|San Jose Rhinos||1||0|
|New Jersey Rockin' Rollers||0||1|
|Roller Hockey International Progression|
|1993||12 teams||14 games|
|1994||24 teams||22 games|
|1995||19 teams||24 games|
|1996||18 teams||28 games|
|1997||10 teams||24 games|
|1999||8 teams||26 games|
|Year||Teams||Expansion||Defunct||Suspended||Return from Hiatus||Relocated||Name Changes|
Los Angeles Blades
St. Louis Vipers
San Diego Barracudas
|1994||24||Atlanta Fire Ants
Edmonton Sled Dogs
Minnesota Arctic Blast
New England Stingers
New Jersey Rockin' Rollers
San Jose Rhinos
Tampa Bay Tritons
|Toronto Planets||Connecticut -> Sacramento River Rats
Utah -> Las Vegas Flash
|1995||19||Detroit Motor City Mustangs
Minnesota Blue Ox
Las Vegas Flash
Tampa Bay Tritons
|Minnesota Arctic Blast||New England -> Ottawa Loggers
Atlanta -> Oklahoma Coyotes
Edmonton -> Orlando Rollergators
Long Island Jawz
Detroit Motor City Mustangs
|Minnesota Blue Ox
|Minnesota Arctic Blast||Phoenix -> Empire State Cobras
||Orlando Jackals (Rollergators)|
|1997||10||Minnesota Arctic Blast
San Diego Barracudas
|Empire State -> Buffalo Wings||Ottawa Wheels (Loggers)|
Long Island Jawz
Sacramento River Rats
|Minnesota Blue Ox||Oklahoma Coyotes -> Las Vegas Coyotes|
The Eastern Conference and Western Conference were created when RHI doubled in size to 24 teams in 1994 after its first series of expansion and realigned its teams into two conferences and four divisions. Prior to the 1994 realignment, Roller Hockey International divided its teams into only three divisions and no conferences.
From 1994 through 1996, the Eastern Conference was divided into the Atlantic Division and the Central Division, which were both successors to the Murphy Division. Starting in 1997, the conferences had no divisions.
From 1994 through 1996, the Western Conference comprised teams divided into two divisions: Northwest Division and Pacific Division. Starting in 1997 the conferences had no divisions.
There was also a call-in style stats, scores and interview hotline where fans could call in following games. The phone number was 1-800-741-4RHI. This line was updated nightly following each game.
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (September 2011)
In the 1994 and '95 seasons, there was a regular schedule of games on ESPN2. In addition, several teams had their own radio or TV contracts. For example, a number of Blades home games were seen on Prime Sports and the Bullfrogs had radio broadcasts from 1994 to '96.