View Full Version : What the %#$@ is wrong with the MLRH?!
06-23-2003, 05:01 PM
ok this is some rather informal market research here. Basically, I would like to hear from you what you feel is wrong with the MLRH. I know most of the issues that will be brought up have already been brought up here before. I'm not looking to discuss them, I'd just like to get your list. Basically, in your opinion, why isn't the MLRH the do all, end all, say all, roller league? You get extra credit if you prioritize your list ;)
I'll be quite honest, my request is rather self centered. As many of you know I have spent a good bit of time these last 2 months working with several other MLRH owners doing a league re-org. In a nutshell, I'd like a fresh list of what this group feels is wrong before word of our changes start to leak out (the docs are being mailed out this week to owners).
Williamsburg Warriors, MLRH AAA
Major league has to have as it's first priority - quality of play ie - if you build it( the excitement of a true quality contest) they will come!!!!! This must take precedence over expansion (inspite of all my recent posts - but all the groups should be working under one well organized management effort with a clear vision). To clarify this I mean not having a diluted talent and fan base by having too many teams too close together. I am also talking about evaluating the players at tryouts by the league. If there are only five guys who cut the mustard - have another tryout or find some players to import. But there should be minimum standards of play. Same thing for the refs. Having fewer teams in the same concentrated area will help this. Solicit the youth movement - bring in the top 18 year old talent - make them believe they are playing at the top end of the sport by having the top players and the best run games.
Major League needs to get more exposed not only to the general public, but even to the Inline community!!! The public must be made aware of both the quality and the intensity of play. Leave no doubt that this is "THE LEAGUE"
Significant funding up front - giving proof of financial viability by serious commitment. ( I know this has been addressed) Even if this meant only say eight teams - so be it - make them eight top organizations - no compromize with the quality of the product!
Do a market study on the buildings used. (If not already done) Is the venue hurting the credibility and thus attendance? People not taking these contests seriously because of the low profile arenas? A thorny problem - but needs to be addressed.
A media coverage plan - long and short term. Tied in with Major sponsors. Every splintered group within the sport is fighting for a piece of the major sponsor pie - and who can blame them for not being able to give one group the big piece - there is as yet no clear holder to the title of "The Big Leagues" in roller hockey. By coordinating all the elements noted above and the myriad of unmentioned details that do with it, Major League could well make a claim to the throne. And by sponsors - I am not talking about Inline Equipment sponsors, but the Nextels and Verizons of the world, Coca cola, etc etc.
06-24-2003, 12:05 AM
The "professionalisation," if you would, could come from adopting minimum standards:
1. Stadia/venue seating capacity minimums (whatever number the league decides). Stadia must also be recognized as more than simply the neighborhood rink.
2. Minimum percentage of ticket sales go to players. Guest team as well as home team. Doesn't matter if your player cut is $1.25, you get something from every game. If your team draws well on the road, you get rewarded. Each team has its formula for how its "franchise" players, and others, each get a portion of their team's ticket sales player shares.
3. Image standards. team names. team colors. Cities represented. Logo standards. all published for all to see.
4. game day standards of operation. spectator operations. pre-game. post-game. (I understand that some of these are first rate already.)
5. Franchise geographic standards to begin with...I have never seen any professional sports organization where geographic rights didn't come with the franchise agreement. The issue of "too many teams, too close to each other," should frankly never even come up...
6. May I also personally suggest the three-period, 20 minutes stop time per period format? This is one thing that makes hockey a unique sport, and I personally hate that inline hockey has shied away from it into the halves and quarters realm....
7. Please make the rules to allow the game to develop the larger-than-life, game-changing superstar...Babe Ruth, Red Grange, Bill Russell/Wilt Chamberlain, more recently, Steve Zungol (MISL), all "revolutionized their game to new levels of development." All the stuff for decades that Gretzky did.
If you eliminate collisionary checking, so somebody can have a 100-goal, 200-goal, or even a 300-goal season (40 games?), that's the kind of stuff the media loves!!! If scores are 18-17, who cares? Nobody, not even goalkeepers, cause each goal is less pressure, not more! If there is a direct trade off between checking/fighting and dextrous, creative skill, let our new pro sport be the latter, not the former, which the NHL already is! Is anybody still talking about Scott Steven's big hit, or is the focus on Karya coming back to score the goal! It's the creative, tough-because-of-his-outright-guts player that we have the admiration for (no sleight to Stevens).
That's enough for this soapbox period...and thanks! to Ben for even asking, eh?
<font color=purple>DannyG</font color=purple>
06-24-2003, 04:06 AM
I only have one major complaint.. the dirty hits from behind and the high hits... they need to give out more suspensions and fines for it, if they do this, it'll make all the goons in the mlrh think before taking a cheap shot at star players. if a player boards someone and injures them, review it, suspend the player until the player they hurt comes back from injury and slap a fine on the team. I was a FIRM believer in MLRH and have dedicated my life to it for 3 years now but, because of the lack in consequences for stuff like that, Ive given up on the league until I see a change.. the way I see it, theres plenty more opportunities around the world where I can play/ teach hockey and make money so, I dont need a goon ending my career and then seeing them get away w/ it.
And would we have admired and remembered Karya's goal so much without it being after the big hit? Also as regards checking and scoring levels - the scores are no lower than any other roller hockey contest. Just that some of the goals are more exciting when made avoiding the big hits. /wtimages/icons/smile.gif
As much of an advocate of the checking game as I am - I have to agree about policing the cheap shots. If a player is injured from an illegal hit, whether a high cross check, a hit from behind, or a hit after the whistle - the offending player must suffer the same consequences as the injured player. Obviously each case must be reviewed individually as there could be freak injuries that far exceed the severity of the illegal hit and it may not be fair to assess suspension time equal to the loss of playing time of the injured player. Say a minimum of a two game suspension for injuries resulting from an illegal hit - up to and including matching the time lost by an injured player, with a permanent suspension if the player does it again.
If you have watched or played Narch Pro you will know how much checking goes on "illegally" in that series. I have seen a player submarined from behind while skating backwards - to where they performed a complete backwards somersault in the air (it was CJ Yoder who recieved the benefit) - and no penalty was even called. When you have players at this level of play - contact is a normal part of the game and in my opinion makes the game that much more exciting. How many out there who complain about "contact" grew up playing football and often played pick up "tackle" football with their friends on saturdays - without the benefit of any equipment at all?
By the way - as much as we have players and people railing against full contact - look at soccer - officially non contact - and look at the injuries created there. Also I have seen as severe injuries in non contact hockey, sometimes from contact, but more often from the use of viscious stick work. Maybe we should play without sticks too.
I believe that it is the responsibility of the league to make their rules of contact clear to all players during the tryout and training camps, and to do the same for the referees so everyone is on the same page as to what will be called an illegal hit and what will not. Maybe have one training session with a referree present to show exactly what will be called and what will not prior to the season.
06-24-2003, 08:43 AM
Great post. Perhaps you've said what DeathWish wanted to say but wasn't able to articulate. If that's the case, then I would agree with him that "major" changes need to happen in MLRH.
I have not seen an MLRH game since it was a pro league and it played some of its official games in California. It sounds to me as if MLRH needs to take a VERY intense look at the dangerous and illegal hits that some players are making, and BAN those players for life if their activities get that out of hand.
I once saw a "pro" inline hockey player punch another IN THE HANDSHAKE LINE after a professional game at the Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim, and he broke the nose of the player he punched. It was the most disgusting thing I've ever witnessed in my 20+ year career as a journalist. It sounds to me like some of the vicious "in-game" hitting happening in MLRH is just as sickening.
If I were running MLRH, I'd take a long, hard look at the situation and clean it up immediately, or risk a lawsuit that ends MLRH's existence as well as the long-term financial status of those organizers.
Inline Hockey Central
06-24-2003, 08:56 AM
Without the contact, MLRH is nothing more than the PIHA........ keep the full contact, but police the cheap shots better......
06-24-2003, 10:53 AM
Boy, the list has really changed from 2 years ago. Good post, Danny G, but some points to ponder.
I've heard horror stories about some of the rinks in which the ECHL plays (holes in the ice, poor plumbing in locker rooms, etc) so I'm not sure how much the rinks will change to be a "true" league.
When we do start paying players I hope it will be more than $ 1.25-How about the TEAM (travel, hotels, etc.) just breaking even. That's better than paying out of pocket which is still a recent memory!
I believe there is a measurement of distance in the franchise agreements, it just isn't very long.
And have you seen many MLRH games? The uniforms of almost every team are professionally done including logos, numbers, colors, etc. Some leeway was given to teams that were "redone" to finish the season.
There are already some "larger than life" players in MLRH. Talk to the teams and you'd learn who they watch for or match lines to and you'd hear the same names repeated.
I have worked for 4 years to help MLRH get where it is. Every year it has improved, the teams have improved and the playing has improved. Some teams have not been able to tow the line but, all in all, it is still here.
Keep posting helpful thoughts and improvements will happen.
06-24-2003, 02:09 PM
I for one am not AGAINST CONTACT, and yeah I grew up playing football actually (was actually almost dis-owned because I gave it up in college for INLINE HOCKEY).. I AS A PLAYER do not like the contact because Im not the biggest guy, as a fan and someone who has an idea of what it takes to make this pro thing happen and be credible, KNOW that the contact HAS to be there to keep the tough caveman mentality fans interested.. americans love to see hits and pain etc. its sad but true. So, while I may not likr the hitting when Im playing, I know its needed for the survival of the sport.
06-24-2003, 02:09 PM
To me, there's not many things worse than watching/playing a "non-contact" game with illegal hits right and left with no penalties called. As MDE3 correctly states, contact is a normal part of the game at this level. Checking should be also. Illegal hits and their consequences (determined by the league) should be just as well-known and understood as any other basic rule by every player, coach, team, etc. Zero tolerance 100% of the time will eliminate much of the "goon" play.
06-24-2003, 02:12 PM
Very true - four words of advise: KEEP YOUR HEAD UP!
06-24-2003, 02:17 PM
keepin my head up wouldnt have helped w/ the hit that hurt me... ya woulda had to have seen it.. youd know what I mean..
But you do claim to be agile - no? There's lot's of players who are not very large - but who seem to be able to survive the contact quite well - and in many cases even enjoy it. What is difficult is the blind side cheap shot - when you are not looking for it. Even that is somewhat avoidable if you just keep your guard and head up - at all times - knowing that it could happen.
Hockey is an emotional game in any of it's incarnations - and the contact seems to diminish some of the cheap stick work we see at "non contact" levels. My son has had many more injuries(mostly minor from errant sticks) playing "non contact" inline hockey(including PIHA minors where someone almost took his eye out with a deliberate butt end to the head) than he has playing full contact in MLRH.
06-24-2003, 02:37 PM
I accept your criticisms of my post wholehearedly...I have never seen an MLRH game, past the ill-fated attempt of a local misguided gentleman to try to join the league back in '96.
I base my suggestions on what I learned in the 80's, while losing a total of $87,000 in two attempts at developing professional indoor soccer in my area.
I accept that the MLRH, to me, is "long ago and far away," for the most part.
Interestingly enough, I had a conversation with two of our young players last night in the dressing room here. Brandon and Brian have returned from Phoenix to El Paso to finish their education, and played in Gold division rec league play in Phoenix for the last couple of years. They remarked to me that, until just before they left The Castle, and Phoenix, they were totally unaware that the Arizona Stallions even existed. In fact, they noted that they had played with/against about half of the Stallion guys in local league play, without knowing that the team was around.
This would seem to indicate that, outside of the core-sport-community, we have a long way to go to get "the general sports public" aware and educated...
<font color=purple>DannyG</font color=purple>
Very good observation Danny - I had the same phenomenon occur at the USA Inline tryouts for Team East - where none of the players I spoke with - or their parents even new about PIHA or MLRH. How would they aspire to these leagues if they don't even know they exist. Also there were no MLRH managers or coaches scouting this real hotbed of talent - some of which were certainly eligible to play for the next season. By looking at this level of upcoming talent - rather than for guys who played "pro" ice somewhere, or were ex RHI or old pro MLRH, you have a handle on some of the best players in the country coming up, and by getting them to play for their local(MLRH) teams - you have a draw with their teammates and local fans who have known these kids for years as they developed and were local stars in the various youth leagues.
06-24-2003, 02:45 PM
Contact will always be a part of hockey but i have seen some cheap shots in my local rec league and in the tournment that i just played in not get called and the player was slow to get up. I think like all of you do that that part of the game needs to get controlled. Player need to be protected but there needs to be contact. I have never seen a MLRH game and proable won't unless there is ever a team in Las Vegas. I can also say that there are a lot of people who are careless with their sticks in a non contact league. I wear a cage and i would have had a very messed up face if I hadn't been wearing it on a few occasions. I may not be a knowledgeble person on this subject but this my opnion.
As I commented in my other post - there is more nasty stick work used to slow people down in non contact than contact versions of the sport. It seems to me it has become an accepted practice even by the refs to allow interference hooking as part of the non contact game, and cheap stick work simply begets more cheap stick work where no full contact retaliation is allowed - or fighting either.
06-24-2003, 03:36 PM
<blockquote><font size=1>In reply to:</font><hr>
Without the contact, MLRH is nothing more than the PIHA
Is this a bad thing? ;)
06-24-2003, 03:37 PM
Oh, I thought it was Never Again Volunteer Yourself! ;)
Williamsburg Warriors, MLRH AAA
06-24-2003, 04:41 PM
LOL, LOL - I stand corrected!
06-24-2003, 04:44 PM
Depends on which league you're pulling for:) The only thing I'll put in on this is that the players come into MLRH knowing there's going to be contact. But if the hits from behind, slashes, etc, aren't policed well, then the guys are not going to want to stick around. One of the Crunch guys took a hit from behind in Jersey, if his head hits 2 more inches to the right, he may have broke his neck. Thank God he didn't, but he also didn't play another game, and I don't blame him. Also, if a player can't stick a puck from a oncoming player, then how can repeated slashes to his hand be let go each time. This is only from personal experience that I speak of, but it may also occur else where. I know many are working to get the league moving further ahead, but I hope they have taken a hard look at the lessons we all learned from last season. And have any of the players looked into their "Players Association" info. Are they covered for any injuries received during a game? Something I'd look into if I were going to play this season. Anyways, keep on trucking, happy bday to me, Im going back to work.
06-24-2003, 04:44 PM
Maybe not a bad thing but definately not MLRH!!!
06-24-2003, 05:05 PM
the problem with reviewing an illegal boarding play or hit from behind, hit hit etc. is that there is no replay available and it's safe to say half the refs miss it anyways, so the review would be the two refs (one is some cases) telling what they saw... thats a pretty biased view especially if its a home town official... all games should be taped by the league regaurdless of whether they are aired on TV
06-24-2003, 05:20 PM
FIGHTING... i am someone who loves hockey FIGHTS not ONE PERSON DROPPING THEIR GLOVES AND PUNCHING SOMEONE BEFORE THEY EVEN KNOW WHATS GOING ON. That happens WAY too much in this league. There should be a mandatory suspension and a sizeable fine paid to the league for this. This is a huge way for people to get hurt. Unfortunately, then the goons would all be out of a job. The problem is the players who have never played ice do not know how to fight or what a fight constitutes. From experience, it is known that even though you are "fighting" someone there is a great deal of respect towards each other if its a clean fight. By "jumping" someone the only reputation u get is a goon who can't even do his job. im rambling here a little but i think everyone can see my point.
06-24-2003, 05:33 PM
Trading deadline, i dont know if that's in effect i dont think so but ive been known to be wrong... also there should be rules about when a team disbands and all there players are up for grabs there should be a minimum amount of games to be played with the new team for the playoffs, the nhl has this rule regaurding freeagent signings and i agree. its not fair to the players who have played/traveled/won and lost with the team all season.
another issue i think that needs to be dealt with is the number of games requiered for playoffs. last season it was what 4??? that means if a player is around for 4 home games during the season then they qualify for playoffs? Make it a little challenging for these players who just come when they feel like it... there should be something like 3 home games and 3 away games minimum for each player. Because alot of the "star" players get cocky and think they don't have to travel with the team and show up when they want to. This is not fair to the players who get bumped for these people, the teams, the fans, the league, and ultimatly the sport of roller hockey.
Just my .02
06-24-2003, 05:43 PM
at this point, gang, can we hold off on the fighting/contact issue...all I said was structure the rules so that the really-great-glory-plays that amaze people could come to the fore...whatever level of contact would work for that is fine, no need for debate as to how much, etc.,
The hope is that the concept of giving the fans/media something "gretzky-like" to grab onto will push the sport into higher levels of media attention...
any comments on the other minimum standards of operation that Mike and I have proposed???
<font color=purple>DannyG</font color=purple>
06-25-2003, 10:15 AM
Happy B-day a day late. You're still a youngen!! Hope things are well with you and your brother. Keep posting so we know what's up with you. Does Jim have anything to add to this message line?
06-25-2003, 11:05 AM
lol, nothing at all! Except then there'd be nothing to set the leagues apart, nothing unique about MLRH..... I think the contact is pretty much the biggest reason the league is still alive....
06-25-2003, 02:12 PM
Hi Nancy :)
Since the Crunch folded, I began playing ice for the first time - and I'm loving it!!
But back to the topic at hand. I agree with a lot that's been said here.
I think too much time has been focused on expanding instead of solidifying the product. It seems too often a team is admitted to the league or allowed to continue play - case in point, the Crunch - without a solid plan, just to have a certain number of teams playing. Fortunately, that allowed me to play in three seasons of MLRH, but I think now the league has progressed to the point that teams must be completely self-sufficient and have a strong business plan. And part of that is having regional exclusivity. It's hard enough getting people to your game without having to compete with another team in your own league!
This doesn't mean expansion is a bad thing, but I think the division of labor needs to be addressed. We had a great owners meeting last July where Bill Raue stated he wanted to allow the Board of Governors to take charge in the day-to-day operations, and allow him to focus on expansion and the future of the league. Did that happen? I stepped away from the league after that, so I don't know the answer. But that would seem to be a step in the right direction.
As far as on-the-court stuff goes, I think stronger enforcement of the existing rules is key. The rules do (did) state that the home team is supposed to videotape the game. Some teams do. I know the Crunch did not. That might help with discipline after infractions. As far as discipline during the game goes, the refs need to know the rules. There were several times when I played that the ref forgot what league he was officiating and wasn't calling clearing. He actually told me that he forgot.
But ultimately, the league needs to protect its players. Yeah, insurance is great and it's good to know medical bills are covered if you get hurt. But since just about all players have day jobs, they need to know someone isn't going to try to intentionally hurt them. There needs to be a ZERO TOLERANCE policy for dangerous hits. Assess a match penalty. Have the league review it - because they should be taping the game. When the first two guys get banned for life from the league, maybe then someone will think twice about checking a guy from behind into the boards.
Physicality, intensity and fighting have a place in MLRH. But you also have to have respect for the guys on the other side of the puck. That is how players can do their part to improve the league.
See, I don't post in a while and all this stuff builds up!! Sorry for the length :)
12-03-2003, 07:24 PM
Ben...what ever came about from this??? Anything outside of these posts?
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