View Full Version : Too many leagues now??
07-05-2003, 09:29 AM
This is to all of the people who said that too many leagues where popping up, with IHA stepping down to regroup(very honorable)are you happier now? Does this stop the dillution of talent you where screaming about? I looked at this as a mideastern region developing elite hockey in an area where no other league has yet to venture. Im interested to hear your thoughts now, are there still too many leagues?
Its just not fun unless you stand in front of it!
I never thought there were necessarily too many leagues in the sense of too many teams, but too many organizations all trying to "do it right". I think that it is very healthy to have leagues crop up in different geographical areas - very healthy for the growth of the sport. I would just like to see one version played everywhere, and one organization to keep things strong and coordinated. That organization to be run by an elected commisioner from within the ownership ranks - or maybe even better from without - so that no long term precendents are set.
07-05-2003, 01:58 PM
Thats a perfect point now if we could actually make that happen.
Its just not fun unless you stand in front of it!
I know - maybe when I win the Lotto..........
07-05-2003, 08:12 PM
How can we know what version should be played unless different versions are tried? Roller hockey as a spectator sport hasn't really caught on yet, so I don't have a problem with different things being tried to see if it gets more interest.
Other than Speedhockey, the current Elite leagues aren't really set up to be major league level spectator events.
But different versions have been tried over ten years...... just saying that from a "pro" point of view - which I think everyone agrees is where they would like the "elite" leagues to evolve to, there needs to be a public identification with the sport - which to date is confused.
Also there is a lot more to making a sport Pro, than just gathering the best players around and forming a league - that really is more the definition of an elite league. Pro conotes a dedication of time and energy on a sport, made possible by earnings from the sport.
How many "elite" teams really practice hard and often? How many "Pro" teams? Maybe that is at the root of the problem with the sport. Because none but a select few really earn their living from the sport - and not from playing it either - only a limited number can actually dedicate the time to maintaining the conditioning and proficiency which are required for a sport to be played competently enough for a paying audience to want to see it played.
Maybe the talent - except at the very top level - say maybe 50 players in the whole country - just isn't up to the standards viewers are used to in other professional sports no matter how enamoured as players and family of same we are with our local talent. That's a hard pill to swallow. But I remember how much we practiced as youths for "in - house" ice hockey - I have never seen the most elite levels of Inline Hockey even close to that. Are we just fooling ourselves and should we re-evaluate what it takes to become "masters" of this game?
Maybe the sport should start there and work it's way back to the hearts and minds of the fan base - instead of promoting semi developed talent as " the best" there is.
Maybe that's why one league with closely held standards of play should exist at the "pro" level. Maybe Speed hockey with it's limited # of elite players will achieve the breakthrough. No matter which league is chosen as "the one" there must be a "high bar" for standards of play. This "high bar" should be held up all the way through the sport - from atoms on up. A single pro league could go a long way to driving this type of dedication. Nothing like a clear cut dream to follow.......
While a great contest between teams will always please the fans, the other requirement is that they feel like they are really watching something special, something awesome - "the best there is" - and then pitted against each other to result in these great contests.
I guess the pull of the ol' soap box was too strong.
07-06-2003, 08:55 AM
What are the different versions you are referring to? I'm not saying I don't believe you, I'm just not familiar with them. I know about PBH which was quite different. I always thought of PBH as a tournament instead of a league since the games were played in a very short period of time and in one location.
So far in my opinion, the only real pro league has been RHI and possibly now Speedhockey. Some of the others have had the same players, but they were more like elite amateur. To be pro, it needs to be played in a big enough facility to get a good sized attendance. Some of the leagues were played in local rinks, they couldn't get very many fans in there even if the fans wanted to show up. Most RHI teams had pretty poor attendance, but at least they had a big enough building if the fans wanted to show up.
Another aspect of being a pro league is the amount of compensation. Just getting a couple hundred dollars or some equipment out of it isn't enough to make it a pro league. The players need to make enough that they can make a living off of whatever they earn.
I'm just guessing, but I don't think most of the people that have been trying to start leagues have the money it takes to start a league at a level that most people would consider pro. It is very expensive to do. There isn't much of a fan base, so it is basically starting a league in a sport that the general public doesn't consider to be a pro sport. That is risky and odds are they will lose money for at least several years.
Basically the different versions include partial contact -Torhs (and unoficially Narch Pro), full contact(RHI, MLRH, PBH), offsides(although different from ice hockey) "icing"(flooring?), sizes of the rink, the "ramps" of PBH and the "2 point circle" (by the way - anything sound a little familiar about some of the rules of Speed Hockey???)
Anyway - what I am getting at is that the way the game is structured now - where it seems most fans would like to see full contact hockey at the pro level to legitimize the sport, almost assures that the Pro players have some sort of ice hockey training to make them more comfortable with the full contact version of the sport. This by itself assures that Inline Hockey as we know it or learn it growing up, is not sufficient training to prepare a player for the game at the "Pro" level. It then also means that players who are maybe not suffiicently successfull at ice hockey to make a living from it - may decide that inline hockey is where they can compete. The sport becomes dependant on ice hockey to a great extent for it's player base in the contact game at the Pro level and is sometimes viewed as a "weak sister" to the ice version because of the above.
This may seem like a good argument to get away from the contact version of the sport - and to re-establish it's identity as a non contact game. The problem seems to me though that you give up two things - first - the skill levels needed to play well and stick handle well when under the threat of a major collision - makes for a better overall hockey player - more heads up and more team aware. Second - from the surveys done on the fan bases, I believe having full contact in the sport was listed as a major element needed to legitimize the sport as a "Pro" sport.
So what is the solution - get better coaching at the youth level and teach the sport with full contact starting at age 10 as it is done in ice hockey. Then parents will not be so prone to sending their kids to the ice rink to "learn how to play the game" and we can start to grow our own stars without them coming back to inline hockey as a "second choice".
07-06-2003, 11:23 AM
Well what came first the chicken or the egg? It's nice to bring up the fact that no one makes their dollars playing the sport, but first we need to create a market for the sport. I agree that the sport has been tried with many different variations, each having their good spots and bad. For example; RHI had the size and venues, but had no real target audience and perhaps was a bit ahead of its time. Pro Beach had great exposure on ESPN2, but that was certainly not the game we are all trying to play. MLRH atleast to this point has more growth then PIHA, but why must we modify our game to icehockey rules just to get fans in the building. If you wanna play by ice rules, then just play ice. PIHA is the smallest to date, but has a solid game plan to never grow bigger than it can handle. However, I'm sure that won't make us all happy either.
Will we ever return to the days of the RHI, probably not. However, maybe we can one day find the proper venues, market the league, teams, and games well, and land the exposure we need to survive. Honestly who the hell watches the damn lumberjack competetions and women body builders on ESPN2. We have got to be able to get our sport to where it needs to be.
Maybe the largest problem is that the largest organizations in rollerhockey are the major tournament companies (NARCh, TORHS, ect) and there is no central figure for the whole sport. Ofcourse there is USA/RS and USA Inline, but neither of them all really spend a whole lot of effort on the sport. USA Inline is just a spin off of USA Hockey and the two major things they do is offer insurance and run national tournaments. USA/RS hardly even exists at all anymore. They are being kept afloat by AAU, the only reason is because they are the "National Governing Body" in case the Olympics ever picked up the event. What is AAU's interest in the sport, running tournaments. So I probably have made my point that everyone is just trying to make there dollar running tournaments and I am not critizing that at all. Here is my point, NHL Breakout was a gigantic success. Why? Because it had several clear advantages. First it was the NHL and people could associate with it and second it reached out to the beginner player. Maybe more importantly it had the ability to market nationwide.
So, let's imagine for a minute that there were one dominant PRO league in rollerhockey, imagine then what it could do for the sport. The question is how do we get there? I say build from the kids, there are zillions of kids in youth hockey. Can we not keep them interested, after they turn 18 and get them into the pro leagues? Have each pro team not only have minor systems, but youth programs as well. The major problem with that is that the people running the pro/elite teams are only doing it so that they can play, not to build for the future of a strong league. I guess we will see what happens.
We basically agree on alot of the points you make (except the contact part lol) and yes having an NGB would do wonders if it is the right group. I wouldn' right off USA Inline as just a weak effort by the USA Hockey group - they do have more legimate people and organizational skills available than any one of the groups out there. They actually do offer real training formats, and try to set up national skills training as well (although some programs seem more a scouting mission and a way to keep tabs on the talent level in the sport than actual training).
All the other groups are just "for profit" tournament operators from what I can see - using whatever means they have at their disposal to legitimize the stature of their tournaments and draw more teams - ie make more money. Not that this is all bad, because with out it right now there would be limited opportunities to play the sport.
However with an NGB in place - true national league play could be developed along the lines of all the other youth sports and the sport would not be so "tournament dependant" for competion. I don't know about the rest of you, but I am forever scraping the bottom of the barrel to help subsidize my son's playing and travelling to all these tournaments.
With tiered local league play integrated into a national program, the costs of playing the sport at any travel level could be brought under control and the extra money translated into more games and better and more practice time.
07-06-2003, 09:26 PM
How does partial contact work? Is it only allowed away from the boards?
I could see contact being allowed at younger ages if there is a strong pro league that allows full contact. The younger elite leagues might try to use the same rules as the pro version to prepare for the pro level. Most likely the players at the pro level would come from ice hockey for two reasons. One, they are already used to full contact. Two, I bet that is where the players with the best hockey talent are because that is where the money is. It will take time for full contact inline players to come from inline backgrounds.
At the same time, I hope we continue to have non-checking amateur leagues for people that just want to play in a recreational league.
Actually I beleive in TORHS Pro the only contact allowed is against the boards. From what I have seen Narch Pro was allowing pretty aggressive contact on the open rink, although offically it was non contact.
Your point about starting to teach the kids contact at an early age is well taken - it really helps develop rink awareness much earlier. I would maybe hold off allowing contact until above the age of 12, as I believe that the stick skills learned without fear of being hit - are maybe superior in inline hockey - kids will try more stuff. Let them learn and enjoy the game with the freedom that exists in regular roller hockey, but as they grow into the game - teaching them how to take the body and avoid a hit will become very important - even in a non contact league - positioning will be greatly improved.
Once they begin to have to use their stickwork in a full contact environment, the head will soon come up and the eyes become divorced from stickhandling (done by feel) - now the player begins to really develop "game" awareness and will start to be able to read the rink better. Nothing to prevent teaching this much earlier in the players development though, as that will always make him a much more well rounded teamate.
By adding this element to Inline Hockey - there will be less incentive to have parents send their kids to ice hockey "to learn" the game. There will also be more interested ex ice hockey coaches who may comeover to the sport as it will add a little more credibility, and they will begin to take it more seriously.
What I would also change are the rules governing full contact. Only hits allowed are from the front - period. If a player turns away - ie turns his back while a check is being thrown - the intitiator of the contact (checker) must be in enough control to stop the check. This will greatly reduce people taking "runs" at vulnerble players. Also a rule that says if a player is injured from a deliberate illegal check - which is then construed as "intent to injure", the player causing the injury will be penalized by missing an equal amount of time as the injured player.
While technicaly some of this is already true in ice hockey as well, a stringent application of the rules and proper disciplined instruction can make the contact part of the game still fun, but greatly reduce the dangers of injury from illegally thrown or incorrect checking techniques.
We don't really want to make the sport "ice hockey" on wheels, but they both require the same skills in order to excell. With the no offsides and the no icing format along with four on four play - the game is already significantly different in flow.
As far as retaining "non contact" hockey for house and rec leagues - that's how most ice hockey recreational leagues are run - without contact. I don't see it as a problem.
07-06-2003, 11:23 PM
I think a good way to get some exposure from the audience the sport has been aiming at is to get inline hockey to be an event at the X-Games. Say what you will but that event gets great ratings and has the right demographic.
Wasn't that the intent of the ramps in Pro Beach? Didn't really work there though as no one really took it seriously or more probably had enough freestyle skater training to even think about doing stuff off the ramps without getting hurt.
But you are right there certainly is a demographic there - but would the hockey just seem to tame compared with what is being performed on the ramps and verts? Maybe not - with a full contact version of the top players - I think some serious respect might be generated for the speed and style of these great skaters as well as the great moves.
Maybe worth pursuing.
07-07-2003, 06:03 AM
Sure Pro Beach didn't work out as well as they hoped but this is because they did it as a stand alone ala Slamball. The X-Games on the other hand is a proven ratings getter with a proven track record of nailing their demographic. I wouldn't be privy to a full contact version but I would use shorter games then NARCh to fit into the limited time frame the X-Games would give something like this. Either way NARCh teams would probably line up for something like this.
Move over "Rollerball" lol
07-07-2003, 10:26 PM
i think that its cool and all that people r excited and they want roller to be in the big picture like the nhl. but for real, if there r goin to be like 3 or 4 different pro league its goin to kill the idea. sure they may show people roller hockey and its a cool sport to watch but if u take all the real talent at the elite level and spread it out to all the leagues and take all the fan base and spread it out its doing more harm then good. i think that 2 pro league r good even tho i would like just one. but its good cuz u have mlrh watch is checking and then u have piha would is non checking. u have best of both worlds. the fan base is spread out enough. anymore leagues it will just take a step back for the goal that we all want. do u guys think the same way.
07-08-2003, 11:37 AM
I think two should be a max. Roller hockey has been experiencing with many different leagues for quite some time, eventually we'll have to settle on some and throw the others in the trash.
07-08-2003, 02:50 PM
lol yo everytime either its u or me we always agree on the samething = ) but thats what i'm saying bro two is more then enough checking and non checking thats it. i just hope everyone else can see what we r tryin to say.
07-08-2003, 03:31 PM
Lets hope others can "see the light." lol
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