On Saturday, October 29, Major League Roller Hockey staged its home opener at Southern California’s THE RINKS-IRVINE, most recently known as the 949 Roller Hockey Center (and prior to that, the Wayne Gretzky Roller Hockey Center).
In addition to hosting games between the Mission Axiom and the “new “ Anaheim Bullfrogs, and the Hollywood Dream against the Arizona Arsenal, MLRH retired the jersey of former Anaheim Bullfrogs star Joe Cook. Cook, who wore number 47 for the Bullfrogs in Roller Hockey International and in MLRH in 1998, attended the event along with his family.
The jersey-retirement ceremony took place at center court of Rink Corey (true), with Cook joined by former teammates Rob Laurie and Chad Seibel, as well as former Bullfrogs’ co-owner Stuart Silver. Also attending and watching from the stands or near the boards was former RHI player Rich Garvey, longtime inline hockey advocate Jay Piz and others.
Joe Cook took grief from all his former buddies with jokes about his height and playing weight, but he also earned sincere accolades about his great skills as a player and his entrepreneurial skills with such companies as Mission Hockey and his new company, Alkali Hockey. Doug Jones did a fine job as master of ceremonies, and MLRH founder Bill Raue deserves credit for producing such a great event.
MLRH and JuaqStrong raised more than $400 for the JuaqStrong! Foundation on opening night, and InLine Hockey Central’s Richard Graham donated the profits from sales of several copies of “Wheelers, Dealers, Pucks & Bucks: A Rocking History of Roller Hockey International” directly to the foundation as well, and signed a copy for Juaquin Chavira himself.
Shockingly, some attendees complained about having to pay for tickets to the game, despite all the proceeds going to JuaqStrong! Well. That’s. Just. Wrong. Inline hockey has been cursed from almost the very beginning by organizations and manufacturers that gave tickets and products away, conditioning inline hockey fans to expect everything for free. But when you blanch at paying a measly $6 to watch two inline hockey games when the money’s going to charity, you really need to have your chest checked out – your heart has apparently shrunk to Grinch-like status.
In another shocking occurrence, the Anaheim Bullfrogs were mercied by the Mission Axiom, 8-0. These ain’t your old man’s Bullfrogs! The defending champion Axiom scored goals on their first two shots and the Bullfrogs were never in the game after that. Aaron and Chris Connole each scored two goals for the Axiom, while Troy Redmann stopped 18 Bullfrogs’ shots to get the shutout.
In the preceding game, the Hollywood Dream defeated the Arizona Arsenal, 8-6, sparked by a hat trick by Juaquin Chavira himself.
For more information, please see MLRH.com.