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01-18-2013, 06:32 PM
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I'm gonna revive this thread with some AIHL input. There are currently two "professional" (semi-pro) roller hockey leagues that have any pull. AIHL and PIHA. There are also some smaller leagues (MLRH, etc) and some tournament series (NARCh, TORHS).

The AIHL is easily the most recognizable and largest of the leagues, with teams in all the roller hockey hotbed regions (Long Island alone has three teams, NJ had four last season, Philly has a team, California has a large number, etc)

The level of play is very high, and the games are interesting, but with the addition and relocation of many teams, the talent pool has become very diluted. Minor games are on part with an A division house league game, and some pro division games are on par with Division 1 Collegiate Roller games (of course, when the better teams play in the AIHL, the level of play far surpasses D1 in the NCRHA)

One disappointment this season has been the disappearance of Z-Rink in Glastonbury, CT, and the subsequent relocation of the Fire Ants to a small rink in Plainville. Z-Rink was hands down the nicest AIHL rink I've ever been to.

That said, if you get the opportunity to play in this league it is a fun experience, and for whatever reason there seems to be a lot more parity this season than last. My only gripe is, some players take this league, which is essentially a glorified travel men's league, too seriously. It is NOT professional hockey and no one makes any money off it. The purpose of the league was to give Collegiate Roller Hockey players a place to play after they were done with the extremely well organized and centralized NCRHA.

I've been saying for years that roller hockey needs someone to come in with a seven figure investment and centralize the sport, by starting an ACTUAL professional league. Lets remember that the RHI was a success until they tried to over-expand and fill NHL size arenas. The fact that there are a dozen egos running the sport in all directions is driving it into the ground. An April - September season in vacated AHL/ECHL arenas, employing top notch roller hockey players, a full time staff, and off-season minor pro ice players would succeed.

By the way, hello to whomever in this thread said they played for Slippery Rock in 2011. You guys knocked me and my Binghamton team out in the Top 16, and then we commiserated at the bar after you guys were out.


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