Lively Tales About Dead Teams

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1993-1996 Vancouver Voodoo

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Vancouver VoodooRoller Hockey International (1993-1996)

Born: 1993 – RHI founding franchise
Folded: December 18, 1996


Team Colors:


Murphy Cup Championships: None


The Vancouver Voodoo were a modestly popular novelty hockey outfit during the mid-1990’s. The Voodoo were one of 12 original franchises in Roller Hockey International in 1993. RHI was an attempt to capitalize on the recreational in-line skating boom of the era. Teams played on a Sport Court surface layed down over the concrete sub-flooring of NBA and NHL arenas. The league gained exposure from a national cable television contract with ESPN that ran from 1993 until 1996.

Most Roller Hockey International players were minor league hockey players moonlighting during their summer off-season. A handful of retired NHL stars, such as Bryan Trottier and Ron Duguay, played in the league. The Voodoo featured former Canuck Jose Charbonneau, who led RHI in scoring during the league’s debut season in 1993.  Charbonneau used his Roller Hockey showcase to earn a new contract in the NHL with the Canucks. Bruising Vancouver native Sasha Lakovic also wet on to play in the NHL after playing for the Voodoo.

The Voodoo were founded by former Vancouver Canucks enforcer Tiger Williams and Mike King. Williams was (and still as, as of 2017) the NHL’s all-time leading in penalty minutes. In April 1996, Orca Bay Sports & Entertainment, parent company of the Canucks and the NBA’s Vancouver Grizzlies, purchased the Voodoo. The Voodoo moved into the brand-new General Motors Place for the summer 1996 campaign. But Orca Bay changed hands in November 1996. New owner John McCaw folded the Roller Hockey franchise in December 1996, just eight months after Orca Bay acquired the team.

The Voodoo won the division for all four seasons of their existence. The team under-performed in the postseason though and never made it past the second round of the playoffs.


Vancouver Voodoo Shop

Wheelers, Dealers, Pucks & Bucks: A Rocking History of Roller Hockey Interational. Richard Neil Graham


Voodoo Video

Voodoo vs. the San Jose Rhinos at San Jose Arena from a 1994 ESPN broadcast.

In Memoriam

Sasha Lakovic (Voodoo ’93-’94) died from brain cancer on April 25, 2017 at the age of 45. CBC News obituary.



Roller Hockey International Media Guides

Roller Hockey International Programs




1995-1996 Oklahoma Coyotes

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Roller Hockey International (1995-1996)

Born: March 20, 1995 – The Atlanta Fire Ants relocate to Oklahoma City.
Died: February 1997 – The Coyotes go on hiatus and later move to Las Vegas.

Arena: Myriad Convention Center (13,398)

Team Colors: Red, Black & Gold

Owners: John O’Shea & Don Smith


The Oklahoma Coyotes played two seasons of summer Roller Hockey at the Myriad Convention Center.  The franchise began life in Atlanta, Georgia in 1994 as an expansion team in Roller Hockey International, but left after one season of disappointing attendance in that city’s Omni Coliseum.  The new Oklahoma investors, Don Smith of Oklahoma City and John O’Shea of New York, hoped to capitalize on the massive popularity at the time of the Oklahoma City Blazers ice hockey team.  During the mid-1990’s the Blazers were one of the biggest box office draws in all of minor league hockey.

The success of the Blazers failed to rub off.  The Coyotes averaged an estimated 2,200 fans per game during their two-year residency at the 13,000-seat Myriad.  In December 1996, local investor Don Smith gave up his interest in the team, leaving no real connection to the city.  The team claimed it couldn’t get decent dates for the summer of 1997 at the Myriad and explored moving permanently to Billy Balloo’s, a recreational roller hockey arena that already served as the Coyote’s practice facility.  When that move failed, the Coyotes withdrew from Roller Hockey International in February 1997 to re-group and attempt to return to play in 1998.  In December 1997, the Coyotes moved their operations to Las Vegas.

RHI itself shut down in late 1997 to re-organize and did not play in 1998.  The league made a comeback attempt in 1999 and long-time Coyotes owner John O’Shea took the team out of mothballs after a two-and-a-half year absence.  The Las Vegas Coyotes played one final campaign at a 1,500-seat arena in Nevada before Roller Hockey International went out of business for good in 2000.

Down on the rink, the Coyotes failed to make the playoffs in either of their seasons in Oklahoma.  Winger Doug Lawrence was a bright spot in 1995, leading RHI in total scoring (23 goals, 68 assists).



Roller Hockey International Media Guides

Roller Hockey International Programs


1994-1999 San Jose Rhinos

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Roller Hockey International (1994-1997)

Born: 1994 – RHI expansion franchise.
Died: Postseason 1999 – RHI ceases operations.

Arena: San Jose Arena (17,190)

Team Colors: Purple, Gold, Black & White

Owner: Rich Shillington

Murphy Cup Champions: 1995


The San Jose Rhinos were a Roller Hockey International franchise that played out of the San Jose Arena during the mid-to-late 1990’s.  During their second season in the summer of 1995, the Rhinos won the Murphy Cup championship of RHI by defeating the Montreal Roadrunners in the championship game.

After years of declining membership, RHI collapsed in the fall of 1997 due to internal financial disputes between the remaining owners and league CEO Larry King.  The 1998 season was cancelled and the league appeared to be dead.  Improbably, the league returned for a comeback season in 1999 and the Rhinos came out of cold storage to play one final season.  But nobody paid much attention and Roller Hockey International faded quietly into history before another season could be staged.



San Jose Rhinos vs. Vancouver Voodoo at San Jose Arena. July 29, 1994.



Roller Hockey International Media Guides

Roller Hockey International Programs


Written by AC

February 5th, 2014 at 12:32 am

1993-1996 Oakland Skates

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Oakland SkatesRoller Hockey International (1993-1996)

Born: 1993 – RHI founding franchise.
Died: October 1996 – The Skates cease operations.


Team Colors: Teal, Purple & Black

Owners: Murray Simkin, Bill Schoen, Bill Bettinelli & Gail Bettinelli

Murphy Cup Championships: None


The Oakland Skates were one of 12 founding franchises in Roller Hockey International, a 1993 start-up league that tried to capitalize on the recreation inline skating boom of the early 1990’s.

During the inaugural season of RHI in 1993 the Skates nabbed the 8th and final playoff spot despite a less-than-mediocre 5-9 record.  They upset the St. Louis Vipers and the Calgary Rad’z* in the quarters and semis to earn an improbable trip to the Murphy Cup finals against the Anaheim Bullfrogs.  The undefeated Bulldogs (15-0-1) made quick work of the Skates, sweeping the series 2 games to 0 in September 1993.

The Skates played their first three seasons in the enormous Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Arena, home to the NBA’s Golden State Warriors.  The building was far too big for the team’s small cult following.  The Skates averaged just 2,710 fans per game for 12 home dates in 1995.  The Skates had to play the 1996 season in the 80-year old Henry J. Kaiser Arena in downtown Oakland due to renovations at the Coliseum.

The majority owner of the Skates was restaurateur Murray Simkin.  At league meetings shortly after the 1996 season, he withdrew the Skates from RHI to go on a hiatus for the 1997 season.  The team never returned to activity.  RHI itself took a hiatus in 1998, briefly returned for a low-profile 1999 season, and the vanished for good at the turn of the century.



Roller Hockey International Media Guides

Roller Hockey International Programs




1996 Denver Daredevils

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Denver DaredevilsRoller Hockey International (1996)

Born: 1996 – RHI expansion franchise
Folded: Postseason 1996

Arena: McNichols Arena (16,061)

Team Colors: Daredevil Blue, Purple, Yellow & Red

Owners: Norton Herrick, Stephen Kurtz & Paul Jacobs


The Denver Daredevils were one of two expansion teams admitted to the shaky Roller Hockey International (1993-1999) for the 1996 season.  The Long Island Jawz were the other one and both clubs went bust after just one season, condemned for eternity to FWIL’s One-Year Wonders file.

The Daredevils finished last place in their division with a 8-17-3 record.  Daredevils Head Coach Kevin Cheveldayoff was a former 1st round draft pick of the New York Islanders (1988).  He later became an accomplished front office executive in the minors and the NHL.  As of this writing in 2014, Cheveldayoff is General Manager of the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets.

Team owner Norton Herrick also owned RHI’s league champion Orlando Jackals during the 1996 season.



1996 Denver Daredevils Statistics on 

Roller Hockey International Media Guides

Roller Hockey International Programs




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