New Jersey Rockin' Rollers
|New Jersey Rockin' Rollers|
|City||East Rutherford, New Jersey|
|Home arena||Continental Airlines Arena|
Green, Black, Yellow, White
|1994–1997||New Jersey Rockin' Rollers|
|1999||New York/New Jersey Rockin' Rollers|
The New Jersey Rockin' Rollers were a professional roller hockey team based in East Rutherford, New Jersey, United States that played in Roller Hockey International. In 1997 they were coached by Bob Antolos.
Despite efforts by the New Jersey Devils to prevent the team from playing in the Brendan Byrne Arena as part of a lease signed with the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, New Jersey Superior Court Judge Reginald Stanton ruled in April 1994 that the essential difference between ice hockey and roller hockey meant that the tenancy by what ended up becoming the Rockin Rollers did not violate the terms of the Devils' lease at the facility.
Investment banker and team owner E. Burke Ross Jr., held a contest based on submissions from listeners to WDHA-FM and WMTR-AM, stations owned by Ross in New Jersey, and the team name "Rockin' Rollers" was chosen ahead of either the New Jersey Skunks or Swamp Rats. Ross expected to sell out all 20,000 seats for the team's opening home game and planned to join the three of 12 league teams that had made a profit the previous year and expected to make money in the team's first season in the league, which had expanded to 24 teams for the 1994 season. The Rockin' Rollers offered season tickets for as little as $55 for the full 11-game season and single-game tickets as low as $7, with entertainment and promotions at each game. The team brought in $540,000 in ticket revenue in the 1994 season.
Nick Fotiu, a former player with the New York Rangers and coach of the Nashville Knights of the East Coast Hockey League, was chosen as the team's coach and general manager. Fotiu wound up playing two games in the team's inaugural season.
At the league's second player draft, held in February 1994, the Rockin' Rollers selected identical twins Chris Ferraro and Peter Ferraro, and signed female goaltender Manon Rhéaume. More than one thousand people were expected to participate in open tryouts that were to be held at the South Mountain Arena in West Orange, New Jersey. The inaugural team included starting goalie Daniel Berthiaume and Iain Duncan, who both had experience playing in the NHL, as well as minor league star Trevor Jobe, who led the team in scoring their first season.
The team played in the first professional hockey game which included two professional women's players as goaltenders; in July 1994, Erin Whitten for the Pittsburgh Phantoms faced off against the Rockin Rollers led by goaltender Manon Rhéaume, who won the game by a 10–7 score.
Their mascot was an Elvis impersonator known as "The King". The team lost to the Anaheim Bullfrogs by a score of 9–5 in the second game of the 1997 RHI Murphy Cup finals held at Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, dropping the series in a two-game sweep. Rockin' Rollers staff member Rich Belhmer called it the saddest day in New Jersey roller hockey history.
The team suspended operations for the 1997 season.:62 RHI did not operate during 1998, but returned in 1999. The Rockin' Rollers renamed themselves the New York/New Jersey Rockin' Rollers and planned to move to Morristown, New Jersey and New York City,:247 but folded before the 1999 season began.:62
- Good, Philip. "Roller Hockey Team Finds a Home", The New York Times, April 10, 1994. Accessed January 23, 2017. WINTER seems to have finally faded away and the New Jersey Devils' season will soon be over, depending of course on how the team fares in the playoffs. That means in-line wheeled skates will replace ice hockey skates in the Brendan T. Byrne Meadowlands Arena as the New Jersey Rockin Rollers join the Roller Hockey International League as a new team this summer."
- Sandomir, Richard. "1995 STANLEY CUP FINALS; Devils Earn More Than Nets On Suites", The New York Times, June 22, 1995. Accessed January 23, 2017. "The documents also provided a glimpse at 1994 ticket sales generated by other events, such as the Harlem Globetrotters, $112,900; Ringling Brothers, Barnum & Bailey Circus, $2.3 million; the Rockin' Rollers hockey team, $544,800; college basketball, $2.6 million, and Disney On Ice, $2.1 million."
- Staff. "ROLLER HOCKEY; Players Making the Switch From Ice to Cement", The New York Times, July 22, 1994. Accessed January 23, 2017. "Stockpiled with considerable talent – like Berthiaume, who played more than 200 N.H.L. games in the last three seasons for Ottawa, Winnipeg and Los Angeles; Lain Duncan, a 30-year-old forward who played for Winnipeg from 1987 to 1991, and defenseman Chris Belanger, who played one game for the Edmonton Oilers in 1993 – the Rockin Rollers (7–6) should be making some noise by the end of their 22-game regular season."
- Staff. "RHEAUME WINS BATTLE OF FEMALE GOALTENDERS", Deseret News, July 13, 1994. Accessed January 30, 2017. "Manon Rheaume won pro hockey's first all-female goaltending showdown as the New Jersey Rockin Rollers beat Erin Whitten and the Pittsburgh Phantoms 10–7 in a Roller Hockey International game."
- "Results Plus: New Jersey Falls in Final", The New York Times, September 1, 1997. Accessed January 23, 2017. "The Anaheim Bullfrogs beat the New Jersey Rockin Rollers, 9–5, last night in East Rutherford, N.J., to complete a two-game sweep of Roller Hockey International's Murphy Cup."
- Brucato, Thomas (2001). Major Leagues. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 978-0810839083.