Major League Roller Hockey (MLRH) has announced an agreement with the VERSUS Network to broadcast an MLRH Roller Hockey Special featuring the MLRH Pro Tour Championship game and the CO-ED Slamm Hockey Championships. The program is set to air Saturday, August 29 at 3:00 PM EST. The telecast marks the first time in over ten years that roller hockey will be seen on Network TV.
The Championships were played at the Pepsi Center in Buffalo and will be packaged into a one hour special. The games were produced with an experienced crew that works the Buffalo Sabres NHL games and Don Stevens, the long time announcer of the AHL Rochester Americans, will handle the play by play. Buffalo's Steve Wright adds the color commentary alongside Stevens for the broadcast.
Brock Konkle and Laura Weintraub will host the Studio broadcast. Konkle covered the MLRH games on the Roller Hockey NET. Weintraub, a model and actress, is a former player in the league. The content mix is 25% Slamm Hockey and 75% pro championships with both leagues playing full contact hockey. "We look at this show as a way of reintroducing the sport to a larger audience and we wanted to showcase these highly skilled women players. It can only be a plus for the game," said MLRH President Bill Raue.
The Slamm Hockey final features the Quebec Mistral and the New York Flash while the Buffalo Wings and the Florida Fusion meet for the Pro Tour title.
"This is a big deal for roller hockey," said Raue. "While the sport has continued to grow at the grassroots level, we need TV exposure if we are going to establish our game as a spectator sport. That is why we added the studio show. A first time hockey viewer is going to be seriously confused by a game with no blue lines played in four quarters."
Now in more than 74 million homes, the VERSUS Network is the national cable home of the National Hockey league (NHL) and the Stanley Cup Playoffs as well as best-in-class events such as the Tour de France, Davis Cup tennis, the Indy Racing League and collegiate sports featuring nationally ranked teams from the Pac-10, Big 12, Mountain West and the Ivy League.
Roller hockey may be down 15% in the last year, but I encourage all to tune in and support Major League Roller Hockey and Bill Raue.
I've had the pleasure of knowing Bill for over five years and he has always had a positive attitude and great outlook on his labor of love.
In addition to being the President of MLRH, he also runs recreational leagues in Alexandria, VA (Go Misconduct!).