Wednesay, u y ,-
Making of the Mustangs
Young owners hoping to cash in on roller hockey boom
Editor's note: This is the second of a
three-part series on Detroit's newest
sports franchise, the Motor City Mus-
tangs of Roller Hockey International.
By Nicholas J. Cotsonika
Daily Sports Editor
ETROIT-Terry Shook is a
rarity. He's an old-time roller
hockey player, having played the
game when it was hardly even a game at
all. Now, he's a player-owner.
RollerHockey International was
bornjust three years ago, but the seeds
for a Detroit franchise had already been
planted. Shook, a former minor-league
hockey player, captained the U.S.
National roller hockey team to a 4-1
ord against Canada during a 1992
"I've been involved in tournaments
all over the country for the past four or
five years," Shook says. "Iknew it would
go over big."
So, he kept pursuing his new sport in
1993-94, winning the national amateur
roller hockey championship with the San
Diego Koho Hosers. At the same time,
the first puck dropped in RHI history.
5welve teams in three divisions played
84games thatseason, and in 1994, the
league doubled in size, played 279
games, drew 1.1 million fans and secured
a national television contract.
Shook knew what to do next.
"As far as bringing the Mustangs to
Detroit,Iapproachedsome people totry
Big savings on newsletters for
all clubs, businesses, and
to get it done," Shook says. "Jim Morris
and I approached (RHI founder) Dennis
Murphy and looked into a membership."
What may have helped Shook the
most however, was the problems ice
hockey was experiencing in late 1994.
The NHL had locked out its players, and
Shook was skating with a number of Red
Wings to keep them in shape. One Wing,
Shawn Burr, began talking to Shook
about roller hockey.
Shook won over Burr, and before
long, Burr had convinced his teammate
Dino Ciccarelli that RHI was worth
looking into. Burr and Ciccarelli, who
both own the Ontario Hockey League's
Samia Sting, andtheir business interest
helped Shook and Morris secure the $1-
million entry fee and 10,000 seat arena
that is required for RHI membership.
Other partners were added -
Dino's brother Robert Ciccarelli,
Michael Nepi and Micheal Fish - and
the Mustangs began to become a
reality. A front office staff was put in
place, with a number of employee's
coming from area minor league teams.
The owners decided to keep "a
commitment to Detroit," naming the
team after the Motor City and one of its
products - the mustang. They also
based the team downtown in Cobo
"Cobo was a natural choice," Shook
says. "It's downtown, in Detroit and has
enough seats. And to tell you the truth,
it's better than playing in a larger arena.
We look half full with 4,000 fans instead
To draw crowds, however, the
Mustangs needed performances. They
started with the coach. Detroit hockey
legend Gordie Howe's son Marty, who
played in the NHL with the Hartford
Whalers and Boston Bruins, was taken
from ice hockey and told to build the
team. With the departure of Nepi as
general manager last week, Howe is now
assuming both roles.
"This all startedby chance," Howe
says. "Shawn asked around about
coaches, and my brother Mark (who
plays for the Red Wings with Burr) told
him!I did. He asked me iflIwould, asdI
Howe says he looks at roller hockey
as an adventure. If so, he must be getting
whatheexpected. The Mustangs are4-5
and drawing fewer fans than expected.
But with the Red Wings making it to
the Stanley Cup finals, fans were a bit
preoccupied to take to roller hockey right
After all, Detroit known as a hockey-
mad city, Shook is optimistic.
"Roller hockey is the fastest-growing
sport in America," Shook says. "It's
growing. Roller hockey players like me .
are no longer going to be a rarity."
Next week: Marketing the Mustangs.
New North American
' Microbrews on Tap
Griffin Brown Ale
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EYE EXAMS AND EYE GLASSES
STU ENT DISC NTS
PO RALPH LAUREN GIORGIO ARMANI
CALVIN KLEIN ' /
e ye w e a r
TENNIS Entry Deadline: Thurs 7113 2:00pm IMSB Main Office
(Sgis & Dbis) Entry Fee: $5.00 for Sgis; $9.00 per team
Tournament Format: Pool Play followed by Sgl Elim Tour
Tournament Dates: Sat & Sun 7/15 & 7/16
GOLF Entry Deadline: Weds 7/19 2:00pm IMSB Main Office
(IWo person Entry Fee: $10.00 per team (txuudngcoume Fees)
Scramble) Tee Times: 11:00am - 2:00pm
Tournament Date: Friday July 21 at U of M Golf Course
CROSS Entry Deadline: Friday 8/4 2:00pm IMSB Main Office
COUNTRY Entry Fee: $5.00 per individual
RUN Course Length and Location: 3.1m/5k at MitchelVGallup
Race Date and Time: Monday August 7 4:30pm
Officials will be needed throughout the Fail and Winter terms.
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