Approximately 200 roller hockey clubs belong to the National Collegiate Roller Hockey Association (NCRHA). Collegiate groups are called clubs rather than teams because roller hockey is not an officially sanctioned NCAA sport.
National Collegiate Roller Hockey Association
Eastern Collegiate Roller Hockey Association
Neumann University captured the 2006 Division II national championship in roller hockey defeating the University of Missouri at St. Louis, 4-3, on April 9. Victor Scotto, a junior from Howell, NJ, scored three goals in the championship game, two unassisted. Goalie Corey Cramer, a junior from Tuckerton, NJ, stopped 25 of 28 shots on goal to seal the win.
Sixteen clubs were invited to the national tournament, held this year in Morrisville, North Carolina. To win the title, Neumann defeated Ball State University (Indiana), 10-5, Elon University (NC), 9-3, and the University of Nevada at Reno, 6-4, before edging Missouri-St. Louis in the championship game.
Neumann had reached the title game before - in 2003, 2004 and 2005 - but lost all three national championship contests. In this year's tournament, the Knights avenged their last two title game losses, which came at the hands of Missouri-St. Louis in 2004 and Nevada-Reno in 2005.
In the four wins at the single-elimination tournament, Scotto was the star, scoring eight goals and adding three assists. Other significant contributions came from Jon Donahue, a freshman from Drexel Hill, PA, with six goals and five assists, and William Giersbach, a freshman from Brick, NJ, with four goals and three assists.
In goal, Cramer and Sean Yingling, a freshman from Media, PA, stopped 86 of 101 shots during the four games, while the Knights pounded the opposition with 140 shots, 29 of which found the net.
Neumann University has established itself as a powerhouse in Division II roller hockey, which is home to much larger universities. In terms of full-time undergraduates, this year's tournament opponents dwarf Neumann. Ball State has 16,200 undergraduates, Nevada-Reno has 9,800, Missouri-St. Louis has 5,500, and Elon University has 4,500. Neumann's full-time undergraduate enrollment is 1,800. In the last four seasons, they have beaten Army, Bucknell, Cornell, Hofstra, Maine, Millersville, Penn, Pittsburgh, Shippensburg, St. John's, Syracuse, Vermont, West Chester, and many other household-name institutions.
Neumann finished the 2005-06 roller hockey season at 26-3-3. Since the start of the 2002-03 campaign, counting regular season and tournament playoff games, Neumann's record is 100-13-6.
More than 200 roller hockey clubs belong to the National Collegiate Roller Hockey Association, which has seven member organizations that govern the sport in different areas of the country. Neumann belongs to the Eastern Collegiate Roller Hockey Association, which includes 34 clubs.
Modeled after ice hockey, roller hockey boasts more non-stop action than its frozen cousin and relies more on finesse than sheer power. Icing and off-sides rules, which tend to interrupt the flow of an ice hockey match, don't exist in roller hockey. Neither does checking, a nuance that diminishes physical contact and encourages skill and strategy.
Games are played in a rink with four skaters and a goalie on each side (ice hockey is five-on-five plus goalies). The playing surface is a plastic compound called SportCourt. The uniforms, equipment and arena make the game familiar to ice hockey fans. So does the flow of the game, with line changes occurring every 45-60 seconds in an up-tempo contest, every 60-90 seconds in a slower paced match.