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ROLLER HOCKEY INTERNATIONAL TO RETURN

After a one-year sabbatical to restructure the league and change half its teams, Roller Hockey International officials said Wednesday they will resume play this June with 10 franchises in the United States.

The reconfigured league that features players on in-line skates will have teams in Anaheim, Buffalo, Chicago, Dallas, Miami, Minnesota, Las Vegas, St. Louis, San Jose and Utah.

Only the San Jose Rhinos, Anaheim Bullfrogs, Buffalo Wings, Minnesota Blue Ox and Saint Louis Vipers remain from 1997. Franchises dropped since then are Los Angeles, New York/New Jersey, Orlando (moved to Miami), Ottawa and Sacramento. The Wings played in Major League Roller Hockey last summer.

The league called off the 1998 season because of economic problems that left only three teams ready to play last year. Now, there's a new national TV contract and the league will pay all player and coach salaries as well as teams' travel costs.

The league will provide about $3.5 million -- an average of $350,000 per team -- for salaries and travel costs. That money will come from the national TV contract and national advertising.

The players will get $300 for each win and $200 for each loss, with bonuses for playoff success.

RHI will have an 11-week regular season with most games on Friday and Saturday nights. Eight of the 10 teams will advance to a weekend of playoffs on Aug. 20-22 at a site to be determined.

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