The Eastern Connecticut Roller Hockey League (ECRHL) is a program of Groton Parks and Recreation and plays at the town owned and operated Groton Hockey Rink in Groton Connecticut. The ECRHL hosts a spring and fall season of their adult Sunday Ball League, where 10 teams and over 130 participants play a 10 game regular season to qualify for their chance to raise the Richard Cobb Memorial Cup. The ECRHL also hosts various tournaments throughout the season, capped off by the two day Steve Lambert Memorial Tournament in late September. This 8 team event features amateur teams from throughout New England.
The roots of the roller hockey program in Groton goes back to 1996, when Groton native Jeff Jodoin purchased a Border Patrol portable rink and started the Shoreline Roller Hockey League on the Esker Point Beach parking lot. The league saw near instant growth, with leagues offered for all ages.
In 1999, SRHL youth coach and adult league participant Richard Cobb was notified of a planned upgrade of the nearby Dayton Arena on the campus of Connecticut College. A grassroots and passionate campaign was launched, and after several town hearings on the matter, the Town of Groton purchased the dasher board and acrylic glass system. A group of volunteers led by Cobb disassembled the 200’ x 85’ rink and transported it the 6.4 miles over the Gold Star Bridge to its new home adjacent to the Groton Senior Center on Route 117 (Newtown Road). The rink became the new home of the Shoreline Roller Hockey League.
In 2002, the Town of Groton acquired the league operations and rebranded it the Mystic Valley Roller Hockey League. The league ceased operation in 2007.
To accommodate the 2009 expansion of the Groton Senior Center, the Groton Hockey Rink was relocated approximately 150 feet due south to its current location. This move corrected a major flaw of the first design - the first edition was paved uphill-downhill, creating quite an advantage to the team that was defending the uphill section for two periods!
When the new Groton Hockey Rink opened, the adult league saw a revival under the name Groton Inline Hockey League, led by then Navy First Class Petty Officer Robert Cacchiola, who was station at the nearby New London Naval Submarine Base. The adult league of six teams participated on Sunday mornings and hosted several tournaments. For the next three years, when Cacchiola was deployed, Joseph Siragusa and Christopher Turner would assume leadership duties.
After the passing of a former league participant, Groton hockey alum Ray Arnott approached Groton Inline Hockey League and Groton Parks and Recreation leadership and proposed a memorial tournament in honor of his teammate and friend Steve Lambert. After several months of planning and promotion, the first Steve Lambert Memorial Tournament was held in late September 2012. Proceeds from the tournament benefited the Connecticut Humane Society and provided the necessary funds for the purchase of professional hockey goal frames.
For the start of the 2013 season, Ray Arnott assumed the role of Commissioner and rebranded the program the Eastern Connecticut Roller Hockey League. Arnott felt that this title better described the demographic of the program, as players from throughout the surrounding area participated in the program. The newly branded eight team Sunday Ball League launched in early April. By the end of 2014, the league had expanded to 10 teams.
For the start of the 2015 season, a brand new $8000.00 LED scoreboard was purchased using funds acquired through dasher board advertising. This accomplishment provided the league with a far more professional offering.
During the 2015-2016 offseason, league volunteers disassembled and rebuilt the entire player bench area, including the scorekeepers booth and penalty boxes. The facelift of the Groton Hockey Rink features larger player bench areas, improved functionality of the gates, and a far cleaner and professional appearance.
Participants in the Sunday Ball League have varying amateur hockey experience. We welcome beginners, but this is not a learn to skate program. Full equipment, including a hockey helmet, elbow pads, gloves, knee/shinguards, and hockey skates are required.
Registration for the Sunday Ball League is done by team. Individuals looking for a team to join can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.