Template:Infobox sports season The 1996 RHI season was the 4th season of Roller Hockey International. It began in May 1996, with the regular season ending on August 12, 1996. The Murphy Cup playoffs ended on September 2, with the Orlando Jackals defeating the Anaheim Bullfrogs to win their first Murphy Cup. The Anaheim Bullfrogs hosted the 3rd RHI All-Star Game at the Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim, California on July 8, 1996.
The Montreal Roadrunners, Ottawa Loggers, and Vancouver Voodoo all moved into their cities' new arenas; Molson Centre in Montreal, Corel Centre in Ottawa, and General Motors Place in Vancouver. The Oakland Skates also moved to the Kaiser Convention Center. The New Jersey Rockin Rollers' and Philadelphia Bulldogs' arenas were renamed to the Continental Airlines Arena and CoreStates Spectrum respectively.
The Chicago Cheetahs folded after two seasons in the league. The Detroit Motor City Mustangs and Minnesota Blue Ox folded after only one season in the league. The Buffalo Stampede folded after their second season, and their roster was picked up by the Empire State Cobras, formerly the Phoenix Cobras.
The Phoenix Cobras relocated to Glens Falls, New York to become the Empire State Cobras, but the Phoenix Cobras players did not transfer with the franchise. The players went into a supplemental draft, and the Cobras picked up the folded Buffalo Stampede's roster.
In the Atlantic Division, the Montreal Roadrunners and Ottawa Loggers were moved to the Central Division. The three existing franchises, the New Jersey Rockin Rollers, Orlando Jackals (formerly the Orlando Rollergators), and Philadelphia Bulldogs were joined by the Empire State Cobras, formerly the Phoenix Cobras, and the expansion Long Island Jawz, to bring the total back to five teams.
In the Central Division, the Buffalo Stampede, Chicago Cheetahs, Detroit Motor City Mustangs, and Minnesota Blue Ox all folded before the 1996 season. The only remaining franchise, the St. Louis Vipers, were joined by the Montreal Roadrunners and Ottawa Loggers from the Atlantic, and the newly reformed Minnesota Arctic Blast, lowering the division's teams to four.
In the Pacific Division, the Empire State Cobras, formerly the Phoenix Cobras, were moved to the Atlantic Division. The remaining four teams, the Anaheim Bullfrogs, Los Angeles Blades, Oklahoma Coyotes, and San Diego Barracudas were joined by the expansion Denver Daredevils to bring the total number of teams back to five.
RHI again increased its regular season schedule from 24 to 28 games per team.
|y–Empire State Cobras||28||16||7||5||202||168||37|
|e–Long Island Jawz||28||16||9||3||246||211||35|
|e–New Jersey Rockin Rollers||28||7||17||4||167||227||18|
|z–Minnesota Arctic Blast||28||22||6||0||246||200||44|
|x–St. Louis Vipers||28||15||12||1||207||209||31|
|e–San Jose Rhinos||28||15||12||1||189||180||31|
|e–Sacramento River Rats||28||10||17||1||185||229||21|
|x–Los Angeles Blades||28||16||11||1||160||155||33|
|e–San Diego Barracudas||28||9||18||1||183||233||19|
Note: x – clinched playoff spot, y – clinched division title, z – clinched regular season conference title, b – clinched best overall record, e – eliminated from playoff contention
If two or more clubs are tied in points during the regular season, the ranking of the clubs is determined in the following order:
- The fewer number of games played.
- The greater number of games won.
- The greater number of points earned in games between the tied clubs. If two clubs are tied, and have not played an equal number of home games against each other, points earned in the first game played in the city that had the extra game shall not be included. If more than two clubs are tied, the higher percentage of available points earned in games among those clubs, and not including any "odd" games, shall be used to determine the standing.
- The greater differential between goals for and against for the entire regular season.
- The fewer number of goals against.
|Template:Country data CAN Hugo Belanger||Long Island Jawz||25||48||53||101||+29||6|
|Template:Country data CAN Doug Ast||Vancouver Voodoo||28||50||41||91||+25||32|
|Template:Country data CAN Gerry St. Cyr||Sacramento River Rats||28||48||41||89||+9||37|
|Template:Country data USA Cory Laylin||Minnesota Arctic Blast||28||42||47||89||+15||16|
|Template:Country data CAN Mark Woolf||San Jose Rhinos||27||32||53||85||+24||25|
|Template:Country data USA Vincent Giannone||Empire State Cobras||25||21||63||84||+12||62|
|Template:Country data CAN Victor Gervais||Anaheim Bullfrogs||25||29||55||84||+21||58|
|Template:Country data CAN Daniel Shank||Orlando Jackals||28||31||50||81||+15||52|
|Template:Country data CAN Christian Skoryna||St. Louis Vipers||28||36||44||80||+8||38|
|Template:Country data USA John Young||Minnesota Arctic Blast||28||24||55||79||+10||32|
After the regular season, 8 teams qualified for the playoffs. The Anaheim Bullfrogs were the Western Conference regular season champions and had the best overall record with 46 points. The Minnesota Arctic Blast had the best record in the Eastern Conference with 44 points.
- Minnesota Arctic Blast – Central Division and Eastern Conference regular season champions, 44 points
- St. Louis Vipers – 31 points*
*St. Louis finished with exactly the same number of points as the Montreal Roadrunners, but garnered more wins (the Vipers with 15, the Roadrunners with 14), to earn the 2nd spot.
- Anaheim Bullfrogs – Pacific Division and Western Conference regular season champions; Best Overall Record winners, 46 points
- Los Angeles Blades – 33 points
In each round, the higher-seeded team is awarded home floor advantage. In the Murphy Cup Finals, home floor is determined based on regular season points. Each best-of-three series follows a 1–2 format: the lower-seeded team will play at home for game 1, and the higher-seeded team will be at home for game 2 and 3 (if necessary).
|Division Finals||Conference Finals||Murphy Cup Finals|
|A1||Empire State Cobras||1|
|C2||St. Louis Vipers||0|
|C1||Minnesota Arctic Blast||1|
|C2||St. Louis Vipers||2|
|P2||Los Angeles Blades||0|