Most people in Groton probably don’t realize there’s a roller hockey rink in town, let alone an actual league and a team called the “River Rats”.
But chances are, they’ve seen these players before, especially if they visit Mohegan Sun.
Nine of the 13 players on the roster work dealing cards in the poker room and play hockey on weekends. Two others are in the Navy.
The team is part of the Eastern Connecticut Roller Hockey League, a program of the Groton Department of Parks and Recreation, which will use the rink between the Groton Senior Center and Groton Public Library.
River Rats Co-Captain Ricky Landry, 24, said he'd never heard of the rink until about one month ago.
He and his co-captain were playing hockey at the Norwich Ice Rink when his teammate decided to search Google for “roller hockey in Eastern Connecticut.” His friend stumbled upon the league’s Facebook page.
"I don't think people even know the place is here," Landry said.
Think of the sport as ice hockey with roller blades instead of metal blades, and a ball instead of a puck. And tamer. People have jobs, Landry said.
“They can’t be breaking fingers, breaking hands,” he said.
It's still a serious workout, said Rich Barth, 24.
"It's very underestimated how athletic it is," he said.
The River Rats' first game is April 21. That's when Sunday games begin. Landry said the league is still organizing teams.
“The league is still up and coming,” Landry said. “A lot of people don’t know about it.”