LaSalle Vipers

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LaSalle Vipers
LaSalle Vipers.jpg
City LaSalle, Ontario, Canada
League Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League
Division Western
Founded 1970
Home arena Vollmer Culture and Recreation Complex
Colors Black, Olive, and White
              
Owner(s) John Savage
General manager Bill Bowler
Head coach Bill Bowler
Affiliates Windsor Spitfires (OHL)
Belle River Canadiens (GLJHL)
Franchise history
1970-1986 Windsor Royals
1986-1995 Windsor Bulldogs
1995-2001 Tecumseh Bulldogs
2001-2008 Tecumseh Chiefs
2008-Present LaSalle Vipers

The LaSalle Vipers are a Canadian junior ice hockey team based in LaSalle, Ontario, Canada. They play in the Western division of the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League. As a franchise, the Vipers are two-time Sutherland Cup provincial champions, two-time Great Lakes champions and five-time Western Ontario champions.

History[edit]

Vipers defenceman Andrew Burns skates during a home game at the Vollmer Centre during the 2013-14 season(October 2013).

The Royals[edit]

The expansion of the Windsor Royals started to circulate in the Windsor Star around July 1970. The Border Cities League had decided to no long incorporate American teams and was looking to change its name. It also wanted to operate at a Junior B level. The team was based in St. Clair Beach in Tecumseh, Ontario.[1] The team's first ever coach was Cliff Stevens. The Royals played their first ever game as members of the Great Lakes Junior Hockey League at home in St. Clair Beach Arena against the Blenheim Golden Blades on October 11, 1970. The Royals were victorious, crushing the Blades 13-5. Bill Salzer scored the first goal in team history 1:29 into the first period. Salzer added one more goal and three assists, while teammate Rich Bissonnette aided with five assists.[2] At the end of the 1970-71 season, the Royals finished in third place with a record of 23 wins, 13 losses, and 4 ties. As the league had included a pair of Junior C teams in their loop, the Royals acquired the second seed in the league playoffs. In the league semi-final, the Royals drew the winless, last place Tilbury Bluebirds (0-40-0). Things did not improve for the Bluebirds. On February 23, at St. Clair Beach, the Glen Urquhart led the way for the Royals with three goals and two assists in a 14-1 romp of Tilbury. This gave Windsor the first playoff win in their history. Ted Pruyn picked up the win in net.[3] Game two was a different story in Tilbury, as the Bluebirds kept it close but the Royals prevailed 4-3. The Royals ended the Best-of-5 series in game three with a 7-3 win. The victory gave the Royals their first ever playoff series victory.[4] In the league final, the Royals would meet the first place Petrolia Jets (31-8-1). The Royals took game one at home 6-3, but went on the road in Petrolia and dropped game two 4-0. The walls caved in on the Royals in games three and four, losing 12-3 and 9-1 on back-to-back nights to fall behind in the series 3-games-to-1. On March 17, the Royals traveled to Petrolia and again were crushed, 13-2, to end the series and their playoffs.[5]

In their second season, the Royals relocated to the Riverside Arena[6] and finished in third place in the GLJHL (2nd amongst Junior B teams). In the playoffs, the Royals drew the Blenheim Golden Blades in the semi-final and beat them 3-games-to-1 to again meet the Petrolia Jets in the final. Game one in Riverside saw the Royals lose 7-2 to the Jets, despite starting future pro goaltender Tony Piroski (35 saves on the night). Game two in Petrolia did not go much better, as Greg Cecile made 31 saves for the Royals in a 7-4 loss.[7] The Royals were never given the chance to redeem themselves, as the Jets swept them in four games to end their season. The 1971-72 also included future NHLer Ted Bulley[8]

In 1972, the Royals moved yet again, this time to the Windsor Arena in Downtown Windsor. Their rival, the Petrolia Jets, jumped to the Western Ontario Junior B Hockey League, clearing the Royals of their biggest hurdle in the league Junior B playoffs. The Royals would feature future NHL goaltender Rick Heinz during the 1972-73 season.[9] The Royals finished the season in first place with a record of 34 wins, 6 losses, and 2 ties. In the 1973 league semi-final, the Royals faced the last place Sandwich West Thunderbirds of present day LaSalle. In game one, at the Windsor Arena, the Royals beat the Thunderbirds 8-2. The Royals would take the series in a three game sweep. In the finals against the Blenheim Golden Blades, the Blades would draw first blood, beating the Royals at home 3-1. At home, the Royals would gain some revenge in game two, beating the Blades 10-2. At home again, the Royals would defeat the Blades 6-3 in game three. Back in Blenheim for game four, the Royals kept the momentum going with a 9-2 win. On March 10, 1973, the Royals defeated the Blades 4-3 to win the series 4-games-to-1 and win their first ever league championship. Fred Gagnon scored the winner for the Royals with only 38 seconds to go in the game.[10] The Leamington Flyers won the Great Lakes Junior C championship and challenged the Royals to a best-of-5 Grand Championship. The two teams finished the league in first with identical records, but the Flyers were awarded first on a better head-to-head record, despite the Royals having a much better Goals For/Against ratio. In Leamington, the Flyers would take game one 7-6. Back at the Windsor Arena, Vince Mullins scored a hat-trick, for the Royals, in game two to even the series with a 6-3 win. At home again for game three, the Royals defeated Leamington 6-2. Leamington came back in game four with a 7-5 win to tie the series. The series remained unresolved, as the Flyers were required to carry on their playoffs by the OHA, while the Royals still waited on their next opponent.[11] The Royals ended up playing the Western Ontario Junior B Hockey League Champion Sarnia Bees in the Sutherland Cup quarter-final. The Bees swept the Royals with scores of 6-5, 6-5, 4-3, and 7-3 to move on to the next round.

Vipers goalie staring down penalty shot during 2013-14 season.

In the Summer of 1973, the Royals and their Tier II Junior A affiliate, the Windsor Spitfires, broke off their affiliation agreement over each other's wishes to apply for expansion into the Ontario Major Junior Hockey League - a deadline that was upcoming to make the move for the start of the 1974-75 season. The Spitfires chose to affiliated with the ill-fated Belle River Bulldogs for 1973-74 instead. The Royals also requested a move to the Western Ontario Junior B Hockey League, a more skillful league than the GLJHL, but were denied.[12]

In the Spring of 1974, both the Royals and Southern Ontario Junior A Hockey League's Windsor Spitfires put in rival bids in an attempt to promote one of the two teams to the Major Junior A level. Both bids were rejected due to lack of a suitable arena.[13] A year later, the Ontario Major Junior Hockey League (OHL as of 1980) granted expansion to the Spitfires.

The Bulldogs[edit]

The Royals in 1986 were renamed the Bulldogs and moved up to Junior "B". The team was sold in 1995 and moved out of Windsor, Ontario into the Tecumseh area, and became known as the Chiefs.

Tecumseh Chiefs' Matt Rehman being presented the Sutherland Cup (2008)

In one the franchise's last games in the city of Windsor, the Bulldogs set a league record for futility by suffering the worst loss in Western Ontario Hockey League history. On January 20, 1995, the Leamington Flyers defeated the Bulldogs by a score of 30-3.[14]

The Chiefs[edit]

Tecumseh Chiefs

On February 20, 2008, the Chiefs remembered their former "rookie of the year" Mickey Renaud. Renaud, alumnus and captain of the Windsor Spitfires, died two days earlier after collapsing in his parents home in Tecumseh. After a memorial, the Chiefs announced that Renaud's number, 44, would be retired at the end of the season.

2007-08 Championship Season[edit]

The 2007-08 season marked the Chiefs' best season since moving to Tecumseh. The Chiefs, members of the newly formed Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League became their first league regular season champions finishing first overall in their conference with 34 wins, 12 losses, and 2 losses in overtime.

After defeating the London Nationals to win their first Western Ontario crown since 1980, the Chiefs made it known to the press that they are considering a move to LaSalle, Ontario due to a lack of fan support.[15]

The Chiefs entered the 2008 Sutherland Cup against the Thorold Blackhawks and the Elmira Sugar Kings. They finished the round robin in first place with 3 wins and 1 loss. They then faced the Sugar Kings in a best-of-seven series to determine the champion, defeating them in 4 straight games to win their first ever provincial title.

After 13 seasons in the town of Tecumseh and winning the 2008 Sutherland Cup Provincial Championship, the town of Tecumseh has announced that the franchise has elected not to return to their arena.[16] The team is planning to relocate to LaSalle. This marks the third Greater Windsor Area location that the team has called home in 38 seasons.

The Vipers[edit]

Vipers goalie on road (October 2013).

On July 9, the ownership of the team held a press conference to unveil the LaSalle Vipers and their new logo.[17] On September 10, the Vipers played their first game in LaSalle, losing 4-2 to the Leamington Flyers.

2009-10 Championship Season[edit]

After a bit of a rebuilding year in 2008-09 to readjust after moving, the LaSalle Vipers should themselves to be one of the top teams in the GOJHL during the first half of 2009-10. A mid-season slump put the Vipers near the basement of the Western Conference, but by the end of the season the Vipers had come together and reached the 5th seed of the conference with 30 wins and just a few wins from the lead of the conference. In the Western quarter-final, the Vipers defeated the fourth seeded St. Marys Lincolns 4-games-to-1. In the semi-final, the Vipers drew third seed and rival Chatham Maroons. A hard fought battle occurred, with the Vipers winning 4-games-to-2. In an upset, the seventh seeded St. Thomas Stars defeated the first place London Nationals, setting up an unlikely final between the fifth and seventh seeds of the conference. The Vipers would defeat the Stars 4-games-to-2 to take their second Western Championship in three years. The Vipers then moved on to the Sutherland Cup round robin semi-final with the first seed of the Mid-Western Conference Brantford Eagles and the second seed of the Golden Horseshoe Conference Stoney Creek Warriors. All three teams had appeared in the Sutherland Cup finals in the previous two seasons. LaSalle took the round robin with a 3-1 record, second was Brantford with a 2-2 record, and third was Stoney Creek, 1-3 and eliminated. The final was the battle of the 2008 and 2009 Sutherland Cup champions. The Vipers took an early 3-games-to-none lead in the series. Brantford took Game 4. LaSalle played Game 5 at home and took it in double overtime on a goal by DJ Turner.

Vipers forward on road (October 2013).

2010[edit]

The LaSalle Vipers were invited by Hockey Canada and the Ontario Hockey Association to represent Canada in a pair of exhibition games in Mexico City, Mexico against the Mexican Under-20 World Junior Team. The first game, on December 16, 2010, saw the Vipers win 9-2. Billed as "Canada Night" by Mexico's Ice Hockey Federation, the Vipers' win was nationally televised across Mexico. A second game was to be played, but was cancelled due to poor ice conditions.[18]

2011-2012 season[edit]

On December 12th 2011 the Lasalle Vipers fired Head Coach John Nelson after a 13-15-2 8th place start to the season. Nelson had a 92-70-21 record in 3 and a half seasons behind the Lasalle bench.

2012-13 season[edit]

The LaSalle Vipers hired Ryan Donally as the team's head coach in April. They finished third in the Western Conference behind the Chatham Maroons and Leamington Flyers with 29 wins and 62 points. They were led offensively by Dylan Denomme's 34 goals and 76 points. Taylor Speed recorded 22 wins.

2013-14 season[edit]

The LaSalle Vipers hired former NHLer and Windsor Spitfires all-time leading scorer Bill Bowler to be their head coach and general manager. The Vipers started the season with a 14-0-1 stretch that kept them in first place until the season's final month, before ultimately being passed by the Leamington Flyers.

Dylan Denomme led the team in scoring with 72 points in 39 gams. Paolo Battisti and Cameron Zanussi each started 26 games, winning 15 and 17 games respectively. Taylor Speed won two games before joining the University of Windsor Lancers.

They finished the season in second place and drew a first round matchup with the St. Thomas Stars, who they defeated in five games. They were swept in the second round of the playoffs by the Chatham Maroons.

Rookie Devon Paliani led the team in playoff scoring with 11 goals and 15 points in nine games. Following the season, Paliani would be signed by the OHL's Sudbury Wolves. Also signed to an OHL contracts was defenceman Austin Hall, while Denomme joined the University of Windsor Lancers.

Paliani was named GOJHL Western Conference Rookie of the Year, while Mark Manchurek earned Top Rookie Scorer honours. Battisti (February) and Zanussi (October) each won Goaltender of the Month honours, while defenceman Brett Langlois (October) won Defenceman of the Month. Denomme was nominated for league MVP and was named to the All-Star team. Andrew Burns was named Most Outstanding First Year Defenceman.

The Vipers bench, led by Bill Bowler, also won coaching staff of the year.

2014-15 season[edit]

The Vipers signed rookie forwards Manny Silverio and Brett Primeau July 17 after impressive performances in the team's rookie camp.

Season-by-season results[edit]

Season GP W L T OTL GF GA P Results Playoffs
1970-71 40 23 13 4 - 296 192 50 3rd GLJHL Lost Final (Petrolia)
1971-72 36 19 12 5 - 176 130 43 3rd GLJHL Lost Final (Petrolia)
1972-73 42 34 6 2 - 349 141 70 1st GLJHL Won League (Blenheim)
Lost SC QF (Sarnia)
1973-74 43 31 8 4 - 322 132 66 2nd GLJHL Won League (Belle River)
Lost SC QF (Sarnia)
1974-75 40 17 20 3 - 157 193 37 5th WOJHL DNQ
1975-76 38 15 16 7 - 206 221 37 4th WOJHL Lost Semi-final (St. Marys)
1976-77 40 15 16 9 - 189 178 39 5th WOJHL DNQ
1977-78 40 30 6 4 - 260 126 64 1st WOJHL Won League (Petrolia)
Won SC QF (Welland)
Lost SC SF (Streetsville)
1978-79 42 31 7 4 - 314 172 66 1st WOJHL Won League (Strathroy)
Won SC QF (Stratford)
Lost SC SF (St. Catharines)
1979-80 41 30 7 4 - 276 151 64 1st WOJHL Won League (London)
Won SC QF (Waterloo)
Won SC SF (Welland)
Lost SC Final (Belleville)
1980-81 42 26 16 0 - 238 176 52 4th WOJHL Lost Semi-final (London)
1981-82 42 25 13 4 - 252 186 54 2nd WOJHL Lost Quarter-final (Petrolia)
1982-83 42 17 20 5 - 190 222 39 5th WOJHL Lost Semi-final (Sarnia)
1983-84 48 24 18 6 - 257 195 54 4th WOJHL Lost Semi-final (London)
1984-85 48 13 30 5 - 196 246 31 6th WOJHL DNQ
1985-86 42 9 30 3 - 185 287 21 7th WOJHL DNQ
1986-87 42 6 33 3 - 187 291 15 8th WOJHL DNQ
1987-88 42 20 15 6 1 192 200 47 4th WOJHL Lost Quarter-final (Sarnia)
1988-89 42 24 13 2 3 214 186 53 4th WOJHL Lost Semi-final (Sarnia)
1989-90 39 21 17 0 1 197 182 43 3rd WOJHL Lost Semi-final (Chatham)
1990-91 48 34 11 3 0 266 164 71 1st WOJHL Lost Semi-final (Chatham)
1991-92 50 33 16 1 0 279 213 67 1st WOJHL West Lost Final (London)
1992-93 52 35 13 3 1 - - 74 2nd WOJHL West Lost Semi-final (Sarnia)
1993-94 50 14 34 2 0 252 352 30 5th WOJHL West DNQ
1994-95 52 5 43 0 4 169 328 14 5th WOJHL West DNQ
1995-96 52 27 21 3 1 247 235 58 2nd WOJHL West Lost Quarter-final (Petrolia)
1996-97 52 31 16 3 2 256 221 67 2nd WOJHL West Lost Quarter-final (Petrolia)
1997-98 52 19 27 3 3 168 254 44 4th WOJHL West Lost Quarter-final (Chatham)
1998-99 51 23 26 0 2 221 245 48 4th WOJHL West Lost Quarter-final (Leamington)
1999-00 54 25 25 0 4 182 210 54 6th GOHL Lost Semi-final (Chatham)
2000-01 54 12 40 0 2 165 314 26 9th GOHL DNQ
2001-02 54 18 32 2 2 163 236 40 8th WOJHL Lost Quarter-final (Chatham)
2002-03 48 10 36 1 1 121 261 22 9th WOJHL DNQ
2003-04 48 20 23 1 4 161 197 45 7th WOJHL Lost Quarter-final (Chatham)
2004-05 48 22 23 2 1 175 179 47 7th WOJHL Lost Quarter-final (St. Thomas)
2005-06 48 24 20 2 2 164 171 52 5th WOJHL Lost Quarter-final (Petrolia)
2006-07 48 27 17 - 4 223 161 58 4th WOJHL Lost Quarter-final (Chatham)
2007-08 48 34 12 - 2 235 128 70 1st GOJHL-W Won WOC (London)
Won League (Elmira)
2008-09 52 21 26 - 5 186 197 47 7th GOJHL-W Lost Conf. QF (London)
2009-10 50 30 16 - 4 261 184 64 5th GOJHL-W Won WOC (St. Thomas)
Won League (Brantford)
2010-11 51 28 13 - 10 252 217 66 3rd GOJHL-W Lost Conf. SF (London)
2011-12 51 25 23 - 3 188 198 53 6th GOJHL-W Lost Conf. QF (London)
2012-13 51 29 18 - 4 196 171 62 3rd GOJHL-W Lost Conf. QF (Strathroy)
2013-14 49 34 10 - 5 229 151 73 2nd GOJHL-W Lost Conf. SF (Chatham)

2014-2015 Coaching Staff[edit]

  • GM/Head Coach - Bill Bowler
  • Assistant Coach - Kyle O'Neil
  • Assistant Coach - Brad Meredith
  • Assistant Coach - Perry Wilson
  • Assistant Coach - Wes O'neil
  • Trainer - Don Moucke
  • Equipment Manager - Ken Lalonde

Sutherland Cup appearances[edit]

1980: Belleville Bobcats defeated Windsor Royals 4-games-to-none
2008: Tecumseh Chiefs defeated Elmira Sugar Kings 4-games-to-none
2010: LaSalle Vipers defeated Brantford Eagles 4-games-to-1

Notable alumni[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ 40 games on hockey schedule Windsor Star. Windsor, Ontario. July 16, 1970, Pg. 7.
  2. ^ Royals blister Blenheim, 13-5 Windsor Star. Windsor, Ontario. October 13, 1970, Pg. 39.
  3. ^ Urquhart scores as Royals romp Windsor Star. Windsor, Ontario. February 24, 1971, Pg. 48.
  4. ^ Royals end Tilbury misery Windsor Star. Windsor, Ontario. March 1, 1971, Pg. 24.
  5. ^ Butler's 'trick' sparks Jets' 13-2 romp over Royals Windsor Star. Windsor, Ontario. March 18, 1971, Pg. 31.
  6. ^ The Talent Picture by Jim Nelson. Windsor Star. Windsor, Ontario. September 1, 1971, Pg. 50.
  7. ^ Jets still flying high Windsor Star. Windsor, Ontario. March 6, 1972, Pg. 23.
  8. ^ http://wecshof.org/print_individual.php?id=218
  9. ^ http://www.legendsofhockey.net/LegendsOfHockey/jsp/SearchPlayer.jsp?player=18545
  10. ^ District junior B title won by Royals, 4-3 Windsor Star. Windsor, Ontario. March 12, 1973, Pg. 22.
  11. ^ Now Royals must wait Windsor Star. Windsor, Ontario. March 30, 1973, Pg. 29.
  12. ^ Spits-Royals impasse remains by Alan Halberstadt. Windsor Star. Windsor, Ontario. June 14, 1973, Pg. 61.
  13. ^ Windsor major A bid rejected Windsor Star. Windsor, Ontario. March 19, 1974, Pg 22.
  14. ^ http://wohl.ca/download/records_wohl.htm
  15. ^ http://www.canada.com/windsorstar/news/sports/story.html?id=f8530bcc-71c1-4981-87bd-2a1bc8c77b28
  16. ^ http://www.canada.com/windsorstar/news/story.html?id=0d361f7c-df34-444c-ac74-27ac0ade7dc0
  17. ^ http://www.canada.com/windsorstar/news/story.html?id=c77ea2cd-4bbc-408f-a1b7-d1aa617fa9d5
  18. ^ http://www.windsorstar.com/Vipers+enjoy+being+part+Hockey+Night+Mexico/3998053/story.html

External links[edit]