Virginia Lancers

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Virginia Lancers
City Vinton, Virginia
Founded 1983
Home arena Vinton Sports Complex

Blue, red, white

Franchise history
1983–1990 Virginia Lancers
1990–1992 Roanoke Valley Rebels
1992–1993 Roanoke Valley Rampage
1993–1994 Huntsville Blast
1994–2001 Tallahassee Tiger Sharks
2001–2002 Macon Whoopee
2002–2003 Lexington Men O' War
2005–present Utah Grizzlies
Regular season titles 1987, 1988

The Virginia Lancers were a minor league hockey team that played in several leagues from 1983 until 1990. Their home ice was the Vinton Sports Complex, which held 3400 people.

Atlantic Coast Hockey League (1983-1987)[edit]

The Virginia Lancers were founded as the result of the Nashville South Stars folding halfway into the 1982-83 season of the ACHL.[1] The Lancers would continue to play in several leagues over the next seven years. They would continue to play in the ACHL from 1983 until 1987. John Tortorella, a former Lancer forward who stepped behind the bench in the 1986-87 season, would finish with the league's best record and eventually win the Bob Paine Trophy, which is given to the team who wins the league championship.

All-American Hockey League (1987-1988)[edit]

The Lancers transferred to the AAHL (All-American Hockey League) for the 1987-88 season. Coach Tortorella would lead his team to a 37-5-0-1 record and finish with the best record in the league, but would lose the league championship to Carolina Thunderbirds. After the season, both Virginia and Carolina would leave the league to join the East Coast Hockey League. The newly formed Johnstown Chiefs would also leave for the ECHL, and the AAHL would fold a season later.

East Coast Hockey League (1988-1990)[edit]

With a new coach and a new league, the Lancers found themselves outside of the postseason in their initial ECHL season. Finishing 22-30-8 put them in fifth place out of five teams. The Lancers would find a replacement coach in Dave Allison for the 1989 season, and the team responded by finishing 36-18-6 with 76 points. The Lancers would finish in 3rd place out of 8 teams and would face 4th place Greensboro Monarchs in the playoffs. The Lancers would lose the best-of-five series three games to one, which included back to back losses at Greensboro in games 3 and 4.

Name changes and relocation (1990-present)[edit]

Prior to the 1990-1991 season, the name was changed to the Roanoke Valley Rebels. They used this name for two seasons, and then became the Roanoke Valley Rampage for the 1992-1993 season. Despite the name changes, the franchise remained in the same location throughout.

After the 1992-1993 season, the franchise was moved to Alabama and became the Huntsville Blast. The Blast remained in Huntsville for one season before transferring to Tallahassee and being renamed the Tiger Sharks, where they played until the 2000-2001 season. The Tiger Sharks ceased operations in 2001 but leased the team the Macon Sports Group in Macon, Georgia, where the Macon Whoopee were founded. Poor attendance and lack of corporate sponsorship caused the Whoopee to fold and the rights to the franchise were transferred to what eventually became the Lexington Men O' War. Attendance was also a problem in Lexington. The franchise was transferred and has been presently assigned to the Utah Grizzlies.

Notable personnel[edit]

External links[edit]


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