Newcastle Vipers

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Newcastle Vipers
NewcastleVipers.png
City Newcastle Upon Tyne, England
League Elite Ice Hockey League
Founded 2002
Operated 2002–2011
Home arena Whitley Bay Ice Rink
Colours White, Black & Gold
              
Website vipershockey.co.uk

The Newcastle Vipers were an ice hockey club based in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. Former members of the Elite Ice Hockey League, the club previously held membership in the British National League.

History[edit]

Predecessors[edit]

Previously, the city was represented by the Newcastle Jesters, who were founded in 1999 by Finnish businessman Harry Harkimo who purchased the franchise from the Ice Hockey Superleague.

The franchise had previously been owned by John Hall who had owned the club as part of his ambitious "Newcastle Sporting Club" project and known as the Newcastle Cobras and later the Newcastle Riverkings. The Cobras had previously played as the Durham Wasps who had moved to Newcastle upon Tyne Arena following a season at the Crowtree Leisure Centre in Sunderland as a result of Hall purchasing them after a number of years of financial problems. The Durham ice rink closed shortly thereafter.

Formation and playing history[edit]

The club was founded August 2002 after a season without a professional ice hockey team in Newcastle.

After playing its first three seasons in the British National League, the Vipers joined the Elite Ice Hockey League in the 2005–06 season along with the Edinburgh Capitals; a move which ultimately led to the dissolution of the BNL. During their first season the Vipers finished as runners-up to the Belfast Giants in the league and won the EIHL Play-Off Championship at the National Ice Centre, defeating the Sheffield Steelers 2-1 in the Grand Final.

Demise of the club[edit]

Due to low crowds and problems getting regular ice time at the Arena, in November 2010 the Vipers were forced to move in with rivals Whitley Warriors and play for part of their final season out of the Hillheads rink in Whitley Bay.

On 6 May 2011, the EIHL confirmed that the Vipers would fold and not take part in the 2011-12 season after months of financial difficulty, leaving the North East with no top-flight ice hockey club for 2011-12. GM Jaimie Longmuir said he was "Incredibly sad to confirm that the Vipers will no longer participate in the Elite League following Tuesday's meeting."

Honours[edit]

Retired jerseys[edit]

8. Shaun Johnson
34. Petri Rautiainen (retired by Newcastle Jesters)
37. Liam McAllister
55. Paul Sample

Media coverage (Vipers Hockey TV)[edit]

From September 2009 until March 2011 the students of Gateshead College's ND Media Production course filmed every home game and produced a weekly edited highlights package for the team website.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Coventry Blaze
Playoff Champions
2005-06
Succeeded by
Nottingham Panthers