Roanoke Valley Vipers

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The Roanoke Valley Vipers were a professional ice hockey team located in Roanoke, Virginia. They were formed for the 2005-06 season, mainly to fill the gap after the ECHL's Roanoke Express disbanded and to provide a travel partner near the Richmond RiverDogs. They were a member of the United Hockey League and played in the Roanoke Civic Center. They were formed in 2002 as the Port Huron Beacons and played there in McMorran Arena in Port Huron, Michigan through the end of the 2004-05 season. They were unsuccessful on and off the ice, with a losing record in their lone season in Virginia and an average attendance of about 1,000 fans in an arena with a capacity of over 9,000. Local fans complained about high ticket prices and a lower level of play than the ECHL. The midwestern focus of the UHL also made rivalries less intense than they had been with the southeastern and mid-atlantic teams of the ECHL. The owners and their marketing plans were frequently criticized by local media. Local interest in hockey had also failed to recover after the demise of the Express. The Vipers folded on May 15, 2006, shortly after the RiverDogs moved to Chicago and became the Chicago Hounds.


Professional ice hockey has been played in the Virginian towns of Roanoke, Salem and Vinton since 1967. Teams have been members of the All-American Hockey League, the Atlantic Coast Hockey League, the Eastern Hockey League and the Southern Hockey League. The Virginia Lancers were a charter member of the East Coast Hockey League in 1988, later known as the Roanoke Valley Rebels and Roanoke Valley Rampage before moving to Huntsville, Alabama after the 1992-93 season. That franchise is still alive today as the ECHL's Utah Grizzlies. The Roanoke Express filled the gap, joining the ECHL for the 1993-94 season and playing through the 2003-04 season. In the spring of 2005, the Port Huron Beacons of the United Hockey League moved to Roanoke.[1]

Notable players[edit]


  1. ^ Scott, Jon C. (2006). Hockey Night in Dixie: Minor Pro Hockey in the American South. Heritage House Publishing Company Ltd. pp. 3–35. ISBN 1-894974-21-2.