Virginia Lancers

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Virginia Lancers
CityVinton, Virginia
Founded1981 (In the CHL)
Home arenaVinton Sports Complex
ColorsBlue, red, white
Franchise history
1981–1983Nashville South Stars
1983–1990Virginia Lancers
1990–1992Roanoke Valley Rebels
1992–1993Roanoke Valley Rampage
1993–1994Huntsville Blast
1994–2001Tallahassee Tiger Sharks
2001–2002Macon Whoopee
2002–2003Lexington Men O' War
2005–presentUtah Grizzlies
Regular season titles2 (1986–87, 1987–88)
Playoff championships1 (1987)

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 relocating in December 1983,[1] halfway into the 1982–83 season of the ACHL. They continued to play in the ACHL from 1983 until 1987. John Tortorella, a former Lancer forward, stepped behind the bench in the 1986–87 season, leading the team to the league's best record and the Bob Payne Trophy, which is given to the team who wins the league championship.

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

The Lancers transferred to the All-American Hockey League (AAHL) for the 1987-88 season. Coach Tortorella led the team to a 37-5-0-1 record and the best record in the league, but they lost the league championship to Carolina Thunderbirds. After the season, both Virginia and Carolina left the league to form the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL), along with the newly-formed Johnstown Chiefs and the AAHL folded 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 found a replacement coach in Dave Allison for the 1989 season, and the team responded by finishing 36-18-6 with 76 points. The Lancers finished in third place out of four teams and faced fourth place Greensboro Monarchs in the playoffs. The Lancers lost 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 1992–93 season. Despite the name changes, the franchise remained in the same location throughout.

After the 1992–93 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 Tallahassee Tiger Sharks, where they played until the 2000–01 season. The Tiger Sharks ceased operations in 2001 but leased the team to the Macon Sports Group in Macon, Georgia and played as the Macon Whoopee for one season. 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 and the franchise went dormant in 2003. In 2005, the franchise was transferred and is currently playing as the Utah Grizzlies.


Notable personnel[edit]


  1. ^ "Nashville South Stars/Virginia Lancers 1983-84". Internet Hockey Database. Retrieved April 10, 2015.