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Virginia Lancers

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Title: Virginia Lancers  
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Subject: John Tortorella, Tallahassee Tiger Sharks, Lexington Men O' War, Roanoke Express, 1990 disestablishments in Virginia
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Virginia Lancers

Virginia Lancers
City Vinton, Virginia
Founded 1981 (In the CHL)
Operated 19831990
Home arena Vinton Sports Complex
Colors Blue, red, white
Franchise history
1981–1983 Nashville South Stars
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 2 (1986–87, 1987–88)
Playoff championships 1 (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) 1
  • All-American Hockey League (1987-1988) 2
  • East Coast Hockey League (1988-1990) 3
  • Name changes and relocation (1990-present) 4
  • Notable personnel 5
  • External links 6
  • References 7

Atlantic Coast Hockey League (1983-1987)

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 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)

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 form the East Coast Hockey League along with the newly formed Johnstown Chiefs and the AAHL would fold a season later.

East Coast Hockey League (1988-1990)

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)

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 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

External links

  • The Virginia Lancers on


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