Detroit Vipers

The Detroit Vipers were an ice hockey team in the International Hockey League. They played from 1994 to 2001 in Auburn Hills, Michigan at the Palace of Auburn Hills.

  • 2.1 Club Records 2.1.1 career
  • 2.1.2 season


Hockey tradition in Detroit

In Detroit, there was already a long tradition Hockey before the Detroit Vipers mid-nineties denied their first game. The Detroit Red Wings played a traditional team in the National Hockey League in the city, which was founded in 1926 and had won seven times the Stanley Cup. There were always other teams such as the Detroit Olympics, who settled in Detroit and played in lower leagues, but they were not usually long term in the city.

From Salt Lake City to Detroit

In 1969, the crew of the Salt Lake Golden Eagles was founded in the U.S. state of Utah, who contested their first five years in the Western Hockey League, before they changed to the Central Hockey League. As the league but in 1984 their gaming operations ceased, the Golden Eagles were picked up by the International Hockey League, where they played another ten years.

1994, the company Palace Sports and Entertainment purchased the franchise and moved it to Auburn Hills, a suburb of Detroit, to. Through a sponsorship deal with the carmaker Chrysler the car Dodge Viper Dodge sales with its subsidiary, the team finally got the name Detroit Vipers.

Rick Dudley, who had been active in the Buffalo Sabres before, was engaged as head coach, and for the 1994/95 season took the Vipers their game mode. Benefiting from the late start of the NHL season because of a lockout, the team was able to play in front of many spectators and posted per game almost 17,000 tickets sold. Also on the ice, the team had in the very first season success, as they finished in third place after the regular season. Especially the striker Daniel Shank, Lonnie Loach and Peter Ciavaglia, which should be a key player of the team for several years, stood out.

For the 1995/96 season the Vipers with Peter Bondra were able to record a prominent newcomer who could not reach agreement on a new contract with the Washington Capitals of the NHL. Both sides agreed after a few weeks yet, and Bondra finished by seven games with eight goals his stint in the IHL. In addition, they agreed with Rich Parent a young goalkeeper, who limited was used as the number two, but was able to convince the fact that he won the same number of games as goalkeeper Darrin Madeley, who had twice as many matches. In addition, the veteran defender Brad Shaw joined the team. The Vipers finished the season again among the best teams, but failed in the playoffs in the second round.

Successes and Turner Cup victory

In the summer of 1996 could announce the commitment of the 17 -year-old Sergei Samsonov, who had come from Russia and stood before his first season in North America. Samsonov reinforced the well-established offensive to Peter Ciavaglia, Todd Simon and Stan Drulia. On defense, Brad Shaw and Phil stood out from Stefenelli, and the gate formed Rich Parent and Jeff Reese a good tandem. In addition, with Steve Ludzik was a new coach behind the gang. The Vipers were ultimately the best team during the regular season and their players have won several awards. Thus, the goalkeeper the James Norris Memorial Trophy for the fewest goals and Samsonov received the Garry F. Longman Memorial Trophy as the best rookie. Even in the playoffs the team dominated the competition and eventually won the Turner Cup. Peter Ciavaglia received by his 33 points scorer in the 21 playoff games, the NR " Bud " Poile Trophy as most valuable player of the finals.

For the 1997/98 season included with Jimmy Carson and Brent Fedyk two experienced professionals to the team, with Fedyk yet changed during the season. John Grudden strengthened the defense and attack, Dan Kesa and Steve Walker made ​​a breakthrough when they developed within the team to the best offensive forces of the season. The Vipers continued the good performance of the previous years and were once again among the best teams in the league. Even in the playoffs, they succeeded again and again reached the final, where they were but this time inferior to the Chicago Wolves.

A special highlight of the 1997/98 season was a short-term use of the 69 -year-old hockey legend Gordie Howe, who celebrated with the Detroit Red Wings great success. With his comeback Howe was the only professional hockey player, who was standing in six decades on the ice.

Led by Walker, Ciavaglia, Drulia and Shaw Vipers 1998/99 completed a successful season again and reached for the fifth consecutive year, the mark of 100 points in the main round. More important support were also present the goalkeeper Kevin Weekes and Andrei Trefilow that allowed the fewest goals in the league. The playoffs finally ended in a hard fought semi-final against Orlanda Solar Bears, the Vipers lost only in the seventh and deciding game in extra time.

Sporty and economic decline

In the summer of 1999, there were some changes in the organization of the Vipers. Your operating company, Palace Sports and Entertainment, purchased the NHL team Tampa Bay Lightning, for absofort the Vipers acted as a farm team. Your previous coach Steve Ludzik was appointed head coach of Tampa Bay and Paulin Bordeleau was his successor in Detroit. In addition, the team had the disposals of Stan Drulia, Brad Shaw and the two goalkeepers Weekes and Trefilow cope and by the dismissal of players in the NHL by the Lightning changed the root formation during the season frequently. The result was a sporty descent, so the Vipers ended after five highly successful years, the 1999/2000 season relegated to last place in the league.

For the 2000/01 season the former defender Brad Shaw took over as coach in Detroit. Meanwhile, also left Peter Ciavaglia and Steve Walker, the team that was now almost entirely of inexperienced players beginning at age 20 years. The Vipers continued the bad season last year and used once again with 25 points behind the next- best team in the last place of the IHL.

The sporty crisis had economic consequences and the Detroit Vipers recorded the worst average attendance in the league. Palace Sports and Entertainment then decided to seek a new farm team for the Tampa Bay Lightning. The League itself had to struggle in the years previously with economic problems and decided in the summer of 2001 set the game mode. On the same step, the Detroit Vipers decided.

Achievements and honors

Club Records