Thursday, April 28, 2016

Roanoke Valley Rebels (1970-71, EHL)

1970-71 Regular Season
Rebels vs. Charlotte Checkers
     The Roanoke Valley Rebels were members of the Eastern Hockey League. They began as the Salem Rebels in 1968, but relocated to Roanoke, VA, after the Roanoke Valley Civic Center was opened in time for the 1970-71 season.
     Colin Kilburn was named Rebels head coach in 1969 and was behind the bench for 1970-71 as well. Kilburn's Rebs went 31-34-9, good enough for third place in the Southern Division. Their 71 points were 14 points ahead of the Nashville Dixie Flyers, but a whopping 46 behind first place Charlotte, the opponent for this program.
     Roanoke scored the third-fewest goals that season, with a paltry 257--only Clinton and Jacksonville scored less. Dave Parenteau led the Rebel attack, potting 30 goals and 87 points. Late-season pickup Dale MacLeish scored 41 goals with three different teams that season. Three other Rebels scored at least 20.
     Roanoke struggled keeping the puck out of the net that year, allowing 303 red lights to flash. The team employed two goaltenders that year: Jim Letcher and Bill Woodyatt. Letcher worked the lion's-share of games in 1970-71.
     The Rebels made it to the EHL Playoffs that season and faced the Greensboro Generals in Round One. The Rebels didn't last too long, as the Generals advanced in five games (best-of-seven). Charlotte would win the league championship over New Haven.
     This program has 36 pages, all black and white. Roanoke, Virginia, is not the first town you think of when you think of "hockey cities", but it actually has a fairly long hockey tradition. There's are articles about the coach, the history of the franchise and the history of the sport. There's also a section called "Hockey Vocabulary", which defines the terms used in the sport. Local advertisements include Billy Budd Restaurants, Frontier Restaurant and WFIR 960 AM.

Aftermath: After the EHL folded in 1972-73, the Rebels joined the southern-based teams in forming the Southern Hockey League. The franchise folded after the 1975-76 season. A new Rebels franchise would join the ECHL in 1990, change their name to first Rampage then Express, before folding in 2004. The Port Huron Beacons of the UHL would attempt to fill the void the Express left, but were a disaster on and off the ice, folding in 2005. The area has been rumored to be a future expansion site for the Single-A Southern Professional Hockey League. 

References:
Eastern Hockey League Statistics: 1970-71 (from hockeydb.com)

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