In 1967, Virginia got its first pro hockey team.
The Salem Rebels played out of the Salem Civic Center in Salem, Virginia between 1967 and 1970 within the Eastern Hockey League—a minor league pro hockey team.
While the Rebels are long gone at this point, Virginia has had its fair share of high-level hockey over the years. In fact, the Old Dominion State currently has three professional hockey teams!
In this article, I’ll show you what pro hockey teams are in Virginia and what D1 college and junior teams compete in the state.
Pssssst! Are you curious about hockey teams in other U.S. states? You can learn more by checking out our other posts: What Hockey Team Is in West Virginia, What Hockey Team Is in Florida, and What Hockey Team Is in Pennsylvania.
Let’s dive in.
Here’s What Hockey Teams Are In Virginia:
While Virginia doesn’t have an NHL team, they do have three pro hockey teams: The Norfolk Admirals of the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL), The Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs (SPHL), and a (future 2023-24) pro team in Wytheville, VA (FPHL). They also have some high-level college hockey teams like Liberty University (ACHA Men’s D1). The state also has a few high-level junior hockey teams.
Does Virginia Have a Hockey Team?
So, what is Virginia’s hockey team?
Virginia has dozens of different ice hockey teams. However, they don’t have an NHL team as the state has too many competing NHL teams nearby including the Washington Capitals and the Carolina Hurricanes.
The top hockey team in Virginia is a mid-level professional hockey team: The Norfolk Admirals of the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL).
The Norfolk Admirals are the affiliated farm team for the Chicago Wolves of the American Hockey League (AHL) and the Carolina Hurricanes of the National Hockey League (NHL).
The top college hockey team in Virginia is Liberty University (ACHA Men’s D1).
Does Virginia Have an NHL Team?
So, will you find an NHL hockey team in Virginia?
The short answer is, no. It would be a challenge for Virginia to have an NHL team at this point as they would have to tap into a large portion of the Washington Capital’s market share.
What NHL Team Does Virginia Root For?
Virginia has never had its own NHL team. However, the Old Dominion State still has an active NHL fanbase.
The favorite NHL team in Virginia is simple: The Washington Capitals
The Washington Capitals are the closest NHL franchise to Virginia (they’re located just in between Arlington, Virginia, and Baltimore, Maryland.
However, there are some active Carolina Hurricanes fans in Virginia as well. Virginia’s ECHL team – the Norfolk Admirals — is the minor league farm team for the AHL’s Chicago Wolves and NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes, so it makes sense that many NHL fans in Virginia would root for their major league affiliate in the Canes.
What Hockey Teams Are in Virginia?
So, what hockey teams are in Virginia? The Old Dominion State has three professional hockey teams and several college and junior teams as listed below:
While Virginia has a few professional ice hockey teams, they unfortunately don’t have an NHL team. NHL fans in Virginia typically cheer for the Washington Capitals since they’re the closest geographical NHL team to the state capital, Richmond. However, some Virginians cheer for the Carolina Hurricanes to the south.
Virginia was close to getting its own NHL team back in the late 1990s, however! The Hampton Roads Rhinos were set to be a potential expansion team into the National Hockey League that would be owned by George Shinn.
The team was proposed to play in a potential new arena worth $142 million in downtown Norfolk, Virginia. However, the NHL rejected Norfolk’s expansion bid in February 1997.
The newly relocated Carolina Hurricanes were set to start their first season in 1997 and would only be 190 miles southwest of Norfolk, meaning the market share wouldn’t be big enough for the two teams to compete that close to one another.
The AHL is a high-level professional sports league just one step below the NHL. Virginia doesn’t currently have an American Hockey League (AHL) team.
Virginia has one professional ice hockey team in the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL). This is a mid-level professional sports league just one step below the AHL.
What is the name of the Virginia ECHL team? The Norfolk Admirals.
The Admirals are the affiliated farm team for the AHL’s Chicago Wolves and the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes.
So, where do the Norfolk Admirals play? The Norfolk Admirals play their home games at the Norfolk Scope Arena located at 201 E Brambleton Ave, Norfolk, VA.
Right below the ECHL is the Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL). This is a lower-level professional hockey league with teams primarily in the southern United States. Virginia has one professional ice hockey team in the Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL).
What is the name of the Virginia SPHL team? The Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs.
So, where do the Rail Yard Dawgs play? The Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs play their home games at the Berglund Center located at 710 Williamson Rd NE, Roanoke, VA.
Right below the SPHL is the Federal Prospects Hockey League (FPHL). This is a lower-level professional hockey league located in the eastern United States
What is the name of the Virginia FPHL team? Technically speaking, Virginia’s FPHL team doesn’t have a name yet. This is because the team hasn’t been formally accepted into the league quite yet. However, they are listed on the FPHL website under “Future Markets” with owners Apex Drive Holdings LLC and will start their first season in 2023-24.
Even though the team hasn’t officially been launched, their location has already been determined to be in Wytheville, VA.
So, where will the Wytheville FPHL team play? The future FPHL team in Virginia will play their home games at the Appalachian Exposition (Apex) Center located at 200 Apex Dr, Wytheville, VA.
D1, D2, D3 College Hockey
While Virginia doesn’t have an NHL team, there is some high-level college hockey in the state. Virginia has several college hockey teams within D1, D2, and D3 levels that compete within the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA):
- Liberty University (ACHA Men’s D1)
- Liberty University (ACHA Men’s D2)
- James Madison University (ACHA Men’s D2)
- University of Virginia (ACHA Men’s D2)
- University of Richmond (ACHA Men’s D2)
- Virginia Tech University (ACHA Men’s D2)
- Liberty University (ACHA Men’s D3)
- George Mason University (ACHA Men’s D3)
While Virginia is better known for its college hockey, it has a handful of junior ice hockey teams as well. Virginia has six junior hockey teams spread across the Premier and Elite divisions of the United States Premier Hockey League:
- Hampton Roads Whalers (USPHL – Premier Tier III)
- Hampton Roads Whalers (USPHL – Elite Tier III)
- Potomac Patriots (USPHL – Premier Tier III)
- Potomac Patriots (USPHL – Elite Tier III)
- Richmond Generals (USPHL – Premier Tier III)
- Richmond Generals (USPHL – Elite Tier III)
Is There High School Hockey in Virginia?
The top high school hockey league in Virginia is the Northern Virginia Scholastic Hockey League (NVSHL). It’s a non-affiliated high school (and middle school) hockey league including teams from the Northern Virginia area.
The NVSHL was founded in 2001-02 in response to a fast-growing number of varsity teams in Northern Virginia. Before 2001, Northern Virginia high school teams competed out of state in the Maryland Scholastic Hockey League (MSHL).
There are 21 varsity teams broken up into 4 divisions,15 junior varsity teams, and 19 middle school teams.
- Bishop O’Connell Knights
- James Madison Warhawks
- Langley Saxons
- McLean Highlanders
- South Lakes Seahawks
- Yorktown Patriots
- Broad Run Spartans
- Chantilly Chargers
- Flint Hill Huskies
- Lake Braddock Bruins
- Oakton Cougars
- Battlefield Bobcats
- Kettle Run Cougars
- Osbourn Park Yellow Jackets
- Patriot Pioneers
- Woodbridge Vikings
- Bishop Ireton Cardinals
- Briar Woods Falcons
- Loudoun County/Heritage Captains/Pride
- Rock Ridge/Riverside Phoenix/Rams
- Stone Bridge Bulldogs
Junior Varsity Division
- Bishop O’Connell Knights
- Centreville/Fairfax Wildcats/Rebels
- Dominion/Potomac Falls Titans/Panthers
- Fauquier Falcons
- Freedom Eagles
- Herndon/John Champe Hornets/Knights
- James Madison Warhawks
- McLean/Thomas Jefferson Highlanders/Colonials
- Oakton/Chantilly Cougars/Chargers
- Osbourn Park/Patriot Yellow Jackets/Pioneers
- Paul VI Panthers
- Stone Bridge/Broad Run Bulldogs/Spartans
- Tuscarora/Loudoun Valley Huskies/Vikings
- Westfield Dogs
- Woodgrove/Clarke County Wolverines/Eagles
Middle School Division
- Alexandria (Alexandria)
- Arlington Admirals (Arlington)
- Arlington Knights (Arlington)
- Battlefield (Prince William)
- Briar Woods (Loudoun)
- Broad Run (Loudoun)
- Eastern Loudoun County (Loudoun)
- Fauquier Bulldogs (Fauquier County)
- Freedom/John Champe (Loudoun)
- Heritage (Loudoun)
- Lake Braddock (Fairfax)
- Mary Ellen Henderson (Falls Church)
- McLean/Great Falls (Fairfax)
- Osbourn Park (Prince William)
- Patriot (Prince William)
- Riverside (Loudoun)
- Stone Bridge (Loudoun)
- Sully (Fairfax)
- Western Loudoun County HC (Loudoun)
Are you curious to know more about hockey in other states across the U.S.? Don’t forget to check out our other full guide: Hockey Teams in Every U.S. State: Complete NHL & College List (2023).