After being idle for over two decades, the St. Louis Vipers professional roller hockey franchise is set to return this spring. This weekend, management made the initial splash for the roster that will compete on the sport court.
At the opening round of the National Roller Hockey League (NRHL) draft held Saturday night, the Vipers selected with their first round pick – the League’s fourth overall – Shane Fox, a high-scoring defensemen that has numerous honors in his portfolio.
The Sicklerville, New Jersey native is a two-time National Collegiate Roller Hockey Association (NCHRA) Division 1 champion that helped Team USA claim gold at the 2017 Inline Hockey World Championships.
The Vipers, who last appeared with Roller Hockey League International in 1999, begins play at Family Arena in St. Charles this May. The Vipers are one of four teams that comprise the NRHL and will have 28 games on the docket in a campaign that runs through August.
After being dormant for the past four years, the NRHL returns with the Detroit Dragons, the Grand Rapids Warthogs and the Port Huron Yeti in tow.
As the Vipers’ top pick, Fox will make his presence immediately known as he is arguably one of the best at his position in the inline sport. During his collegiate career at Neumann University (PA), he helped guide the Knights to NCHRA championships in 2015 and 2016. In his 94-game stint at Neumann, he scored 133 goals and 137 assists for 270 total points. This three-point-per-game-average made him one of the most prolific-scoring defensemen during a four-year stretch.
His talents also helped propel Team USA at the aforementioned Inline Hockey World Championships in 2017, where he netted a goal in a 4-2 victory over Finland in the gold medal game.
The Vipers’ Saturday snare of Fox was the first of a weekly, one-player draft selection by each team that takes place over the next six Saturdays. The final draft weekend will be held February 29 and a two-round supplemental draft will commence March 28.
The overall top pick in Saturday’s draft by the Detroit Dragons was goalie Jerry Kuhn, who won gold at the aforementioned Inline Hockey World Championships.
Former St. Louis Blue Perry Turnbull, who coached the Vipers when they won the RHLI Murphy Cup Championship in 1999, helms the bench for their 2020 re-launch.
More information on the Vipers, which includes season ticket packages, can be found at their official website.
Arch City Media will be providing weekly updates of the Vipers’ draft selections over the next six weeks.