The St. Louis Vipers made their final selection in the 2020 National Roller Hockey League draft Saturday and solidified their offense with a top-flight forward.
The inline roller hockey franchise chose John Schiavo, who currently plays ice hockey with the Huntsville Havoc of the Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL) and has years of eight-wheeled experience on the sport court.
The 5-10, 180-pound Long Island, New York native was the seventh pick by the Vipers and the NRHL’s 28th overall pick.
Schiavo will skate with the Vipers, whose 28-game campaign begins Friday, May 22 in a road game against the Detroit Dragons, which is the NRHL’s opening game of the season. St. Louis continues the road trip with a meeting with the Port Huron Yeti the following night.
The Vipers, who last appeared with Roller Hockey League International in 1999, skate their home opener Saturday, May 30 at Family Arena against the Grand Rapids Warthogs. The four-team NRHL will hold a supplemental draft on March 28 and their championship finale takes place in August.
Schiavo’s second tenure with Huntsville finds him currently sixth in team goals (10) and points (22) which is pretty impressive considering he was acquired by the Havoc twenty games into the season. The 26-year-old started the season with the Quad City Storm, where he scored three goals and eight assists in 14 games before being traded. Schiavo helped the aforementioned Havoc claim the SPHL title in 2019.
Within inline skating, the 26-year-old competed with Team USA that won the gold medal at the 2019 World Roller Games held in Barcelona, Spain and also skated for Team USA that triumphed at the 2017 IIHF Inline World Hockey Championship held in Brataslava. During the three-game sweep, Schiavo recorded a goal and a pair of assists.
His ice skating portfolio includes invitations to the New York Islanders’ rookie training camps in 2015 and 2016 and has played multiple seasons in the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL). His last appearance in that league was with the Kansas City Mavericks in 2018.
Schiavo has also produced videos on his YouTube channel that displays his ability to produce freestyle trick shots.
This acquisition supplements the already talented roster of world championship caliber athletes that St. Louis has already assembled and optimism is already running high on a successful franchise return after a two decade absence..
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 return.
More information on the Vipers, which includes season ticket packages, can be found at their official website.