The NHL season officially kicks off this afternoon, and while Richmond’s never had an NHL team to call it’s own, we’ve had quite the string of minor league teams. No teams representing the River City have hit the ice since 2009, but Richmond rinks have no shortage of history.
The first team to call this city home was the Richmond Robins, who arrived in Virginia from Quebec in 1971. An affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers, the Robins stayed through 1976.
To fill the vacancy in the Coliseum, the Richmond Wildcats played just 38 games between 1976 and 1977 before the organization collapsed. In that time, they were affiliated with both the St. Louis Blues and the New York Rangers.
The Richmond Rifles, members of the short-lived Eastern Hockey League, played from 1979 to 1981. They were affiliated with the New York Rangers and the Winnipeg Jets.
The Richmond Renegades played more seasons in Richmond than anyone else, calling the Coliseum home from 1990 to 2003. The Renegades won their league championship for t–e 1994-95 season–, and were the top regular season team in the 1995-96 season. Their rivals were the Hampton Roads Admirals in Norfolk.
The Renegades, in turn, were replaced by the Richmond RiverDogs, who played three seasons in the Coliseum. The RiverDogs moved to Chicago in 2006, where they spent one season before folding. In the absence of the RiverDogs, the Renegades were resurrected
09 for three seasons before they disappeared again.
That makes 14 years and counting without pro hockey in Richmond. There have been occasional rumors of a return, but since the Coliseum shut down in 2019, there hasn’t been a clear place for a team to call home. As arena developments go up around the Richmond area, local hockey fans may have something to look forward to soon.