Jan Alston has had a 3-game loan spell with ZSC Lions’ farm team GCK Lions in which he scored 3 goals and 2 assists for 5 points.
1988 5th rnd Pittsburgh Penguins‘ draft pick Greg Andrusak, who also saw NHL time with the Maple Leafs, signed a contract with HC Lugano after his contract with German team Berlin Capitals was dissolved. In 39 games in Berlin he managed 22 points. In the latter part of the Swiss regular season Andrusak played 8 games notching 4 assists, gearing up for the playoffs.
Another former Penguins draft pick enterred the Swiss league. Oleg Belov, drafted in the 4th round in 1995, signed a contract with Rapperswil-Jona close to the end of the regular season. Belov, who only has played IHL in North-America, was playing in Sweden with HV’71 the past three seasons and does return to Switzerland after having had a previous spell with EHC Chur in the 96-97 season. In 7 games Belov assisted on three goals while not being able to find the net.
Undrafted Rob Cowie who saw NHL ice time with the Los Angeles Kings between ’94 and ’96 returned to Switzerland after he started his European career at La Chaux de Fonds. Cowie will play for EV Zug during the upcoming playoffs. He came from Finnish giants Jokerit Helsinki and played several seasons in the German league before his stay in Finland.
It is widely rumoured Christian Dubé, one of the brightest stars in Swiss hockey at the moment, is leaving HC Lugano next season as his contract will run out. Front runner for his signature is SC Bern.
Having already reported about the love-hate relationship between Todd Elik and EV Zug, the soap-like story has now come to an end as the team management announced there will be no room for Todd next season. He is free to find himself a new team for the upcoming season.
Having also reported about the likely departure of an import at SC Langnau, especially after the arrival of Dixon Ward, it has now been clear the player to leave wasn’t Brian Bonin but Daniel Gauthier. Gauthier, who signed with Austrian team EC Supergau Feldkirch, hopes to see more ice time than he received as of late with SC Langnau Tigers.
Bob Lachance, who was drafted by the St.Louis Blues in 1992 but never acutally played NHL, added another chapter to his European career after having played in Italy before. He was signed by HC Lugano as a short-term injury replacement and showed his value scoring 4 points in 4 games. His performance could give him ice time in the playoffs for HC Lugano.
Pat Lebeau came out of nowhere. After having announced his retirement at the end of last season he returned to Canada, also because of several personal matters, but the ice hockey blood in a veterean never leaves the body, so Lebeau, after having dealt with the personal matters, accepted an offer from Nationalliga B team La Chaux de Fonds. He showed no signs of having lost any magic, by scored an amazing 10 points in his first 3 games. Lebeau, drafted in 1989 by the Montreal Canadiens saw only limited ice time with the Canadians, the Flames and the Penguins but has made a real name for himself in Switzerland where he has skated since 1995, with a 1 year absence in North-America.
Chris Lindberg, who is owned by HC Lugano but due to the huge amount of imports there was already loaned out to Nationalliga B team EHC Olten, has been re-assigned by HC Lugano and is now skating for top team HC Geneve-Servette, with whom he hopes to promote to the top league and hopes to impress the Lugano management.
Former Quebec Nordiques draftee Anders Myrvold has signed a contract with Fribourg-Gottéron. The Norwegian, who formerly played with the Colorado Avalanche, Boston Bruins, the New York Islanders and this season skated for the Hartford WolfPack in the AHL, played the final 6 games of the season having 0 points and 16 penalty minutes. Myrvold’s arrival meant Fribourg-Gottéron had to scracth one of their ‘original’ three imports with whom they started the season and by the looks of it now that player will be Jean-Yves Roy.
And last but not least is the return of another legend. Claude Vilgrain signed a playoff contract with SC Bern. The Haiti-born forward was originally drafted in the 6th round of the 1982 draft by the Detroit Red Wings, but never played for them. He did see ice time in the NHL with the Vancouver Canucks, the New Jersey Devils and finally with the Philadelphia Flyers. Perhaps having never been a top player in the NHL, Vilgrain, one of the few black players ever to have skated in the NHL, always gained a lot of respect, not only in the NHL, also in Europe where he played in Germany and Switzerland. He retired this summer but will help SC Bern if there will be any injuries during the playoffs. SC Bern who started the season as one of the outsiders for the regular season leaders ended up on a dissapointing 8th position barely making the playoffs where they will face league leaders HC Davos in a best of 7 after the Olympics.
The Final part of this series will contain a statistical overview of all the players mentioned in this series.