1999-2000-A Season Full of Ups And Downs

By Brad Coccimiglio
Despite the fact that the OHL season finished up over a month ago it’s never too late to look back at the season past. In this season summary you will find almost everything you need to know about the 1999-200 OHL season.

The OHL sure had it’s share of turmoil this year. The Barrie Colts had plenty of run-ins with Commissioner David Branch’s office over the course of the 1999-2000 season. The Colts were the OHL’s version of “Team Turmoil”. With all of the problems that they had it was surprising that they were as successful as they were. We won’t get into those problems though. Many teams did better than expected this year while some weren’t quite as successful. Here is a brief look back at each team’s season:

Barrie Colts

Regular Season: 43-19-6-1, 93 points, Division-1st, Conference-1st, Overall-2nd

Playoffs: Won league title, Lost in Memorial Cup final to Rimouski (QMJHL)

Leading Scorer: Sheldon Keefe (48-73-121)

Despite running into a lot of problems along the way the Colts had a strong season. The Colts had a strong regular season that left them 2nd overall behind the Plymouth Whalers. The Colts playoff run wasn’t exactly easy. In the first round it took the Colts 6 games to defeat the 8th seeded North Bay Centennials. The second round against Sudbury was even more of a dogfight as it took Barrie 7 games to advance. In the Conference Finals the Colts had a surprisingly easy time against the strong Belleville Bulls. The Colts nearly lost the OHL title as they were down 3-2 to the Plymouth Whalers before winning games 6 and 7 to advance to the Memorial Cup. In the Memorial Cup the Colts were 1 win away from being the first team to finish 3rd in the round robin and go on to win the Memorial Cup. All in all the Colts had a great season.

Belleville Bulls

Regular Season: 44-22-2-0, 90 points, Division-2nd, Conference-3rd, Overall-4th

Playoffs: Lost to Barrie in Conference Finals 4-1

Leading Scorer: Jonathan Cheechoo (45-46-91)

The Bulls had the makings of a team that could have won their 2nd straight OHL title. It just wasn’t meant to be for the former OHL champions. It was a successful season for the Bulls nonetheless. The Bulls offensive output was very impressive with 6 players scoring 20+ goals (Jonathan Cheechoo-45, Justin Papineau-40, Kevin Baker-28, Randy Rowe-25, Chris Stanley-25 and Branko Radivojevic-23). What’s even more impressive is that the Bulls had 3 other players within 2 goals of a 20 goal season (Nathan Robinson-19, Mike Renzi-19 and Mark Chaplin-18 ).

Brampton Battalion

Regular Season: 25-32-11-4, 65 points, Division-2nd, Conference-7th, Overall-14th

Playoffs: Lost to Erie in 1st round 4-2

Leading Scorer: Raffi Torres (43-48-91)

The Battalion got off to a great start this season but couldn’t play consistently throughout the entire season. The main reason for that was probably their inexperience. Their experiences this year will help them a lot next year. The idea of going young in their first 2 OHL seasons was a good one as the players had time to grow together and develop together and this year was a good start. I’d say that their idea of starting off young paid off really well in the long run as many of these players could be together at least one more year.

Erie Otters

Regular Season: 33-31-4-3, 73 points, Division-1st, Confeerence-2nd, Overall-11th

Playoffs: Lost to Sault Ste. Marie in 2nd round 4-3

Leading Scorer: Brad Boyes (36-46-82)

The Otters were in a dogfight for 1st place in the OHL’s Midwest Division with the Kitchener Rangers for a good part of the year. They managed to widen the gap between the two teams late in the year. I don’t think the Otters were expected to win this division but an off-year for the usually strong Guelph Storm opened the door for teams like Erie to fight for first. With the Storm out of the picture the Midwest Division winner was up in the air until very late in the year when, as I said earlier, the Otters pulled away.

Guelph Storm

Regular Season: 29-35-4-1, 63 points, Division-4th, Conference-8th, Overall-15th

Playoffs: Lost to Plymouth in 1st round 4-2

Leading Scorer: Kevin Mitchell (19-58-77)

It was an uncharacteristically bad year for the usually strong Guelph Storm hockey club. Before the season started I don’t think many experts predicted that the Storm would finish the season near the bottom of the entire league. With veterans like Kevin Mitchell, Joe Gerbe, and Kent McDonnell I think the Storm were expected to have a more respectable season and be in the top half of the standings. The Storm got off to a good start in the playoffs taking an early 2-0 lead over the highly favored Plymouth Whalers before losing 4 straight games.

Kingston Frontenacs

Regular Season: 38-25-5-3, 84 points, Division-3rd, Conference-5th, Overall-7th

Playoffs: Lost to Sudbury in 1st round 4-1

Leading Scorer: Mike Zigomanis (40-54-94)

The Frontenacs had a very respectable season. They were led by the OHL’s Goaltender of the Year and Most Outstanding Player Andrew Raycroft. Raycroft had an outstanding season. Raycroft, combined with Mike Zigomanis, Jonathan Schill and Sean Avery helped the Frontenacs to one of their best seasons in recent memory. Their early exit from the playoffs (1st round) was a bit disappointing but overall the Frontenacs enjoyed a successful season.

Kitchener Rangers

Regular Season: 28-34-6-4, 66 points, Division-2nd, Conference-6th, Overall-13th

Playoffs: Lost to Sault Ste. Marie in 1st round 4-1

Leading Scorer: Derek Roy (34-53-87)

The Rangers were involved in a dogfight for the Midwest Division title up until late in the season. Considering the Rangers came into the 1999-2000 season without their top 3 scorers from 1998-99 season the Rangers were fairly successful. The Rangers had a good core of youth on their roster that included the likes of Rookie of the Year Derek Roy and defenseman Steve Eminger. Those 2 along with a few others will help the Rangers get better. They should get better with experience.

London Knights

Regular Season: 22-39-7-3, 54 points, Division-5th, Conference-9th, Overall-17th

Playoffs: Did not qualify

Leading Scorer: Chris Kelly (29-43-72)

One year removed from an OHL championship battle with the Belleville Bulls, a series in which they lost in 7 games, the Knights failed to even qualify for the post-season. The losses of top guns Rico Fata and Jay Legault to graduation hurt the Knights offense. The Knights were 1 of just 2 teams in the entire league to score fewer than 200 goals with 186 tallies for the season (the Mississauga IceDogs were the other team and they scored just 160 times). The Knights are in somewhat of a rebuilding phase, but you can’t count them out as a respectable team for next year yet, just look at this year’s Plymouth squad.

Mississauga IceDogs

Regular Season: 9-58-1-2, 21 points, Division-5th, Conference-10th, Overall-20th

Playoffs: Did not qualify

Leading Scorer: Chad Wiseman (23-45-68)

Despite posting 5 more wins and 10 more points than their inaugural season Don Cherry still has some more work ahead of him before this team starts playing close to .500 hockey. He’s off to a good start though with the drafting of Jason Spezza (1st overall) in 1999 and Patrick Jarrett in (1st overall) 2000. The IceDogs defense left something to be desired in 1999-2000 as the team gave up an average of just under 5 goals per game (4.91). The IceDogs gave up more goals (346) than the Belleville Bulls scored (the Bulls scored a league high 319 goals in 1999-2000).

North Bay Centennials

Regular Season: 24-38-6-3, 57 points, Division-3rd, Conference-8th, Overall-16th

Playoffs: Lost to Barrie in 1st round 4-2

Leading Scorer: Jonas Andersson (31-36-67)

The Centennials had a pretty young team in 1999-2000 and their inexperience was likely the biggest factor in their lack of success, especially in the playoffs. The Centennials did give Barrie a good run in the 1st round of the playoffs though. With up to 18 returning players next year the playoff experience this year, although limited, will help this team down the road as they continue to grow and improve. The offense and defence on this team wasn’t as strong as it could have been, but that’s expected with a young squad.

Oshawa Generals

Regular Season: 32-32-4-2, 70 points, Division-5th, Conference-7th, Overall-12th

Playoffs: Lost to Ottawa in 1st round 4-1

Leading Scorer: Brent Gauvreau (34-53-87)

The Generals, despite finishing 5th in their division, competed in what could be considered the OHL’s most competitive division, the East Division. The East Division was the only division in the OHL in which every team had a record of .500 or better. The Generals came into the season with a goaltender, Derek Dolson, that had limited starting experience, except for a span in the 1998-99 season when Tyrone Garner was called up to Calgary. Dolson performed very well going 19-18-2 with a very solid 2.95 GAA.

Ottawa 67’s

Regular Season: 43-21-4-1, 91 points, Division-1st, Conference-2nd, Overall-3rd

Playoffs: Lost to Belleville in 2nd round 4-2

Leading Scorer: Dan Tessier (39-45-84)

Overage centre Dan Tessier was the undisputed leader of the 67’s. He was the 67’s best player throughout the season. Tessier, along with leading the team in scoring with 84 points, was a 1st team All-Star centre as well as the OHL’s overage Player of the Year. After winning the Memorial Cup in 1999 the early exit from the playoffs (2nd round) was somewhat of a disappointment. You can’t consider the season as a whole a disappointment though because the 67’s continued their dominance of the OHL’s East Division.

Owen Sound Platers

Regular Season: 21-41-6-6, 54 points, Division-5th, Conference-10th, Overall-18th

Playoffs: Did not qualify

Leading Scorer: Wes Goldie (40-35-75)

The Platers, recently renamed the Owen Sound Attack, had six 20 goal scorers (Wes Goldie-40, Kenny Corupe-31, Kyle McAllister-24, Joel Ward-23, Bryan Kazarian-22 and Daniel Sisca-22) on their roster and scored 237 goals as a team (2nd most in the Midwest Division behind Guelph’s 250). The problem was they gave up 292 goals (2nd most in the league). If this team could have improved defensively they may have had a shot at a playoff birth.

Peterborough Petes

Regular Season: 34-27-7-1, 76 points, Division-4th, Conference-6th, Overall-8th

Playoffs: Lost to Belleville in 1st round 4-1

Leading Scorer: Jason Williams (36-37-73)

In any other division in the OHL the Petes would have been in 2nd or 3rd place, but in the East Division 76 points is only good for a 4th place finish. Goaltender Joey MacDonald was a standout for the Petes throughout the season compiling a 20-15-6 record to go along with his sparkling 2.84 GAA and a fairly solid .911 save percentage. Another bright spot was defenseman Kurtis Foster. Foster, a defensive-minded defenseman who can also put up some points, had a solid year that allowed him to move up in the CSB rankings for last months NHL draft.

Plymouth Whalers

Regular Season: 45-19-4-1, 95 points, Division-1st, Conference-1st, Overall-1st

Playoffs: Lost to Barrie in league finals 4-3

Leading Scorer: Justin Williams (37-46-83)

The Whalers surprised everyone this year with their 1st place finish. The Whalers lost a ton of talent after the 1998-99 season and nobody gave them much of a chance to even make the playoffs. The biggest surprise on the team was, without a doubt, the play of sophomore Justin Williams. Williams was relatively unnoticed during his rookie season. The 1999-2000 season was his draft season and he came out of nowhere to lead the Whalers in scoring.

Sarnia Sting

Regular Season: 33-27-8-0, 74 points, Division-3rd, Conference-4th, Overall-9th

Playoffs: Lost to Windsor in 1st round 4-3

Leading Scorer: Jeff Heerema (36-41-77)

The Sting came into the 1999-2000 season without 2 of their top scorers from 1998-99, Peter Sarno and Ivan Novoseltsev. The addition of former University of Michigan (NCAA) defenseman Mike Van Ryn was a big help to the Sting defensive corps. The addition of Van Ryn gave the Sting 2 All-Star caliber defensemen in Van Ryn and fellow overager Dan Watson. The only disappointment for this season was their early exit from the playoffs.

Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds

Regular Season: 37-25-6-5, 85 points, Division-2nd, Conference-3rd, Overall-5th

Playoffs: Lost to Plymouth in Conference Finals 4-1

Leading Scorer: Ryan Jardine (43-34-77)

The Greyhounds offense was very potent to say the least. The Greyhounds scored 270 goals, 2nd to only the Barrie Colts who lit the lamp 306 times. The impressive fact about the Greyhounds offense was the fact that they had just three 20+ goal scorers (Ryan Jardine-43, Cory Pecker-33 and Josef Vasicek-26). All but one of the Greyhounds regulars had at least 1 goal during the season, Darren Strilchuk was held scoreless. Goaltender Jason Flick was a workhorse for the team starting in the first 34 games of the season. Flick’s consistency combined with rookie Ray Emery’s solid play at the end of the regular season and throughout the playoffs helped the Greyhounds to a successful season.

Sudbury Wolves

Regular Season: 39-24-5-1, 84 points, Division-2nd, Conference-4th, Overall-6th

Playoffs: Lost to Barrie in 2nd round 4-3

Leading Scorer: Norm Milley (52-60-112)

The Wolves had a strong offense this year which was the biggest contributing factor to their surprising success in the 1999-2000 season. Along with Norm Milley (52 goals-112 points), Jason Jaspers (46 goals-107 points) and Taylor Pyatt (40 goals-89 points) helped pace the Wolves to one of their best seasons in recent memory. One surprise for the Wolves was the play of defenseman-turned-winger Kip Brennan. Brennan posted 228 penalty minutes, but his most impressive stats were his 16 goals and 32 points It’s impressive because it’s not too often a player with 200 penalty minutes posts respectable goal and point totals.

Toronto St. Michael’s Majors

Regular Season: 18-48-2-4, 42 points, Division-4th, Conference-9th, Overall-19th

Playoffs: Did not qualify

Leading Scorer: Keith Delaney (24-38-62)

The Majors are still working on trying to qualify for their first playoff birth. The 1999-2000 season was the 3rd straight season in which St. Mike’s had 20 or fewer wins, and they have only been in the league for 3 seasons. This team was inconsistent both offensively (they scored just 203 goals which was the 3rd lowest total in the league) and defensively (they gave up 292 goals, 2nd most in the league) If the Majors don’t improve in those two areas they will be in rough shape next year.

Windsor Spitfires

Regular Season: 35-31-2-1, 73 points, Division-4th, Conference-5th, Overall-10th

Playoffs: Lost to Plymouth in 2nd round 4-1

Leading Scorer: Steve Ott (23-39-62)

The Spitfires got off to a great start this season. Early in the season they were battling the Soo Greyhounds for top spot in the West Division as well as the Western Conference. The Spitfires got great play from 3 of their rookies, Steve Ott, Shawn Mather and Craig Kennedy. Goaltenders Mike Leighton and Ryan Aschaber split time during the season playing in 42 and 36 games respectively. If the Spitfires could have played with more consistency in the second half they could have finished the season a little bit higher in the standings.

Here is a recap of the OHL’s award winners:

Red Tilson Trophy (Most Outstanding Player)-Andrew Raycroft (Kingston)

Max Kaminsky Trophy (Most Outstanding Defenseman)-John Erskine (London)

Matt Leyden Trophy (Coach Of The Year)-Peter DeBoer (Plymouth)

OHL Goaltender Of The Year-Andrew Raycroft (Kingston)

Eddie Powers Memorial Trophy (Leading Scorer)-Sheldon Keefe (Barrie)

Jim Mahon Memorial Trophy (Top Scoring RW)-Sheldon Keefe (Barrie)

Leo Lalonde Memorial Trophy (Overage Player of the Year)-
Dan Tessier (Ottawa)

Emms Family Award (Rookie Of The Year)-Derek Roy (Kitchener)

Wayne Gretzky 99 Award (Playoff MVP)-Brian Finley (Barrie)

Dave Pinkney Trophy (Lowest Team GAA)-Rob Zepp/Bill Ruggiero (Plymouth)

F.W. “Dintey” Moore Trophy (Rookie Goalie with the lowest GAA)-Andrew Sim (Sarnia)

OHL Humanitarian Of The Year-Dan Tessier (Ottawa)

William Hanley Trophy (Most Gentlemanly Player)-Mike Zigomanis (Kingston)

Face-off Award-Dan Tessier (Ottawa)

OHL Executive Of The Year-Robert Ciccarelli (Sarnia)

Bobby Smith Trophy (Scholastic Player Of The Year)-Brad Boyes (Erie)

OHL All-Star Teams

1st Team 2nd Team3rd Team
G-Andrew Raycroft (Kgn) Rob Zepp (Ply)Levente Szuper (Ott)
D-John Erskine (Ldn) Allan Rourke (Kit)Alexei Semenov (Sby)
D-Branislav Mezei (Bel) Kevin Mitchell (Gue)Mike Van Ryn (Sar)
RW-Norm Milley (Sby) Sheldon Keefe (Bar)Denis Shvidki (Bar)
LW-Taylor Pyatt (Sby) Raffi Torres (Bra)Jonathan Schill (Kgn)
C-Dan Tessier (Ott) Jason Jaspers (Sby)Josef Vasicek (SSM)
Coach-Peter DeBoer (Ply) Tom Webster (Wsr)Stan Butler (Bra)

OHL All-Rookie Teams

1st Team2nd Team
G-Ryan Aschaber (Wsr) T.J. Aceti (Osh)
D-Rostislav Klesla (Bra)Brendan Bell (Ott)
D-Trevor Daley (SSM)Tim Gleason (Wsr)
RW-Jonas Andersson (NB) Craig Kennedy (Wsr)
LW-Tomas Kurka (Ply)Ryan Ramsay (Pbo)
C-Derek Roy (Kit)Stephen Weiss (Ply)

Here’s a look at some of the stats from the regular season

Goals Against Average

Player, TeamGPI GA SO EN GAA SV% Wins Losses Ties

Zepp, Rob, PLY53 119 3 3 2.38 .903 36 11 3
Hewitt, Greg, SAR52 129 3 4 2.53 .917 24 20 7
Szuper, Levente, OTT53 122 5 1 2.56 .918 31 15 2
MacDonald, Joey, PBO48 125 2 4 2.84 .911 20 15 6
Sim, Andrew, SAR22 52 0 4 2.93 .908 9 7 1

Save Percentage

Player, TeamGPIGASV%WinsLossesTies

Raycroft, Andrew, KGN611910.91833205
Szuper, Levente, OTT531220.91831152
Hewitt, Greg, SAR521290.91724207
Chiarello, Gene, LDN501570.91217266
MacDonald, Joey, PBO481250.91120156

Individual Scoring Leaders

Player, Team GPGAPTS+/-PIM

Keefe, Sheldon, BAR 6648731212395
Milley, Norm, SBY 6852601123947
Jaspers, Jason, SBY 68466110747107
Shvidki, Denis, BAR 6141651064655
Zigomanis, Michael, KGN 594054942149

Defencemen Leading Scorers


Mitchell, Kevin, GUE6819587794
Rourke, Allan, KIT6731437457
Fisher, Shaun, PLY5917496657
Dallman, Kevin, GUE6713465938
Morgan, Brad, SBY659505953

Rookie Scoring Leaders

Player, TeamGPGAPTS+/-PIM

Roy, Derek, KIT66345387144
Andersson, Jonas, NB67313667-727
Weiss, Stephen, PLY642442662735
Kurka, Tomas, PLY643628642037
Ott, Steve, WSR66233962-9131

Individual Leaders, Goals

Player, TeamGPG

Milley, Norm, SBY6852
Keefe, Sheldon, BAR6648
Jaspers, Jason, SBY6846
Cheechoo, Jonathan, BELV6645
Jardine, Ryan, SSM6543

Individual Leaders, Assists

Player, TeamGPA

Keefe, Sheldon, BAR6673
Shvidki, Denis, BAR6165
Jaspers, Jason, SBY6861
Milley, Norm, SBY6860
Mitchell, Kevin, GUE6858

Despite the turmoil during the season the 1999-2000 OHL season was a successful one for the league and the fans were treated to a lot of excitement. Let’s hope that the 2001-2002 season is as exciting as the 1999-2000 season was.