The IIHF World Hockey Championships for Division 1A have just taken place in Budapest, Hungary with two Ontario Hockey League grads playing very prominent roles between the pipes. Division 1A is a step down from the World Hockey Championships that countries like Canada, Russia and Sweden will compete in a just a few weeks.
Competing in the D1A championships this year were Kazakhstan, Italy, Hungary, Japan, Korea and Great Britain. The format consists solely of a round robin with each team playing all the others once. There is no playoff after that and the positioning is based on the final standings of the round robin. Kazakhstan and Italy each won four of their five games with the Kazaks being awarded the gold because they beat Italy 3-0 on the final day of the tournament. Both countries are promoted and will compete in the 2014 Worlds with the big boys.
Dennis was nothing short of spectacular for Italy in the tournament. He was selected as the best goaltender by the IIHF Directorate. Adam was also picked as the All-Star Goalie by the media. In five games, Italy allowed just six goals.
Adam has played the past three years with Alleghe of Italy’s Lega Italiana Hockey su Ghiaccio (LIHG). He has signed to play for Dornbirner EC in Austria’s EBEL for the 2013-14 season. Dornbirner played their first year in the EBEL in 2012-13 after being promoted from tier 2. The team was stacked with OHL grads but did not qualify for the post season.
Along with Dennis, Dornbirn has so far confirmed two other OHL grads for the 2013-14 season. Jonathan D’Aversa played for the Sudbury Wolves from 2003-04 to 2006-07 and Patrick Jarrett played in the OHL from 2000-01 to 2004-05 with the Mississauga IceDogs and Owen Sound Attack.
Adam played four years in the Ontario Hockey League from 2002-03 to 2005-06 with the Guelph Storm and London Knights. He played in the Memorial Cup with each team. In 2003-04, the Storm were unsuccessful while the 2004-05 Knights won it all. Not bad for a kid who was selected way down in the 14th round of the 2001 OHL Priority Selection by Guelph.
Dennis was a sixth round pick of the Buffalo Sabres at the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, 182nd overall. After a few years in the American Hockey League, Adam moved to Europe for the 2009-10 season and has remained. With the exception of seven games played in Germany for Kolner Haie in 2010-11, he has played in Italy.
Szuper saw his only action of the 2012-13 season at the Worlds and showed no signs of rust. Szuper led the host Hungary team to a third place finish in the tournament. Hungary will remain Division 1 in 2014.
Levente played two years in the OHL, 1998-99 and 1999-00, with the Ottawa 67’s. Like Dennis, he also played in the Memorial Cup tournament – a championship by host Ottawa. Szuper was a second round pick of the 67’s at the 1998 CHL Import Draft and two years later the Calgary Flames took him in the fourth round of the NHL Entry Draft.
Szuper last played pro hockey in 2011-12. He played in the Central Hockey League with the Arizona Sundogs and Missouri Mavericks before finishing the season in Kazakhstan with Arystan Temirtau. His experience playing internationally with Hungary dates back to 1995-96. He has played several Division 1 tournaments, along with some unsuccessful Olympic qualifying matches.