I would think the opponents of Milano Rossoblu in Italy’s Lega Italiana Hockey su Ghiaccio (LIHG) Serie A are a little concerned with the new kid on the block. Milano was promoted from the Serie A2 after winning the championship in 2011-12. They’ve now signed a goaltender with plenty of National Hockey League experience.
Andrew Raycroft played in the Ontario Hockey League for three years from 1997-98 to 1999-00. His first two years were spent with the Sudbury Wolves and his final season was with the Kingston Frontenacs. In 1999-00, Raycroft was the OHL and CHL Goaltender of the Year and won the Red Tilson Trophy as the OHL’s most valuable player. Andrew accomplished this playing 61 of 68 games for the Frontenacs, recording a 3.43 goals against average and a .924 save percentage.
Raycroft was taken by the Boston Bruins in the fifth round of the 1998 NHL Entry Draft, 135th overall. He played in the NHL from 2000-01 to 2011-12 with the Bruins, Toronto Maple Leafs, Colorado Avalanche, Vancouver Canucks and Dallas Stars. He wasn’t considered a rookie until 2003-04 and won the Calder Memorial Trophy as rookie of the year with the Bruins that season. Playing 57 games during the regular season, Andrew posted a 2.05 GAA and .926 save percentage. In the Stanley Cup playoffs, despite a 2.15 GAA and .924 save percentage over seven games in the opening round, the second seed Bruins fell to the seventh seed Montreal Canadiens.
Other than that 57 game season with Boston in 2003-04, his 72 games between the pipes with Toronto in 2006-07 was his only other season as the number one goaltender. In 2011-12, he played just ten games with the Dallas Stars while spending the rest of his time with the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League.
Milano Rossoblu was granted a franchise for the 2008-09 season in the Serie A2. In just four years, the team has been promoted. The goal of the franchise was to accomplish this feat and also to be the first Western European team to join the Russian based KHL. The 4,000 seat arena is still a road block to the KHL but there is potential for the 2013-14 season. The franchise would like to maintain a team in the LIHG even after joining the KHL.