It has been a recurring theme here lately to feature Ontario Hockey League grads that are getting a little long in the tooth. Recently, players like Paul DiPietro, Lee Jinman and Craig Rivet have been highlighted at OHL Alumni Central. Yesterday, a 39 years young Chris Simon signed on with Metallurg Novokuznetsk of Russia’s KHL. Chris will turn 40 during the 2011-12 season.
Chris played in the Ontario Hockey League for four seasons from 1988-89 to 1991-92. The Ottawa 67’s drafted him 42nd overall in the 1988 OHL Priority Selection and Chris played with the club until two games into his final season. For the rest of 1991-92, Simon played for the Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds. The Sault finished first in the Emms Division and took out the North Bay Centennials in seven games to win the Robertson Cup. The Greyhounds went undefeated in the round-robin at the Memorial Cup and lost to the Kamloops Blazers in the final game.
Simon was taken by the Philadelphia Flyers in the second round of the 1990 NHL Entry Draft, 25th overall. Before playing a professional hockey game, Chris was traded to the Quebec Nordiques in the deal that sent Eric Lindros to the Flyers. In 2003-04, Simon and Lindros would play together in the New York Rangers arena, MSG.
Chris played 782 regular season and 75 playoff games in the National Hockey League from 1992-93 to 2007-08. He wore the jerseys of the Nordiques, Colorado Avalanche, Washington Capitals, Chicago Blackhawks, New York Rangers, Calgary Flames, New York Islanders and Minnesota Wild. In his one year with the Avalanche, 1995-96, he helped the team to a Stanley Cup victory.
In 2008-09, Simon made the jump to KHL and played for Vityaz Chekhov. The team was, and still is, the laughing stock of the league and only provides entertainment to its fans through fighting. Chris fit right in, leading the league in penalty minutes in his first season with 263 in just 40 games. It was the first of three years with Chekhov and in the second season he was team captain. Chris wasn’t all fists with the team, he contributed 82 points in 116 games over the three seasons. He shown signs of offensive talent throughout his career with a 29 goal season with the Capitals in 1999-00 and 36 goals in 57 games with the 67’s in 1989-90.
Simon’s new club, Metallurg Novokuznetsk, is currently sitting tied for eighth position in the KHL’s East Conference. The team also features former NHLers Brent Sopel and Sergei Brylin. Novokuznetsk is still looking for their first post season appearance in the league.
Joining Simon on Novokuznetsk is one other Ontario Hockey League grad. Maxim Kitsyn returns to the city of his birth after playing for the Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors in 2010-11. Kitsyn came to the Majors in January of 2011 and played 32 regular season games down the stretch. He contributed 19 points in 20 playoff games as the Majors made it to the Robertson Cup finals before losing to the Owen Sound Attack. He was also a member of the gold medal winning Russian team at the 2011 IIHF World Junior Championships in Buffalo, New York.
Maxim was a 17th overall pick of Mississauga’s at the 2010 CHL Import Draft. He went in the sixth round of the NHL Entry Draft the same year to the Los Angeles Kings, 158th overall. Kitsyn has contributed just a goal and assist in 17 games with Novokuznetsk thus far in 2011-12.