Ontario Hockey League grad Craig Cescon is crossing the English Channel to try out France’s Ligue Magnus for the 2015-16 season. After spending the past year with the Coventry Blaze in the EIHL, Cescon will play for Morzine-Avoriaz Les Gets and enjoy life in the Alps for a season. He is not the only OHL alumnus signed with Morzine. Mike Schwindt has also committed to Morzine after spending the past two years in Germany’s Oberliga.
Cescon played four years in the Ontario Hockey League from 2003-04 to 2006-07 with the Plymouth Whalers, Mississauga IceDogs and the Peterborough Petes. Taken in the eighth round of the 2002 OHL Priority Selection by the Whalers, 160th overall, Craig found his best success with the Petes.
In 2005-06, Cescon was traded to Peterborough 29 games into the season by Mississauga. After appearing in 39 regular season games with the Petes, Craig’s combined 239 penalty minutes led the OHL, three minutes more than Theo Peckham of the Owen Sound Attack.
In that 2005-06 season, Cescon helped the Petes to an OHL championship with a win over the London Knights in the finals. Peterborough then lost the tiebreaker game to the Vancouver Giants at the Memorial Cup tournament held in Moncton, New Brunswick.
Over his OHL career, Craig played in 247 regular season games, scoring just three goals and assisting on 23 for 26 points. He amassed a pretty remarkable 712 minutes in penalties.
Undrafted to the NHL, Cescon played his first pro hockey in 2006-07 after the Petes failed to reach the post season. He went on to appear in eleven CHL playoff games with the New Mexico Scorpions. The Scorpions lost in the semi-finals to the Laredo Bucks.
Since 2007-08, Craig has played pro hockey in the ECHL, IHL, CHL, Poland’s elite league and the EIHL. In 2009-10, with the Flint Generals in the IHL, he finished eighth in the league with 195 PIM. The Generals lost in the Turner Cup finals to the Fort Wayne Komets. Ironically, Cescon joined the Komets the following season as the team made their debut in the CHL.
No stranger to the penalty box, Cescon was sixth in the CHL in 2011-12 with 180 PIM as a member of the Bloomington Blaze. This past season with the Coventry Blaze, he was sixth in the EIHL with 185 PIM.
Craig Cescon is signed with Morzine-Avoriaz for the 2015-16 Ligue Magnus season.
Schwindt played four years in the Ontario Hockey League from 2008-09 to 2011-12 with the Niagara IceDogs and Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. His first three seasons were with Niagara and his final campaign was with the Hounds.
Originally, Mike was a deep 13th round pick by the Mississauga IceDogs at the 2007 OHL Priority Selection, 255th overall. He has spent the past two years Germany’s Oberliga with EC Harzer Falken. He is also signed for just the 2015-16 season with Morzine-Avoriaz.
Morzine-Avoriaz Les Gets
This team was promoted to the top level Ligue Magnus for the 2004-05 season. After reaching the finals in 2006-07, Les Gets have since not passed the quarter-finals.
Morzine is located directly on the border with Switzerland and has a population of around 3,000. Avoriaz is a popular ski resort area located with Morzine. In the summer time, this is often the host of a mountainous stage of the Tour de France. Interestingly, if you want to get there by plane, the closest airport is in Geneva, Switzerland.
This elite league in France has a short schedule with each team playing just 26 regular season games. Intermingled is the Coupe de France, a challenge cup style tournament that includes teams from several levels of hockey.
Typically, the league has 14 teams. However, for 2015-16, there is currently a ‘Team X’ on the schedule. Epinal, one of the league’s mainstays, has dropped, leaving just 13 teams for the time-being.