Is Romania suddenly becoming the new hotbed for Ontario Hockey League grads in Europe? Two members of the Barrie Colts 1999-00 Robertson Cup winning team have joined HSC Czikszereda of the MOL Liga, a tri-country league with teams located in Romania, Hungary and Slovakia. The two bring the number of OHL grads in the MOL Liga to three.
Shvidki played two years in the OHL, 1998-99 and 1999-00, both with the Colts. Denis was the eleventh overall pick at the 1998 CHL Import Draft by Barrie. In his first year, he scored 35 and totalled 94 points over 61 games, placing second on the team in scoring behind Daniel Tkaczuk.
In his second year with Barrie, the stars aligned. Once again, Shvidki appeared in 61 regular season games for the Colts. He scored 41 and assisted on 65 for 106 points. Denis was second on the team in scoring again, this time behind Sheldon Keefe and ahead of Mike Danton. He placed seventh in the OHL for goals, second in assists and fourth in the race for the Eddie Powers Trophy. Shvidki was the fourth of four players in the OHL to top 100 points in 1999-00.
Shvidki played just nine of the team’s 25 playoff games as the Colts captured the Robertson Cup championship with a win over the Plymouth Whalers in the finals. The series went the full seven games. Denis played in all Barrie’s games at the controversial 2000 Memorial Cup tournament. Barrie reached the final game but fell to the Rimouski Oceanic, 6-2.
Denis played for Russia at three consecutive IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships in 1998, 1999 and 2000. In the first year, Russia won silver after losing to Finland in the final game. Russia won gold in 1999, beating Canada 3-2 in the final. In 2000, Russia once again played in the final game and came home with silver after falling to the Czech Republic 1-0 in a shootout.
The Florida Panthers made Shvidki a first round pick at the 1999 NHL Entry Draft, 12th overall. He played in 76 regular season games in the National Hockey League between 2000-01 and 2003-04, all with the Panthers. Ironically, those were the same four years that Danton played in the NHL.
Shvidki has been in Europe since 2004-05, playing in Russia’s RSL, KHL and VHL, Finland’s Liiga and Germany’s DEL. In 2012-13, he played for the Hannover Scorpions in the DEL. 2013-14 started off with Titan Klin in the VHL before signing this week with HSC Czikszereda.
Danton played three years in the Ontario Hockey League from 1997-98 to 1999-00 with the Sarnia Sting, Toronto Majors and Barrie colts. He was a fifth round pick by the Sting at the 1997 OHL Priority Selection and was traded from Toronto to Barrie midway through 1998-99.
The New Jersey Devils took Mike in the fifth round of the 2000 NHL Entry Draft, 135th overall. He played in 87 NHL regular season games between 2000-01 and 2003-04 with the Devils and St. Louis Blues.
Danton has been in Europe since 2011-12, playing in Sweden, Austria, Slovakia and Kazakhstan. In 2012-13, he split his year between Kramfors-Alliansen in Sweden’s Division 1 and HC Banska Bystrica in the Slovak Extraliga. In 22 games with Kramfors-Alliansen, Mike scored 22 goals and assisted on 16 for 38 points while leading the league in PIM with 82.
This year, Mike started the year with Beibarys Atyrau in Kazakhstan. While wearing the ‘A’, Danton played 25 games, scoring four goals and assisting on 11 for 15 points.
HSC Czikszereda and the MOL Liga
The team plays out of Miercurea-Ciuc in Romania and is part of the seven team MOL Liga. In 2012-13, HSC Czikszereda lost in the league finals to DAB-Docler 4-2 with three games decided in overtime.
The MOL Liga consists of seven teams located in Romania, Hungary and Slovakia. Each team plays a 48 game regular season schedule. The MOL Liga is in its sixth season.
The third OHL grad in the league is Jan Chovan. Chovan played goal in the OHL for two years, 2000-01 and 2001-02, with the Belleville Bulls and London Knights. This is his first year in the MOL Liga and he’s between the pipes with HK Nove Zamky.