OHL Grads Relegated to Enforcer Roles in Great Britain?

corey neilson hockey card nottingham panthers elite ice hockey league eihlIs Great Britain’s Elite Ice Hockey League just using Ontario Hockey League grads for their fists? The EIHL typically has more than a few OHL alumni among the top ten scorers in the league. This year, there are just two in the top 20 with approximately 10 games to go in the regular season. These two, Mike Ramsay and Corey Neilson, fall in the 16th and 20th position. Ramsay, a player who was used sparingly by the Peterborough Petes over two partial seasons and Neilson, a 35 year old defenseman who last played for the Barrie Colts in 1997.

Yet, when it comes to time spent in the box, seven the OHL can lay claim to seven of the top 20, including three of the top five. Derek Campbell is the highest, sitting in second place with 209 PIM in just 44 games, a 4.75 PIM/GM pace. However, he doesn’t hold a candle to league leader Chris Frank of the Cardif Devils who has 286 PIM in 42 games – a 6.81 PIM per game pace!

It’s not that the British Isles are developing better talent. Just three of the top 20 point getters are from Great Britain and one includes Corey Neilson. Neilson is Canadian born but has since gotten his UK citizenship. For the most part, it’s just the way it goes in European hockey. It’s a transient hockey world and by next year at this time, OHL boys could be clogging the scoring race.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the players involved:

Top Scorers:

Mike Ramsay is tied for 16th wit 47 points in just 33 games, not bad for a guy who totaled just 5 goals with the Petes. Ramsay played with Peterborough for parts of the 2001-02 and 2002-03 season. He moved on to the QMJHL where he achieved greater success. This is Mike’s first year with the Sheffield Steelers of the EIHL.

Corey Neilson is in his sixth year with the Nottingham Panthers and truly leads by example. Neilson has also been the coach of the team for the past four years. The defenseman has 45 points in 45 games to rank him at the edge of the top 20. Ironically, his 81 PIM actually tied him for the 20th in that race, as well. Corey played in the Ontario Hockey League from 1993-94 to 1996-97 with the North Bay Centennials, Detroit Whalers and Barrie Colts.

Top Bad Boys:

Derek Campbell sits in second with 209 PIM in 44 games as a member of the Hull Stingrays. This his sixth year in the EIHL and first with Hull. Campbell played four years in the OHL from 1997-98 to 2000-01 with the Belleville Bulls, Owen Sound Platers and Kingston Frontenacs.

No surprise to Kitchener Rangers fans, Adam Keefe holds down the number 4 spot with 164 PIM in 41 games with the Belfast Giants. Keefe is in his first year in the EIHL and already has a ‘A’ on his jersey. Adam played in the Ontario Hockey League from 2000-01 to 2004-05 with the Sudbury Wolves and Kitchener.

A position behind Keefe is Colt King with 135 PIM in 41 games with the Sheffield Steelers. This is Colt’s first season in the EIHL. He played in the OHL from 1999-00 to 2003-04 with what seems like half the league. King wore the OHL jersey’s of the Guelph Storm, North Bay Centennials, Saginaw Spirit, Oshawa Generals, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds and Sarnia Sting.

Frantisek Bakrlik is tied for 12th with 90 PIM in 48 games. It’ll be interesting to see how many regular season games Bakrlik ends up playing. The Fife Flyers are his third team this season in the EIHL and it looks like he’s picked up a few extra games due to scheduling differences at the time of each of his trades. Frantisek played in the OHL in 2000-01 and 2001-02 with the Barrie Colts and Sarnia Sting. This is his first year in the EIHL.

Darryl Lloyd is in 15th with 88 PIM in 37 games with the Belfast Giants. Lloyd is in his first season in the EIHL and is currently injured. Darryl played three seasons with the Windsor Spitfires from 2001-02 to 2003-04.

Drew Bannister falls in 17th spot with 84 PIM in 40 games with the Braehead Clan. Bannister will turn 38 in a few months and began his OHL career way back in 1990. He played four seasons with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds from 1990-91 to 1993-94. A second round pick of the Tampa Bay Lightning in 1992, Bannister has 176 NHL games under his belt, including playoffs. This is his second year in the EIHL and first with the Clan.

Just a minute behind Bannister is Sylvain Cloutier of the Hull Stingrays. Cloutier has 83 minutes in 41 games. This is Cloutier’s fifth EIHL season and third with the Stingrays. Like Corey Neilson with Nottingham, Sylvain is also the coach of the team and is in the third year of that position. Cloutier played three years in the OHL with the Guelph Storm from 1991-92 to 1993-94. A veteran of seven NHL games, all with the Chicago Blackhawks in 1998-99.


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