Ontario Hockey League grad Evan Brophey returns to the Austrian based Erste Bank Eishockey Liga after a year in Germany. Brophey has started 2015-16 with the Graz 99ers, a hard luck franchise that has not reached the post season over the past two years and has won just one playoff series since 2000-01. Joining Brophey on the 99ers roster are two other OHL alumni, goalie Sebastian Dahm and high scoring defenseman Kevin Mitchell.
Brophey played five years in the OHL from 2002-03 to 2006-07 with the Barrie Colts, Belleville Bulls and Plymouth Whalers. He was a second round pick by the Colts at the 2002 OHL Priority Selection, 37th overall. Over his OHL career, Evan scored 109 goals and assisted on 182 for 291 points over 321 regular season games. In 56 playoff games, he added 44 points.
His best year was his last. With the Whalers in 2006-07, Brophey scored 38 and assisted on 71 for 107 points while playing the full 68 game schedule. He led Plymouth in assists and points and finished behind Tom Sestito for the team goal scoring lead. Evan was fifth in the OHL for assists and tied for sixth with Bryan Little of the Barrie Colts in the race for the Eddie Powers Trophy.
That year, the Whalers won the OHL title, beating the Sudbury Wolves in six in the finals. At the Memorial Cup, Plymouth fell in the semi-final game to the host Vancouver Giants.
The Chicago Blackhawks took Brophey in the third round of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, 68th overall. Since 2007-08, he has played pro hockey in the AHL, NHL, EBEL and Germany’s DEL. His National Hockey League experience is limited to one game with the Blackhawks in 2010-11 and three games with the Colorado Avalanche in 2011-12.
He previously played in the EBEL in 2013-14 with EC Salzburg Red Bull. In 2014-15, he appeared in 28 games with EHC Munchen (Munich) in Germany’s Deutsche Eishockey Liga.
Dahm played three years in the Ontario Hockey League from 2005-06 to 2007-08 with the Belleville Bulls, Sarnia Sting, Sudbury Wolves and Niagara IceDogs. Belleville picked Sebastian 49th overall at the 2005 CHL Import Draft.
Until Evan Brophey was traded from Belleville to the Whalers during the 2005-06 season, the two were teammates with the Bulls. Dahm played 21 games for the Sudbury Wolves during the 2006-07 playoffs and went head to head with Brophey in the finals.
2015-16 is Dahm’s first year in the EBEL after spending the past five years with Rodovre Mighty Bulls in the Metal Ligaen of his native Denmark. Already this season, Sebastian has put up amazing numbers with a 1.98 GAA and .948 save percentage over the first four games.
Mitchell played four years in the OHL from 1997-98 to 2000-01. His first three years were with the Guelph Storm and his final season was with the Oshawa Generals. Guelph took him in the fifth round of the 1997 OHL Priority Selection, 77th overall. The following year, the Calgary Flames selected Kevin in the ninth round of the 1998 NHL Entry Draft, 234th overall.
Since 2001-02, Mitchell has played pro hockey in the AHL, ECHL, DEL, EBEL, Switzerland’s NLA, the Czech Extraliga, Italy’s LIHG and Sweden’s Allsvenskan. For the past two years, Kevin has played for Mora IK in the Allsvenskan, last season as team captain.
2015-16 will be Mitchell’s first year with Graz. He last played in the EBEL in 2011-12 with Villacher SV.
Founded in 1999, the 99ers were promoted to the EBEL for the 2000-01 season. The team plays home games at the 4,050 seat Eishalle Liebenau in Graz, Austria, a classic venue that dates back to 1963.
since 2000-01, the 99ers have reached the post season in just eight of the 15 years. The team has won just one playoff series and that was back in 2003-04. They have not reached the post season since 2012-13.
Graz is a city in southeast Austria with a population of around 270,000. The city is not far north of the border with Slovenia and not far west of the border with Hungary.