An updated article on this player is available here: Jack Combs
The ECHL’s scoring leader has up and left Northeast Texas for the ‘tropical’ climate of Northeast Sweden. Ontario Hockey League grad Jack Combs makes a return to Europe after starting the season with Toros Neftekamsk in Russia’s VHL. Combs should be active with Bjorkloven in Sweden’s Allsvenskan by January 23.
Combs played five years in the OHL from 2004-05 to 2008-09 with the Kitchener Rangers and Saginaw Spirit. Jack was taken by the Rangers in the second round of the 2004 OHL Priority Selection, 33rd overall. He played his first year with Kitchener and the rest of his OHL career with the Spirit.
In 2007-08, Combs scored 42 goals and assisted on 58 for 100 points with Saginaw. His point total that season remains a team record. Jack placed eighth in the OHL for goals and tied for ninth for assists with Brett MacLean of the Oshawa Generals. In the race for the Eddie Powers Trophy, Combs tied for seventh with Michael Swift of the Niagara IceDogs.
Undrafted to the National Hockey League, Combs has played pro hockey since 2009-10 in the ECHL, AHL, CHL and VHL. Not one to stay in one spot long, Bjorkloven will be Jack’s 14th pro team. 2014-15 makes three consecutive years that Jack has played for three different teams in a single season.
Perhaps, his top year in pro hockey to date came in 2010-11 with the Tulsa Oilers of the Central Hockey League. Over 64 regular season games, Combs scored 40 and assisted on 42 for 82 points. He tied for second in the CHL for goals and finished tenth in the overall scoring race. In the playoffs, Jack added ten points in ten games for the Oilers.
In 2013-14, Jack played for the San Antonio Rampage and Oklahoma City Barons in the American Hockey League, as well as, the Cincinnati Cyclones in the ECHL. This year started off with Toros Neftekamsk in Russia’s tier 2 VHL. Neftekamsk is somewhat close to Ufa. He played eleven games with Toros, contributing seven assists.
Jack moved back to North America to join the Allen Americans in the ECHL. At the time of his departure back to Europe, Combs had scored 22 and assisted on 34 for 56 points over just 32 regular season games. Jack held the scoring lead in the ECHL by two points over the next contender.
This franchise from Umea, Sweden has been around since 1970. The team plays home games at the T3 Center in Umea, a venue with seating for 6,000 that opened in 1963. Since 1994-95, Bjorkloven has played in each of the top three levels of Sweden’s pro hockey scene at one time or another. Most recently, the team was promoted back to the Allsvenskan from Division 1 for the 2013-14 season.
In 2013-14, Bjorkloven placed 14th out of 14 teams in the Allsvenskan over the 52 game schedule and narrowly avoided relegation. Currently, the team is in 12th, 31 games into the 2014-15 season.
Bjorkloven has retired the numbers of four past players. One of those is Patrik Sundstrom. Sundstrom played 676 games in the National Hockey League between 1982-83 and 1991-92 with the Vancouver Canucks and New Jersey Devils. His number 17 is retired by the team.
Umea is a city in Northeast Sweden on the coast of the Gulf of Bothnia (the northern tip of the Baltic Sea). The city has a population of 80,000 with a metro population of 112,000 – very similar to Allen, Texas. Umea is located 600 kilometres north of Stockholm, the capital of Sweden.