Jonathan Zion becomes the second Ottawa 67’s grad in a month to sign with the Tilburg Trappers in the Netherlands. Last month, former Ottawa captain Will Colbert joined the perennial contender. They will both be coached by a former member of the Oshawa Generals, Paul Gardner. Will Colbert and Paul Gardner were featured in this previous article at OHLAC: Former 67’s Captain Signs in the Netherlands.
Zion played five years in the Ontario Hockey League from 1997-98 to 2001-02, all with the 67’s. He was the eighteenth overall pick by Ottawa at the 1997 OHL Priority Selection. Over his career as a defenseman in the OHL, Zion played 290 regular season games, scoring 57 goals and assisting on 186 for 243 points. He played an additional, and impressive, 67 playoff games, scoring 11 and assisting on 52 for 63 points.
Jonathan had the fortune of competing in two Memorial Cup tournaments, 1999 and 2001. In 1998-99, the 67’s finished third overall in the OHL and were named the host of the Mem. After sweeping the North Bay Centennials in the opening round of the Robertson Cup playoffs, the 67’s then fell to the Belleville Bulls in the second round in five games. Belleville went on to win the Robertson Cup over the London Knights, to earn a berth, along with Ottawa at the Memorial Cup. Ottawa reached the final game and won the National Championship with a 7-6 win over the Calgary Hitmen in overtime.
Two years later, the 67’s got into the Memorial Cup the traditional way, by winning the Robertson Cup. Ottawa met the Plymouth Whalers in the finals and won the series in six games. The Regina Pats hosted the 2001 tournament and it was the Pats that eliminated the 67’s with a 5-0 victory in the tie-breaker game.
Zion was a fourth round pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs at the 1999 NHL Entry Draft, 110th overall. He has yet to play in the National Hockey League. Jonathan played pro in North America from 2002-03 to 2005-06 in the AHL and ECHL. He returned to the western hemisphere for the last half of the 2010-11 season, playing for the Allen Americans of the Central Hockey League. He then played the full 2011-12 season with the Chicago Express of the ECHL before returning to Europe.
His hockey resume includes time in Finland’s SM-Liiga, Austria’s EBEL, Denmark’s AL Bank Ligaen, Norway’s Get Ligaen, Sweden’s Allsvenskan, England’s EIHL and the Poland elite league. 2012-13 was spent with GKS Tychy in Poland. He played 14 regular season games as the team finished third in the eight team league. He then played an additional 12 games in the post season and Tychy won the bronze medal game.
As mentioned, there is already an Ottawa 67’s grad on the roster in Will Colbert and an Oshawa Generals grad behind the bench in Paul Gardner. The Tilburg club dates back to 1938. In 2012-13, the team lost in the finals. In fact, over the past seven years, the Trappers have reached the finals six times. The were last crowned champions in 2006-07 and 2007-08. The Trappers play home games at IJssportcentrum in Tilburg, a 2,500 seat venue built in 1996.