For Ontario Hockey League fans, there’s an interesting situation in Germany that should trigger the memory machine. There are four OHL grads playing for Nurnberg Ice Tigers of the Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL). Three of the four haven’t played in the OHL since the early to mid-1990’s. With Nurnberg off to a 1-8 start, who knows how long this group will be together.
Starting from the youngest:
Patrick Ehelechner is a ripe 27 years old and played two years in the Ontario Hockey League during the present millenium. Ehelechner tended goal for the Sudbury Wolves in 2003-04 and 2004-05. He came to the Wolves already a prospect of the San Jose Sharks, taken in the fifth round of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, 139th overall. It’s been the DEL all the way for Patrick, entering his seventh year in the league. The past five years, he has played for Nurnberg.
Paul Traynor played for the Kitchener Rangers for three years from 1994-95 to 1996-97. The 34 year old was drafted by the original Winnipeg Jets in the seventh round of the 1995 NHL Entry Draft, 162nd overall. Traynor has been in the DEL since 2004-05 and is in his first season with the Ice Tigers.
Backing up Ehelechner in net is 36 year old Tyler Moss. Moss played three years in the Ontario Hockey League from 1992-93 to 1994-95, all with the Kingston Frontenacs. A second round pick of the Tampa Bay Lightning in 1993, Tyler is the only one of the four to have NHL experience. He played games for the Calgary Flames, Carolina Hurricanes and Vancouver Canucks between 1997-98 and 2002-03. This is Tyler’s second year in the DEL and first with Nurnberg after playing in Russia and Switzerland since 2005.
At just 40 years old, Rob Leask is an inspiration to us all. I am fairly certain that he is the last active Toronto Marlboro and Hamilton Duke. Leask played in the Ontario Hockey League for four years from 1988-89 to 1991-92 with Toronto, Hamilton, Guelph Storm and Oshawa Generals (of course, the first three were all the same franchise).
The Washington Capitals picked him up in the 1991 NHL Entry Draft, 209th overall. To put that in perspective, Eric Lindros was the first overall pick that year and other first rounders included Pat Falloon, Scott Niedermayer, Peter Forsberg and Markus Naslund – all no longer active as players. Yet, this 10th rounder from North York still keeps chugging along. Leask is captain of the club and is in his third year with Nurnberg. He has been in the DEL since 1996-97.