This weekend, the Asia League of Hockey playoff champions will be crowned. It will either be the Oji Eagles or Nippon Paper Cranes. Oji placed first overall with a record of 39 wins and just three losses. Each team in the eight team league plays 42 regular season games and just four of the eight qualify for the post season. Of the eight teams, four are based in Japan, three in South Korea and one in China.
Four Ontario Hockey League grads played in the ALH in 2013-14. None of those four are playing for the championship. One of those players joined a team that went 0-42-0. Another led the league in goal scoring for the third consecutive season.
Michael Swift – High1
Swift ended the season with 67 points on 37 goals and 30 assists over 41 games. It was his third consecutive season leading the league in goal scoring. However, his 67 points placed him third and he was denied his third consecutive scoring championship after leading in points in 2011-12 and 2012-13. Over his time in the ALH, Michael has scored 120 goals and assisted on 134 for 254 points over just 117 regular season games. That equals a 2.17 points per game pace.
A veteran of five Ontario Hockey League seasons, Swift played in the league from 2003-04 to 2007-08. His first four years were spent with the Mississauga IceDogs and his final year was with the Niagara IceDogs. Michael was team captain in his final two years in the OHL. In 2007-08, Swift scored 38 and assisted on 62 for 100 points over 68 games as an overage. He was honoured with the Leo Lalonde Trophy for his efforts.
Bryan Young – High1
Michael Swift’s cousin, Young tied for 44th in the league with 29 points on nine goals and 20 assists over 41 games. The defenseman finished his fourth year with High1. Bryan played four years in the OHL from 2002-03 to 2005-06, all with the Peterborough Petes. He is the veteran of 17 National Hockey League games, 15 with the Edmonton Oilers in 2006-07 and two more with the Oilers in 2007-08.
Dustin Wood – Anyang Halla
Wood returned to Anyang after two years away. He played 2011-12 with the Coventry Blaze in the U.K.’s EIHL and in 2012-13 he played in Kazakhstan with Arystan Temirtau. This year, the defenseman placed tied for 51st with 25 points on five goals and 20 assists over 42 games. 2013-14 was Dustin’s third year in the ALH and won championships with Anyang Halla in 2009-10 and 2010-11. Wood played four years in the OHL from 1998-99 to 2001-02, all with the Peterborough Petes.
Brett Parnham – China Dragon
I would love to find out what exactly motivated Brett Parnham to join China Dragon mid-season. The Shanghai based team last won a game in regulation time in 2009-10. In 2013-14, Dragon did not win a single game, or even lose one in overtime. The team scored 58 goals while allowing 340.
Parnham played 17 games, scoring eight and assisting on five for 13 points. He was a minus 40. In spite of it all, his 13 points while playing less than half the schedule placed him tied for 86th in the ALH. Brett started the season with the ill-fated San Francisco Bulls of the ECHL. He played in S.F. for just ten games and was not a victim of the franchise folding midseason.
Brett played four years in the Ontario Hockey League from 2005-06 to 2008-09. He started out with the Sudbury Wolves but his greatest success came with the Oshawa Generals.