Well over halfway into the 54 game Erste Bank Eishockey Liga schedule, Ontario Hockey League grad John Hughes is atop the Austrian league’s scoring race. Hughes has a slim lead with 49 points as a member of Olimpija Ljubljana. Last season, he was fifth in points while leading the league in assists.
John played in the Ontario Hockey League for four seasons from 2004-05 to 2007-08. He was the first overall pick by the Belleville Bulls at the 2004 OHL Priority Selection. He played with Belleville until a trade sent him to the Brampton Battalion during the 2006-07 season. Hughes finished his OHL career with 283 points in 256 regular season games.
Undrafted, Hughes made his way to Europe immediately upon leaving the OHL. This is John’s second season with Ljubljana. He has also played for teams in Finland in Germany. The team is sitting in fifth place in the eleven team EBEL in what well could be Ljubljana’s best showing in the Austrian elite league.
Joining John Hughes on Olimpija Ljubljana are two defenseman that also played their junior hockey in the Ontario Hockey League. Jamie Fraser played four seasons in the OHL from 2002-03 to 2005-06. His first two years were spent with the Brampton Battalion and his final two were with the Sarnia Sting. Undrafted, Fraser spent five years from 2006-07 to 2010-11 in the North American minors, mostly in the American Hockey League. He did get to play one NHL regular season game in 2008-09 with the New York Islanders. 2011-12 marks Fraser’s first year playing in Europe.
Scott Hotham is in his second year playing in Europe after playing for Lillehammer in Norway’s Get-Ligaen in 2010-11. Hotham played four years in the Ontario Hockey League from 2001-02 to 2004-05 with the North Bay Centennials, Saginaw Spirit, Mississauga IceDogs and Barrie Colts. Scott followed up his junior career with four years with St. Mary’s of the CIS. In his first year of pro hockey, 2009-10, he split his season with the Florida Everblades of the ECHL and the Rochester Americans of the AHL. Scott’s brother and father also are graduates of the Ontario Hockey League.