The Perth Thunder are entering their fourth year of competition in Australia’s semi-pro AIHL. After not qualifying for the post season in 2014 and yet to win a playoff game, the Thunder are hoping to add some flash with OHL grads Peter Di Salvo and Luke Judson.
Peter Di Salvo
An updated article for this player is available here: Peter Di Salvo
Di Salvo played five years in the Ontario Hockey League from 2006-07 to 2010-11 with the Sarnia Sting, Barrie Colts and Oshawa Generals. The Sting drafted him in the second round of the 2006 OHL Priority Selection, 23rd overall. After playing sparsely for the Sting over his first two seasons, the goalie was traded to the Colts midway through 2007-08.
In 2009-10, Peter, and the rest of the Colts, saw great success. He played in 50 regular season games for Barrie as the won 57 games and totalled 116 points to capture the Hamilton Spectator Trophy as the OHL’s regular season champs. In the playoffs, the Colts reached the Robertson Cup finals before being swept by the Windsor Spitfires. Barrie picked up Mavric Parks at the trade deadline that season and it was Parks, not Di Salvo, that played the bulk of games in the playoffs.
As it is in the OHL, the year after was a disaster as the club lost all its veterans and had to rebuild. Midway through the season, Di Salvo was traded to the Oshawa Generals. Combined, he played 55 games between the Colts and Gens, along with ten games in the playoffs for Oshawa. The Generals fell in the second round to a strong Niagara IceDogs team.
Undrafted to the National Hockey League, Peter spent two years in the AUA with Acadia University before going pro. He has spent the past two years in the SPHL. In 2013-14, his Pensacola Ice Flyers finished first overall and won the playoff championship over the Columbus Cottonmouths. Di Salvo was part of a trio of goalies that split the regular season pretty even. However, he did not appear in any playoff games.
This past season, Di Salvo played for the Mississippi Riverkings, sharing duties with another OHL grad, Adam Courchaine. Courchaine played three years in the league from 2007-08 to 2009-10 with the Ottawa 67’s, Sarnia Sting and Erie Otters.
Judson also played five years in the OHL. From 2007-08 to 2011-12, he was a member of the Belleville Bulls. The Bulls took Luke in the fifth round of the 2007 OHL Priority Selection, 99th overall. He as captain of the team for his final three seasons.
Also undrafted to the NHL, Judson played one year of university hockey with Lakehead in the OUA. Since 2013-14, he has played exclusively in the ECHL with a handful of teams. His 2014-15 season started with two games as a member of the Idaho Steelheads. He then played 22 games for the Tulsa Oilers before ending the season with 30 games with the Bakersfield Condors.
Perth Thunder and the AIHL
Perth is now in their fourth year in the AIHL. In 2014, the team did not qualify for the post season. In 2013, the Thunder lost their only playoff game to date to the Newcastle North Stars. The team plays out of the Perth Ice Arena and is over 2,500 km from the next closest team in the AIHL.
Each of the eight teams in the AIHL plays a 28 game regular season schedule. The league has existed since 2000 and is considered a semi-pro league. This means that players do not get a salary but may receive other benefits. The AIHL also limits the number of imports each team can dress for any single game.
The teams in the AIHL compete for the Goodall Cup. The current defending champions are the Melbourne Mustangs.