After spending 2013-14 in the American Hockey League, OHL grad Rob Davison is heading back to Austria. However, he will playing an entirely different role, standing behind the bench as assistant coach of EC Salzburg Red Bull in Austria’s Erste Bank Eishockey Liga. Two OHL grads will be in the lineup for sure for Salzburg with potentially a third, pending a tryout with the club.
Davison recently retired from the game as a player and is stepping directly into a coaching role. Rob played three years in the Ontario Hockey League from 1997-98 to 1999-00, all with the North Bay Centennials. North Bay selected him in the second round of the 1997 OHL Priority Selection, 21st overall. Two years later, he was fourth round pick by the San Jose Sharks at the 1998 NHL Entry Draft, 98th overall.
Rob played pro from 2000-01 to 2013-14 in the AHL, NHL, the U.K.’s EIHL, the Czech Extraliga and the EBEL. Davison appeared in 219 NHL regular season games between 2002-03 and 2009-10 with the Sharks, New York Islanders, Vancouver Canucks and New Jersey Devils. The stay at home defenseman scored just three goals over that time while assisting on just 15.
Davison played for Salzburg for the last half of 2011-12 and all of 2012-13 before returning to North America for a year. In 2013-14, Rob was team captain for the Worcester Sharks of the AHL.
The EBEL’s top scorer in two of the past three seasons moves over to Salzburg for the upcoming campaign. Hughes played four years in the OHL from 2004-05 to 2007-08 with the Belleville Bulls and Brampton Battalion. He was the first overall pick at the 2004 OHL Priority Selection, going to the Bulls.
Undrafted to the NHL, John has played pro hockey since 2008-09 in the EBEL, Finland’s Liiga and Germany’s DEL2. He was EBEL scoring champion in 2011-12 with Olimpija Ljubljana and again this past season with Villacher SV.
Meckler returns for his second year with EC Salzburg. David played just one year in the Ontario Hockey League, 2006-07, with the London Knights. He led the league in goal scoring that season during the Robertson Cup playoffs, despite the Knights losing in five games to the Plymouth Whalers in the Western Conference finals. Meckler scored 15 over 16 playoff games.
The Los Angeles Kings selected Meckler in the fifth round of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, 134th overall. He has spent his first six years of pro hockey with L.A.’s AHL affiliate, the Manchester Monarchs before moving to Salzburg for the 2013-14 season.
Kontos will get a tryout with Salzburg in hopes of securing a contract for the 2014-15 season. Kristoff played five years in the OHL from 2009-10 to 2013-14 with the Sudbury Wolves, Mississauga Steelheads and Saginaw Spirit. He was a second round pick by the Wolves as the 2009 OHL Priority Selection, 38th overall. In 2013-14, he led the Spirit with 50 assists and 75 points.
Undrafted to the National Hockey League, Kontos played his first pro hockey after Saginaw was eliminated from the 2013-14 post season. He appeared in seven regular season games in the ECHL with the Toledo Walleye.
EC Salzburg Red Bull
The team was promoted to the EBEL for the 2004-05 season and that has been the only year the franchise has not qualified for the post season. Over the nine years since 2005-06, Salzburg has won the playoff championship four times and has lost in the finals three times. This past year, Red Bull placed first overall in the EBEL and fell in the finals.
EC Salzburg Red Bull plays home games at the Volksgarten in Salzburg, Austria. The venue seats 3,200 and was opened for business back in 1960.