After much speculation, including tweets sent out by the actual player and the player’s agent, Ontario Hockey League grad Scott Barney has officially signed with Valpellice in Italy’s Lega Italiana Hockey su Ghiaccio (LIHG) for the 2013-14 season. This will definitely take a bit of adjustment after playing in Chuncheon, South Korea in 2012-13.
Barney played four years in the OHL from 1995-96 to 1998-99, all with the Peterborough Petes. In his first year, the Petes finished sixth overall during the regular season but came through big in the playoffs, winning the Robertson Cup with a 4-3 victory over the Guelph Storm in the finals. Scott was a big contributor in his rookie year, playing 24 playoff games and registering 14 points. The Petes hosted the 1996 Memorial Cup and reached the final game before falling 4-0 to the Granby Predateurs of the QMJHL.
His 44 goals in 1997-98 placed him fifth in the OHL. In his final season, he was team captain of the Petes. Over his OHL career, Barney played in 230 regular season games, scoring 128 goals and assisting on 115 for 243 points.
Scott was a second round pick of the Los Angeles Kings at the 1997 NHL Entry Draft, 29th overall. Unfortunately, due to back injuries, Barney missed his first three years following his days in the OHL. He returned to pro hockey in 2002-03 and was able to get into 27 National Hockey League games over the next four years with the Kings and Atlanta Thrashers.
In 2006-07, as a member of the Hershey Bears in the American Hockey League, Barney tied with Corey Locke of the Hamilton Bulldogs and Darren Haydar for most goals in the Calder Cup playoffs with a whopping ten. Hershey fell in the finals to the Bulldogs, four games to one.
Barney has been out of North America since 2008-09, playing in Germany, Finland, Czech Republic, Switzerland and Korea. 2012-13 was spent with High1, a team out of Chuncheon, South Korea that plays in the Asia League of Ice Hockey (ALH). Scott was second in league scoring behind just teammate and OHL grad Michael Swift. In 42 games, Barney scored 37 goals and assisted on 50 for 87 points.
The franchise has roots back to 1934. The full name is a whopper: HC Valpellice Bodino Engineering. The club plays home games at the Plaghiaccio Olimpico di Torre Pellice in Torre Pellice, Italy. The venue was built in 2005 and seats 2,370. Valpellice was last promoted to the LIHG A1 for the 2009-10 season. Since then, the team has reached the post season in each year. In 2012-13, Valpellice reached the finals.
Heading into his second year as head coach of Valpellice is Ontario Hockey League grad Mike Flanagan. Mike played three years in the OHL from 1985-86 to 1987-88 with the Toronto Marlboros. In 2012-13, he was selected as the LIHG’s coach of the year.