Ontario Hockey League grad Mario Simioni has been bench boss for SønderjyskE in Denmark’s AL-Bank Ligaensince midway through the 2004-05 season. In that time, the team has been champion in the nine team league on three occasions and the bronze medal winner four times. For the 2012-13 season, he will have two OHL alumni on the ice in Patrick Asselin and Jordan Owens.
Mario Simioni played three years with the Toronto Marlboros from 1980-81 to 1982-83. A player with a knack for finding the back of the net, Mario placed fourth in goals in 1981-82 with 58 and second, behind only Doug Gilmour of the Cornwall Royals, in 1982-83 with 62. He was a fifth round pick of the Calgary Flames in 1981. After two years playing deep in the North American minors, it was off to Europe for the rest of his playing career.
Simioni played in Italy, Denmark and England (Wales) between 1985-86 and 1999-00. For five consecutive seasons with Asiago in Italy, Mario exceeded the 100 point plateau while playing no more than 45 games in one season. In 1988-89, e scored 73 goals and totalled 131 points in just 44 games. He finished his playing career with a season in Denmark with Odense. He then coached the team for the following four years.
Patrick Asselin comes to SønderjyskE after a year with Starbulls Rosenheim in Germany’s 2.Bundesliga. Rosenheim lost in the finals to the Landshut Cannibals. Asselin contributed at more than a point per game during the regular season and stepped it up in the playoffs with 10 goals and 19 points over 12 games.
Patrick played five years in the Ontario Hockey League from 2003-04 to 2007-08. He played with the Saginaw Spirit until an early season trade sent him to the Oshawa Generals in his final year. Undrafted, he spent his first year of pro hockey in Germany before returning to play in the ECHL for four years.
Jordan Owens has played in the American Hockey League since 2007-08. Owens played three years with the Mississauga IceDogs from 2004-05 to 2006-07, leading the team with 54 points in 2005-06. Undrafted, Jordan was picked up by the New York Rangers organization and played three years with the Hartford Wolf Pack. 2011-12 was spent with the Connecticut Whale after a year with the Grand Rapids Griffins.
SønderjyskE plays out of Vojens, Denmark. The team moved into a brand new arena in 2011, which seats 5,000. In 2012-13, SønderjyskE finished first overall in the nine team league, 14 points ahead of second place Odense. Considering each team plays just 40 games each, the gap was monumental. However, it was Odense and third seed Herning playing for the championship while SønderjyskE settled for a bronze medal win over fifth seed AaB.