For those who don’t know, the Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL) is a nine-team league existing mostly in the area from Northern Florida to Ohio. The league is a step below the ECHL and similar to the Central Hockey League. The SPHL was formed for the 2004-05 season and typically plays a 56 game regular season schedule. Attendance for SPHL games is usually in the 1,500 to 3,500 range.
At the 40 game point in the 2011-12 season, there are four Ontario Hockey League grads among the top 20 in total points. A point of interest is the leader, Kevin Swider (a product of the NCAA). This is the eighth year of the SPHL. Swider is eleven points up on the next contender, in search of his seventh SPHL scoring title. The only year he wasn’t scoring champ in the league’s history was 2010-11 when he didn’t play.
Chris Leveille of the Fayetteville FireAntz is sitting in fourth position with 51 points in 40 games, 23 points behind Swider. This is Leveille’s fourth year with Fayetteville. Probably not well remembered in OHL circles, Chris played just 12 games over three seasons (2004-05 to 2006-07) with the Guelph Storm.
Matt Auffrey of the Augusta RiverHawks is tied for fifth with 47 points in 40 games. Auffrey is in his second season with the RiverHawks. He played in the Ontario Hockey League for two seasons, 2005-06 and 2006-07. His first year was spent with the Kitchener Rangers and his second was a three-way split between the Rangers, Brampton Battalion and Kingston Frontenacs. Auffrey came to the OHL as a prospect of the Anaheim Ducks, taken in the sixth round of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft.
Mark Versteeg-Lytwyn sits tied for ninth with 43 points in 39 games with the Mississippi Surge. 2011-12 is Mark’s third year in the SPHL and second with Mississippi. Versteeg-Lytwyn played three years in the Ontario Hockey League, split between the Guelph Storm, Sarnia Sting and Sudbury Wolves.
Jesse Biduke is currently tied for 16th with 36 points in 32 games with the Fayetteville FireAntz. This is Biduke’s second year with Fayetteville. Jesse played three years in the OHL, 2004-05 to 2006-07, with the Oshawa Generals, Ottawa 67’s and Kingston Frontenacs. He returns to the SPHL after taking the 2010-11 season off. In 2009-10, Biduke was the league’s rookie of the year.