Switzerland Has OHL Alumni Presence at 2013 World Champions

switzerland hockey national league flagSwitzerland is making waves at the 2013 IIHF World Hockey Championships by taking out Canada in game 2 of the round robin. On Team Switzerland, there are two Ontario Hockey League grads on the ice and one behind the bench as head coach.

Ryan Gardner

Gardner played three years in the OHL from 1995-96 to 1997-98 with the London Knights and North Bay Centennials. Ryan endured the record setting 1995-96 season when the Knights won just three games and tied another three over 66 games.

After just a few games in 1997-98 with North Bay, Gardner was off to Switzerland and he’s been there since. Ryan has played 666 regular season games in Switzerland’s National League A, contributing 490 points. He’s played another 185 playoff games adding another 124 points. Gardner has been with S.C. Bern since 2010-11 and is signed on for the 2013-14 season.

Gardner has been to the World Championships with Switzerland each year since 2008-09. In the National League A, he has been a member of four championship teams. The latest was this season as SC Bern beat HC Gotteron.

Denis Hollenstein

Hollenstein was the 32nd overall pick at the 2007 CHL Import Draft by the Guelph Storm. Denis played two years in the OHL, 2007-08 and 2008-09, with the Storm. He has been in the NLA since 2009-10 and has spent the past three years with the Kloten Flyers. Hollenstein will play 2013-14 with Geneve-Servette. This will be his second World Championship tournament for Denis. He also played for Switzerland at the 2008 World Junior Hockey Championships.

Sean Simpson

Head Coach Sean Simpson has been the leader of Switzerland’s national team at the Worlds since 2010. He was also the Swiss head coach at the World Juniors in 2013. Simpson played parts of five years in the Ontario Hockey League from 1976-77 to 1980-81. In his first year, he was limited to just four games with the Kingston Canadians. The rest of his OHL career was spent with the Ottawa 67’s.

Sean was taken by the Chicago Blackhawks in the seventh round of the 1980 NHL Entry Draft, 141st overall. He played no NHL hockey but appeared in Europe from 1983-84 to 1991-92. Simpson played for teams in the Netherlands, Switzerland and Italy.

Simpson started coaching in Switzerland in 1992-93. With exception of a stint in Germany between 1999-00 to 2002-03, Sean had steady employment in the NLA until 2009-10. Since, he has worked solely for the national team.


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