The Utah Grizzlies of the ECHL are rounding out their roster for the upcoming 2014-15 season. In the lineup are two Ontario Hockey League grads. Mike Pelech returns for his second year with the club. Marc Cantin joins the Grizzlies after spending 2013-14 split between the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in the AHL and the Stockton Thunder in the ECHL.
Cantin played five years in the OHL from 2006-07 to 2010-11 with the Belleville Bulls, Windsor Spitfires and Mississauga Majors. Marc was a sixth round pick by the Bulls at the 2006 OHL Priority Selection, 109th overall. His first year with Belleville consisted of just nine regular season and six playoff games while also appearing in one game in the Memorial Cup tournament.
Cantin was a deadline deal, going from the Bulls to the Spitfires in 2009-10, in time to win a Robertson Cup championship and Memorial Cup championship. His final season was played with the Mississauga Majors and brought another appearance in the Memorial Cup.
In fact, I’m pretty sure Marc is the only player in history to make Memorial Cup appearances with three different teams. He played just one game with the Bulls in 2008 with Belleville losing to the host Kitchener Rangers in the semi-final game. In 2010, he played four games with the Spitfires taking out the host Brandon Wheat Kings in the final game by a score of 9-1. In 2011, the Majors lost in the Robertson Cup finals to the Owen Sound Attack but were Mem Cup hosts. Mississauga lost in the final game 3-1 to the Saint John Sea Dogs. Cantin played five games and was awarded the George Parsons Trophy as the tournaments most sportsmanlike player.
Undrafted to the National Hockey League, Marc signed an entry level contract with the Boston Bruins in March, 2011. He has played pro hockey since 2011-12 in the AHL and ECHL. In 2013-14, Cantin played 39 games in the American Hockey League for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. He also appeared in six regular season and nine Kelly Cup playoff games with the Stockton Thunder of the ECHL.
Pelech played four years in the OHL from 2005-06 to 2008-09 with the Kitchener Rangers and Toronto/Mississauga Majors. Mike was the 18th overall pick at the 2005 OHL Priority Selecton by the Rangers. After his fourth year in the league, Pelech was selected in the sixth round of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft by the Los Angeles Kings, 156th overall. Mike has played pro hockey since 2009-10 in the ECHL and AHL.
In 2011-12, Pelech appeared in a combined 70 regular season ECHL games with the Toledo Walleye and Cincinnati Cyclones. He scored 19 and assisted on 49 for 65 points. His assist total was good for fifth in the ECHL. The following year, he helped the Cyclones reach the conference finals before falling in five games to the Reading Royals. 2013-14 was his first year with the Grizzlies.
The franchise dates back to the early 1980’s and originated with the Virginia Lancers, a charter member of the ECHL. As the Utah Grizzlies, the team has been in the ECHL since 2005-06. Since, they have missed the post season just once, in 2006-07. They have yet to reach the Kelly Cup finals.
The Grizzlies play home games at the Maverik Center in West Valley City, Utah, a 10,100 seat venue that opened in 1997. West Valley City is a suburb of Salt Lake City and has a population of around 135,000. Utah is affiliated with the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks and the AHL’s Norfolk Admirals.