Ontario Hockey League grad Kevin Mitchell has been conditionally joined on Villacher SV of Austria’s Erste Bank Eishockey Liga (EBEL) by two other OHL Alumni. Mitchell is entering his second year with Villacher. One of the others has already been playing in the EBEL while the second has played in Switzerland for the past four years. Both are with the team on a try-out basis for now.
Mike Craig is one of the oldest active Ontario Hockey League alumni in the world right now. Craig played three years with the Oshawa Generals from 1987-88 to 1989-90, twice playing for Team Canada at the IIHF World Juniors. Mike was drafted by the Minnesota North Stars in the second round of the 1989 NHL Entry Draft, 28th overall. He played 423 regular season NHL games with the North Stars, Dallas Stars, Toronto Maple Leafs and San Jose Sharks.
After one season in Switzerland in 2002-03, Craig has played in the EBEL since. In 2004-05 with the Vienna Capitals, he led the league in points with 71. In both 2006-07 and 2008-09, he led the EBEL in goals with 43 and 30. This past season, he scored 24 and added 14 assists for 38 points in 46 games for Klagenfurter AC.
Cory Pecker played five years in the Ontario Hockey League from 1997-98 to 2001-02. He began his career with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds and was traded to the Erie Otters during the 2000-01 season. In his final year with Erie, he scored 53 goals in just 56 games and totalled 99 points. His 25 goals and 42 points in 21 playoff games helped the Otters to a Robertson Cup victory and a Memorial Cup berth. Cory was taken by the Calgary Flames in the sixth round of the 1999 NHL Entry Draft, 166th overall.
Pecker spent most of his North American pro career in the American Hockey League between 2002-03 and 2006-07, never making it to the big show. For the 2007-08 season, he crossed the pond to play in Switzerland’s National League B. With Visp in 2009-10, Cory scored 40 and contributed 101 points in just 41 games. This past season was spent split between Visp and Lausanne.
Kevin Mitchell spent four years in the Ontario Hockey League from 1997-98 to 2000-01, his first three with the Guelph Storm and his final season with the Oshawa Generals. Mitchell was drafted by the Calgary Flames in the ninth round of the 1998 NHL Entry Draft, 234th overall. He began playing in Europe for the 2004-05 season after three years on a handful of teams in the AHL and ECHL. Kevin has played in Germany, Switzerland and the Czech Republic before settling in with Villacher this past season.
Villacher went through a ten year period from 1998-99 to 2006-07 where they were in the league finals nine times and were crown champions on three occasions. Since, the team has fallen into mediocrity.