Vityaz Chekhov (Chekhov Warriors) are by far the most penalized team in Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League (KHL). They have also proved to be one of the least successful. Four Ontario Hockey League graduates are on Chekhov’s roster as of the start of the 2010-11 season. Three are returning after appearing on the team least season.
Of the three returning players, Chris Simon is surprisingly the least penalized and a fine producer of offence. As team captain, Simon sat out 110 minutes in 30 regular season games. He added 13 goals and 12 assists for 25 points. Brandon Sugden played just ten games and sat out 122 minutes. Brandon was one of the main instigators in the now infamous brawl that ended a Vityaz game after just over three minutes of play and brought the team a hefty fine from the league. Josh Gratton played a slightly cleaner game than Sugden, sitting only 112 minutes in 11 games.
The newcomer to Chekhov Vityaz is goaltender Kevin Lalande. Lalande played four seasons in the Ontario Hockey League from 2003-04 to 2006-07, all with the Belleville Bulls. Kevin was picked by the Calgary Flames in the fifth round of the 2005 NHL draft, 128th overall. Lalande has spent his pro hockey career mixed between the ECHL and AHL. This past season, 2009-10, Kevin played in the American Hockey League with the Syracuse Crunch, appearing in 56 games and putting up great numbers with a 2.86 GAA and a .912 save percentage.
Chris Simon played four seasons in the Ontario Hockey League from 1988-89 to 1991-92. His first three full seasons were played with the Ottawa 67’s and after two games in his final season, he was moved to the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. The Greyhounds won the Robertson Cup that season as the Ontario Hockey League’s playoff champion. Simon was also a member of the 1995-96 Colorado Avalanche Stanley Cup winning season.
Simon was taken in the second round of the 1990 NHL draft, 25th overall by the Philadelphia Flyers. Chris went on to a 782 game NHL career split between the Quebec Nordiques, Colorado Avalanche, Washington Capitals, Chicago Blackhawks, New York Rangers, Calgary Flames, New York Islanders and Minnesota Wild.
Brandon Sugden played three seasons in the Ontario Hockey League from 1995-96 to 1997-98. He played his first season with the London Knights during their incredibly futile three win season. His second season was split between the Knights and the Sudbury Wolves. Sugden’s third season was split between the Wolves and the Barrie Colts. Sugden was drafted in the 1996 NHL draft by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the fifth round, 111th overall. Brandon spent time on teams in the ECHL, IHL, AHL, QSPHL and LNAH before making the move to Russia last season.
Josh Gratton played three seasons in the Ontario Hockey League from 2000-01 to 2002-03. Gratton’s first season was spent with the Sudbury Wolves. His second was split between the Wolves and the Kingston Frontenacs and his third was split between the Frontenacs and the Windsor Spitfires. Although undrafted, Josh has played 86 games in the NHL with the Philadelphia Flyers and the Phoenix Coyotes.
Check out each players profile page at the Vityaz Chekhov official website: