Toronto,ON- When a player comes to U SPORTS to play Varsity Hockey and ostensibly also get an education, the typical idea is that they’ll be committed to their program for at least four seasons (the amount of time it normally takes to get a bachelors degree). Oftentimes, players also stretch their degree to use the fifth year of eligibility they’re granted. However, sometimes the opposite happens, a player comes to U SPORTS, only to move on within a year.
Today we try and answer the question: What is the best team we could make out of players who came into their program for one year only?
A couple ground rules for this exercise:
- Players who were freshman in 2019-20 aren’t eligible unless they have de-committed and moved on from their school for the 2020-21 season
- Players who had a strong second season and left, no matter how few games they played in the first season don’t count (so no Mikkel Aagaard and no Anthony Beauregard)
- We are looking for two goaltenders, six defenders and twelve forwards
- We are going to look back as far as possible but the direct info on U SPORTS hockey in general gets fuzzy after the early 2000’s
Let’s kick this U SPORTS Hockey History trip off with some goalies who found success in recent years.
Charlie Graham – Ryerson Rams/2016-17
The Numbers: 16GP – 13-1-2 | 2.14 GAA | .924 SV%
How did he do?: After a five year OHL career split between Belleville, Hamilton and Sarnia, Graham stormed onto the scene at Ryerson in 2016-17 and took firm hold of the crease winning his first four starts in the blue and gold. He ultimately finished his one season at Ryerson with a 13-1-2 record, a 2.14 GAA and a .924 save percentage, earning an OUA Second Team All-Star nomination. He still holds the Ryerson single season GAA record.
What has happened since: 2016-17 was the last recorded hockey season of Graham’s career so at the very least he went out with a strong season.
Logan Thompson – Brock/2018-2019
The Numbers: 24GP | 18-3-3 | 2.22 GAA | .934 SV%
How’d he do?: Thompson arrived in St. Catharines after four years with the WHL’s Brandon Wheat Kings and immediately made an impact winning his first five starts. He went on to lead the OUA in wins and finish in the top three in GAA and SV%. The trophy case filled fast, winning the OUA West Rookie of the Year, OUA West Goalie of the Year, OUA First Team All-Star and OUA All-Rookie Team Honours, but no Queen’s Cup as the Badgers, (who had made the final in 2018) were bounced 7-1 in Game Three of their OUA West Semifinal vs the Western Mustangs.
What happened after?: Thompson finished the rest of the 2019 season with the Adirondack Thunder of the ECHL before moving to the South Carolina Stingrays and having a strong 23-8-1 campaign which led to him receiving a two year entry level contract from the Vegas Golden Knights this past July.
John Vandenburg – Laurentian/1972-73
The Numbers: 17GP | 7G| 17A | 24PTS
How’d he do?: Vandenburg took a long road to get to Laurentian. A five year career with the Peterborough Petes was followed by a year in the CPHL, a year in the AHL and two years in the IHL before landing in Sudbury. Once he got to Sudbury the talent that got in 74 points in 1967 on that Petes team was on display as he finished 3rd in team scoring. He helped guide Laurentian to 2nd in the OUA East with 23 points but was unable to topple the University of Toronto dynasty that picked up its 8th consecutive Queen’s Cup in 1973.
What happened after?: Vandenburg wound down his career after his year in Laurentian, playing one final year in 1973/74 with the Toledo Hornets of the IHL with just two games of OHA Senior A hockey in 1977 serving as the last recorded games of his career.
Raymond Delarosbil – Moncton/1994-95
The Numbers: 26GP | 7G | 24A | 31PTS
How’d he do?: Delarosbil came to Moncton after five years in the QMJHL including two years quarterbacking the powerplay of Chicoutimi and Drummondville respectively. When he reach Moncton he took over that quarterback position dishing a team high 27 assists. He helped star winger Jean Imbeau hit a team high 51 points and helped Moncton each their 8th AUS Title and first since 1990. At the U SPORTS Championships his strong play only continued which helped lead Moncton to their first National title since 1990.
What happened after?: Delarosbil had a long and winding career after his year in Moncton. He spent the next three seasons in the CHL, split a year between the UHL and the WPHL, spent five seasons in the QSPHL and then eight seasons in the LNAH. After hanging up the skates in 2012 he joined St Georges Cool 103.5 FM of the LNAH as Head Coach for one season.
Martin Roy – Ottawa/1994-95
The Numbers: 23GP | 5G | 23A | 28PTS
How’d he do?: Roy came to Ottawa after three years in the QMJHL and instantly made an impact. His 28 points not only paced all defenders on the Gee-Gees but led the entire team in scoring.
What happened after?: Roy pushed on to semi-pro hockey after his year in Canada’s capital. He spent parts of two seasons in the ECHL with the Richmond Renegades including 22 games in the IHL with the Manitoba Moose in 1997 before calling it a career.
Mike Byrd – Carleton/2009-10
The Numbers: 28GP | 14G | 11A | 25PTS
How’d he do: Byrd was a shrewd recruiting pickup for the Ravens in 2009. Not an OHL player he instead played for the Brockville Braves of the CCHL where as a defenseman he peaked at an incredible 111 points in 59 games the season prior to joing Carleton. When he got to the Ravens, the production didn’t stop as he registered 25 points en route to finishing fourth on the Ravens in scoring.
What happened after?: Byrd spent most of the next two seasons in the FHL with the 1000 Island Privateers and included a six game cup of coffee in the SPHL with the Huntsville Havoc before hanging up the skates professionally.
Derek Holden – Laurier/2012-13
The Numbers: 28GP | 4G | 11A | 15PTS
How’d he do?: Holden didn’t put up a spectacular offensive season when he arrived at Laurier following five years with three OHL teams. He only registered 6 point in 15 games in first semester, but a strong run 9 points in 9 games in second semester capped off by a 1G 3A game vs Waterloo in Jan. 2013 helped establish Holden as a strong rookie force on the Golden Hawks blueline. It wouldn’t be enough for Laurier though as they fell in the 1st Round of the 2013 OUA Playoffs to the Guelph Gryphons. For his strong rookie season Holden was given OUA West All-Rookie Team Honours
What happened?: After he left the Golden Hawks, according to his LinkedIn Holden left Laurier altogether and is last known working as a Sales Rep for TLCK Equipment in Lombardy, Ontario
Dominic Cormier – Ottawa/2019-20
The Numbers: 27GP | 3G | 17A | 20PTS
How’d he do?: We close the defenders section with another Gee-Gee. Cormier arrived in Ottawa after four strong years with Rimouski and Victoriaville of the QMJHL. He made a solid contribution across the entire season peaking with a four game point streak in January where he tallied seven assists. OUA recognized him for his work with a spot on the OUA East All-Rookie Team for 2019-20.
What happened after?: Cormier’s after has actually not happened yet but according to the Ottawa Gee-Gees signing tracker he has signed with the Reading Royals of the ECHL where he will continue his professional career.
Maurice Biron – Western Mustangs/1974-75
The Numbers: 17GP – 11G | 24A | 35PTS
How’d he do?: After two seasons in the German second division with Cologne and Duisberg where he scored 73 goals, Biron came to Western and managed to take over the scoring lead from at the time third year vet Peter Fraser. Western was not very successful in 1975, after finishing as finalists for the Queen’s Cup in 1973, and 1974 they didn’t make the final and had to watch the University of Toronto win another Queen’s Cup.
What happened?: Maurice Biron’s Hockeydb page says he played for the London Kings of the CSAHL in 1979 but it has no statistics so this is the last year we know of an example of the skill of Maurice Biron.
Don McLaren – York Yeomen/1984-85
The Numbers: 38GP | 39G | 24A | 63PTS
How’d he do?: McLaren was actually a Vancouver Canucks draft pick, taken in the 9th Round, 179th overall in 1982. After four OHL seasons including a 113 point 1983-84 season with the Ottawa 67’s on a team that also included current Boston Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy and NHLer turned fitness guru Gary Roberts, McLaren went to York. His incredible season helped lead the Yeomen to their first Queen’s Cup victory beating the Western Mustangs.
What happened?: After leaving York, McLaren spent 1985-87 with the Canadian Men’s National Team racking up 137 points in 136 games, 16 games with Moncton in the AHL in 1988 before bouncing around Switzerland and Germany for five more seasons before calling it a career.
Ken Petrash – Manitoba Bisons-1985-86
The Numbers: 28GP | 19G | 34A | 53PTS
How’d he do? Petrash’s season with the Bisons is the first season of his hockey career on hockeydb but before that he had a 135 point season with St Boniface Saints of the MJHL. He was strong in his one since in Manitoba as well leading the Bisons in assists and points. He wasn’t able to take them to the Canada West championships however as they lost to the Calgary Dinos in the semi-final.
What happened after? Petrash bounced around Germany after leaving the Bisons. He played for six teams across eleven seasons and hit a peak with a career high 115 points playing for Regensburg in the German 2nd Division in 1997/1998.
Duane Dennis – Acadia/1993-94
The Numbers: 26GP | 35G | 39A | 74PTS
How’d He Do: After an incredible three year career with the Vernon Lakers of the BCHL where he won two Mowat Cups, an Abbott Cup and a Doyle Cup, Dennis crossed Canada to join Acadia. He became the team’s superstar with his 3 point per game and was award the Senator Joseph A Sullivan Trophy as Player of the Year at the end of the season.
What happened?: After his amazing season Dennis split the 1994/1995 season between the AHL and ECHL before moving on to Germany. He spent seven seasons in Germany including four with Riessersee SC of GerBun2, where he led them in scoring for three seasons.
Grady Manson – Brandon/1996-97
The Numbers: 26GP | 22G | 26A | 48PTS
How’d he do?: Manson arrived at the Brandon Bobcats after a strong five year career split between Moose Jaw and Tri-City of the WHL. He immediately made an impact, taking the team lead in points by 22 and recording the best season for a forward in the Bobcats program since 1990-91. His efforts were often for not as the Bobcats finished an anemic 5-21-2 but for his strong play Manson become the first and so far only Bobcat to win U SPORTS Men’s Hockey Rookie of the Year in 1997.
What happened after?: Manson spent parts of the next four seasons bouncing around six different Central Hockey League teams. In a powerful article written by the Brandon Sun last month (Click Here) Manson detailed his battles with alcoholism whilst playing and subsequently afterwards, his life now sober and his new job at Wheat City Golf Course in Brandon.
Carl Mallette – Dalhousie/2002-03
The Numbers: 28GP | 20G | 19A | 39PTS
How‘d he do?: Despite a strong five year career with the Victoriaville Tigers of the QMJHL which led to him being drafted 107th overall in 2000 by the NHL’s Atlanta Thrashers, Mallette couldn’t catch on with the organization and moved to Dalhousie in 2002. He immediately made an impact, pacing the Tigers with 20 goals which they rode to a 2nd place finish in the regular season and a first round bye. The magic wouldn’t last in the playoffs as StFX upset them in three games including a 6-4 win in Dalhousie in Game Three.
What happened?: Mallette pushed onward with three strong ECHL seasons with Florida, Roanoke, and Greenville before moving across the Atlantic to spend six of the next seven seasons with Rouen in France until he hung up the skates professionally in 2012. He followed that up by spending three seasons as an Assistant Coach for the same Victoriaville Tigers that he played so well for years ago.
Mike Stathopoulos – Western/2003-04
The Numbers: 28GP | 20G | 31A | 51PTS
How’d he do? In Western’s second addition to this list, Stathopoulos joined the Mustangs after four strong seasons across town with the London Knights of the OHL. He joined a potent top six for Western that already included fifth year veteran Justin Davis (who matched Stathopoulos with 51 points) and fellow freshman Mike Rice who added 37 of his own. For his efforts he was award an OUA First Team All-Star slot and co-Rookie of the Year honours with UQTR’s Pierre Luc Emond.
What happened?: Like many before and after him Stathopoulos left U SPORTS to join the ECHL. He put up two strong seasons with the Gwinnet Gladiators and the Columbia Inferno but that would be all for his professional hockey career.
Karl Gagne – Concordia/2005-06
The Numbers: 23GP | 15G | 17A | 32PTS
How’d he do? Gagne came to Concordia after three strong seasons in Moncton and one with the Quebec Remparts. He quickly became the cog in the Stingers offense, leading the team in goals and points but wasn’t enough alone to carry the Stingers who finished last in their division with a 7-11-3-3 record.
What happened?: After leaving Concordia Gagne spent a season in the LNAH, followed by three years in Europe including a 101 point year in Italy, finishing with three more seasons in the LNAH with Thetford Mines Isothermic. He has happily moved on from hockey and is now the General Manager of Lévis, Quebec’s Sheraton Hotel, as well as the city’s convention and exposition centers.
Adam Chorneyko – Lethbridge/2009-10
The Numbers: 26GP | 16G | 19A | 35PTS
How’d he do?: Chorneyko came to Lethbridge after a long five years in the WHL. He started slow with just two points in his first four games but a five point game vs UBC in Oct. 2009 cemented his place among the Canada West elite. He ended up 4th in league scoring and for his efforts won Canada West Rookie of the Year as well as got a place on the Canada West Second All-Star Team. His efforts unfortunately were not enough for the Pronghorns though who missed the playoffs finishing 5th in the league.
What happened?: Following his year in Lethbridge, Chorneyko moved on to spending parts of three seasons bouncing between the Central Hockey League (CHL) and the ECHL. He peaked with 32 points in 40 games for the Colorado Eagles of the CHL in 2010-2011.
Anthony DeLuca – Concordia Stingers/2016-17
The Numbers: 28GP – 24G | 19A | 43PTS
How’d he do?: DeLuca wasn’t exactly a fresh out of junior rookie as he spent the previous season in the ECHL with the Alaska Aces and Wichita Thunder, after scoring 101 goals in three season with the Rimouski Oceanic of the QMJHL. Nevertheless he joined Concordia and proceeded to show very quickly he was too good for the level. A 10 game point streak in first semester and a seven point game in second semester were just some of the strong moments in his season. His efforts were rewarded with an OUA First-Team All-Star and U SPORTS All-Rookie Team nomination as well as being named U SPORTS Rookie of the Year.
What’s happened since?: DeLuca has managed to find success overseas. After leaving Concordia for a strong season in Denmark in 2017-2018, he crossed back over the Atlantic for a cup of coffee with the Brampton Beast of the ECHL and the Thetford Assurancia of the LNAH before landing in Britain with the Sheffield Stars. It is there that this past season DeLuca broke out for 47 points in 42 games to finish 3rd on the Stars in scoring.
Michael St Croix – Manitoba Bisons/2017-18
The Numbers: 28GP – 13G | 22A | 35PTS
How’d he do?: Manitoba was the last stop on St Croix’s career trajectory. After a five year career with the WHL’s Edmonton Oil Kings and being drafted in the 4th round 106th overall by the Rangers in 2011 St Croix only managed a 13 game stint with the Hartford Wolfpack otherwise spending three seasons in Greenville of the ECHL. Thus he moved on to Manitoba and instantly took over. Three assists in his first game vs UBC showed he was ready to dominated and he ended up third in Canada West scoring.
What happened?: 2017-18 was St Croix’s last season so just like Graham he went out with a strong campaign.
Jake Smith – Carleton Ravens/2018-19
The Numbers: 27GP – 17G | 18A | 35PTS
What’d he do?: Not long ago in late 2018 Jake Smith took his first laps around the Carleton Ice House and then promptly spent a season dominating there. Leading the Ravens in goals and points, Smith put up a strong season including 20 points in 13 games at the Carleton Ice House. His strong season was reward with OUA East Rookie of the Year honours.
What happened?: Smith left Carleton to continue his professional career in 2019-2020 split on two sides of the Atlantic. First potting 30 points in 33 games with the Evansville Thunderbolts of the SPHL and then crossing the Atlantic to join the Rosenheim Star Bulls of the German Third Tier.
So here is our final lineup if I in my obviously infinite wisdom had to stack these talented players into lines.
Don McLaren (YRK) – Ken Petrash (MTB) – Duane Dennis (ACA)
Grady Manson (BRA) – Mike Stathopoulos (WES) – Maurice Biron (WES)
Anthony DeLuca (CNC) – Jake Smith (CAR) – Adam Chorneyko (LET)
Carl Mallette (DAL) – Michael St Croix (MTB) – Karl Gagne (CNC)
Mike Byrd (CAR) – Martin Roy (OTT)
Raymond Delarosbil (MON) – Dominic Cormier (OTT)
John Vandenburg (LAU) – Derek Holden (WLU)
Logan Thompson (BRK)
Charlie Graham (RYE)
So what do you think? Did I miss anybody? Was there anyone you think it’s cool you got to learn about? Let me know in the comments below.
STATS CREDIT: HOCKEYDB, Elite Prospects