In late December and early January, the Ontario Hockey Association (OHA) and Provincial
Junior Hockey League (PJHL) will be hosting EHC Dübendorf from Switzerland for International
exhibition games against six PJHL teams. The OHA has hosted many International teams
over the years, but this is the first time an International team will be competing
against PJHL teams.
EHC Dübendorf plays in the Swiss Ice Hockey Federation's Tier III Junior league
"Junioren Top", which is comparable to the PJHL in the OHA. The PJHL will be represented
by four North Conference teams: the Kincardine Bulldogs; the Mount Forest Patriots;
the Mitchell Hawks; and the Alliston Hornets; and two East Conference teams: the
Port Perry MoJacks; and the Napanee Raiders.
EHC Dübendorf is currently in 3rd place in the East Region of the Junioren Top league
at 5-2-1. Kincardine is currently in 3rd place in the North Conference's Pollock
Division at 9-9-1, Mount Forest is currently in 5th place in the North Conference's
Pollock Division at 5-10-2, Mitchell is currently in 2nd place in the North Conference's
Pollock Division at 13-4-1, Alliston is currently in 1st place in the North Conference's
Carruthers Division at 19-1-1, Port Perry is currently in 1st place in the East
Conference's Orr Division at 18-0-0, and the Napanee Raiders are currently in 2nd
place in the East Conference's Tod Division at 12-5-0.
Schedule: December 28, 7:30 PM at Kincardine Bulldogs
December 29, 8:00 PM at Mount Forest Patriots
December 30, 7:30 PM at Mitchell Hawks
January 1, 2:25 PM at Port Perry MoJacks
January 2, 5:00 PM at Napanee Raiders
January 3, 7:30 PM at Alliston Hornets
The tour was initiated by the General Manager of the Kincardine Bulldogs, Doug Kennedy.
Kennedy, who had taken a high school team to Austria, the Czech Republic and Germany
last April, decided it would be a great experience for his junior team in Kincardine
to experience the International Game. Kennedy said: "the Europeans play the game
a little bit differently… it will be really good for our kids to experience playing
against a European team".
Kennedy hopes this becomes an annual event in the PJHL and brings more teams over
the next 4 or 5 years so that more teams throughout the PJHL can have an International
experience. Port Perry General Manager Murray Parliament, who works closely with
Kennedy on the PJHL Executive Committee said "We are looking at this as a huge challenge
and fun project that will require a lot of work and effort and we firmly believe
that through our efforts and the efforts of the other participants that we can make
it a total success. And if we do that, hopefully it will be something that can continue
within the PJHL for many years ahead."
OHA President Karen Phibbs echoed their remarks, saying: "This is a wonderful opportunity
for our players, coaches and communities to experience the International game and
to meet and learn from a group of young athletes from another part of the world
and different culture who love the game of hockey as much as we do." Phibbs added:
"The players on both teams will benefit from this experience and gain a new appreciation
for different approaches to playing hockey."
Brad Grant, Chairman of the OHA Board of Directors added: "We are proud of our teams
and communities throughout the OHA and this is a great way of showcasing our talent
and our supporters within the Association to a wider audience. This is also an incredible
opportunity to promote the new league, as the PJHL continues to evolve and develop
over the coming years."
For EHC Dübendorf, this will be a great experience to play in Canada on the smaller
ice surface and experience the Canadian style first-hand. EHC Dübendorf Head Coach
Nico Eilinger said: "Canada is the motherland of hockey. For every hockey player
in Switzerland, and maybe in Europe, it is a dream to play games in Canada. For
most it will remain a dream."
Eilinger is making that dream a reality for the players on his team, adding "I want
to make something unforgettable for the players." On coming to Canada to play the
six PJHL teams, Eilinger said "It is a great honour for us."
Eilinger said the first goal of the tour for his team is to have fun and enjoy playing
hockey in Canada; however he added "I hope my team learns to play more physically.
I think in the first one or two games we must first get used to your game and after
(that) we will see what happens."
Swiss hockey is experiencing a resurgence with a number of Swiss-born players currently
playing in the NHL, including: Mark Streit (Philadelphia), Nino Niederreiter (Minnesota),
Denis Malgin (Florida), Sven Andrighetto (Montreal), Roman Josi (Nashville), Yannick
Weber (Nashville), Kevin Fiala (Nashville), Luca Sbisa (Vanvouver) and Sven Bärtschi
The tour is being organized by Moore Sports Tours, and owner Mike Moore said, "We
started doing tours with the OHA back in 1995. We did the Canada Russia Junior Hockey
Tour for many years and we have lots of great memories of those days."
For more information on the tour, including the full schedule, player rosters and
stats during the games, please visit: http://ehcdubendorf.pjhlontario.ca
About the OHA
Founded in 1890 to govern amateur hockey in Ontario, the Ontario Hockey Association
is the governing body for the majority of Junior and Senior teams in the Province
of Ontario. The OHA currently has 120 teams and over 2,700 players in its jurisdiction.
For more information about the OHA, please visit: www.ohahockey.ca.
About the PJHL
The Provincial Junior Hockey League (PJHL) was formed in the Spring of 2016 with
the unification of 8 Junior C hockey leagues under the OHA jurisdiction. The 63-team
league is divided into four conferences: North, South, East, and West, with two
divisions in each conference representing the former Junior C leagues. For more
information about the PJHL, please visit: www.pjhlontario.ca.
About EHC Dübendorf
Dübendorf is a suburb of Zürich in Switzerland with a population of about 26,000.
EHC Dübendorf was founded in 1939 and includes club teams that compete at the youth,
junior and senior levels. The team travelling to Canada plays in the Swiss Ice Hockey
Federation's Tier III Junior league "Junioren Top".
The top team has previously played in the Swiss National League A and is currently
in the Regio League 1st League. The motto of EHC Dübendorf is "We live ice hockey"!
For more information, visit: www.ehcd.ch.