Pack your bags, we’re off to Europe (and Asia?)!

It’s a sad fact that, generally speaking, players in Milwaukee (or any AHL team for that matter), spend a season or two with the team and then fall off the radar. Sometimes you’ll have a Shea Weber, a player who graduates in the organization to being a full time Predator. Or you’ll have a Rich Peverley, someone who plays full time NHL hockey with another organization. Then there are the Darren Haydars, the guys who stay in the AHL, just with a different organization (and sometimes, unfortunately, it’s with the lowly Chicago Wolves…).

But there is that other segment of the hockey playing population that sign overseas contracts, never to be heard from again (or at least until they find contracts in North America, think Kelsey Wilson). Sometimes it’s harder to keep track of them once they cross the pond, as there is this thing called a language barrier. Unfortunately, I haven’t  mastered Finnish yet, so reading trying to keep up on our good friends over in the SM-Liiga can sometimes be a challenge..

So where do all those “overseas” guys go? Enter the Admirals World Team. I tracked down Admirals from seasons past and created a roster of sorts. Let me tell you, once I started digging, it was interesting to see where these players went. Who would’ve thought that Asia had a hockey league!

And remember, crowd participated is encouraged! BrianTheAdsFan got the ball rolling with the addition of Antti Pihlstrom, so keep ‘em coming!

2011-2012 Admirals World Team Roster

GOALTENDER

Fredric Cloutier (2006-2007) – Ritten/Renon Italy (Italy)

He only played 3 games with the Admirals back during the 2006-2007 season, but, unfortunately for this article, it was slim pickings for goaltenders who went to play outside of North America. Italy doesn’t strike me as a hot bed for hockey, so i was shocked to see another former Admiral, Scott May, was on the Ritten/Renon roster. He played 34 games for Milwaukee back during the 2005-2006 season. Cloutier is rumored to be joining a German team for the 2011-2012 season, but thus far no team has been announced.

DEFENSEMEN

Brett PalinPirati Chomutov Czech2 (Czech)

Palin went from Admiral to Pirati, and oddly enough, the logo for his new team looks like a long lost eastern block cousin of the Milwaukee Admiral. Palin signed with Chomutov on 06/23/2011 after six seasons in the American Hockey League, the last of which he captained the Admirals. Chomutov advanced to the finals last season, but lost the championship to HC Slovan Ustecti Lvi.

Robert Dietrich (2008-2010)Lokomotiv Yaroslavl KHL (Russia)

This isn’t Dietrich’s first season away from Milwaukee. Last season, Dietrich played with Adler Mannheim of the DEL (Germany), tallying 18 points during the regular season. Dietrich signed with Yaroslavl in early July, marking his first year playing in the KHL.

Tim Ramholt (2008-2009) – HC Davos NLA (Switzerland)

Before Roman Josi, the Admirals had another Swiss import on the team in defenseman Tim Ramholt. Ramholt tallied 10 points with a +3 rating in 59 regular season games with Milwaukee, and has spent the last two seasons with Davos. Columbus Blue Jackets star Rick Nash played for Davos during the NHL lockout in 2004.

Ville Koistinen (2006-2007) – Ilves SM-Liiga (Finland)

Koistinen spent the 2006-2007 season with Milwaukee, but moved up to the Predators roster for the 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 seasons. After leaving the Nashville organization, he spent one more year in North America before returning to Europe in 2010. He signed with Ilves in late May after playing a year in Sweden. He is in good company with Ilves; former plays include Stanley Cup Champion goalie Tuuka Rask, goalie Vesa Toskala, and Paul Kariya’s younger brother Steve Kariya.

FORWARDS

Grant LewisLev Poprad KHL (Russia)

Lewis signed with Lev Poprad on 7/21/2011 after one season in Milwaukee. The 26 year old Pittsburgh native will be the sole US player on the squad. This season marks the first season for Lev Poprad; Lev means “Lion” in English, and Poprad is a city in Slovakia.

Oren Eizenman (2007-2010) – High1 Asia League (Asia)

I pride myself on following hockey beyond North America, but I have to admit, I had no idea that Asia had a hockey league of any sort. High1 is one of seven teams in the Asia League, and is located in Korea. Eizenman signed with the team in early August after spending the 2010-2011 season the Syracuse Crunch and Connecticut Whale of the AHL, and the Elmira Jackals of the ECHL. Prior to last season, he spent parts of three seasons with the Admirals.

Ryan Maki (2006-2010) – Hannover Scorpions DEL (Germany)

After spending the 2010-2011 season with Hannover, Maki signed a contract extension with the team in late April. After winning the championship in the 2009-2010 season, the Scorpions were eliminated in the quarterfinals last season. Maki tallied a total of 16 points in 52 regular season games, as well as seven points in the post season. On a side note, former Nashville Predator Marcel Goc’s older brother, Sascha, also plays for the Scorpions. On a second, and totally unserious, side note, the Scorpions mascot is nothing short of lovable, don’t you think?

Peter Olvecky (2009-2010)Lev Poprad KHL (Russia)

Well how about that. I stumbled upon a teammate of Grant Lewis without even realizing it. Olvecky spent one season with Milwaukee, and then headed to Europe to play with Slovakia and SM-Liiga during the 2010-2011 season. Low and behold, he signed with Poprad in late June.

Alexander Radulov (2006-2007) – Salavat Yulaev Ufa KHL (Russia)

Ahh yes, who can forget Mr. Radulov. He might be the most controversial player on my fictitious team. He was the Preds 1st round pick in the 2004 NHL entry, and after two seasons in the organization, he disappeared and turned up in Russia. Since then, he’s played in the KHL with Salavat Yulaev Ufa, as well as the Russian National team. Last season was his best season to date, tallying 80 points in 54 games (20g-60a). Along with a lot of points, he racked up a lot of awards as well. In 2011 alone, he was recognized as a KHL All-Star, KHL Gagarin Cup Champion, KHL Golden Stick (Regular Season MVP) Award, KHL most assists, KHL most points, KHL Most Points, and KHL Playoffs Most Assists. His brother, Igor, also plays for Ufa. In mid-may, an article came out on Puck Daddy suggesting Radulov may finally return to North America. As we approach the beginning of the 2011-2012, that rumor seems more and more doubtful.

James Sixsmith (2007-2010) – HK Jesenice Austria (Austria)

A cult favorite of the old Admirals Short Shifts blog, James “Sixgun” Sixsmith spent parts of three seasons with the Admirals. Sixsmith spent last season with the Kolner Haie of the DEL, and signed with Jesenice in mid June. Former Admiral Wacey Rabbit also plays for the squad.

Mike McLean (2009-2011) – Coventry Blaze EIHL (Great Britain)

Yes, I know, he technically only played 8 total games for the Admirals, however, this is the Admirals WORLD team, and someone needs to represent the United Kingdom. McLean played for 9 different teams between the AHL, CHL, ECHL and UHL before signing with the Blaze on June 20th. Last season, he spent a majority of the season with the Quad City Mallards of the CHL. Also on the team is former Admiral Greg Zanon’s younger brother Brad Zanon (who played a whopping two games with the Admirals during the 2008-2009 season).

Ramzi Abid (2006-2007) – EC Salzburg Austria (Austria)

Abid played for both Milwaukee and Nashville during the 2006-2007 season, and then packed his bags for Europe. Since heading across the pond, Abid has played in Switzerland, Germany, Russia and Sweden. He also spent last season with Salzburg, which was the Austrian Champion in both 2010 and 2011. A teammate you may recognize is goaltender Josh Tordjman, who played four seasons with the San Antonio Rampage. Another notable player who spent time with Salzburg is former Admirals forward Kelsey Wilson, who spent the 2009-2010 season with the squad.

NEW! Antti Pihlstrom (2007-2009) - JyP HT Jyvaskyla SM-Liiga (Finland) – Courtesy of BrianTheAdsFan

Brian added forward Antti Pihlstrom to the lineup (good call, Brian!). He also had this to say about the 26-year old forward:

Antii Pihlstrom with JyP HT Jyvaskyla in the SM-liiga (Finland). Played a full season in 07-08 and 15 games in 08-09 for the Ads. I loved the way he hustled and didn’t mind laying a hit, especially for his size. He could put the biscuit in the basket too. Who doesn’t remember the open ice hit he layed onDarin Helm that sent him spinning like a helicopter?

In case you don’t, check out the following clip. Ten bucks says that guy woke up with a monster headache the next day…

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5 responses to “Pack your bags, we’re off to Europe (and Asia?)!

  1. Can I add one?

    Antii Pihlstrom with JyP HT Jyvaskyla in the SM-liiga (Finland). Played a full season in 07-08 and 15 games in 08-09 for the Ads. I loved the way he hustled and didn’t mind laying a hit, especially for his size. He could put the biscuit in the basket too. Who doesn’t remember the open ice hit he layed on Darin Helm that sent him spinning like a helicopter?

  2. Rest in Peace Robert Dietrich.

    Not the biggest guy on the ice, but he played with a lot of heart.

  3. Dov Grumet-Morris (Connecticut) to Lørenskog (Norway)

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