Written by Carlos Verde, Sports Information Assistant
The Carleton Ravens men’s hockey team landed in Europe today as part of a hockey tour that will see Marty Johnston’s program face three professional teams during the nine-day stay.
“This is something that we looked at based on what some other teams did,” reflected Johnston, who is entering his sixth season behind the Ravens bench. “Waterloo did the trip a couple years ago and then had a successful run at nationals.”
Johnston says he and his coaching staff made the decision in an effort to create a sense of team unity on a roster that will undoubtedly feature many new faces in 2015-16.
“We felt that with our roster turnover at the end of last season, and wanting (this year’s) team to gel as a group, this would be the perfect opportunity,” Johnston explained. “The guys that are here, their goal is to play professional hockey – a lot of them will end up in Europe – so this will be a good measuring stick.”
The Ravens arrived in Europe today, and have three days to acclimatize before facing off with German OberLiga team EC Peiting on September 4th. Carleton will then travel to Italy to face Ritten Sport, one of the top teams in Italy’s Serie-A league, on September 7th. Carleton’s slate of games will then wind down the following night in Austria against EC Kitzbühel.
“It’ll be eye-opening to see the world, I’m a little nervous about being awestruck,” admits third-year Carleton forward Mike McNamee. “For those of us that want to play pro hockey, it’s a good opportunity to be seen, and it’s a great opportunity for all of us to bond as a team.”
EC Peiting (September 4th)
Head Coach: John Sicinski (Missisauga, ON)
2014-15: 6th out of 12 in OberLiga South (Eliminated in Rd. 1)
Bavarian outfit EC Peiting, led by Canadian ex-pat John Sicinski behind the bench, features some quality talent on its roster. Most notably, Vancouver Canucks draft pick Ty Morris (2003, 4th round) joined the team this summer after spending 2014-15 with the DEL-2 club EV Landshut. Edmonton-native and former AHLer Justin Taylor also joined the team this summer after traveling through Slovenia, Austria, Japan, and Italy over the past four seasons. The pair of Canadians will be expected to pick up the load offensively for Sicinski’s team, which lost two of its top three scorers from last season in Michael Baindl (DEL-2) and Canadian blue liner Cody Carlson.
Ritten Sport (September 7th)
Head Coach: Riku Petteri-Lehtonen (Turku, FIN)
2014-15: 3rd out of 12 in Serie A (Lost Finals 4 games to 3)
Northern Italian club Ritten Sport will be looking to go one better this season under new head coach Riku Petteri-Lehtonen, as the team fell in seven games to Asiago in the 2014-15 league final. The biggest ‘name’ on Ritten’s roster is former NHLer Patrick Rissmiller, who appeared in 192 NHL games during stints with San Jose, Atlanta, Florida, and New York (Rangers). Ritten’s connection to Carleton comes via 37 year-old centre Dan Tudin. The former Ottawa 67 was Ravens head coach Marty Johnston’s teammate at Dalhousie (1999-2002), before embarking on a pro career which has seen him spend the last nine years in northern Italy with Ritten.
EC Kitzbühel (September 8th)
Head Coach: Joe West (Winnipeg, MB)
2014-15: 6th out of 11 in Austrian National League (missed playoffs)
Canadian coach Joe West takes the reins in Kitzbühel this season after stints in Denmark, Italy, and Germany, and will be trying to get the best out of a largely domestic-based roster. The only import of note on the Austrian team’s roster is former University of Vermont standout Peter Lenes, who made the jump overseas two years ago after his career stalled in the ECHL. Veteran Jarkko Oikarinen (FIN) and prospect Filip Orsagh (SVK) are the only other imports on the team.