you were to guess how many former Eagles are still playing College, University
or Professional hockey would you say under 5, between 5 and 10, between 10 and
20 or over 20? How about closer to 40? Below is a brief update on
an impressive list of former Burlington Eagles still playing hockey.
Dozens more are playing Junior Hockey or just recently retired. Ten former
Eagles have signed NHL contracts in the past 15 years. On a per capita
basis these are numbers we can all be proud of.
One former Pro-Scout and OHL Head Scout’s take;
As I was doing my research for this article; a couple of questions I often get asked came to mind; Does it help or hurt a player that decides to move to the GTHL to further their hockey aspirations? Is it better to be the big fish in the small pond or just to just blend in? The below list is ample proof you don’t need to move to advance your career - you just need to want it bad enough put in the work that is required. To quote Rod Kirk “it’s an individual's determination to persevere above and beyond all obstacles, and finding the joy in pursuing their dreams that will ultimately lend to their success”. In other words – it doesn’t matter where you play – it’s how you play, how you train, your ability to upgrade your skills, your commitment, how you compete, how you skate, how you enjoy the game for what it is – a game, how you think the game, how you interact with teammates and coaches and most importantly your ability to positively impact your teammates and the game itself. It requires that you put in more work and effort than 98% of all others to have a shot at making it to the show. I’m convinced it doesn’t mean looking for an easier route or hoping that by playing with more top players it will get you there – because it won’t! If you want it bad enough and you are good enough it doesn’t matter where you play or who you play with. It’s about diversifying and training to become an all-round student-athlete. It’s about improving every practice, every day, every game, every season and off-season and taking those improvements forward. Hard work will help build confidence.
I often wonder - what’s the message to the young athlete when it’s suggested they have to move to the GTHL in order to advance their careers or improve their chances? First of all, there is no evidence to support that belief. Some might feel they aren’t good enough to make it by playing for their hometown with their buddies? All I can say to that is a high percentage of players in the NHL played Hometown Hockey until they were 15 or 16. Players from every size town, some urban, some rural, some isolated, some that didn’t even have AAA level hockey, some on a great team and some on horrible teams. If you are good enough – good scouts will find you! Having been a Toronto area scout and Coach as well as the GM of a Toronto Junior Team I’ve asked many OMHA coaches, players and parents after the fact if the grass was greener in the GTHL. Most agreed it wasn’t and that it didn’t work out for them. Some will argue that top players like McDavid did it – do you really believe McDavid only made it because he decided to play for the Marlies? He was projected to be a 1st round pick when he was still playing for York Simcoe. My advice is to stay focused on the process and spend those extra thousands of dollars each year on things that actually can make a difference – we are very fortunate to have some of the best on and off ice training resources available anywhere. If the player really wants to play hockey beyond the Eagles take that extra 200-300 hours of travel time used to get to./from Toronto and the extra $10,000 plus per year and invest it into training (mental/physical) and equipment.
I do know some OMHA and Alliance players that found a way to play on top teams in Toronto that got drafted late but I can’t think of one that made it and stuck. I can say the same about players in all communities. I know of free agents that made it to the OHL (our own Josh Anderson is a perfect example) and 2nd and 3rd rounder’s that never made it. Only a handful of drafted players on average make their OHL clubs each year, excel and stick. The rest like many on the list below had to find other routes to advance their careers. So who is the next Eagle to get a DI scholarship, play pro or sign a NHL contract??
Current Eagles Coach Consultant
Coordinator of Player Development
(Apologies to any former Eagle that was missed on this list. Please send us a note if we did).
Trevor Atkinson 1992 – Dundas Real McCoys ACH Allen Cup Hockey. An Eagles graduate. Trevor played Jr B hockey for the Waterloo Siskins and then for the Wilfred Laurier Golden Hawks CIS prior to joining Dundas. Trevor is a solid D-man with 4 points in 9 games played so far this season.
Cory Conacher 1989 – Bern NLA (Swiss League) – Canisius College Division I NCAA graduate. Signed a NHL free agent entry level contract with Tampa Bay in 2012. Cory has a long list of personal and team accomplishments. He is currently leading his team in scoring with 32 points in 29 games. Cory played for 4 NHL teams over a 3 year period. Tampa Bay, Ottawa, Buffalo and the NY Islanders before signing a 2 year contract to play in Switzerland.
Shane Conacher 1984 – Canisius College Division I NCAA. Shane followed his brothers trail from the Eagles to the Cougars to Canisius. Shane playing in his Junior season has his own list of personal accomplishments to be proud of and currently leads his team in scoring with 19 points in 15 games.
Tim Carr 1989 – Amiens France Magnus League. Tim like his brother Chris followed his dad’s trail to the NCAA (Mike Carr – long-time volunteer coach/convener with the Eagles). He graduated from SUNY Oswego NCAA Division III and is now playing his 3rd season of pro hockey in France. We assume he’s fully bilingual by now! Tim has 4 points in 11 games and is plus 4.
Dan Carter 1992 – Dayton Demolition Federal Hockey League. Dan persevered and is now enjoying his first pro season playing in the great state of Ohio.
Drew Fielding 1990 – after his Eagles career Drew played for the Cougars and Hamilton Red Wings before playing 4 seasons of NCAA Division III hockey at the University of St. Thomas. Drew recently played his first pro game for the Adirondack Thunder of the ECHL and allowed no goals. Keep up the progression Drew.
Kyle Freiday 1987 – Kyle played 4 years of NCAA hockey at Robert Morris University and Adrian College before starting his pro career in the Federal Hockey League. Kyle played several seasons in the SPHL and currently plays in the ACH Allen Cup Hockey for the Stoney Creek Generals.
Scott Tanski 1990 – Reading Royals. Former assistant Captain of the Brampton Battalion in the OHL. Scott played 3 seasons for the Orlando Solar Bears of the ECHL and one full season in the AHL with the Connecticut Whale. Scott is hoping to repeat former Eagles player Brett Flemings achievement of winning a Kelly Cup Championship with Reading but we won’t be surprised if he ends the season back in the AHL.
Josh Anderson 1993 – Lake Erie Monsters AHL. Josh signed with the London Knights after graduating from the Eagles Midgets. He went on to play on the World Junior Team and was drafted by the Columbus Blue Jackets. He signed an entry level NHL contract and has already gotten his feet wet playing in 9 NHL games. Josh was an assistant Captain with the London Knights and is to be commended for his perseverance and proving the experts wrong when they over-looked him in the OHL draft signing with the Knights as a free agent. Josh proved to all that it’s never too late and to never give up on your dream. Make it happen! Be a leader! Help your team be better! Be a great teammate! That was Josh!
Matt Stanisz 1990 – Florida Everblades ECHL. Matt had 3 good seasons in Barrie before ending his OHL career with Owen Sound. Matt had a terrific playoff run that ended with an appearance at the Memorial Cup. Four years at Carleton CIS and now in his first year pro with the Everblades. Matt is now playing with another former Eagle Corey Syvret. Matt’s dad Ed can be seen at many of our Eagles Minor Midget games as a Scout for the Barrie Colts.
Corey Syvret 1989 – Florida Everblades ECHL. Drafted by the London Knights in the OHL and the Florida Panthers in the NHL. Corey played for the Knights and the Guelph Storm. He went on to play for the Kelly Cup Champion Alaska Aces and is now teamed up with Matt Stanisz on the Florida Everblades. Corey also played 18 games in the AHL and for the Ontario Under 17 team.
Brett Flemming 1991 – HC Bolzano, Austrian League. After graduating from the Eagles Brett played for the St. Mike’s Majors who were coached by current Ottawa Senators coach Dave Cameron. Brett had a great OHL career and was recognized for his strong defensive play and skating ability. He was drafted by the Washington Capitals and later on signed an NHL entry level contract. After a few successful seasons south of the border Brett decided to explore Europe. He lives and plays in Bolzano, Italy a team that actually plays in the Austrian top league. Brett has worn a letter on several teams and played a key role with Reading when they won the Kelly Cup Championship in 2012-13.
Josh Jooris 1990 – Calgary Flames. After graduating from the Eagles Josh excelled for the Cougars and accepted an offer to play Division I hockey at Union College. Josh signed with the Flames after his Junior season. After one season in Abbottsford of the AHL Josh made the jump and is playing on one of the fastest and most exciting teams to watch in the NHL. Josh’s dad Mark once a volunteer Eagles coach and star pro player himself has returned to coach the Cougars. Mark worked hard to make this list himself playing for the Real McCoys well into his late 40’s before hanging them up after the 2012-13 season due to injuries or he would still be playing! Keep it up Josh.
Greg Gibson 1991 – Robert Morris University NCAA Division I. After graduating from the Eagles Greg played junior hockey in Stoney Creek, Hamilton, Oakville, Huntsville and finally in Amarillo, Texas. Greg is in his Senior year at Robert Morris and has an impressive 19 points in 14 games so far this season. Experts say that 1 point in NCAA Division I hockey is equal to 2 in the CHL. Players range from 18 to 25 in the NCAA.
Tristan Lysko 1990 – Dayton Demolition Federal Hockey League. Tristan played for the Eagles before moving on to play 2 seasons for the Cougars. He’s now in his 3rd season in the FHL.
Jordan Szwarz 1991 – Former Captain of the Saginaw Spirit in the OHL and a 4th round pick of the NHL Arizona Coyotes. Jordan has played 35 NHL games so far in his career scoring 4 goals. He’s currently an assistant Captain on the AHL Springfield Falcons. Jordan has over 200 games played in the AHL. We wouldn’t be surprised to see him at the ACC one day.
Phil Kiss 1993 - Curry College NCAA Division III. Phil played on the Cougars after he graduated from the Midgets. He went on to play for Markham, Georgetown and Newmarket before heading to the suburbs of Boston to continue his career as a student-athlete.
Tyler Wiseman 1992 – TSV PeiBenberg Germany 4. Tyler was one of 5 Wiseman brothers to have played for the Eagles, hence the family license plate “5 sons”. Three of them played for the Cougars. Wes Jr was the Captain of the Cougars, Chad led the Cougars in scoring as a 16 year old and went on to play 9 NHL games and is currently coaching a Womans Professional team in Brooklyn NY. Jared also wore a letter playing a key leadership role on the Cougars before embarking on his pro career. Wes Sr. coached the Cougars and had an excellent minor league career himself. Janis Wiseman was a well known highly regarded Power Skating instructor that helped many former Eagles develop their stride. Tyler currently leads his team and the league in scoring. He was recently named player of the Month. Up to date stats are not posted yet. Tyler played 4 seasons at Canisius College and was a teammate of Shane Conacher and Cody Freeman son of former Eagles Coach Mark Freeman. The Wisemans – One true hockey family! And most of us struggle with just one hockey schedule!
Tyler Lepore 1994 – Morrisville State College NCAA Division III. Tyler played for the Cougars and the Caledonia Corvairs and had a terrific Sutherland Cup run before heading south of the border to play hockey and further his education as a student-athlete.
Mark Corbett 1990 Peoria Rivermen – SPHL Ryerson University grad playing his 2nd season of pro hockey. Mark has 8 points so far playing solid Defense getting his pro career started.
Taylor D’Andrea 1991 Wilfred Laurier CIS – Taylor played 4 seasons in the Golden Horseshoe Hockey League with Cambridge and Thorold. He is in his 4th season with the Golden Hawks.
Michael Budd 1989 – ESC Wedemark Scorpions – Germany 3, 37 points in 20 games. UMASS Lowell NCAA Div 1 graduate. In 2013-14 Michael played for the China Dragon in the Asian League scoring 23 points in 30 games. What an experience that must have been.
Michael Folkes 1989 – Manchester Storm EIHL. Mike played 2 seasons for the Utah Grizzlies of the ECHL before moving to the UK. Mike was fortunate to experience playing both NCAA Division I hockey for Ohio State and 2 seasons for Carleton University in Ottawa. He had several former Eagles as teammates at Carleton. Mike is an assistant Captain in Manchester. His dad Paul is our Atom Convener.
Alex Hutchings 1990 – Bjorkloven, Swedish Allsvenskan League. After 4 excellent years with the Barrie Colts Alex signed with the Tampa Bay Lightning the team that had drafted him in the 4th round of the 2009 NHL draft. After a few years in North America Alex is now using his great speed playing on the big ice in Sweden. Alex played in the German DEL2 last season. He currently has 14 points in 29 league games.
Brandon MacLean 1987 - Ravensburg Tower Stars Germany DEL2. Brandon enjoyed 4 very good seasons in the OHL and was named Captain his final season in SSM. He played 4 seasons of CIS hockey at Carleton before moving on to play for the Florida Everblades in the ECHL and has over 50 games played in the AHL. Brandon is having a good first season in Germany with 31 points in 24 games.
Brandon Coccimiglio 1987 - Edinburgh Capitals EIHL. Brandon is a Mercyhurst College NCAA Division I grad playing in his 5th pro season. Brandon recently moved to Scotland from France and has 3 assists in 4 games and plays against Mike Folkes.
Matthew Schwehr 1982 – Adrian College NCAA. Matt played on several local area Junior teams after graduating from the Midgets. He’s in his sophomore season at Adrian College.
Ryan Moore 1990 – Dundas Real McCoys ACH Allen Cup Hockey. Ryan played for the Cougars before signing with and playing for the Sarnia Sting the team that drafted him. He left the OHL to give the Q a go. He played in Gatineau for a season before returning to the area to play for the Brantford Eagles and St. Catharine’s Falcons. More recently Ryan has done tremendous work using his skating skills to train our young Eagles players along with his sister Michele Moore at the Pond.
Jordan Coccimiglio 1993 Queens University CIS. Drafted by Erie in the 3rd round – 41st pick overall. Jordan played 2 seasons in the Ontario Hockey League for the Erie Otters and Barrie Colts. He’s in his 3rd season on the Queens University Hockey Team.
Alex Murray 1993 - AIC American Int’l College NCAA hockey. Alex a goalie played for the Cougars. He went out west to play for Prince George in the BCHL prior to accepting an offer to play for AIC. In 11 games this year he has a .901 save %.
Chad Bennett 1991 – Berlin River Drivers Federal Hockey League, 1 point in 3 games so far this year after a great rookie season in the FHL scoring 78 points and winning the league championship with the Watertown Wolves
Ben Beasley 1994 – SUNY Canton NCAA Division III. The former Eagle played 3 full season of Junior hockey and has 9 points in 12 games so far this season.
Evan Buitenhuis 1993 Goaltender Hamilton College NCAA III. In 5 games this season Evan possesses a 1.59 goals against average and a .955 save %
Steven Trojanovic 1993 – Queens University CIS. Drafted in the 3rd round 58th overall Steven played with the Windsor Spitfires the team that drafted him before being traded to Peterborough and then Guelph. Steven played a key role for the Storm and at the Memorial Cup earning 2 assists in 4 games.
Brent Vandenberg 1989 – Dundas Real McCoys ACH Allen Cup Hockey. Brent played 2 full seasons for the Cougars before heading west to play in the BCHL. He played for the Niagara University Purple Eagles NCAA Division I before transferring to Wilfred Laurier where he played 3 more seasons.
Patrick Volpe 1993 – Brock University CIS. Patrick brother of Adrian Volpe (1990). Patrick played for the Stoney Creek Warriors and the Summerside Western Caps in the Maritime Jr. A League. He also played one season for the SSM Greyhounds in the OHL. Adrian was a goaltender and graduated from Brock last year.
Colin Wright 1989 – Hamilton Steelhawks ACH Allen Cup Hockey. Former Captain of the Burlington Cougars and Umass Lowell Division I NCAA graduate. Colin played 124 games in the NCAA over a 4 year college career.
Ryan Wilkinson 1993 – Salem State NCAA Division III. Former assistant Captain of the Cougars. Ryan played in Stoney Creek with the Warriors before spending 2 years in Quebec. Ryan has 4 points in 9 games so far this season.