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HUNGARIAN HOCKEY jégkorongozás





/ Hockey Suisse





Hockey in Germany: the different leagues
and the "Hammer Huskies"

(19-09-00 ada) Swedish coach Kent Forsberg, the coach of World Champions and the father of Peter Forsberg, once said once that he does not understand German fans. Said Forsberg, "I think they do not understand hockey. I cannot believe they keep shouting all the time. No matter what the score is and how horribly their team plays. I will never identify with this way of thinking." Daddy Forsberg would probably not be interested in reading the following article-- but he should be. German fans just enjoy the game of hockey. They know their team well no matter which league it plays. Read here about the team of Ulla's heart - Hammer Huskies.

Author: © Ulla 
Language correction: FlyBear

The 5 Leagues

Germany has 5 different ice hockey leagues. The highest league is the "DEL" (Die Erste Liga - the first league) where you’ll find a lot of good, though mostly foreign players, Canadians, Czechs, Scandinavians, Russians etc. Each team is required to have at least 6 German players. The DEL showcases a very good level of hockey, it’s a professional league which includes teams from all over Germany and isn't divided into conferences like the NHL. This year, the following teams will participate in the DEL: Augsburg, Berlin (2 teams), Düsseldorf, Essen, Frankfurt, Hannover (Wedemark), Iserlohn, Kassel, Köln, Krefeld, Mannheim, München, Nürnberg, Oberhausen and Schwenningen.
    In addition to the DEL there are four other, minor leagues which are also interesting to watch. The Bundesliga (the Federal League) is the second highest league. As it’s a national league most of the players are professionals, or at least semi-professionals, because they have to travel a lot to away games. In the Bundesliga the number of foreign players is limited to 5.
    The third highest league is called the "Oberliga" (the Upper League). It is made up of professionals, semi-professionals and amateurs and is also limited to 5 foreigners. The Oberliga is divided into the Northern and Southern divisions. Teams from West Germany play in the Northern Division, and East German teams in the Southern Division.
    The next league is the Regional League, divided into many regional divisions like the Southern League, the Hessen-League, the East League and the NRW (West Germany) League. Although most of the players are amateurs, you’ll also find up to two foreigners per team.
    The lowest league is the Landesliga (the National League) which is a purely amateur league. It's a good league for hobby teams, but is also the League where, if teams go bankrupt, they have to start from scratch. The pace of the games is quite slow but it doesn’t mean the games aren’t exciting.
    Nowadays, the level of all the leagues (except maybe the lowest league) is quite high. The pace of the games differs, as well as the number of spectators and the ticket prices. Their training times also vary. DEL teams practice once or even twice a day, whereas the teams from the lower leagues have about two or three practices per week. However, all the leagues offer us hockey fans a wide variety of good games and exciting fights!

Some General Thoughts

Football has always been more popular than hockey in Germany. Not all of the DEL games are televised. Usually, the German Sports Channel shows some of the games, but every year it's the same fight for the broadcasting rights and it looks as if the pay-per-view TV channels will win this time. The general channels show the World Championships but they only show the games in which Germany play, plus the finals, so there aren’t that many opportunities to watch hockey on TV.
    The newspapers do a bit better. All the local papers in the major hockey cities write long reports in their sports sections. We have also have a hockey newspaper in Germany that covers all the different leagues. In the reports about the higher leagues each team has its own section and in the reports about the two lowest leagues, there’s an informative up-to-date news summary.

The "Hammer Huskies"

We have a hockey team in my hometown, Hamm, called the "Hammer Huskies" who since last season have been playing in the NRW League. Until 1998, they were in the Bundesliga, the second highest league, and were called the "Hammer Eisbären" (the polar bears). It was only when they went bankrupt that they had to start again as a new team with a new name. Their first year in the lowest „Landesliga" was brilliant. They won almost all of their games, most of the time scoring more than 10 goals a game. They ended up winning the title and were promoted into the next league.
    The Huskies did quite well in their first NRW League season. They finished fourth which wasn’t bad. The Huskies (and the Eisbären) have always been very lucky with their fans. The Eisbären always had about 1000 spectators per game. Unfortunately this changed once they went down to the Landesliga because some fans refused to support a team playing in that league. However, we still boasted the biggest crowds with about 200–300 people per game. Nowadays, the number of spectators is back up to about 1000, all of whom are enthusiastic fans who celebrate each game as something special!

The Huskies' players

The Huskies have kept most of the players for the coming season but have also secured some new ones. We were very lucky last year to have Canadians Sean Klaver and Domenic Parlatore playing for us. They played in a Canadian team which challenged the Huskies to several pre-season friendlies. Sean and Dominic later decided to stay in Hamm, and always gave their best. Our German players also worked hard though, and everyone played well as a team. The Huskies have a very good goalie, Carsten Utner, who was one of the best goalies in the league last season. He’s been in Hamm for 6 years now and has improved every season. Last season his problem was lack of a good backup, but this season he'll have a talented partner: Stefan Kornewald, who played in the DEL and also has some World Championship experience. With all the other old and new players and two good goalies we can look forward to an interesting season. And, who knows?, maybe the Huskies will earn a promotion in to the next league!


The Habs

(06-09-00 ada) I remember the time I was an exchange student near Seattle. That was at the height of Nirvana's popularity, so many of my Czech friend envied the place where I was going to spend a year. My closest friend did not. He said that there is no good ice hockey there and Vancouver (in British Columbia) is too far away. If he could choose one place to go in North America, he would choose Montreal. He always asked me about the Habs in letters and I always asked him about my home team Pilsen in the Czech Republic. That was the 1995/96 season. Now time has moved forward but our hockey passions have remained the same. I am sure he will enjoy reading about the Montreal Canadiens from a real Habs fan, Mathieu.

Author: © mat "the 2nd rocket" Author information
Language correction: FlyBear
Date: 06-08-00

Since they played their first NHL game, the Habs have been the pride of the Quebecois. The CH was a symbol of wins, courage and tenacity. Maurice "The Rocket" Richard, Jean Beliveau, Guy Lafleur, Howie Morenz,... were the leaders in the different eras. The fans were used to win the Stanley Cup and having great players. There are now a lot of Habs' fans in the world, because they are the winningest hockey team in the NHL history, and the 2nd in all sports: the New York Yankees are first with 25 World Series championships and the Habs are 2nd with 24 Stanley Cups.

Lots of people say that the journalists are stifling for the players. Personaly, I think that it's good for the players, they have to perform in every game because everyone will know if you don't do the job well.
    I think that the Habs CAN'T move from Montreal for 2 reasons:They are the one of the original 6 teams,they will begin their 92th years in their history. The second reason is that they are too popular to do that. They are not so far away from a 25th Cup:-) .
    Today, the team is very good, but they still have to add some players if they want to be outstanding in the couple years. They have some good players like Rucinsky, who will maybe miss the begining of the season because of a holdout. Rucinsky doesn't want the 2.4 m that the Habs have offered. I think that it's enough for a player who never scored 30 goals in a year. Koivu is very important for the Habs, the fans love him but he's maybe too fragile to play in the NHL or maybe too unlucky. We'll never know. Koivu can be dominant when he's healty. He has good talent.The Gabs hope that he will play more than the 24 games of last year. Zholtok will have to have a big year because now the fans know that he can score. There are also some good young prospects in Mike Ribeiro, Eric Chouinard, Andrei Markov, Marcel Hossa, Alexander Buturlin, Mathieu Garon, and Jason Ward. Here is some information about them:

Mike Ribeiro: A very good playmaker, Ribeiro is very good with the puck. His problem is that he doesn't have very good skating skills and he's very small. Some people say that he's a little too lazy.He has the potential to have a very good career.
Eric Chouinard: Taken because of his scoring skill, he has to improve his skating.A player who likes to score.Chouinard has to ameliorate his attention to defense if he wants to have a good career in th NHL.A good player for the Habs.
Andrei Markov: One of the best prospect for the Habs, he has a very good chance to play in the NHL next year. Has the potential to be a general on the blue line.
Marcel Hossa: Good offensive player,Will play in the minors next year, but will play in Montreal soon. A good offensive player like his brother Marian.
Alexander Buturlin: A good winger, he has a lot of abilities. He has good speed but He's not good in defense.
Jason Ward: A big forward, a clever player on the ice, he has a very good chance to play in the NHL next year. He was good in his 32 games with the Habs last year.
Mathieu Garon: A very good goalie, who will be the 2nd goalie (behind Jose Theodore) when Jeff Hackett retires. He has very good reflexes.
They are not so far from a 25th cup!! The have good rookies to built around.


FlyBear's postscript:
*** One player on Montreal to watch out for is Dainius Zubrus. His NHL career has not quite lived up to expectations yet but that's because he was rushed to the NHL as a teenager. He is still only 22 years old and has the talent to be an impact player. I think this is the year Zubrus will start to come on.
*** While I don't think the Canadiens will ever leave Montreal, despite the recent problems with the ownership, I think that the shape of the NHL has changed. The Canadiens are no longer one of the elite franchises. They are in terms of history but not in terms of current ability to compete for the Stanley Cup. I don't see that changing in the near future. However, the East is currently the weaker of the two conferences and the Canadiens did not miss the playoffs by much last season. I could certainly see them returning to the playoffs soon but I don't see them as a threat to make it to another Finals soon.


Pro Hockey History in Philadelphia: Beyond the Flyers

(28-07-00 ada) The hockey fans are more relaxed during off-season. They have more time for love, friends and …. a history of ice hockey. My English teacher embarrassed himself once by declaring Philadelphia to be the capital of the United States. The next time he said it correctly but got a nickname "Philadelphia" anyway. He loves ice hockey and I am pretty sure he would love this article. FlyBear should meet him once

Author: © FlyBear Author information
Date: 28-07-00

Professional hockey history in Philadelphia did not begin with the Philadelphia Flyers. While the Flyers were the first Philadelphia team to capture a wide following (it is not for nothing that Philadelphia, its northern and western suburbs, and southern New Jersey have been dubbed "Flyer Country"), hockey had a long, tortured history in the City of Brotherly Love before the Flyers ever played their first game. There have also been local several pro hockey teams created both before and after the Flyers, with generally poor success.

The Flyers were not Philadelphia's first National Hockey League entry. That distinction went to the Philadelphia Quakers. Former lightheavyweight boxing champion Benny Leonard bought the Pittsburgh Pirates, which had gone bankrupt while finishing last during the 1929-30 season, and moved the club to Philadelphia. The new team was dubbed the Quakers. To say that the Philadelphia Quakers were a bad hockey team would be an insult to bad teams. The Quakers were absolutely dreadful; quite possibly the worst team in NHL history. They won but 4 of their 44 games in 1930-31; tying 4 more and losing 36. The only thing worse than their anemic offense, which scored a paltry 76 goals for the season, was their porous defense and awful goaltending. The Quakers gave up 184 goals, 44 more than the next worst team, the Ottawa Senators. To add insult to injury, a local minor league team, the Philadelphia Arrows (Canadian-American Hockey League), had higher attendance than the NHL Quakers. Leonard lost $80,000 on the team and was forced to fold the club after one season. In fact, the ex-champ had to step out of retirement and get back into the boxing ring to make up for some of his losses. Just about the only positive thing to emerge from the disaster that was the Philadelphia Quakers was future Hockey Hall of Famer Syd Howe, who put the trauma of his Philadelphia experience behind him to star for the Detroit Red Wings. Also of note were the Quakers orange and black uniforms; the same colors that later came to be associated with the Flyers.
    Hockey did not disappear from the Philadelphia scene after the Quakers folded. Over the thirty-seven year period from the inception of the Quakers until the creation of the Flyers, Philadelphia remained the home of a series of minor league teams. In all, there were seven minor league teams in Philadelphia during this time, including the Arrows, the Falcons, the Rockets and the Ramblers. The teams played either in the American Hockey League or the Eastern Hockey League. Herb Gardiner coached every minor league entry in Philadelphia from 1929 until 1947. Besides the presence of Gardiner, the teams had two other characteristics in common. First, they did not draw a lot of fans but those who came were fiercely loyal. Secondly, they played their home games at the Philadelphia Arena at 46th and Market Streets. The ice conditions at the Arena were terrible and the building, which housed a variety of sporting events during its long history, was largely neglected. By all accounts, the Philadelphia Arena was a dump; a cramped, gloomy place to see a game. Nevertheless, the Arena held a special place in local hockey history; it was the home of Philadelphia hockey until 1964.
    By the time the Flyers were created in 1967, the only surviving minor-league team in the Philadelphia area was the EHL's Jersey Devils (note: the modern NHL team is of no relation to this club; the current day New Jersey Devils are the descendant of the NHL's Kansas City Scouts and Colorado Rockies). Playing at the equally ramshackle Cherry Hill Arena in Haddonfield, New Jersey, the Devils drew the same rabid crowd of about 2,000 to each of their home games. The fans did not come to watch hockey. They came to see fights. The Eastern Hockey League, which later spawned the ECHL, was a notorious "goon league." Every night was a bloodletting. The movie "Slap Shot" is an only-slightly exaggerated account of the style of hockey that prevailed in the Eastern League. There were, however, a few skilled players on Devils. The best of them, including Rosaire Paiement, eventually became Philadelphia Flyers players.
    In 1972-73, the fledgling World Hockey Association, which attempted to challenge the NHL as a major league, created a franchise in Philadelphia called the Blazers. In order to compete with the Flyers, the Blazers signed several notable NHL players, including fast-living ex-Boston Bruin Derek Sanderson, and former Flyers Andre Lacroix and Bernie Parent. Parent was lured away from the Toronto Maple Leafs with a five year, $750,000 contract. Unfortunately for the Blazers, their one and only season of existence turned into a comedy of errors. Although the Blazers were a middle of the pack team, they proved to be no competition for the more established Flyers, who were rapidly emerging as one of the NHL's most exciting (and controversial) team. The Blazer's  opening night home game had to be canceled minutes before the opening faceoff because the ice surface had cracked and was unsuitable for play. Another time, the team's loose cannon feature player, Sanderson, tried to encourage the fans to come out to see the team play at the Philadelphia Civic Center "even though the parking ain't so good."
    At first viewed as a threat to the Flyers, the Blazers quickly emerged the loser in their battle for the hearts (and dollars) of Philadelphia hockey fans. They played before mostly empty houses and the team was losing money rapidly. Eventually, the players paychecks started to come late. Parent's agent, Howard Casper, advised his client to refuse to play until the matter was resolved. Parent finished out the 1972-73 campaign with the Blazers, but refused to play in the playoffs. After the Blazers folded, Parent's NHL rights were traded from Toronto to the Flyers. After being re-acquired by the Flyers, Parent went on to win the next two Vezina Trophies and Conn Smythe Trophies, while the Flyers forever cemented their place in the hearts of Philadelphia sports fans by winning two consecutive Stanley Cups and reaching the finals the next year.
    In the mid 1970s, the Philadelphia Firebirds came onto the scene. Like the Blazers, the Firebirds played their home games at the Philadelphia Civic Center. The Firebirds, a member of the NAHL, established a loose affiliation with the Flyers (whose main farm club at the time was the AHL's Richmond Robins). Later, the Firebirds became an AHL team, before financial hardships forced them to move to Syracuse in 1979. Although the Flyers were always my primary rooting interest, the Firebirds will always hold a special place in my heart. My first experience with live hockey was seeing the Firebirds play in 1975 (I saw about seven or eight Firebirds games in all before the team left town in 1979). Because Flyers tickets were tough to come by and the Firebirds ticket prices were much cheaper, my parents took me to see the Firebirds instead. While no Firebirds players went on to become NHL's superstars, there were a few notable ex-Firebirds, including longtime NHL goalie Rejean Lemelin (now the Flyers goaltending instructor), Gordie Clark and the Flyers manic television commentator, Steve Coates. Moreover, the Flyers weren't the only team in town who had a Clarke and a Schultz on the roster. The Flyers had Bobby Clarke and Dave Schultz, while Firebirds featured Mike Clarke and Ray Schultz (Dave's younger brother).
    In their brief heyday, the Firebirds won the Lockhart Cup, the NAHL's championship trophy in 1975-76. They had trouble competing as an AHL franchise, however. With attendance flagging and operating costs rising, the team closed down operations after the 1978-79 season.
    After the disappearance of the Firebirds, minor league hockey was absent from the greater Philadelphia area until 1996. Local minor league fans had to ride out to Hershey to see the AHL's Bears (the Flyers farm team from the mid-1980s until '96) or go to Johnstown to see the ECHL's Chiefs. That all changed after the Flyers pulled their affiliation with Hershey and established an AHL team of their own, called the Philadelphia Phantoms. The Phantoms were created in part to have a team to play in the Flyers' former home, the Philadelphia Spectrum. In 1996-97, the Flyers began play in a brand new arena, the CoreStates (now First Union) Center, located across the parking lot from the Spectrum, The Hershey Bears then became the affiliate of the Colorado Avalanche, with the roster of the former Cornwall Aces being transferred to Hershey. The Bears have quickly become the Phantoms most heated rivals.
    The Phantoms experienced immediate success. They are the top drawing team in the AHL and have sold out the Spectrum on quite a few occassions. The secret to the Phantoms success lies not only in the crossover appeal of the parent Flyers or the fact that the Phantoms have annually fielded a winning team. The club also relies on reduced ticket prices and special promotions to draw fans. Especially young fans. At any given Phantoms game, the bulk of the crowd is usually comprised of children and their parents. Nevertheless, the Phantoms exhibit the rough-and-tumble playing style that is typical of the AHL; a notch less severe and more skilled than the ECHL, but still rougher and slower than the NHL. In the course of their four season existence, the Phantoms have won one Calder Cup (1997-98). This past season, they were eliminated by Hershey in the first round of the playoffs.

Bill Meltzer

Tomas Divisek Story

(15-07-00 ada) The information about the NHL are accessible all over the world. However, hockey in America is not just the NHL. Hasek, Shannahan, Butsajev - those are just two among many players who spent part of their star career in the farm. The former star of "Sbornaja" Butsajev still plays in a minor league and there are many other players of the top quality playing there. FlyBear made a very close look at the AHL team Philadelphia Phantoms and Czech raising star Tomas Divisek.

Author: © FlyBear Author information
Date: 15-07-00
Other languages: Czech (by Ada, Elle, Tomas)

The Philadelphia Phantoms have enjoyed a good deal of success during their brief AHL existence. Most of their success has been due to the play of minor league veterans. While some of their veterans (most notably Vaclav Prospal, Craig Darby and Mike Maneluk) were still young enough during their Phantoms stays to be considered of NHL prospect age, the Phantoms have typically relied upon older, "career" minor leaguers to play key roles on the club.
    Along the way, the team has had but a handful of rookies who have been primary contributors to the club. Colin Forbes, Andy Delmore, Mark Eaton, Jean-Marc Pelletier, and to lesser extents, Brian Boucher and Mikhail Chernov established themselves as regulars during their first AHL season. Phantoms coach Bill Barber, who recently stepped down from the coaching post, tended to delegate ice time sparingly to his rookies; demanding that they earn their place in the lineup by showing strong work habits and dedication to improving their all-around game. Even if they have had a taste of success with the Phantoms, if Barber was displeased with their work habits or their overall development, he did not hesitate to bench them or have them demoted to a club in a lower league. A perfect case in point is second year power forward Francis Belanger, who was in and out of Barber's doghouse several times, and spent the 1999-2000 season shuttling between the Phantoms and the ECHL Trenton Titans.
    This season, the Phantoms went through a topsy-turvy campaign that recently ended in a first playoff loss to arch-rival Hershey. It has been a bittersweet season for the Phantoms. Familiar faces like Jim Montgomery disappeared from the roster. The team got off to a horrible start and, after a torrid stretch, stumbled at the finish. On the bright side, several young alumni (Boucher, Eaton, and Delmore) have graduated to the Flyers and performed well for the big club. Additionally, the Phantoms enjoyed a bumper crop of promising rookies this year. For the first time in club history, three first year pros became integral parts of the hockey team this season. Defenseman Francis Lessard impressed with his aggressive play and willingness to learn from his mistakes. Ukrainian forward Ruslan Fedotenko responded very well to an early season ECHL demotion and shortly thereafter, became a fixture in the Phantoms lineup. And then there was Tomas Divisek, who shared the team's rookie of the year honors with Fedotenko.

Coming into his first North American training camp, the Flyers organization was a bit uncertain what to expect from the Czech forward. Although the organization was hopeful that they had a keeper in Divisek, there were still some questions about individual aspects of his game. Divisek's offensive instincts, ice vision, and ability to protect the puck are above-average for a player of his age but his hands are, arguably, only in the average to slightly above average range. He seems to lack the finishing touch of someone who will be prolific goal scorer in the NHL. Additionally, his skating is average at best and remains his biggest obstacle to a potential NHL career.
    Nevertheless, Divisek brought some impressive credentials with him to North America. As a 19 year old, he had become a regular starter for Slavia Prague in the Czech Extraleague, notching a respectable 7 goals last season despite receiving the limited ice time that is typically afforded to young players in Europe's top leagues. Moreover, Divisek was one of the few bright spots on the disappointing Czech entry (7th place) at the 1998-99 World Junior Championships. Divisek was the leading point scorer for the Czechs (6th best overall in the tournament), and tied for the tournament lead in assists. He was also his team's top faceoff taker, and was barely nosed out of the top 10 overall. Divisek's chemistry with WJC linemate Vaclav Pletka subsequently led the Flyers to use a late round pick on Pletka in the 1999 entry draft.
    Divisek played very well early in the season, but through the first dozen or so games, the results were not showing in the statistics column. Nevertheless, Barber was impressed by the Czech's work ethic and his commitment to playing a two-way game (something that was lacking team-wide early in the season). Barber said of Divisek, "He's going to be a good one. He plays the game the right way. He's always looking out for a chance to go [on an offensive rush], but not at the expense of coming back on the play."
    Instead of demoting Divisek after his lukewarm offensive start, Barber stuck with him. The rookie responded by quickly becoming one of the Phantoms most consistent game-in and game-out performers. Divisek rarely has had two bad games in a row. Upon the subtraction of veteran Montgomery from the Phantoms roster, Divisek began to assume a more prominent offensive role on the team. Shifted from center to play left wing on Peter White's line, Divisek drew raves from Barber for the way the rookie's energy seemed to spark veterans Peter White and Mark Greig. Three time AHL scoring champion White also took notice. Prior to being recalled to the Flyers, White said of his young teammate, "He's very easy to play with. The way he sees the ice and he's always going for the net, he'll have a lot of success."
    Divisek was rising rapidly on the team's scoring charts until he suffered a separated shoulder in December. He was sidelined for the better part of a month. Upon returning to the lineup, he picked up where he left off offensively. Despite his (statistically) slow offensive start and missing a spate of games with the injury, he flirted with 20 goals for the season. Over the last 45 regular season games he played, he was just a shade below a point per game. However, Divisek, like the rest of the Phantoms, struggled a bit in the final two weeks of the season. He had a rather quiet post-season, although he did have a three point outburst in game 4 of the Phantoms-Bears series, helping to force a deciding game 5 back in Philadelphia.
    Although Divisek is still not the fastest or prettiest skater in the organization, he gets the job done. The smaller North American ice surface and his hustle have helped to minimize some of what he may lack in straight ahead speed. Former Philadelphia Flyer and current Phantoms television broadcaster Orest Kindrachuk said that he has been impressed by the rookie's head for the game, "Divisek is one of those guys who never looks like he's moving very fast but he's always in the thick of the play. He anticipates well and that's something just as valuable [as raw speed]."
    How important has Divisek become to the Phantoms? By the end of the season, he saw double duty at both center and wing, played on the first powerplay unit, played in 4-on-4 situations, took faceoffs, and was often is among the first group of forwards sent out on the shift immediately following a goal for or against.
    Divisek has shown himself to be a quick study not only on the ice, but off the ice as well. Upon arriving in Peterborough, Ontario, for training camp last fall, Divisek understood some English but spoke almost none. Roman Vopat, who was with the Phantoms at the beginning of the season, initially served as Divisek's translator. With amazing rapidity, however, Divisek has come a long way in his mastery of the English language. He not understands a good deal of English now, he also responds with ever-increasing confidence. By the time of the annual Flyers Wives Fight For Lives Carnival in February, Divisek was able to join in some the banter that goes on among the players and to answer fans' questions in English.
    Divisek realizes that his on- and off-ice adjustments are not yet complete. "There's a lot to learn, you know?" he said at the Carnival in February, "Things here are different from home." Nevertheless, Divisek has actually taken to North American hockey much more quickly than any previous young Czech or Slovak player that the Flyers have drafted into the system. Martin Hostak, a hyped rookie in the early 1990s, struggled with the big team and was soon buried in the minor leagues before returning to Europe. Slovak sniper Jan Lipiansky became homesick and left the Hershey Bears after an abbreviated stay. Even Vaclav Prospal, now a proven NHLer, took several years to fit in. Divisek, meanwhile, emerged from his rookie AHL campaign as a confident, well-rounded young player with a bright future ahead.

Of the trio of the Phantoms 1999-2000 rookie standouts, Divisek seems the closest to graduating to the NHL. He still has work to do on his skating. There are still subtle adjustments that need to be made in his own end of the ice, although it's never due to lack of effort. He may need one more full AHL season before he's ready for the big time. However, Tomas Divisek is a solid bet to someday play- and stay- in the NHL.

Bill Meltzer

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