Vancouver Giants Alumni Update Part 2/6Aug 07, 2012 - 06:17 PDT
Adam Courchaine (28 years)
After wrapping up his time with the Giants in the 04-05 season, Adam had a brief stint with the Houston Aeros of the AHL in 05-06, going pointless in 10 games, before being sent to the ECHL the rest of the year. After a successful stint there, Adam spent his next season in a second tier league in Austria, picking up 91 points in just 32 games in the Austrian National League. Needing more of a challenge in 07-08, Courchaine went on to play pro hockey in Germany in the German Ice Hockey League (DEL). After 1 season with EV Duisburg, Adam was traded to the Dusseldorfer EG Metro Stars where he has remained ever since, most recently coming off a 28 point season in 52 games.
Mark Fistric (26 years)
A late 1st-round pick of the Dallas Stars in 2004, Fistric spent his entire WHL career with the Giants between 2002 and 2006. After 1 season in 06-07 with the AHL’s Iowa Stars, Fistrict got to split the next season between Iowa and the big club in Dallas. 2008-2009 was also a split season between the AHL’s Manitoba Moose and the Dallas Stars. After that, Fistric became a mainstay in the NHL from 2009-2012. Most recently, he signed a 1-year contract extension with the Stars worth $1.475 million.
JD Watt (25 years)
Another intimidating member of the 07 Memorial Cup team, JD Watt hasn’t been able to crack the NHL, but has had a consistent career in the AHL since playing out his WHL days in Red Deer/Regina in 07-08. In 4 professional seasons, 2010-11 was the only one in which Watt stayed in the AHL (Abbotsford & San Antonio), while the other 3 seasons he split time between the AHL and ECHL. Last year, his split duties were with the Manchester Monarchs of the AHL and the Ontario Reign of the ECHL.
Paul Albers (27 years)
Since a remarkable 62 point season with the Giants (as a defenseman) in the 05-06 season helping them win the WHL title, Albers has played professional hockey across the board. Starting out with the ECHL’s Texas Wildcatters in 06-07, he jumped up to play for the AHL’s Houston Aeros the following 2 seasons. On July 31, 2009, he left the US and signed for the German club Nuremberg Ice Tigers. He played for a different team in the DEL in 2010-11, and last season, he made the jump to Japan and found success playing for the Tohoku Free Blades in the Asia Ice Hockey League. For 2012-2013, Albers has just signed a 1-year contract to play for Cortina of the Seria A League in Italy.
Michael Repik (24 years)
Another big piece of the puzzle during the Giants dynasty days, since wrapping up his time here in 07-08, the 40th overall pick of the Florida Panthers bounced around between the NHL and AHL (where he was selected to appear in the All-Star game in 2011) for 4 straight seasons. Apparently he had enough of that after last season. For 2012-13, Repik has signed on to play in his home country of Czech Republic for HC Lev Praha, another new team set to join the KHL for next season.
Milan Kytnar (23 years)
Another former Slovakian Giant, and a late 5th round pick of the Oilers in 2007, Kytnar played just 42 games for the Giants in 09-10 (picking up 39 pts), after being acquired from the Saskatoon Blades. In 2010-11, he spent a full year in the AHL with Oklahoma City, picking up 29 points in 78 games. But last year was a wild one for Kytnar. He played 13 games for Oklahoma City, 17 games for the ECHL’s Stockton Thunder, had a 1-game pit stop with the Oilers in the NHL (just over 5 mins of ice in a 2-1 OT loss to New Jersey), 16 games for HPK in Finland in the SM-liiga, and squeezed in 6 games for Slovakia at the World Hockey Championship. Milan will look for some more consistency this year, as he has joined fellow countryman and former Giant Mario Bliznak in Slovakia. They will both play for HC Slovan Bratislava, a dominant Slovak team set to join the KHL in 2012-13.