Simmonds, Stewart bolt German team, will join Czech Extraliga
After a brief stint in the German second division, Wayne Simmonds and Chris Stewart are taking things up a notch.
The Philadelphia Flyers and St. Louis Blues power forwards have left the Crimmitschau Ice Pirates and will join Czech Extraliga team HC Liberec, according to USA Today.
“Wayne and Chris wanted to stay together and Liberec was one of a handful of elite league teams that could add two players,” player agent Eustace King said. “At this point, the opportunity Liberec presented was one that we felt we needed to explore.”
Even though they’re leaving, Simmonds and Stewart enjoyed the Bundesliga experience. Simmonds led all scorers with 14 points in nine games (and became a YouTube sensation after fighting a guy named Ralf Rinke) and Stewart was tied for the team lead with five goals.
According to King, the pair also liked the Ice Pirates organization.
“The guys loved playing in Crimmitschau,” he explained. “The fans were one of the best they ever played in front of and the coach and management treated them first class.”
That said, the level of play in Germany was clearly inferior to what they’ll get with Liberec.
The team’s captain is ex-NHLer Petr Nedved and the team has been aggressive in adding locked-out players, having already secured the services of Winnipeg goalie Ondrej Pavelec and Edmonton defenseman Ladislav Smid.
Image courtesy eispiraten-crimmitschau.de