In the pros: Zaba making most of fresh start in Italy

Former Colorado College goalie Matt Zaba enjoyed a strong 2010-11 season playing for the Bozen Foxes in northeast Italy. Photo by COURTESY HC BOZEN

Former Colorado College goalie Matt Zaba was still looking for a place to play late last summer when Italy’s Bolzano-Bozen Foxes contacted his agent.

He’s mighty glad they did.

“Overall, it was a good experience,” he said from his home earlier this week. “It was the best organization to play for in Italy. Statistically, it was a good season for me.”

Zaba went 25-12 with a 2.09 goals-against average and a .931 saves percentage, which is quite good considering it was a rebuilding year for the A-level league power, which has won a record 18 national championships since its founding in 1933. The Foxes placed third in 2010-11.

Zaba, 27, made his NHL debut in 34 minutes of relief during the 2009-10 season with the Rangers. But after three years in the system, the organization was not looking to re-sign the 6-foot-1, 185-pound netminder from Yorkton, Saskatchewan.

“I’d had a bad year and they weren’t interested,” he said. “I’d already worked my way up from the ECHL so I didn’t want to start over. I wanted to try something new.”

Northeast Italy is a great place to live, Zaba said.

It also has its share of hockey history. Former Edmonton great Glenn Anderson ended his playing career as a Fox, and Jaromir Jagr donned the Red and White for a few games during the 1994-95 NHL lockout.

Zaba is considering returning to Bolzano-Bozen. But since it’s only April, he, his fiancee and his agent are weighing options. Regardless, Zaba is not so worried about landing a chance to work toward the NHL again.

“I’m not looking (at Italy) as a way to open doors in North America,” he said. “We’re just looking for the right fit.”


Hockey Down Under

Look for a feature next week on Addison DeBoer and Scott Thauwald, who are the first former Tigers to play professionally in Australia.


In the Minors and Overseas


Jason Josza – According to his Linkedin account, he retired last summer and works as a recruiter with Aeroteck Scientific in Denver.

Jason Krischuk – Defenseman recorded 37 points (28 assists) in 66 games with the Texas Brahmas.

Brian McMillin – Forward recorded 16 points (nine assists) in 32 games for the Allen Americans after going 14 games without a point for the ECHL’s Kalamazoo Wings.

Derek Patrosso – Fort Wayne Komets’ leading scorer (46 points, 31 assists in 68 games) saw his production drop late in the season because of a torn labrum in his shoulder, which will require offseason surgery.



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Jimmy Kilpatrick – Greenville Road Warriors top scorer (71 points, 50 assists, 73 games) matched his most productive season as a pro, including eight points (six assists) in nine playoff games before being eliminated.

Cody Lampl – Idaho Steelheads defenseman had 15 points, all assists, in 58 games and appeared in one AHL game.

Brian Swanson –Top-line center has 75 points (49 assists) in 75 games for his hometown Alaska Aces, where he moved after a lengthy career in Germany. He is only former Tiger left playing in ECHL playoffs.

Weston Tardy – Defenseman had 20 points (18 assists) in 60 games for Steelheads.



Andy Canzanello – Defenseman recorded 18 points (nine goals) in 50 games for Germany’s Straubing Tigers.

Noah Clarke – Left wing had his best year in four seasons in Europe with 47 points (30 assists) in 52 games for Germany’s Augsburg Panthers.

Braydon Cox – Wing had his best season (66 points, 45 assists in 41 games) in his four year with Klostersee in Germany.

Joe Cullen – Center recorded 24 points (13 goals) in 27 games for Italy’s Brunico.

Calvin Elfring – Defenseman had 24 points (19 assists) in 54 games in his seventh season with Germany’s Straubing.

Alex Kim –Much-traveled wing started in Edinburgh, Scotland (36 points in 24 games) before leaving for a second-tier German league’s Lausitzer Foxes (two goals, three games). He finished up the year by joining Anyang Halla of the Asia League for five games (three goals) for the playoffs, which were canceled early because of the Japan earthquake.

Paul Manning – Defenseman made 13 points (10 assists, 50 games) with Hannover in his eighth season in Germany.

Justin Morrison – Wing recorded 41 points (22 goals) in 56 games for Finland’s Luuko Rauma.

Tom Preissing – Defenseman had a goal in two games with the Kontinental Hockey League’s Astana Barys in Kazakhstan.

Brian Salcido – Defenseman recorded three points (two goals) in 23 games with the Czech league’s Sparta Praha before moving on to Finland’s SaiPa Lappeenranta (five points, four assists in 11 games).

Peter Sejna – Wing recorded eight points (five goals) in 15 games for Swiss A-league champ Davos after suffering a season-ending hamstring injury that required surgery.

Marty Sertich – Wing missed playoffs with concussion symptoms after leading Swiss B league regular-season runner-up Olten with 64 points (43 assists) in 38 games.

Aaron Slattengren – Center recorded 25 points (14 assists) in 48 games for German B league’s Heilbronn Falcons.

Eric Walsky – Forward recorded 23 points (13 assists) in 47 games for Geneve Servette of the Swiss A league.

Colorado Springs connection

Kellen Briggs – Hometown goalie split time between Heilbronn (11-2, 2.06 goals against) and the ECHL’s Ontario (Calif.) Reign (9-16-1, 3.65, .890 saves). His brother Preston Briggs appears to have retired.

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