Hrubec stars in Zurich, Savinainen wins sixth title

2 May 2024

As championships are decided all over Europe, several ex-Dragons have been helping their current clubs to glory. Here’s a rundown of some of the more striking performances from our old friends in 2023/24.


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Veli-Matti Savinainen, who played for the Dragons in 2018/19, clinched his sixth Liiga title when he helped Tappara to victory over Pelicans Lahti in the grand final. With Red Star, Savinainen had 18 (9+9) points in 37 games during the 2018/19 season. That year he also wore the ‘A’ for Team Finland as it won the World Championship in Bratislava.

The beaten Pelicans include Jonas Enlund on their roster. He played eight games for KRS back in 2016/17 but spent most of that season with CSKA Moscow.

Czech Republic

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Tomas Kundratek, who played 25 games for the Dragons in 2018/19, had another big season with Ocelari Trinec. The defenseman helped the Steelmen top the regular season table then added another championship after defeating Dynamo Pardubice in the Tipsport Extraliga final. That final was a battle, going to two periods of OT in game seven. Kundratek assisted on Petr Vrana’s opening power play goal in the second period, but Dynamo hit back moments before the second intermission. In the 84th minute, Ocelari and Kundratek finally got their hands on the trophy once again thanks to David Cienciala’s golden goal.

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Another ex-Dragon, defenseman Vojtech Mozik, helped Sparta Praha to second place in the regular season but made little impression on the playoffs. Tomas Marcinko, the Slovak forward who impressed in KRS’s inaugural season, also reached the playoffs with Kometa Brno.


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Simon Hrubec finished the regular season with Zurich Lions boasting the best SV% in the NLA at 93.2%. He carried that form into the playoffs, backstopping the Lions all the way to game seven against Lausanne. In that season decider, Hrubec was flawless, stopping 26 shots to backstop a 2-0 victory and secure the cup for the Lions. That was his fifth shut-out of the playoffs. He finished post season with even better stats: 93.9% of shots saved, and miserly a GAA of 1.67.

Hrubec represented KRS in 2019/20 and returned for the following season but moved on to Avangard and helped Bob Hartley’s team win the Gagarin Cup that year. This was his second season in Zurich.


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Patrik Lundh, who left his native Sweden for the first time to play for the Dragons in 2018/19 (61 games, 21 points), is back in his homeland and playing for Farjestad. This season, he helped his team top the regular season standings but the Karlstad club crashed out against Rogle in the first round. While Rogle advanced to a final series against Skelleftea, the 35-year-old forward was released by his club at the end of the season. Now he’s deciding what to do next.


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Brett Pollock, who helped Kosice to the Slovak championship after leaving KRS last season, remained at the Steel Arena in a bid to deliver back-to-back titles. Pollock played his part, scoring 40 points in 50 regular season games then exploding in the playoffs with 20 (6+14) points in 11 games.

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However, it wasn’t enough: Kosice fell to Spisska Novy Ves – featuring another ex-Dragon, Martin Bakos – in the second round of the playoffs. Spisska reached the final, but lost out to HK Nitra in four games.

Great Britain

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Josh Nicholls, part of the KRS organization from 2018-2023, had a spectacular season with Sheffield Steelers. The forward plundered 40 points in 52 regular season games as the Yorkshire club clinched the regular season title for the first time since 2016. Not content with that, the Steelers also secured the British ‘grand slam’, winning the Challenge Cup and the Playoffs for good measure.


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Damien Fleury, who featured in the Dragons’ first KHL season, is still playing. He spent this season with Grenoble’s Brouleurs de Loup in Ligue Magnus, where he was the top scoring French player on the roster at the age of 38. He also co-led the team with 9 points in five games as Grenoble won the French Cup.


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The land of Cristiano Ronaldo is not noted for its hockey prowess. But things are changing on the Iberian peninsular and HC Porto guested in this season’s Spanish championship for the first time. The groundbreaking roster was competitive, finishing in mid-table, although the competition rules meant that only Spanish teams could progress to the playoffs. There’s a strong Latvian accent on this fledgling Portuguese roster, and former Dragon Oskars Bartulis was probably the biggest name to suit up for Porto this season. He played three games in total, and played an even greater role off the ice as he shared his experience with local homegrown talent.

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