June 6, 2002
Notre Dame, Ind. – On Monday, June 3 at the Allstate Arena in Chicago, Ill., the Chicago Wolves won their first-ever American Hockey League Calder Cup title with a hard-fought 4-3 double-overtime win over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
A key member of that AHL championship team was former Notre Dame hockey standout Ben Simon. A top prospect of the National Hockey League’s Atlanta Thrashers, Simon played a key role for the Wolves in their title run. The 6-0, 195-pound center played in all 25 game recording two goals with three assists for five points. Included among his two goals was the game-winner in the Wolves April 21, 4-2 win at Grand Rapids that advanced Chicago to the quarterfinal round.
For the regular season, Simon finished eighth on the team in scoring with 11 goals and 23 assists for 34 points in 74 games. He added 56 minutes in penalties with three game-winning goals on the year. For the 2000 graduate of Notre Dame, the past season will also be remembered as the year that he realized his dream of playing in the National Hockey League.
Simon made his NHL debut on November 11, 2001 when he was recalled to Atlanta to face the Washington Capitals. He was returned to Chicago after two games and then was brought back to the Thrashers on December 13 for four more games. In all, he played in six games with six shots on goal and a total of six minutes in penalties.
Ben Simon ranks 22nd on Notre Dame’s all-time scoring list with 44 goals and 86 assists for 130 career points.
Playing on Chicago’s AHL championship team was old hat for Simon. In his first year as a pro, the Shaker Heights, Ohio native played on Atlanta’s top farm team in the International Hockey League – the Orlando Solar Bears. That team won the 2001 Turner Cup championship in the IHL’s final year of existence.
Simon played in 77 games in Orlando with eight goals and 12 assists for 20 points with a shorthanded goal and a game-winner. During the playoff run he contributed six goals and five assists for 11 points to help the Solar Bears to their first-ever title.
At Notre Dame, Simon is 22nd on the all-time scoring list with 44 goals and 86 assists for 130 career points. The team captain in his final year, Simon played for the Irish from 1996 through 2000 and was a member of the first Irish team to advance to the CCHA finals at Joe Louis Arena since the school’s return to the CCHA in 1992-93. He was a second team all-CCHA selection as a junior and was a two-time member (1996-97, 1997-98) of the United States Junior National team.
Simon was a fifth round selection (110th overall) of the Chicago Blackhawks in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft. His rights were traded to Atlanta for Peter Flache on June 25, 2000.