After playing 202 games in the American Hockey League and the ECHL, former UMaine hockey captain Cam Brown is heading overseas to continue his career.
Brown recently signed a one-year contract to play for SonderjyskE Ishockey in the Metal Ligaen, Denmark’s top pro hockey league.
SonderjyskE finished third in the nine-team league this past season.
Brown was the leading scorer for the Wheeling (West Virginia) Nailers of the ECHL this past season, tallying 41 points on 18 goals and 23 assists in 59 games before the COVID-19 pandemic canceled the rest of the season.
The Nailers are affiliated with the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins.
“I’m really excited. I honestly can’t wait to leave,” said the 27-year-old center from Natick, Massachusetts. “It’s a great opportunity for me.”
Former University of Maine goalie and current Black Bear assistant coach Alfie Michaud spent five seasons playing for SonderjyskE, so Brown picked Michaud’s brain about his experience in Denmark.
“He loved it there. He told me everything about it,” said Brown, who had also looked at some other European teams.
“It’s a great place with great people. It’s a small town, around 5,000 people. They have the best fans in the league. They eat, sleep and breathe hockey. And it’s a really good league,” Michaud said. “They have a winning culture. We won three championships in five years.”
“Mario [Simioni] is a great coach and he’ll let [Brown] do his thing,” Michaud added.
“It seemed like the best fit for me, for sure,” Brown said. “The general manager and head coach seem awesome. The organization treats the players very well and they expect to win.”
The 5-foot-7, 157-pound Brown will be playing on a wider ice sheet but Michaud said it will only be three or four feet wider, unlike Olympic-sized ice sheets, which are anywhere from 13 to 15 feet wider than a standard North American rink.
“The bigger rink might fit my style of play a little better,” said Brown, who earned a reputation as a shifty, hard-working and tenacious center at UMaine where he finished as the program’s 56th all-time leading point-producer with 106 points (23 goals, 83 assists) in 146 games.
Right after his senior season (2016-17) in Orono, Brown signed a free agent contract with the Adirondack Thunder of the ECHL and notched two goals and five assists in nine games along with three assists in four playoff games.
Adirondack is affiliated with the Calgary Flames.
He signed with the Nailers in 2017-18 and racked up 53 points (17 goals, 36 assists) in 55 games while also being promoted to the AHL where he had a goal and an assist in 14 games between Springfield and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
He split time between Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (30 games, 1-5-6) and Wheeling (35 games, 9-28-37) in 2018-19 but spent all of this past season in Wheeling.
“I was a little frustrated this year because I thought I would get another chance in the AHL. But it never came,” Brown said. “I had always thought about Europe and the timing seemed right for me at this time in my career.”
He wouldn’t talk about the terms of his contract but he said he will be making more money in Denmark and the team is supplying him with an apartment and car.
Brown said he will be leaving within the next two weeks, and he spent the offseason working out and skating once the rinks re-opened.
He expects to be tested for the coronavirus once he gets to Denmark.
“This will give me an opportunity to prove myself. I am super motivated and super hungry to become the best player I can be,” Brown said. “Hopefully, I’ll be able to make good things happen on the ice every time I’m out there. It will be a great life experience.”