TORONTO– It was unclear where Justin Hodgman would play next season until Christian Sjogren, player agent and member of Uptown Sports Management, posted a message on Twitter stating that Hodgman would head to Finland; and would not be returning to the Toronto Marlies.
Sjogren, who is the European Representative for Uptown Sports Management, tweeted on Saturday,
“Client Justin Hodgman just signed a contract in Finland. Will dominate. #twittpuck #AHL #smliiga.”
Hodgman, 23, originally joined the Marlies in January of 2010 when he was acquired through a trade with the Rockford IceHogs. He was given high praise by Head Coach, Dallas Eakins, even being mentioned as the most fundamentally skilled player on the team next only to Nazem Kadri.
Unfortunately for Hodgman, he was limited to just 42 games last season due to a series of miscellaneous injuries; the most serious being a 19 game absence after receiving a knee on knee hit. He also missed a 15 game span late in the season after taking a puck in the face.
Even with his ice time being limited, Hodgman still scored 12 goals and 29 points. Good enough to crack top ten in team scoring.
The soft spoken righty was never drafted, but he did play all four years of junior with the Ontario Hockey League’s Erie Otters. There, he put up goal totals of 37 and 24 in his final two years; earning him a spot in the International Hockey League with the Fort Wayne Komets*. As a member of the Komet’s 2010 post-season, Hodgman notched 16 points in 10 play-off games, leading Fort Wayne to its third consecutive championship.
Perhaps Hodgman would have been re-signed by Toronto if there was a dire need for a centre man, but with Joe Colborne, Mike Zigomanis, Phillippe Dupuis and Darryl Boyce likely filling the middle, the product of Brampton, Ontario would have had to switch over to the right-wing to receive anywhere near the playing time he would want.
With Hodgman leaving Toronto, the list of last year’s Marlies to part ways has increased to five and includes Christian Hanson, Danny Richmond, Alex Foster and Fabian Brunnstrom.
While Sjogren said that Hodgman would play in Finland next year, at this time, a team has not been disclosed. In response to email, he said,
“I will let team announce it. Hopefully today. (Monday)”
In a separate post, he also suggested that the former Marlie contemplated playing in Sweden or Germany as well.
*Fort Wayne Komets are now part of the Central Hockey League
Follow me on Twitter @KyleTheReporter
*UPDATE: On Monday, August 22nd at 11:50am Eastern time, Christian Sjogren confirmed via email that Justing Hodgman has signed with the Lahti Pelicans of the Finnish Elite League. Also known as SM-Liiga.