Simon, a fifth-round pick by the Blackhawks in the 1997 NHL Draft, started his professional career with the Orlando Solar Bears in 2000-01. After helping the Solar Bears defeat the Wolves in the 2001 Turner Cup Final, Simon and several teammates joined the Wolves when the organization made the move to the American Hockey League in 2001.
Simon fit in perfectly from the start as he racked up 11 goals and 23 assists during the regular season. Then he appeared in all 25 postseason games — contributing two goals and three assists — as the Wolves captured the 2002 Calder Cup.
The popular Shaker Heights, Ohio, native spent three seasons with the Wolves. He racked up 37 goals and 50 assists in 196 regular-season games while adding three goals and eight assists in 52 Calder Cup playoff games. Simon also enjoyed close relationships with several teammates — including the late Dan Snyder — that sometimes led to some good old-fashioned fun. Simon and Snyder would pull pranks on teammate Derek MacKenzie, broadcaster Billy Gardner and others…and sometimes those others would get even.
From a story by the Daily Herald’s late, great Mike Spellman in January 2003: “Rob Brown is always good for something, but he takes it to an entirely new level,” Simon said. “Earlier in the year I taped his gloves together. To get even, he just went and threw all my clothes in the cold tub. I had to go home in shorts and a T-shirt because my clothes were sopping wet. Then he considers that even.”
Brown reminisced about this exchange in 2018-19 when the Wolves celebrated their 25th anniversary: “My response was always bigger and better. Prank ’em so bad they wouldn’t want to do it again.”
After Simon’s playing days ended in 2011, he became an AHL assistant coach with the Rockford IceHogs. Currently he’s preparing for his third season as the Grand Rapids Griffins’ head coach.
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