Cory Schneider has played a large role in the ongoing CBA negotiations as a member of the NHLPA’s bargaining committee, putting his three years of studying finance at Boston College to good use. Last Monday, however, he began voicing his frustration with the process and discussed heading overseas to play in Europe if negotiations didn’t progress.
Apparently Schneider doesn’t see bringing in mediators as progression, as he signed today with Ambrì-Piotta of the National League A, the top tier of hockey in Switzerland.
It was inevitable that if Schneider did play in Europe it would be in Switzerland, as he is a dual US-Swiss citizen and is considered a domestic player there thanks to his grandfather, who was born in Switzerland. The NLA has a limit of four import players per team, but signing Schneider does not count against that limit, giving Ambrì-Piotta a potential leg up, particularly if the entire NHL season is cancelled, bringing more players into the league.
The team seems pretty excited, judging from the YouTube video they chose to auto-play as soon as you visit their website:
Schneider currently dominates the front page of the club’s website and the press release raves over “one of the most talented and successful goalies in the NHL” who “during the last season has earned the place of absolute owner at the expense of the expert colleague Roberto Luongo.” Thanks Google Translate. You’re the best.
The release indicates that Schneider could dress for Ambrì-Piotta as early as this weekend. The team could use the help, as they currently sit 11th out of 12 teams, with both of their goaltenders carrying sub-.900 save percentages. Their current starter, Nolan Schaefer, is last in the league in save percentage and second last in goals against average.
Schneider should certainly be an improvement, though Schaefer did have a taste of the NHL, playing 7 games with the San Jose Sharks in 2005-06 and posting an impressive .920 save percentage and 1.87 goals against average in his limited appearances.
His contract only lasts until December 31st, indicating that Schneider still has some optimism that the CBA negotiations will ultimately be successful, leaving at least a partial NHL season. There is, of course, the option to renew the contract for the remainder of the season.
The other interesting piece of information is that Ambrì-Piotta had to bring together extra sponsors in order to put together the necessary funds to finance bringing Schneider on board. Does this mean that Schneider’s jersey will feature extra ads, giving him more than even Jannik Hansen’s Tappara jersey, leaving him looking like the MySpace profile of a 14-year-old girl who just discovered Blingee.com? We can only hope.Tags: Cory Schneider, Lockout