Ambri Piotta of the top-tier Swiss NLA hockey league has signed Canucks goaltender Cory Schneider until the end of December with the option of a longer deal depending on the the result of NHL lockout talks in the coming weeks.
Swiss-Italian team Ambri-Piotta are based out of the Valascia Arena, with a seating capacity of around 7000 and are considered one of the smaller teams in the NLA, having never won the league championship but always managing to stay up in the NLA without relegation to the NLB.
Schneider is expected to take the reigns as number one goaltender from Canadian-born player Nolan Schaefer, the 166th overall pick for the San Jose Sharks in the 2000 NHL Draft, who played seven NHL games for the Sharks in the 2005/2006 season.
Ambri currently sits 11th out of 12 teams in the NLA but fortunes may soon change for the club, who have also acquired Montreal Canadiens player Max Pacioretty as an interim player during the lockout.
Schneider joins Danish player Jannik Hansen and Dale Weise as the only Canucks regulars playing overseas during the lockout. Whether the move of Schneider, who is also a representative of the NHLPA, to Switzerland opens up the floodgates for more Canucks players to play in Europe remains to be seen.