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Slater heads to Swiss league

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Seeing other capable veteran NHL players released from training camp tryouts was the last straw for Jim Slater.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 29/09/2015 (2513 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Seeing other capable veteran NHL players released from training camp tryouts was the last straw for Jim Slater.

The former Winnipeg Jets centre signed a contract Tuesday to play for Genève-Servette HC in the Swiss A league this season.

The team under head coach Chris McSorley is plagued with injuries six games into its season.

BORIS MINKEVICH/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS files Jim Slater signed a contract Tuesday to play for Genève-Servette HC in the Swiss A league this season.

“Following the way the league’s going here, just seeing the names getting released from PTOs (professional tryouts), it’s amazing,” Slater said from his Michigan home. “I’ve been shocked and surprised because there are some really good hockey players, and they’re going to be looking for jobs, too.”

Slater, who has a year and an option with the club, leaves Thursday for Switzerland.

He said Tuesday he bears no ill will to the Jets for not bringing him back for 2015-16.

“I said it earlier but it’s the truth, I’m not crying because it’s over, I’m smiling because it happened,” he said. “That’s the way I’ve lived my life and will continue to.

“I want the best for everyone there.”

He said he has good memories and good friends in Winnipeg.

“I’m still very fortunate that I was able to be a part of them for so long,” he said. “It’s disappointing because you’ve been following training camp, you see pictures of the guys and you hear things about them and see them getting ready for games. That’s hard for any athlete, and I don’t think I’m any different in that aspect.

“I’m still going to cheer for them. I’ve still got friends on the team. I want to see them succeed. I love the city. It’s a great hockey city. I want nothing but the best for them. That’s who I am. I’m not holding grudges.”

Slater said the first contact with Genève-Servette came in the summer.

“When things were kind of slow for me in mid-August, they contacted me about coming over there,” he said. “I didn’t really think too much of it. I thought I’d still get something over here.

“It just unfolded to more and more European teams and trying to get something done. Geneva was hard not to be at the top of the list, in the best league outside the NHL for quality of life.

“I wanted to go overseas after my career in the NHL, but I thought I had a few more years left over here.”

He also said Tuesday he hasn’t lost his NHL dream.

“My ultimate goal is to go over there, and next year is something different,” he said. “Maybe there will be expansion teams, so my goal is to go and play hard and play well and hopefully get another shot over here next year.

“I’m not ready to stop playing.”

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

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