THUNDER BAY – Taylor Pyatt will be heading overseas to continue his professional hockey career.
The 32-year-old is Switzerland bound, as Pyatt on Friday confirmed he had signed a contract with the Geneve-Servette Hockey Club of the Swiss National League A. A media release on the team’s website says it is a one-year deal.
“I’m excited about it,” Pyatt said at the Freedom 55 Financial Hockey Celebrity Golf Classic, held at the Whitewater Golf Course.
“It’s a new opportunity and a new chapter in my hockey career.”
Last year Pyatt, a veteran of 13 National Hockey League seasons, split time between the New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins, playing in a total of 66 regular season games where he recorded four goals and five points.
The eighth overall pick in the 1999 NHL Entry Draft had spent time with six teams, with his best campaigns coming as a member of the Vancouver Canucks. Pyatt had a career-high 23 goals and 37 points in 2006-2007 and equaled the point total the next year.
Since scoring 18 goals and 31 points with the then-Phoenix Coyotes in 2010-2011 his numbers and ice time began to decline.
After being a healthy scratch throughout the Penguins’ playoff run and encountering a lukewarm free agent market, it was a sign for Pyatt the time had come to search out other opportunities.
Pyatt suited up for 859 career NHL regular season games with 140 goals and 280 points.
“I was pretty fortunate to play as long as I did,” he said. “It always comes to an end quicker than you would like but I haven’t had too much time to really reflect on things.”
The search to prolong his playing days takes him to Switzerland, where he will play for a European club for the second time. He spent a portion of the lockout cancelled season of 2004-2005 in Sweden.
His new team, which is based in Geneva, is the reigning champion of the Spengler Cup international hockey tournament.
Pyatt isn’t quite sure how much he will adapt to fit the international game, but knows there will be at least one significant adjustment.
“Obviously we’re playing on a bigger ice surface so there will be more skating. It’s not quite as heavy of a schedule so it’s a little bit lighter but it’s still great hockey,” Pyatt said.
He is scheduled to report to Switzerland within the next few weeks.
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