D Michael Fora of the Kamloops Blazers has been added to the roster of the Swiss national team as head coach Glen Hanlon prepares it for the 2016 IIHF World championship.
Fora is one of eight defencemen on the roster, but the only one who doesn’t play professionally in Switzerland. Fora, 19, had 32 points in 60 games with the Blazers.
He also played for Switzerland at the 2015 World Junior Championship in Montreal and Toronto.
The Swiss team is to play exhibition games against Finland today in Kloten and Friday in Basel.
There also is ample speculation in Switzerland that Fora won’t return to Kamloops, choosing instead to play professionally with HC Ambri-Piotta. The speculation seems to have started with a report by Pietro Filippini of Giornale del Popolo.
“It looks as if a return to HCAP is likely should Fora not be drafted in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft this summer,” reported swisshockeynews.ch. “If he should be picked and his team will advise him to return to Europe, he is set to make his way back to Switzerland to join HCAP, reports the same source.”
Fora played junior with two Swiss teams — GDT Bellinzona and HC Ambrì-Piotta.
You can forget about Fora, who just completed his first WHL season, not being drafted. He got off to a slow start but by season’s end was an impact-type defenceman and NHL scouts had him on their ‘must-see’ lists.
If Fora isn’t back in the WHL next season, it likely will be because of his age. He turns 20 on Oct. 30, meaning he would be a two-spotter — a 20-year-old import — and teams often are reluctant to keep such players.
There are six two-spotters on WHL playoff rosters: F Tim Bozon of the Kootenay Ice, F Edgars Kulda of the Edmonton Oil Kings, G Marek Langhamer of the Medicine Hat Tigers, F Roberts Lipsbergs of the Seattle Thunderbirds, F Richard Nejezchleb of the Tri-City Americans and F Pavel Padakin of the Regina Pats.