Jim Slater signs with Geneva of the Swiss League

Former Winnipeg Jets centre Jim Slater was not offered a contract by the team following the 2014-15 season. It was a long off-season of waiting for the former Michigan State Spartan. The waiting came to an end earlier today when it was announced that Slater had signed a contract with Geneva of the Swiss League.

Slater spoke about his new contract with Rick Ralph and Shane Hnidy on the Rona Roundtable on TSN 1290 Winnipeg:

“I’m relieved now today. We finally were able to come to terms with Geneva in the Swiss League, we’ll be heading over there and trying some European Hockey. I’m really looking forward to it, really excited and really intrigued by the whole situation. I’m just happy, it’s been a stressful summer, frustrating at times, but nice to finally be relieved and going over there.”

“(Free Agency) was a whole new process for me. At the end of (last season) I had a feeling that I wouldn’t be coming back to Winnipeg and was going to be able to try the free agent market. As we were getting down to July 1st, my agent said it could be a little different this year, we could get an offer here or there, but it might be a long summer, it might take right to the end. We had an offer on the first day, it wasn’t quite what we were looking for financially, but we had an offer and it was the first day so we decided to wait a little bit. That came and went and nothing ever came again. That was the tough part there.”

“Then you see what veterans are signing for, and you tend to look back on it. But we moved on, were trying to be patient, and nothing came along. Then out of nowhere about a month and a half ago, some teams started calling from overseas. I was talking with (my) agent and said this might end up being a possibility; we were really looking hard, trying to find the right fit. We were talking to quite a bit of teams overseas, different leagues, throughout Europe and Russia. Finally today we settled on Geneva, and couldn’t be more excited, just the things I hear about the city and the league, it’s a good league outside the NHL. I’m looking forward to the experience, and quality of life over there, it really fits me.”

“I feel I can still play in the (NHL), but for whatever reason it wasn’t there this year. My goal is to go over to Switzerland, perform over there and hopefully be able to come back next year if something happens. That’s my whole look at it. I need to play; I need to play in one of the best leagues. I feel very fortunate to go to the Swiss League, to Geneva, especially all the players who were on PTOs that are now getting cut or sent home. They’re going to be looking for jobs overseas now too.”

“I’m glad to get it done with; it was a very weird summer. It wasn’t a summer that was our Plan A, but the saying goes, there’s 25 more letters in the alphabet so you have to move on. We ended up going with our other plans, hopefully they work out.”

“Did I want to do a PTO? Of course, I want to play in the NHL and that’s the best chance. But then you have to look and think if you get injured trying out, then you have nothing. Or if you wait too long then some of those options are gone. (The Swiss League is) one of the best leagues outside the NHL, in one of the best cities; at that point you can’t turn it down. That’s what it came down to.”

“The NHL life is great; this is a little detour, who knows what is going to happen after it. My goal is to hopefully next year come back, if not next year then the year after that and play again in the NHL. This is the best place for me right now, I’m really looking forward to it, real excited and I feel fortunate to be going over there.”

Listen to the full interview here.