Michel Riesen, one of the first Swiss to play in North America's National Hockey League (NHL), has returned home. The centre has joined his former club Davos after failing to earn a place on the roster of the St Louis Blues.
Riesen was chosen by the Edmonton Oilers in the first round of the 1997 NHL draft. He signed a three-year contract with the Canadian club in 1998, although most of his North American career was spent playing with a minor league affiliate in Ontario, the Hamilton Bulldogs.
Riesen's NHL breakthrough came last season, when he played 12 games for Edmonton. He was transferred this summer to the St Louis Blues, also in the NHL, where he hoped to earn a place on the team roster.
This summer, he underwent intensive physical training summer with members of the Davos club, before attending the Blues camp. His preparation turned out to be insufficient in the eyes of the trainers, who sent him down to St Louis' minor league affiliate in Massachusetts, the Worcester IceCats.
Riesen returned to Switzerland on Monday and signed a contract on Tuesday with Davos until the end of 2003-2004 season.
The Graubünden team hope he will be able to suit up for the weekend's games against Langnau and Rapperswil. However, Davos and St Louis have yet to finalise the Bernese player's transfer.
Riesen played for Davos during the 1997-1998 season, and has been a member of the Swiss national hockey team since 1998.
swissinfo with agencies