Washington Capitals forward prospect Damien Riat and 21 other Swiss players began a week-long training camp at OYM Science in Cham, Switzerland this past Sunday. The goal of the camp was to allow the best players between the ages of 20 and 25 to compete without pressure and facilitate their passage to the national team. The camp culminated in two games held on July 29 and 30.
Head coach Patrick Fischer was satisfied the camp took place, despite the special circumstances: “I am very pleased that it is possible to carry out this move. After the past few months, it will be special for both the players and us in the coaching staff to finally get together again on the national team. We will use these five days on and off the ice to further promote and get to know the young players better.”
Riat is a 6’0”, 180-lb right-handed winger, drafted by the Capitals in the 4th round (#117 overall) of the 2016 NHL entry draft. The 23-year-old just finished his fifth season in the NLA (Swiss League), the last two with EHC Biel-Bienne. The Capitals announced on March 5, 2020 that they had signed forward Damien Riat to a two-year entry level contract for an average annual value of $817,500.
Riat may be remaining in Europe longer than originally intended.
According to the report, the Capitals proposed the idea for Riat to start the season in Europe: “It was the Caps who came up with the idea,” the 23-year-old forward told the Journal du Jura. “It’s as much in their interest as it is in mine.”
In related news, on Thursday, the AHL Board of Governors approved moving the anticipated start of the 2020-21 regular season to December 4, 2020, due to the ongoing COVID-19 public health crisis. Riat is currently assigned to join the Bears for the 2020-2021 season.
As for the National Team camp attendees:
By Jon Sorensen