67 hope to find gold in Austria for the second time

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In search of another European impact player in June, the Ottawa 67 returned to a place that has paid outstanding dividends in the past.


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That would be Feldkirch, Austria, home to former 67 star center Marco Rossi, who is now looking to break out of the Minnesota Wild lineup after missing most of last season with long-distance COVID-19 symptoms.

On this occasion, it is Vinzenz Rohrer, who has closely followed Rossi’s path through Switzerland to OHL.

Rohrer, a right winger who turned 17 three weeks ago, was selected 27th for 67 in the Canadian Hockey League import draft in June.

He is expected to be in the lineup on Wednesday when the 67 continue their preseason schedule against Shane Wright and the Kingston Frontenacs.

“Marco Rossi was probably my best childhood friend, he lives 200 meters from me,” Rohrer said in a Zoom call after 67 practice on Tuesday.


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Rohrer says the families grew up close but lost touch after Rossi joined the 67 in 2018.

“Everybody knows here in Ottawa, he was an outstanding player, he knows the game very well,” Rohrer said. “I’m sure questions will always come up about Marco, but I’m trying to focus on my own game.”

That deft play allowed Rohrer, now known as “Vinny” by his 67-year-old teammates, to score 28 goals and 19 assists in 26 games for the ZSL Swiss Under-17 team last season. He also scored two goals and five assists in 22 games for the GCK U-20 team.

OHL is on a higher level than its old home and acknowledges that it has had to make adjustments.

“The players are better here than in Switzerland, that’s for sure,” he said. “The ice is smaller and you don’t have that much time. (Before) receiving a pass, you need to know what your options are.


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In Switzerland, you can always find a way of thinking when you have the album. That is very difficult here. “

For ’67 manager Dave Cameron, who returned to OHL from training in Vienna, that’s not an unusual process for players with similar backgrounds.

“I like everything about him,” Cameron said. “His speed, his competence (level), his hockey IQ. Like many European experts, they believe they can make a move at any time. But this league is too good. You use your ability when you have the opportunity, but many times, there is no game. “

Cameron also likes what he sees of center Vsevolod Gaidamak, a Russian selected by the 67 in the 2020 import draft.

Gaidamak, who has scored in each of the last three exhibition games, played last season for the Spartak St. Petersburg U-17 and U-18 teams in 2020-21.


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“He’s a year older (than Rohrer) and, at this age, he makes a huge difference,” Cameron said. “The players are more physically mature. They make everything a little harder and he doesn’t care about the physical game. He has taken some blows and has taken some blows. “

It could be a while before Gaidamak is fully immersed in his new Canadian life.

“I think he understands some English,” said Cameron. “He’s involved in our team, but he’s a bit in his own element outside. The other boys are helping take care of him. “

NHL RETURN: The ’67 lineup has been bolstered by the return of defender Jack Matier and right winger Brenden Sirizzotti from major league camps. Matier was a fourth-round pick for the Nashville Predators in June and Sirizzoti, not drafted, was invited to camp for the Montreal Canadiens.


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“It was incredible, a great experience for anyone,” said Sirizzoti, who scored in Sunday’s 4-1 win over North Bay Battalion.

“You realize how hard they work, how fast they skate and everything in between. You get to practice and exercise that way and it can change a lot of opinions as a player. “

Sirizzoti originally hoped to be drafted into the NHL, but with two waves of incoming picks arriving this season, he will be counted as the leader of the 67.

“It always sucks that you don’t get recruited, but there are only about 300 kids in the world who are recruited and just going to camp is a milestone in itself. I still have two more years for that. “

Right winger Jack Beck also returned from Calgary Flames camp, but is still recovering from a knee injury and not ready to participate in full exercises. Goalie Will Cranley is expected to return from the St. Louis Blues field sometime next week.

BELANGER DAMAGES HIS HAND: Veteran defender Alec Belanger was not on the ice Tuesday. Belanger suffered a hand injury blocking a shot last week and did not play at the weekend.

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