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Saturday, June 4, 2011

NHL Combine Video: Game changer for Gregory Hofmann

When we last spoke to Swiss forward Gregory Hofmann at the World Jr. Championship in December, he wasn't comfortable enough doing interviews in English, so he had his teammate Luca Campercioli translate for him while he spoke Italian.

Fast forward to June and Hofmann's English has markedly improved. More important, however, is the fact that he admitted that he would seriously consider coming over to North America to play in the CHL next season.

He told B2011DW and other assembled media there at the Congress Centre that he would likely seek the advice of the NHL team that drafts him about whether to return the Swiss A-league (professional) with Ambri-Piotta or play major junior hockey in North America.

"It was a good season- I played A-league in Switzerland, so it was great for me," Hofmann said. "It was not everyday easy, but I learned a lot about this experience and it was great. I had a chance to make the world championship with the Swiss team and it was a good experience- I (had) a pretty good tournament.

"I don't know for the next season what's my decision. Maybe I stay in the A-league, maybe I come play in the junior team in Canada, so for the moment we don't know but for sure I make the better decision for me next season."

Hofmann confirmed that his agent has been speaking to junior teams about his availability and reiterated that once his rights are owned by an NHL club, he will take that team's advice seriously, whether they want him to remain in his native Switzerland or cross the Atlantic and test his mettle on the smaller North American ice surface. Hofmann is a smallish and lean player, so he'll likely be challenged by the more physical aspects of major junior.

That said, he's talented and dedicated. The fact that he put the effort in to be an effective communicator in English speaks volumes fo his work ethic and intelligence.

Here's a quick video on Hofmann after he finished his testing Saturday:

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