From the Stands
By Paul Osborne
Puis Suter’s game is starting to round into form with the Guelph Storm.
Over the last three weeks he has started to play with confidence and purpose. The tentativeness we saw earlier in this, his rookie season, has disappeared and he has worked himself from the fourth line to the third and is contributing at both ends of the ice.
“It was an adjustment period for Puis (pronounced Pyoos, like “juice”),” said general manager Mike Kelly, who drafted Suter in the OHL’s Import draft.
“He’s a little over 5-foot-10 and 160 pounds, so that probably created some anxiety going into the corners with bigger players, but he is now confident he can go into any situation and hold his own.”
Suter, from Wallisellen, Switzerland, just outside of Zurich, agrees that his confidence level has risen dramatically.
“I know my game has started to improve over the last nine games,” said the centre iceman.
“I’ve learned to battle better along the boards and I’ve gained 10 pounds since getting here. I’ve also watched a lot of NHL games and see how they play and try to copy what they do.”
Suter, at just 17, looks like he’ll be a real find for the Storm. He is smart, he can skate, and he thinks the game well.
“I draw some parallels to Tanner Richard, who came to us as an 18-year-old and had an impact season” said Kelly referring to Richard’s 48 points. “I think Puis may well even pass those numbers (when he’s 18 next season).”
Suter will not play for Switzerland at the World Juniors this season. That would have been a long shot anyway, but he will certainly be on their radar next season.
We forget these players are so young sometimes. Imagine sending your 17-year-old to a foreign country to try and pursue his dream.
On one hand, you’d know it was the right thing to do for his development, but you’d also know there would be moments of doubt and a longing for home.
“I have been homesick sometimes,” admits Suter, who’s English has improved leaps and bounds since coming to Canada.
“My dad came to visit for a few days which was great, and I’m going home at Christmas. Also, having (teammate and Switzerland native) Phil (Baltisberger) here has really helped. We speak German to each other a lot.
My billets have also been very good. Renee and Mike (Chumbley) speak German too so there was never a language problem.”
What has been the toughest part about the transition from Europe to Canada?
“Time. You have less time to pass the puck and get it away,” he said. “The smaller rinks mean everything has to happen very fast.”
Everything including his development, which has Storm brass smiling.