Reports out of Slovakia indicate that Canadiens goaltender Peter Budaj will sign a lockout style contract with his hometown Banská Bystrica Barani (Rams) of the Slovak Extraliga.
The thirty year old Budaj was born in Banská Bystrica and played his minor hockey there before joining the junior Toronto St. Michael’s Majors in 1999.
For the first eighty days of the lockout Budaj has been working out with other locked-out NHLer’s in Denver where he now makes his home.
If the rumours hold up, Budaj would become the tenth member of the Canadiens to play in Europe during the lockout. Two, Max Pacioretty and Tomas Kaberle, have since returned to North America.
Budaj would be joining San Jose centre Michal Handzus, also a native son plus Minnesota defenceman Clayton Stoner, Tampa Bay left winger Dana Tyrell and Pittsburgh left winger Tanner Glass on the Rams roster. Tyrell and Glass signed with the team last Friday. Among those who were born in and have played for their hometown Banská Bystrica Rams is former Canadiens right winger Richard Zednik.
Former Canadien Jaroslav Halak, also a Slovak from Bratislava, has signed a four week contract and has played one game for the Lausitz Foxes of the German Second Division. Lausitz is located in Germany’s northeast near the Polish border. UPDATE – Halak has since left the team after appearing just the one game. He remains in Bratislava awaiting results of the current CBA negotiations.
The Rams play at the Banská Bystrica Ice Stadium-capacity 3500. The city is located in central Slovakia half way between the country’s two largest citiies Bratislava and Košice.