After a year in the KHL with HK Sochi, OHL grad Cory Emmerton is off to more stable conditions in Switzerland. Emmerton has signed for two years with Ambri-Piotta in the Swiss National League A. After spending his first six full seasons of pro hockey in the Detroit Red Wings system, this will be Cory’s second new hockey home in as many years.
Emmerton played in the Ontario Hockey League for four years, from 2004-05 to 2007-08, with the Kingston Frontenacs and Brampton Battalion. He was a fifth round pick by the Fronts at the 2004 OHL Priority Selection, 89th overall. He played the bulk of his OHL career with Kingston, traded away to Brampton 24 games into his final season.
Cory’s top season in the league came in 2005-06. Over 66 regular season games, he scored 26 and assisted on 64 for 90 points. He led the Frontenacs in assists and points. His 64 assists tied him for ninth in the league with Bobby Ryan of the Owen Sound Attack. His +37 led the league. It was enough to catch the eye of the Red Wings for the NHL Entry Draft.
Emmerton was captain of the Frontenacs in 2007-08, up until his trade to the Battalion. Over his OHL career, Cory scored 97 and assisted on 158 for 255 points over 218 regular season games.
The Red Wings selected him in the second round of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, 41st overall. His first pro action came at the end of 2006-07 when he joined the Grand Rapids Griffins for two AHL Calder Cup playoff games. He was allowed the opportunity after Kingston was eliminated from the first round of the playoffs by the Oshawa Generals.
Since 2008-09, Emmerton has played in the AHL, NHL, Finland’s Liiga (during the 2012-13 NHL lockout) and the KHL. In the National Hockey League, he played in 139 regular season and 18 Stanley Cup playoff games between 2010-11 and 2013-14, all with the Red Wings. Cory also appeared in 270 regular season games in the American Hockey League, all with the Grand Rapids Griffins.
In 2014-15, he joined the expansion HK Sochi in the Russian based KHL. Over 60 regular season games, Cory scored 17 and assisted on 12 for 29 points. Sochi was swept in the opening round of the Gagarin Cup playoffs by CSKA Moscow.
Emmerton is signed for two years with Ambri-Piotta, through the 2016-17 season.
Both Ambri and Piotta are towns with a total of 1,000 residents between the two. Together, they form Quinto, Switzerland, located in a mountain valley in the south of Switzerland, somewhere near the border with Italy.
The team was founded back in 1937 and has not seen much success of late. They were last promoted to the NLA for the 1985-86 season and since have reached the finals just once, in 1998-99. HC Ambri-Piotta plays home games at the Stadio Valascia in Quinto, a 7,000 seat venue that opened in 1979.
Of the team’s three retired numbers, number 15 was taken out of circulation in honour of an Ontario Hockey League alumnus. Dale McCourt played in the OHL for five years from 1972-73 to 1976-77 with the Sudbury Wolves and the Hamilton Red Wings/Hamilton Fincups/St. Catherines Fincups. He was a first overall pick by the Detroit Red Wings at the 1977 NHL Amateur Draft and played in 532 regular season NHL games between 1977-78 and 1983-84 with the Red Wings, Buffalo Sabres and Toronto Maple Leafs.