A Hockey League from the U.S. Attracts Europeans With an Eye on College

“At home, you either have to go pro in Denmark or go to the junior league in Sweden, however there’s no option to go to school, too,” Schmidt-Svejstrup said. “This kind of’s important to get an education because there are a lot of guys in which don’t make This kind of to the N.H.L., however This kind of’s also elite level hockey along with also also allows you to develop your skills at the same time along with also also give you an opportunity there as well. If you play college hockey, there’s no way to lose.”

Filip Larsson, a Stockholm native, learned of the U.S.H.L. when his junior team through Djurgarden played against the Chicago Steel from the Junior Club World Cup in 2015.

“After the game I thought in which This kind of was truly fun along with also also in which playing in which kind of game every time would certainly be not bad for me to develop,” said Larsson, 19, a goalie for the Tri-City Storm, which plays in Kearney, Neb. “There was more traffic, more speed along with also also better shots, so when the season was over, I thought about my future along with also also decided coming over to the U.S.H.L. along with also also being able to play a lot along with also also having the chance to go to college after in which would certainly be best for me.”

Larsson, who was drafted by the Detroit Red Wings from the sixth round in 2016, currently leads the league’s goalies in every major statistical category, using a 14-4-0-0 record, a 1.45 goals-against average, a .946 save percentage along with also also several shutouts. He recently committed to the University of Denver for next season along with also also will represent Sweden at the earth junior championship.

Tri-City Coach Anthony Noreen has two additional Swedes on his roster. He said the U.S.H.L. was a great opportunity for European players to transition to more than just the North American game, with its smaller ice surfaces along with also also generally more physical style of play. They can also adjust to a brand new language along with also also culture “when their career doesn’t depend on This kind of,” he said.

“We know they’re going to make mistakes, along with also also in which’s O.K.,” Noreen said. “We’re a development league, along with also also we’ll help them learn through those mistakes. This kind of also lengthens the runway for a player, so to speak.


Jachym Kondelik, right, a center through the Czech Republic, plays for the U.S.H.L.’s Muskegon (Mich.) Lumberjacks.

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“If you go the major junior route in Canada, This kind of forces an N.H.L. team to make a decision on you at 20 years old, however with the college path, you get a bit more time to develop before they have to offer you a contract or not.”

Jachym Kondelik, a 6-6, 215-pound center through the Czech Republic, was drafted from the spring of 2016 by the Sudbury Wolves of the Ontario Hockey League, a top junior league in Canada. however he changed course because he wanted to go to college. He at This kind of point plays for the U.S.H.L.’s Muskegon Lumberjacks in Michigan.

Players in Canadian junior leagues are not eligible for the N.C.A.A., because some have already signed professional contracts along with also also appeared in pro games. N.C.A.A. rules prohibit athletes through playing with or against professionals.

“I chose the U.S.H.L. over the O.H.L. because I like the way they play better,” Kondelik said. “This kind of’s more two-way hockey, along with also also there’s a focus on defense. along with also also in which’s the kind of player I am — along with also also the player I want to be — along with also also thought This kind of would certainly be the best way for me to get better. There’s more time for practice to work on my skating along with also also my skills along with also also being from the weight room to get stronger. Plus, going to college is actually truly big for me, probably most important.”

Kondelik recently committed to the University of Connecticut.

“Everyone who goes to college in Europe says This kind of’s the worst four years of their life, along with also also in America everyone says This kind of’s the best four years of your life,” he said. “Once you step on a campus along with also also realize how much money they put into the schools here, you understand why in which is actually. This kind of’s amazing. I don’t know why you wouldn’t want to go.”

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