BROSSARD - Christian Folin made commitments on a couple of fronts this summer.
The first was short term in duration compared to the second and most recent one, though.
Just over four months after signing a one-year, one-way contract with the Canadiens, the 28-year-old defenseman proposed to his girlfriend, Hanna Bjursten, shortly before returning to Montreal for training camp.
The engagement was the perfect end to an offseason Folin refers to as the "best summer so far" in his playing career.
As for the proposal, the six-year NHL veteran kept things simple in order to ensure Bjursten didn't suspect a thing.
"I didn't want to make it too crazy. I think she would've figured it out if I asked her to throw some nice clothes on and put on some makeup. I basically told her we were going fishing and then heading to my grandmother's place for dinner," recounted Folin. "We were running behind, and she got angry with me because of that. She didn't want to go out on the water. She was just sitting in the car giving me attitude, like 'Let's just go your grandmother's place an hour early and hang out there instead.'"
Folin, who envisioned proposing on the Kattegat, a narrow bay in southern Scandinavia, couldn't accommodate Bjursten's request.
He insisted the pair stick with the initial plan, and Bjursten accepted. But it wasn't long before there was a small, but significant hiccup.
"We got out there, and I had some issues with the boat," explained Folin with a laugh. "My dad bought a new boat this summer, and I couldn't get it to work right away. I had to call him for help."
After Martin Folin came through with some clutch tech support for the Habs' blueliner, the proposal was back on track.
"We drove out for a bit and I asked her fairly quickly out there," recalled Folin, who was feeling rather anxious prior to popping the question. "I was really nervous before. I remember sitting at home on the day of the proposal drinking coffee and my hands were shaking a little bit. I'm just really glad she said 'Yes!' It's a really big thing."
Boat malfunction aside, the Gothenburg native was delighted with the way everything ultimately played out.
"That's something you look forward to your whole life, and I knew she was the right girl for me. I wanted to ask her before we came over here so we could celebrate with family," mentioned Folin. "Topping the summer off with getting engaged, it had a really positive impact. She's already here with me, too. We found a place and we're ready to go."
The pair first met two years ago at a going away party for Folin's good buddy, Swedish forward Carl Klingberg, who was heading to ply his trade in Switzerland.
According to Folin, he and Bjursten "hit it off right away" - and the rest is history.
She joined him in Los Angeles while he was still a member of the Kings, and Folin quickly realized Bjursten was extra special.
"I felt like I could be myself around her. I didn't have to pretend to be someone I wasn't," praised Folin. "We have a lot of fun together. We love hanging out and doing things together."
Simply put, Folin couldn't ask for a better partner. And he can't thank her enough for her incredible support.
"It's been huge, especially going back to last year. It was a little bit of a tough season to start in Philadelphia. Then actually coming here, we had a good pep talk before I came. She said, 'Just go and have fun, play your game, enjoy it and be yourself.' It's awesome coming home every day. You come home to her and you just let go of everything else," concluded Folin. "It's nice to kind of shut your brain off a little bit. It helps you focus and come back into practice the next day with a clear head. That helped me a lot, being able to just focus on her and be more active outside the rink. We're doing more activities, going out and exploring."
Folin and Bjursten plan to marry next summer in Sweden.