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Short Shifts

Zibanejad takes stage to DJ at Swedish music festival

Rangers forward did set at Summerburst in Gothenburg

by Peter Ekholm / Correspondent

GOTHENBURG, Sweden -- Mika Zibanejad was one of many in attendance for the Summerburst annual music festival. Only the New York Rangers forward wasn't there as a fan, he was on stage as a DJ.

"It was a lot of fun," he told after his gig. "The music is something I'm doing and it was fun to finally play at a festival like this. It is something I've been looking forward to for a very long time, so obviously it was very exciting". 

The crowd was big at Ullevi, Sweden's largest outdoor arena, where Zibanejad was DJing along with other famous DJ names such as Albin Myers, Tiesto and Jubël. 

Though he's used to playing hockey in front of big crowds in the NHL, he admitted he was a bit anxious to take even the smaller stage at the festival. 

"You're always a little nervous, or it's more that you are pumped up," he said. "There has been a lot of stress ahead of this. It is more preparation than with hockey, where a lot is about routines. But it's fun. It is challenging."

Despite the nervousness he looked thrilled during his whole set. 

"During the summer you miss the adrenaline rush from hockey, if you win, score a goal or anything like that," he said. "You get it again while DJ-ing. It's something you miss, and it's nice. At the same time, you relax from hockey, which is a bit different."

Zibanejad's interest in music started when he was around 16 years old. He started producing his own songs when he was 19 and since then he has released a few singles, most recently "Moves", which was produced earlier this spring. During Summerburst he played some of his own beats, but also a lot of other well-known ones.

Instagram from @zibanejad93: "MOVES" is finally out on Spotify! Show us your moves party people! 💃💃🕺🕺link in bio! @hot.shade @mikeperrymusic @thecompanionsnl

"I try to get some kind of identity," Zibanejad said. "I've played some but not so much that people know what to expect. I play some new stuff, stuff that many people maybe haven't heard. I'm trying to mix that with stuff people recognize."

After a long hockey season, music has been a way for Zibanejad to relax. He went home to Stockholm right after the Rangers' last regular season game and since then he has been busy. He was an analyst during the 2019 IIHF World Championship on Swedish TV, and he's been working on his music along with working out for the upcoming season. 

Instagram from @zibanejad93: Stort tack alla inblandade för att ni gjorde denna upplevelse till den absolut bästa! Nu längtar jag tillbaka till isen! I wanna thank everyone involved for making this experience incredibly fun! I can't wait to be back on the ice again! @svtsport

Before heading back to New York to start the season 2019-20 with Rangers, he will continue to do DJ gigs, although his main focus is on his offseason work out and to get in the best possible shape for of the upcoming season.

"I've found a good balance, but it is difficult," he said. "It takes some time, not just the music but also the training and the diet. It's a matter of a process that I feel I've handled well I think."

Zibanejad, who scored career a high 74 points in 82 games last season, wants to do more this fall. 

"There is always stuff to improve," he said. "But I think it's just to continue what I did last summer, with preparation, training and the mental side of it. It's nice to have found a way. I'm just gonna try to do it a little bit better."

At the end of his gig at Summerburst the crowd started to chant "Let's Go Rangers," a sign of his popularity as a hockey player and a DJ. 

And he is looking forward to continue to entertain on both stages. 

"Its good timing," he said. "I can focus on hockey and when I have some time off I think It's fun to do what I like. It works very well."

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