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How Swede it is!

by Kristi Hennessy / Edmonton Oilers
Oilers GM Steve Tambellini congratulates Oilers 2nd round pick Anton Lander at the NHL Entry Draft this past June.

On November 30, 2009, Sweden announced their roster for the World Junior Hockey Championships this December and January in Regina and Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Oilers 18 year old prospect Anton Lander was on that list.

“I´m very excited about making the team,” said Lander. “I think our toughest opponents will be Canada, USA and Russia. I hope we will play Canada in the gold medal game, but this year we hope to beat them.”

This will be Lander's first appearance at the World Junior Hockey Championships. Lander is a two-way centre who captained the Swedish entry in the 2009 under-18 world championships. He had two goals and nine points in six games.

“He’s the captain of Sweden for a reason — high, high character,” one scout told the Hockey News. “He gets results through hard work and character.”

Lander was an Oilers second round pick (40th overall), in the 2009 NHL entry draft. The six-foot, 185-pound forward is a linemate of Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson, the Oilers pick in the opening round.


Q: Do you watch the NHL?
A: I watch the scores almost every day and also try to watch as many games as I can but since the games are showing during the night over here it is hard. Of course I follow the Oilers a little extra!!

Q: How much do you know about the Oilers?
A: I haven´t seen many games with the Oilers but I know that they have a lot of skilled players. They also seem to have a good mix between younger and older players. When did you know you wanted to be a hockey player? A: I was born in a town in the northern part of Sweden were hockey is the biggest sport. Since I first started skating at the age of 3 and since then, I have always wanted to play hockey.

Q: How did you get your number?
A: When I started playing for Timrå junior team I got the number from an older player who grew up on the same street as me. I looked up to him a lot.

Q: Do you have any game day rituals?
A:I´m not very superstitious but I do have the same routines before every game because it makes me feel confident
Last season, Lander registered 10 points in 47 games with Timra of the Swedish Elite League. Like Paajarvi-Svensson, he had a year left on his contract so he is spending this season in Sweden. Next year however could be a different story. As Lander is still an 18 year old, he would still have the chance to play for a junior team in North America.

Lander says that there are many things that he needs to improve this season if he wants the chance to play in North America next season.

“This year my goal is to develop as a player, both on and off the ice,” Lander said. “Since I´m assistant captain this season, I want to take more responsibility. I need to improve everything in my game, especially my skating.”

Lander will get a chance this December to play in Canada at the WJC for Team Sweden. He’ll get another taste of North American hockey that may help his decision of where to play his 2010-2011 season.

“My dream has always been to play in North America so if I get the chance and I feel that I´m ready, I will go there,” said Lander. “I think the size of the rinks is the biggest difference. It makes North American hockey more intense which is something I prefer.”

So far this season, Lander is off to a strong start with Timra, (SEL). He has registered four goals and seven assists in 31 games while wearing the ‘A’ on his jersey.
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