Pens fans are seeing what newest Penguin Carl Hagelin is capable of on the ice since being acquired from Anaheim on Jan. 16 in exchange for David Perron and Adam Clendening. The 27-year-old winger is incredibly fast, can kill penalties, scored his first goal as a Penguin on Monday against the Ducks and recently had a five-game assist streak. However, they may not know a lot about the Sweden native off the ice – so he took the time to sit down with us and answer a few questions.
What part of Sweden are you from? Thirty minutes south of Stockholm.
What was it like growing up there? We lived out in the country, right by a lake. You spend a lot of time with your neighbors and your family, and it was a good time.
How many siblings do you have? One older brother and one older sister. Helene and Bobbie.
How’d you first get started playing hockey? My brother played. That’s how I got started. My dad was coaching his team. So I was able to join one of their practices and I didn’t love it at first. I remember the first time I just started crying right away. I went to McDonald’s, had a Big Mac and we waited a year. Then I loved it.
You moved to the States to play college hockey at the University of Michigan. What was that experience like for you, especially coming from Europe? The first year was hard. It was a learning process. Hockey-wise it was fine; it was more of the culture and the language barrier. I tried to pick up as much as possible. I think halfway through my sophomore year, that’s when I started feeling comfortable. It got a lot easier, both in school and socially.
You were on your own right away, with no billet family or anything like that to ease the transition. Who helped you the most? I was fortunate to have my family come over and visit me three or four times during that year, and then my dad had some relatives in the area there close to Ann Arbor. I was able to see them a couple of times. Then my sister went to school with this one guy – she got her master’s in Monaco and he worked in Ann Arbor, so he took care of me.
Reflecting back on it, what did you like the most about your college experience? How everyone cared about athletics. How it was such a big group of athletes that cared for each other and cared about each other and really supported each other.
What are your early impressions of Pittsburgh? It’s been good. Hockey-wise it’s a great organization, great players. You get treated extremely well. The city I haven’t seen too much, but it seems very nice.
What do you do when you’re not at the rink? First of all, I spend a lot of time FaceTiming my friends back home. That’s a big part of it, catching up with friends and family back home. I love watching movies. I go to every new movie that comes out, basically. Those are probably the two main hobbies outside of hockey. Then it’s different in the summer when you’re able to go out on the lake and all that. But during the year, it’s a lot of movies and a lot of FaceTiming.
Is there one movie you can watch over and over? Superbad is probably a movie I could watch over and over. The first 30 minutes for sure.
What do you do on the plane? Sometimes I’m a card guy. I’m new here, obviously, so I’ve been sitting next to ‘Dales’ (Trevor Daley). We’re actually just chatting it up. The food on the plane here is unreal, so me and Dales just order everything and try it out. It’s more of a food trip for us.
What’s your ideal meal? I love any type of seafood, so I’d go for probably tuna tartare to start out and then a nice salmon.
What music are you listening to right now? (Justin) Bieber right now.
What’s your favorite song off his new album? Love Yourself.
Who are your closest friends in the league? I was in New York for a while so (Mats) Zuccarello and (Henrik) Lundqivst; (Ryan) McDonagh and (Derick) Brassard. Then me and Erik Karlsson go back before (coming to the NHL), so I’m really good friends with him too. Then I knew ‘Horny’ (Patric Hornqvist) a good amount before, and now we’re getting closer and closer.
Speaking of Patric, he said during games you re-tie your skates during every TV timeout and he joked that you’re not the best person to sit next to on the bench. What else is part of your routine? I think that’s about it.
What’s your favorite sport besides hockey? Tennis. (Roger) Federer is always going to be No. 1. That would be my favorite individual sport, and then football when it’s playoffs. But soccer’s probably the second sport I follow the most.