As the Senators get set to embark on a week overseas for the NHL Global Series in Sweden against the Colorado Avalanche, Sens captain Erik Karlsson talks about his excitement to help bring an NHL game to his home country, exposing his teammates to Swedish culture and more...
On watching the NHL in Sweden as a kid:
The NHL was big in Sweden when I was growing up but there just wasn't the same amount of coverage as there is now. Sweden in general is very invested in the hockey over here and we have dedicated channels for it now. It's followed very closely by a lot of people so having an NHL game there at this time is going to be huge not only for Stockholm but the entire country.
On if Swedish fans have favourite NHL teams or if they follow Swedish NHL players:
I would have to say that if a team has more Swedes they would naturally get a little more coverage in Sweden. Growing up maybe you lean towards following those teams just because that's what you see in the newspapers and on TV. When I was a kid it was mostly Detroit since they had a lot of Swedish players and they were pretty good at the time.
On being on the other side of the Sens' last trip to Sweden:
It was cool since I was drafted by Ottawa at the time. I got the chance to play against them and against the guys that were eventually going to be my teammates so for me it was an extra special feeling to be part of that. I think in general that trip had a lot of good things coming out of it. A lot of people got to see some live NHL hockey that probably never would otherwise. I think it's been long overdue and it will be nice to go back home.
Erik Karlsson, then with the Frolunda Indians, chats with Nick Foligno and Cody Bass after completion of a their game at Scandinavium Arena on October 2, 2008 in Gothenburg, Sweden.
On how the Global Series will help the NHL's profile in Sweden:
I think it's going to do a lot of good. It's going to give the Swedish fans an opportunity to watch the NHL game up close to see how good it actually is. Most people don't have the time or the money to come over here and watch a game live in North America so bringing the game to them is going to do a lot. I think it will up the value on what the league actually means for the Swedish people and in particular the kids over there.
On being able to expose his teammates to Swedish culture:
It's going to be a lot of fun for us as well. I think the player's families that decide to come over to watch the game will see a big difference in the culture. Sweden might not be the most popular vacation destination so it's going to be fun to bring everybody over there and introduce them to a few things that they aren't used to. I'm sure that they're excited to see that stuff too.
The NHL Global Series kicks off on Friday at 2 p.m. (E.T) with the first of two back-to-back games against the Colorado Avalanche.