Here's the player who picked college over Allsvenskan (Swe-2). His choice has been paying off. Former Malmö player Gustav Nyquist has had great succes at University of Maine in the NCAA.
"You can't combine a good education with good hockey in Sweden," the 19-year-old says.
Nyquist wanted to get himself an education, so when the left winger was looking over his options last year, college hockey turned out to be the best alternative.
"I've always been a good student and it was important to me to have a backup plan should my hockey career not work out like to due an injury. Here, I can study and play high-level hockey."
'Here' is University of Maine. Since this fall, Nyquist has had a full scholarship to study economy at the Orono-based college in the northeast of the U.S., while playing for the Black Bears.
To be able to play for U of Maine, Nyquist couldn't make his Allsvenskan (Swe-2) debut last year, since that would have been considered pro hockey by NCAA rules.
"You could possibly get away with a few Allsvenskan games, but even a game on the bench in the SEL makes you ineligible for NCAA hockey. I turned down several offers to play in Allsvenskan, I just wanted to try my luck across the pond that hard."
The sacrifices have paid off. Nyquist has had a great start to his North American career, leading the team with 16 points in 16 games.
"I've gotten to play in all situations. The coaches really believe in me and I have to two linemates, Brian Flynn and Tanner House who have really helped me out."
Former Frölunda forward and fellow Swede Theo Andersson also plays for the Black Bears.
"Yeah, he's here but he hasn't been given as much confidence as me. It feels like he's got more to give. He's looked great the last two games."
Nyquist could have played in this year's WJC, but wasn't named to the roster.
"Obviously, I would have loved to play. The WJC was on my mind the whole year. At the same time, I understand. There's a ton of great players back home."
"It might have hurt me, not playing in Sweden, but I think the management followed me. I hope so they did. I don't regret moving here at least."
Since Nyquist is in college, the Red Wings have four years to sign him, instead of just two. There's no need to rush.
"It's a four-year education, but we'll see how I feel and what Detroit says. Might wanna try something new eventually. But right now I feel like I'll stay put for a while. I'm loving it."
Edited by Systemfel, 17 December 2008 - 02:28 AM.