During his nine seasons in the SHL, all of them with Skelleftea AIK, he made himself known as one of the most respected players in the league through his hard work and tough playing style. Last season he made Team Sweden’s roster for the World Championships, which later in the summer led to a two-way contract with the Chicago Blackhawks. We had a chat with Martin, who also has been involved in the initiative around World Hockey Manager.

In the 2007/2008 season, Martin took his first step into the first team from a youth team that included players like Adam Larsson, David Rundblad, Tim Erixon, Johan Alm, Melker Karlsson and Oscar Lindberg, players who have all been seen in the NHL since then. Martin stayed in Skelleftea the longest during a successful era, playing six straight finals, winning two gold medals for the club.

After playing your entire career in the same club, how has the transition been to come to a new team and country?
– No problem at all. Everyone has been very helpful to get me in order here in the United States. The largest readjustment has been on the ice; the game here is very different than in Sweden.

How do you mean?
– It differs quite a lot from the game we played in Skelleftea where we held the puck and took it home if we needed. Over here we chip it out of our own zone and into the attacking zone, so that means playing along the boards a lot more.

There are a lot of Swedes in Chicago’s organization, do you hang out a lot together?
– Yeah, we (me and my girlfriend) live together with Erik Gustafsson and his partner in a large house here in Rockford so we hang out every day, and also together with the other Swedes, Lars Johansson and Viktor Svedberg.

You have begun the season with the Rockford IceHogs in the AHL, have you been near a call up to the Chicago Blackhawks?
– It’s hard to say, there are many young players who fight over few spots in the Blackhawks and those who have started the season up there have done well so far.

While Chicago dominates the Western Conference of the NHL, Rockford houses at the other end of the conference in the AHL. Most players in the AHL aims to quickly get up to the NHL, which might lead to them thinking of their own performance than of the team’s best.

You are known as a player that puts your team first and pave the way for others without stealing attention. Are you the same type of player in the AHL, or do you think it takes a bigger ego to get ahead?
– I try to play my game, that is what brought me here and hopefully they will will value that even when my name is not on the scoresheet. But as I said they think hockey a little bit different here and I feel I can develop and learn new things every day.

What role have they given you in Rockford, so far?
– I have been getting more and more ice-time the longer the season has progressed and I have been playing both short-handed and also a bit of power play. I would say that my role is not too different from the one I had in Skelleftea.

Your old team, Skelleftea AIK, have been struggeling a bit this season. Have you had time to watch some of their games?
– I’ve seen a few games. Unfortunately, we often practice while the matches are being played, but I never miss the highlights afterwards.

Finally, you along with a lot of other players have been involved in the initiative behind World Hockey Manager. Is there someone special that you look forward to challenging in the game?
– Fore sure! I am looking forward to play with my teammates and of course all my friends back home in Skelleftea. I am really looking forward to the release.

Posted in Hockey, Interview