You moved around a lot as a kid. Do you remember all the places you’ve lived?
It’s a long story but I was born in Finland and spent two months there, then we moved to Switzerland for about a month and then we moved to Germany and I think I was there for about five years. My dad played hockey so I think he played on five different teams. We moved back to Finland after the five years in Germany and we lived here for six years. It’s pretty messy, I know. Then after that, we went to Austria and we were there for four years. Now I live in Finland.
Did you watch any of the NHL when you were growing up?
I didn’t really watch the NHL when I was small. It was more just watching my dad play in the German League.
When did you first start thinking that playing in North America was that right route for you?
When I went to Austria, we had some good players there like Noah Dobson, he plays for the New York Islanders now. The first year, I was in the room with Sampo Ranta and he played one year in Austria then played for the Sioux City Musketeers. A lot of guys went to Canada and played in the CHL but the last year in Austria we went to Minnesota for a tournament and I talked to some colleges. My advisor said maybe the USHL is the right place for you and that’s how I got here. I could have gone to some professional team but my parents told me it’s probably better to go the college route and get a degree.
How do you think your transition went to playing in North America this season?
That was a good learning process. It took a while to get used to everything like the smaller ice, it was good to learn that everything doesn’t come to you in a week or so. Even though my preseason was really good, I think I was kind of lucky. I had five goals or something then after that, nothing. I didn’t get angry, I just kept going and kept practicing so that was good.
As a team, when do you think the group came together and got on the same page?
After the first preseason game in Green Bay, we lost 4-0 or something like that. Everyone started talking to each other and being more open, that was a big reason why we had a lot of success in the season. I think we lost to Muskegon in the preseason as well, it wasn’t good that we lost but it was good for the team to get everybody to talk and get to know each other.
With your first season under your belt, do you have any advice to players in Europe thinking about the USHL?
I would just say to be patient. Don’t be in a hurry, you have to take your time. When you look at the NHL and you see guys scoring, even if you don’t score or you don’t have that many points, you don’t have to be angry at yourself. Day after day, keep working and it’s going to be good if you just keep working and believing in yourself.
What do you like to do in your free time away from the rink?
I would say golf and I like to go hiking in the mountains in Austria.