By Rosie Townshend-Carter
Oct. 3, 2014
Filip Rydstrom may be new to the Islanders and Canada, but he certainly isn’t new to hockey.
The 18-year-old centre from Vallentuna, Sweden, has been hitting the ice from the age of six. He credits his mother with getting him into the game.
“My mom was the one to make me start playing hockey and my dad was like, she’s the one who will wake up early in the morning and take you to hockey.”
It didn’t take long for Dad to get into the game.
“As it went on, my dad got involved and they’ve helped me a lot with my career.”
Rydstrom caught the eye of the Islanders when they were looking for improvement in the centre; they wanted more size said Grant Sonier, General manager of the Charlottetown Islanders.
“The draft unfolded and he was our second European pick,” Sonier said of the 6-3 Rydstrom. “We were prepared to take him and we did.”
Moving to Canada was a big change, so was the game.
“The hockey is so much bigger here, that’s the biggest difference in my life,” said Rydstrom. “People are so passionate about hockey here.”
From the small hockey club he played for outside of Stockholm to playing for hundreds of die-hard fans in Charlottetown, it’s a change he has been enjoying.
“It’s a smaller rink and everything goes so much faster. More intense, more physical. You need to know what you’re going to do before you get the puck,” said Rydstrom.
So far, Rydstrom has done a good job of showing the team and crowd what he’s got.
“He has a really good stick, and he’s found a way to be a good penalty killer,” said Sonier.
Even though they are a young team, they have everything to be a successful team, said Rydstrom.
“We have a good team, I want to come as far as I can with the team. I’m going to do everything I can to help out the team.”
With a serious professional attitude and a great sense of humour, he has been a great addition to the team, said Sonier.
“When you have a turnover in roster like we do, building relationships in the locker room is important.”
As for the rest of the year, Rydstrom just hopes to continue developing and learning all he can to improve his game.