Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 12/01/12 at 12:31 PM ET
from Szymon Szemberg of IIHF.com,
From U.S. college to the NHL and the World Championship – that’s a route not normally taken by European players. Chicago Blackhawks’ Swedish forward Viktor Stålberg is one of the very few. “For me college was getting the best from two worlds,” says Stålberg to IIHF.com.
The most successful European players who have become NHL and international stars have gone the traditional way of developing at home and taking the step to the NHL when ready. There are 31 Europeans in the NHL who have played 1,000 or more NHL games and only one of them (Slovakia’s Zdeno Chara) played in the Canadian junior leagues before going to the NHL. And Chara played all in all 49 games in the CHL.
Developing your skill at a NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) has never been a route of preference for Europeans and there are many reasons for it. One would be the very strict amateur rules. You don’t make a penny and before you enroll you may not play even one single exhibition game on European professional level without risking forfeiting your college eligibility. Many European talents are tested on their pro teams at 17 or 18.
And there are of course academic requirements. You need to handle the language English very well, you need to pass tests and once school starts you need to commit to studying, passing exams parallel to hockey.
continued which includes a Q & A with Stalberg...
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