After a lengthy road trip the Milwaukee Admirals are back in town with a concert night game set for Saturday against the Grand Rapids Griffins. To get the ball rolling slowly towards the Admirals first home game since 1/9/16 I met up with the team yesterday and conducted more interviews for Fifteen.
The list of people you want to hear from had me on Kevin Fiala as I arrived yesterday. He of course isn’t around at the moment so I decided to make a change on the fly and go with the man who swapped places with him, Viktor Arvidsson, instead.
Admirals Roundtable: What was your inspiration to play hockey?
Viktor Arvidsson: My dad. He put me on the ice when I was little and I followed him to the rink and stuff like that. (AR: Did he used to play professionally or anything like that?) No, he played for the local team and I followed him to the rink – me, my brother, and my sister too. We’d end out there too. He was out skating with me, my brother, and my sister. So he got us to play hockey.
AR: When did you realize that you were going to be playing hockey for a career?
Arvidsson: Probably when I was eighteen.. nineteen. When I first got up in the Under-20 team in my hometown and then got a contract with the Elite team. So that was when I felt I could go a long way. (AR: Actually, thinking of you specifically, you went through the NHL Draft a couple times. Was there any ever like a fear of you’re never going to get drafted by an NHL team? Because you’ve kind of made a few people I think regret letting you go.) Yeah, of course there was. I felt angry that I didn’t get picked but after awhile I just said it doesn’t matter. I’ll take the long way in that case – just get to develop in Sweden. Then the last year the Nashville Predators picked me and that was awesome. (AR: I think a few teams are kicking themselves for letting that happen in the first place.) Yeah.
AR: Who was the first famous player that you ever met?
Arvidsson: Ooh, that’s a tough question. Probably like Henrik or Daniel Sedin, probably… or Jan Erixon. He coaches junior teams in my team in Sweden. So, I had him as a coach and stuff like that so I know him well. He’s a great person.
AR: What is your greatest hockey moment so far?
Arvidsson: Greatest hockey moment is for sure playing my first NHL game. That was a huge step in my career. It was a lot of fun. Then the gold medals with my team in Sweden [Skellefteå AIK, 2012-13 & 2013-14] was a really good time. We had a great team. (AR: I always hear the nerves, not so much for the game, isn’t the worst part for the first NHL game but it’s actually the pre-game skate. Is that true?) Yeah, it’s like.. (AR: Because you’re there but it’s just practice.) Exactly, then when the game starts it’s the game. You’re used to it and stuff like that but still nervous when you go out there for warm-ups and stuff.
AR: You have a lot of flashy goals. What’s the most memorable one?
Arvidsson: Probably the one I scored against Charlotte last year. I think [Mark Van Guilder] passed it to me, chipped it to me, I skated around the D and cut into the net and put a backhander up top. I think it’s that over here in America. (AR: I’d like to throw out one because I see you do the move every now and again. Fake slap shot, change-up wrist shot. You did that to get your hat trick in Iowa.) Yeah, I did yeah – I do that sometimes. I like to catch the goalie- (AR: Which is very mean because your slap shot is ridiculously hard.) [laughs] Yeah, I try to catch them. They know I shoot a lot, then catch them by surprise, just pump fake and go to the side.
AR: What is the strangest game that you’ve ever played in?
Arvidsson: [deep thought] Probably once in Sweden when the fire alarm went off and everybody went off the ice. (AR: During the middle of a game?) Yeah. (AR: So they had to evacuate the building as well?) Yeah, every guy in the building had to go out. So we stood in the parking lot with full gear on, both teams, so.. that’s probably it.
AR: What is your most embarrassing moment of your hockey career?
Arvidsson: Embarrassing… [long pause] (AR: And, when all else fails, there’s a couple other Swedes in the locker room that might be able to give an answer for you.) Yeah, probably. If you asked them they probably have an answer. [pause] I know I missed an open netter once in Sweden. I was all alone, just, breakaway and put it beside the net. That’s embarrassing you come down all alone you should score and you miss the net that’s one of them. (AR: Next time you go to Nashville there is a guy named Craig Smith – ask him about his missed empty netter. Because he was standing right there and he airmailed it. I don’t even know if, I think that hit the back-netting.) Yeah, I think it went straight over. I saw that.
AR: What’s the most painful moment of your hockey career?
Arvidsson: When we lost the junior final in Sweden. We were up 3-0 and we just collapsed in the third period – lost 6-3. Then painful if you mean like injury? I broke my foot once. That wasn’t nice. A teammate sat on my knee and my foot snapped. That was painful. (AR: That wasn’t even from a blocked shot? Just a teammate?) Yeah, he fell over me and I stood on one knee – my wrist couldn’t handle him and then it just snapped. That was painful.
AR: What are your favorite hockey uniforms?
Arvidsson: [long pause] I really like the Mighty Ducks old jerseys. They look sick I think. That has to be my answer. (AR: Old Mighty Ducks?) Yeah, it’s a cool jersey I think. (AR: They did have the greatest hockey player in history named Adam Banks from the movies.) That’s true! (AR: Best ever.)
AR: Who is the funniest player that you’ve ever met?
Arvidsson: [long pause] I think Jimmie Ericsson is funny. I played with him in Sweden he’s really funny. I think Carter Hutton is funny. He plays in Nashville. (AR: He’s become a bit of a legend just for his little segments on TV as Pekka Rinne is playing.) Yeah, yeah. (AR: He has a catch phrase and everything.) Yeah, he is funny so I’d have to say those two.
AR: What is your favorite aspect of Milwaukee since you arrived here?
Arvidsson: It’s boring if I say hockey [laughs] it’s the only thing I’m here for. I like the town, the people, the fans are great. Like, all the season ticket holders are awesome. They feel for the team and when the team loses. I have to say that. I didn’t think the fans would be that good so I’m happily surprised by the fans. (AR: It’s always weird to gauge because [the BMO Harris Bradley Center] is basically a pro building and this is the AHL team but they still come out, good support.) Yeah they do. (AR: Concert game this coming week it’s going to be probably upwards of -maybe- 12,000 fans. The noise level is going to be huge.) That would be great. And you always see the same persons are here almost every game so that’s awesome. (AR: That’s one of the things I noticed as a fan. You’d sit down and you would have people randomly asking you about how your work day was. All those regulars.)
AR: What is your favorite food, either in Milwaukee or just in general?
Arvidsson: Favorite food? It has to be a Swedish dish. I like palt. [Editor’s Note: This is Palt.] It’s like a big dough ball with pork inside with the lingonberry jam and butter. That’s probably my favorite dish.
AR: What is your favorite non-hockey hobby?
AR: What is your favorite non-hockey memory?
Arvidsson: I got engaged with my wife. That’s my biggest non-hockey memory for sure.
AR: What are your plans after hockey?
Arvidsson: I think I’ll still be into hockey. Doing something like runs around hockey or something but I don’t know. That’s nothing I really thought about like coach or be a junior coach or development coach.
Thanks to Viktor Arvidsson for taking the time to do this interview yesterday. I currently have three more editions of Fifteen in the tank. Who should be next? Please comment down below with who you would like to hear from next on Fifteen!