In what will hopefully be the thing that will keep me sane during these lean times (i.e: no hockey, oh god), I’m going to try to keep this regularly updated again now that my P/T job will be coming to an end and I am not battling any Hurricanes like some mythic Greek Goddess anymore.
Today’s thrilling adventure of catching up with your favorite NHL player while he is locked out takes us to the magical land of Denmark!
Let’s count the things I can tell you about Denmark (without cheating and going on wikipedia):
1) Lars Ulrich, drummer of Metallica fame / infamy, is from Denmark. Albeit, he now lives in South California and I believe is a Sharks fan, but, dammit, it’s a thing.
2) Hans Christian Anderson (i.e. when is NBC going to make a tv show about his fairy tales?), famous fairy tale writer, specifically of my favoritest one of all time — the Little Mermaid (the original fairy tale was written as a love story from one man to another — how is that not the best??) — was also born and died there, becoming a national treasure for Denmark. Like one day Snooki, Bono and Jeremy Roenick will be for America. Our national treasures.
3) They have a statue of the Little Mermaid from Hans Christian Anderson’s tale in the habor or on the water or whatever they have in Denmark.
4) During WWII, they had a very large and active resistance group against the Germans and they were able to save thousands of Jewish Danes by hiding them in boats and shipping them off to Sweden and safety. /history major’ed.
So yeah. That’s not really a lot of knowledge about Denmark. I’ve got to think that that’s as much as other North American hockey fans know about it as well. The Islanders’ Frans Nielsen is Danish and umm, according to hockey-reference.com there are 7 players who were in the NHL who are Danes.
The AL-Bank Ligaen league is the top league in Danish hockey where only the best Danish and foreign players play. It’s been around since 1954 with 8 teams including the Herlev Eagles.
Why care? Well, Nashville Predators Kevin Klein, playoff hero, mohawk lover, who just signed a pretty big deal (not as much as teammate Shea Weber’s contract though) with the team, has been playing there since November 15th or so.
First thoughts that a person would have: WHY ARE YOU SO FAR AWAY FROM ME, KEVIN KLEIN?
Second, Denmark isn’t as “sexy” as playing in the KHL or as “safe” as playing in the AHL, so what the fuck?
Third, well, there is no third. Like Demark, using baseball terms, is something completely out of left field. So why would Klein choose Denmark?
Well, it starts to become a little bit more clearer with this translated from Danish article on the Hervlev Eagles’ website;
Contact with Kevin came into being thanks to Kim Staal, who played with Kevin in Milwaukee Admirals in the AHL in the 2006-2007 season. In the time before and after, Kevin was in the Nashville Predators in the NHL and for the past 4 seasons has been a staple in the NHL and one of the club’s absolute top players.
Kim Staal, no relation to those other Staals, a former teammate has been playing in Europe since 2007 is a pretty good reason and in a handful of youtube/video interviews, Klein has been implying just how good friends they are (which is totally cool since it always seems like all of the Preds players Klein is super friendly with seem to get traded away).
And then another reason Klein, a Canadian, decided on Denmark? Family. From Ontario’s Guelph Mercury:
Kevin, a defenceman with the Predators, and Laura, a volleyball player and the 2012 female athlete of the year at the University of Waterloo, have both signed pro contracts to play their respective sports in Denmark.
Laura signed with the club Frederiksberg Volley in Copenhagen on Nov. 9, and days later Kevin accepted an offer from the Herlev Eagles in Herlev, just 15 minutes away from her.
“The relationship between Kevin and I is strong,” Laura, 22, said. “I would say our bond is really tight because I’m his only sister and he wants me to be successful.”
“I don’t get to see her as much these days living in Nashville most of the year, so it’s really nice having her around and being able to be there for her here,” Kevin explained. “It’s great, we have a very tight-knit family with most of our relatives being in and around Kitchener and myself, my brother Derek, and Laura have always been close.”
Laura, who had been looking to play in a Scandinavian country because she liked how most of the people there speak English, felt that the level of play and opportunity with Frederiksberg Volley was her best option.
Being so close to each other will allow the Kleins to watch each other play, something they haven’t been able to do in recent years.
“I plan on going to his hockey games as much as possible and he said he would come to my volleyball games,” said Laura, who finished second in Ontario and seventh in the country with 3.34 kills per set this past season at UW. “Our schedules are busy but we will always make time if possible to hang out.”