Carl Hagelin did an interview with Swedish journalist Patrick Ekwall that was published Saturday. During the nearly 11-minute chat, the Capitals third-line forward talked about how his life has been during quarantine and revealed that he returned to his native Sweden in April, nearly a month after the NHL suspended the 2019-20 season due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Hagelin, who recently began skating again, believes players will return for NHL camps in June, though he admitted he was an optimistic person.
“I think the league can start again,” Hagelin said. “I don’t know if we’ll go directly to the playoffs or if we’ll be able to have a few games first, but my thought is that in some way, the team will get back together at the beginning of June. And then maybe games will start again in July, August, September. That’s my dream, but I know just as little as everybody else.”
Ekwall also asked Hagelin to compare and contrast what it’s been like in Sweden and America. The two also mocked President Trump who said in April during a press conference that an “injection inside” the body with a disinfectant could help fight the coronavirus.
“You haven’t tried disinfectant?” Patrick Ekwall asked.
“Not yet, maybe in a few days!” Hagelin responded.
The interview is translated by reader Wendy Shoemaker and proofed and edited by RMNB’s Magnus Cadelin.
Patrick Ekwall: Hey everyone! This is “Insight” and we talk to some of our greatest sports heroes and see how they are doing in the situation as it is today. Today we’re directing our attention to Carl Hagelin. Hello!
Carl Hagelin: Hello
Patrick Ekwall: How are you?
Carl Hagelin: I’m good.
Patrick Ekwall: You live in the United States and play in Washington. But now you’re back in Stockholm.
Carl Hagelin: Yeah, I was going to stay in the US a little longer but then I came home at the beginning of April. You could say that people are more relaxed over here and there are different rules here in Sweden. It’s a little easier to live your life here and do sort of what you want. Over there it’s a little depressing being inside all the time.
Patrick Ekwall: Was it clear you would get permission?
Carl Hagelin: From the team, you mean?
Patrick Ekwall: Yes, for example.
Carl Hagelin: There was a lot of talk between the union and the league, and they decided since it was so uncertain and at the beginning of April, it was clear that nothing was going to happen for the next month. So if you have the chance to go home, then do it. And if we’re going to start again, they’ll tell us in advance. So it felt right to go home, especially when you saw how things were starting to get in the US.
Patrick Ekwall: Have you talked to your teammates about how they’re doing?
Carl Hagelin: Yes. Some of them. Backis (Swedish nickname for Backstrom) is still there. He says it’s different from when I left. When I left, it was still somewhat normal. Parks were starting to close, and when you have a small child who wants to go outside and wants to go to the park they always go to, they make life rough otherwise. You have to wear a mask in the supermarket and no restaurants are open to eat there but they do delivery.
Patrick Ekwall: Have you heard that the President criticized Sweden. Since you’re Swedish, is it discussed in the team?
Carl Hagelin: Not really. You read it in the media, but I haven’t thought that much about it, to be honest. Sweden has done its thing, and we seem to be pretty extreme in Sweden compared to the rest of the world. Nobody knows what works and what doesn’t work. All I can say is that it’s better to be Sweden right now if you and your family are well than to be in the US if you and your family are well. I think it’s easier for people not to become depressed here in Sweden compared with the US.
Patrick Ekwall: You haven’t tried disinfectant?
Carl Hagelin: Not yet, maybe in a few days!
"The disinfectant, where it knocks it out in a minute, and is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside, or almost a cleaning. It gets in the lungs" — Trump seems to suggests that injecting disinfectant inside people could be a treatment for the coronavirus pic.twitter.com/amis9Rphsm
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 23, 2020
Patrick Ekwall: I was just thinking Sweden has become the talk of the town since Trump’s comments. Maybe someone had called and asked, “What the heck are you doing over there?”
Carl Hagelin: A lot of the guys that I’ve played with–you keep in touch. They think it’s really weird that I can go out to a restaurant here, and there are like 20 people eating outside. They tell me to get out of there, come home. It’s not just Americans, it’s Canadians too.
Patrick Ekwall: It could be Norwegians and Danes [both countries are also in lockdown] for that matter.
Carl Hagelin: Exactly, it’s the same thing.
Patrick Ekwall: What was it like when there was suddenly no hockey?
Carl Hagelin: It was unreal, the whole situation. The NBA decided to shut down everything for the rest of the year, and I remember there was an NHL game that night and that was going to go on, so I thought there might be a chance. Gary Bettman would have a little more time to decide, and then the next day they decided. We were in the dressing room, we were supposed to play that night. We had practice in the morning and then a video meeting that evening and it was a little uncertain of what was going to happen. We had been at the rink for like an hour, and they said there was the break, and we just said goodbye to everybody. We didn’t see anybody after that, it all went really fast. Then the Czechs were already back in the Czech Republic five days later. Something you never thought would happen in your career or your lifetime. People who are 70 or 75, they’ve never seen anything like it either.
Patrick Ekwall: No training, no games. You haven’t had your skates on?
Carl Hagelin: I had them on today, actually.
Patrick Ekwall: Oops, sorry, we’re in Sweden.
Carl Hagelin: Exactly. But I haven’t done that much, I haven’t skated that much. You have to find ice, and that isn’t everywhere, and then there can’t be that many people at the rink either. But I was in the US for two or three weeks, and there wasn’t any talk of even going to the rink. Our rink was entirely closed, nobody was there except the material guys to get the guys’equipment, cause they were going to fly home.
Patrick Ekwall: I saw on social media that you did a little training with your daughter. Was that tempo okay?
Carl Hagelin: It was a start at any rate, rather than sitting on the sofa all day, I thought I could do some hills, me and little Blanche. She also thought it was nice to get out. It was also exactly when the weather started getting nice in Washington. But it’s something I’m also doing here in Sweden. I always train with my brother, and hill running is a favorite. It’s kind of like summer, except maybe I spend a little more time outside than inside in the gym, with the rules.
Patrick Ekwall: When do you think you will start to live normally again?
Carl Hagelin: I am a positive person. I think the league can start again. I don’t know if we’ll go directly to the playoffs or if we’ll be able to have a few games first, but my thought is that in some way, the team will get back together at the beginning of June. And then maybe games will start again in July, August, September. That’s my dream, but I know just as little as everybody else. But I think as a player or as a fan, a lover of sport, that everybody hopes that.
Patrick Ekwall: But do you think it will be without fans?
Carl Hagelin: Yes, I do.
Patrick Ekwall: That will be tough for the team.
Carl Hagelin: Yes, I don’t know what the rules will be, maybe 50-100 people, maybe just players and important people for the team. But there are 80-100 people necessary for an NHL team, so I think that will be the limit for a while. I don’t know exactly, but that’s what I think.
Patrick Ekwall: There’s been a lot of talk in soccer, about should they play without fans. But now it’s gone on so long, that they’re like let’s just play. Do you agree?
Carl Hagelin: Yes, I do. I think it’s easy to say 2 or 3 weeks into this pandemic, do you want to play without fans, sure you’re going to say, no it’s a shame for the fans. We had played like 70 games, so maybe a break is nice, also for soccer players. Now like two months have gone by, and then you feel like you’d do anything to play a game. And just for the fans to be able to watch a game on TV, that means a lot too. Sport is really something that can bring people together. You can go watch sports with your friends, but to sit and watch with your family, that makes people happy.
Patrick Ekwall: A Hammarby [a Swedish soccer team] practice attracted a lot of people, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but even so… and that was just a practice. You long for it.
Carl Hagelin: Exactly. The longer this goes, you can ask any football or soccer player if they are ready to play without fans. Clearly it will be weird at first, but that was the way it was in the beginning anyway, where there weren’t so many fans, just your parents eating a hot dog maybe.
Patrick Ekwall: Back to the roots. Who do you train with at home?
Carl Hagelin: I train with my brother.
Patrick Ekwall: Is there a little rivalry?
Carl Hagelin:: When we were younger maybe, but now we’re older. Now he keeps me going.
Patrick Ekwall: Well, thank you for being with us. We’ll stick to your positive line.
Carl Hagelin: Thanks.
Headline photo courtesy of
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