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'Spending a day with prospect Sven Nyckel' - How to not conduct an interview with a prospect [2/2]


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Recently, a journalist and a photographer working for a hockey prospects magazine (who wishes to remain anonymous) were sent to Sweden to do an introductory piece on one of the nations prospects in the upcoming draft, Sven Nyckel. However, the interview didn't quite turn out the way that the magazine, journalists or Nyckel’s agent had hoped and it was therefore scrapped before being run by the magazine. We (a group of dedicated sports journalists who also wish to remain anonymous) we're lucky enough to acquire this piece through some of our sources and after multiple lengthy discussions on whether or not we should release the article we decided that it was the right thing to do.... To run it that is. So without further ado we would like to bring you 'A day with Swedish Prospect, Sven Nyckel' in its original form, completely unedited. We hope you enjoy it just as much as we did.


Sven Nyckel, the 19 year old defenseman from Sweden, is probably not a name that even the most hardcore hockey fans would recognize. He exploded onto the junior scene in his home country just a few years ago, seemingly from nowhere. Even Nyckel himself claims he wasn’t sure how it all happened. In an interview with a local Swedish newspaper from last year he said that he had skated all his life but didn’t start playing hockey until he was 13.


“We didn’t really have the money or time for that sort of thing in my family I think.. I mean we always went ice skating. Mom loves figure skating so we always used to watch it on TV. Old VHS cassettes from like the 80s or something. She used to make us re-enact them. It was awful. Then her and my Dad got divorced and she married this kinda rich guy or something. I guess he wanted to get in my good books so he told me I could have anything I wanted for my first christmas when they were together. I told him I wanted to play hockey, so he went out and got the gear and everything.  They broke up a few weeks later. Mom and Dad got back together again a month or so after that. I told a joke a few years later at a family gathering about them getting a divorce just so they could afford hockey gear for me. Did not go well. No one laughed. Haven’t brought it up since then. Really uncomfortable stuff. Anyway from that point onwards there’s barely been anything else on my mind. Just hockey, hockey and more hockey. ”


A tumultuous entry into the sport no doubt. Since then he has improved quickly. His work ethic and big body has made him a valuable member of his hometown team, the Lysekil Viking. That brings us to the start of our journey together. After landing in Gothenburg we took a cab about an hour and a half north to the small town of Lysekil on the Swedish west coast. After spending a good thirty minutes standing in the parking area of the harbour in gale force winds and ice cold rain our ride to the Nyckel farm finally shows up. An old, scraggly Volvo speeds down the narrow road, pulls into the parking area and comes to a screeching halt. The door swings open and we get our first look of the possible future star. Dressed in a dusty old pair of blue overalls with a dirty face and a smile from ear to ear he bursts out ‘HALLOW JA! You must be -REDACTED- and -REDACTED-, najs to meat you! and embraces us both with a strong bear hug. From that moment on we knew we we’re in for quite a ride.


The small town of Lysekil, Sweden



The drive to the farm took approximately 20 minutes. We didn’t get much talking done. As soon as we stepped into the car he wanted to show us his new stereo system and we spent the entire trip listening to a Swedish Artist called Eddie Meduza. I have to say neither of us particularly cared for it but I think both of us we’re too tired or frankly too stunned by Svens audacity to do anything about it. Or maybe audacity isn't quite the right word for it, he wasn’t being rude or anything. At least neither of us got that impression from him. Unique is probably the best word that comes to mind. Sven is definitely a unique character.

When we arrived at the farm he said he had some work to do during the day before he could sit down and talk, the farm didn’t run itself after all. He explained that his parents we’re out on vacation so it was just him doing all the chores. 


We took this time to ask him some quik questions. We also took the liberty of cleaning up his English as best as we could as it is far from perfect.


REDACTED - “Sven, how do you manage to fit in all your duties at the farm with the strict training regime”?


Nyckel - “Well I just try and get up early and crush this as fast as possible. Besides, this can be very physical work so it can be like going to the gym. And then in the afternoon I can focus on hockey stuff. Like stick handling and stuff. And shooting. I do alot of shooting in one of the barns. I’ve converted it to a little practice area. “


He walked over to an old tractor that was standing in the middle of the yard. 


Nyckel - “Anyway guys I really have to do some work. It will be quik. You can stay here, I made some coffee this morning… I think it’s still hot. It’s in the kitchen. Or if you want to you can come and sit with my in the tractor and we can talk while I finish some work. But I have to warn you, it’s pretty bumpy in there. Not particularly comfortable.  And there’s not a lot of room.”


Weighing up our options, we felt that we had to take this interview into our own hands. It was already spiralling out of control. We were way off schedule and the day had barely even started, not to mention we had no idea that Nyckel would be unavailable for large parts of the day. So we crammed into the tractor, all three of us, and conducted part of the interview from there.



Sven's Tractor, in which we spent most of our time with him.


REDACTED - “So Sven, tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get interested in hockey? Do you have any favourite players? Anyone you want to emulate? What role do you see yourself playing for a team in the league?”

Nyckel - “Well…  first of all, the way I see it there’s no point in trying to be someone or something your not. I don’t really look up to any specific player. Or want to emulate someone. At least not in the hockey world.”


REDACTED - “So there’s no one in particu-”


Nyckel “AND second of all I think the way to be successful is to try and be as true to yourself and the way you play as possible. Make others want to emulate YOU. If you strive to become someone else, you’ll fail. That’s what my grandfather always said. And he was always right. As for how I got interested in hockey, my dad used to play. He wasn’t particularly good, but still. He loves the game. My mom is big into figure skating so it was a natural fit for me to get on the ice as a kid. When it comes to what I think I can bring to a team… That’s a tough one. I bring me. Myself. I’m a pretty physical guy. I think my skating is pretty good too. I’m not afraid to step up to the challenge. I don’t know, it’s hard to evaluate yourself. Don’t you have any other questions I could answer?


At this point we had left the small road that we had been travelling on and moved into a field, the tractors engine roaring as it traversed the uneven ground below us.


REDACTED - “Well Sven we came here to talk to you about hockey. That’s kind of what we were hoping to do. Like a prospect showcase sort of. Not talk about your car or something!”


Nyckel - “Huh? Talk about my car? Now THAT I can do! It’s my grandpa's old Volvo. A old 240 from the 70s. It’s a goddamned classic. Almost all the parts are still original. I guess you could say it’s my passion project. I really want to-”



Sven Nyckel's beloved car, the Volvo 240.



REDACTED - “No, no I said we DIDN’T come here to talk about cars, we came here to talk about you and hockey.


Nyckel - “Oh, ha! Sorry! Anyway, we’re here. I just need to move these bulls to the next pen. You can wait up here if you like.”


And with that he left us in the tractor as he climbed down and started herding the cattle into the next enclosure. Was this really the right guy? Or was this some elaborate joke? It was almost surreal. And just when he thought it couldn’t get any stranger we saw him trying to get one of the bigger bulls to move. It looked stubborn and unwilling to budge so Sven walked up beside it, smacked the bull on the ass and grabbed it by the horns and started pushing it forward and little by little the bull relented until finally made its way over to the rest of the animals. REDACTED opened the door to the tractor and yelled - 


REDACTED - “What on earth?! What are you doing man, aren't you a afraid to get hurt?”


Nyckel - “What, by this guy? No way, he looks a lot fiercer than he is. He’s a real sweetheart, you just don’t know him like I do. Old Ferdinand wouldn’t hurt a fly, he’s just real stubborn. I’ll be right back with you guys in a second.”



Some of Sven's cows that we passed on the way to the bull pen.

REDACTED come back inside and closed the door behind him.


REDACTED - “Ferdinand. Of course he’s got a bull called Ferdinand. Is this some kind of #%$&ing joke? What are we even doing here man, this is absurd…! And now my boots are covered in &*$% too, goddamnit!”


 Sven started coming back towards the tractor. He looked up at us with a huge grin on his face. At this point we started to understand that this is who he is. Just a genuine, old school, unique farmers son. A little rough around the edges, but both of us were sure that he didn’t mean to but us through an ordeal or anything. He was just oblivious. Completely and utterly oblivious.


Sven opened the door and stuck his head into the tractor.


Nyckel - “You guys feeling hungry? I could sure go for some lunch.”


REDACTED - “Absolutely Sven, we’d love some lunch.”


Nyckel - “Great, I hope you guys are meat eaters. We’re having homemade sausage. Made it myself. Old family recipe, your going to love it!” - he said and grabbed a set of starter cables and a paper bag from underneath the seat. “Come on out, it’ll be ready in just a few minutes.” He popped the hood of the tractor, set up the starter cables and hooked them up to a huge sausage that he had pulled out from the paper bag that had been sitting in the cabin of the tractor this entire time. “When the skin pops it’ll be done. Shouldn’t take long at all.” - he said and stretched out his arms and back. 


Me and REDACTED just looked at each other. What a day. What an absurd day. Neither of us had ever been to Sweden before. Is this what people are like here? Soon an audible POP was heard from the sausage and just as Sven said, it looked like it was cooked. At least steam was escaping from the hole in the skin. 


Nyckel - “Alright! Finally! I’m starving”


He handed us each a plastic plate, knife and fork and cut up the sausage in three equal parts. 


-SKÅL! said Sven with a smile on his face and started digging into the sausage.


At this point we just weren't sure how to continue. It was clear that we were not going to get the interview that we wanted and, honestly, both of us were way out of our comfort zone so we politely asked Sven if there was anything else he would like to add to the article, to which he replied that he didn’t, at which point we politely asked for a ride back into town.


Reflecting on the experience a few days later it almost feels like a dream. At first glance Sven feels like the kind of person that will split the locker room but you really can’t help but kinda like the guy after you get to know his unique character, even against your better judgement. Because don’t get me wrong, he is very likeable. Just different. He will no doubt have some trouble adjusting to life as a pro-hockey player but if he can make that adjustment we believe he will be a guy who you want to have on your team.


Sven dropped us off at the same place where he had picked us up, just 5 hours earlier. As he sped off, honked his horn and waved out the window with that signature ear to ear smile of his.


As his car raced out of view my dear colleague REDACTED turned to me with a quizzical look on his face..


REDACTED - “What the #$&% just happened? And what do we do about the story?!”


… I have no idea bud. I really have no idea.



Edit: Noticed some brutal spelling errors that I fixed. I also found a passage where I'm fairly sure my brain shut down and rebooted while I was still typing. Also, for some reason quik with just a K doesn't seem to want to be edited to quik with a CK. I can't figure it out.


2334 words

English isn't my native language so I'm sorry for any glaring mistakes

Edited by Thatguy91
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This was a really great read, It felt very organic and read like a short story, pictures and formatting are all perfect and really help make it more readable as without this it easily could have ending up confusing to read. Looking forward to hearing more about Sven's exploits when he leaves his farm.


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  • DollarAndADream changed the title to 'Spending a day with prospect Sven Nyckel' - How to not conduct an interview with a prospect [1/2]
  • 2 weeks later...


Welcome to the league! I've always been a fan of stream-of-consciousness/interviewer commentary-style interviews, and this is no exception; articles like these always give a little life to the league, especially since we get a chance to step away from the hockey for a little bit and just enjoy some storytelling. English might not be your first language, but there aren't even many stylistic recommendations I'd make. There are some small grammatical mistakes (forgetting a "." at the end of a sentence or two might be the worst of them).

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  • DollarAndADream changed the title to 'Spending a day with prospect Sven Nyckel' - How to not conduct an interview with a prospect [2/2]

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