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Markus Nygren Biography

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Markus Nygren Biography

Markus Nygren was born in Malmo, Sweden on June 12th 1988. The son of a Hunter/Trapper, Markus never knew his birth-mother as she died just after he was born due to lung-cancer. His father would later re-marry leaving Markus to be the estranged step-child for much of his life. His younger step-brother also played in the VHL, Lucas Nygren. 


During his childhood Markus always showed an affinity for hockey. Markus spent much of his youth avoiding home, instead opting to hang out with friends. This is where he originally began to play hockey, on the street and eventually in various arena's around Sweden. Markus was a traveler, even at an early age. Given that Markus didn't spend much time with his family even during his younger years, Markus wasn't much of a student. He regularly missed classes, and was found doing odd jobs for under the table pay. This afforded him the ability to pay for bus tickets, and go both attend and play in games at a young age. 


While Markus never had the greatest relationship with his father, before Markus became more of a drifter he did learn some valuable skills from him, skills that to this day remain apart of Markus's life. Markus learned how to live off the land from his father at a young age, around 6 years old. Various hunting and fishing techniques, how to planet and grow vegetables and other herbs, as well as how to forage and track in the wild. Markus picked up other survival and skills suited to outdoor living by enrolling in several Park Ranger classes at the age of 9. Thus after he hit puberty at age 11 Markus pretty much became a nomad, carrying a tent with him and travelling among the wilderness. 


This nomadic lifestyle allowed Markus a freedom at a young age most don't get. However it also meant he attended more games than he watched, as such never picked up any desire to study tape or tendencies. For much of his early teens Markus's life was trying to pursue his dream of being a hockey player during the on time, while all off-season and free time hours were dedicated to living with nature. This lead to him being a bit of a loner in locker rooms, as despite his skill on the ice, his dedication to his teammates, he wasn't really much of a social team player. 


Markus's unusual or dated lifestyle choices lead to him being under the radar for much of his later teens and early 20's where he was eligible but not drafted to any NHL teams. He would later sign a free agency deal with the Pittsburgh Penguins, but only played two seasons with AHL Affiliate Wilkes-Barre and had a few notable goon like performances in a couple of NHL pre-season games. Many speculate that his more rural lifestyle choices, his desire to "feel the game" not study it, and his fondness for simply being around the live game as opposed to truly hunkering in is a big reason why this naturally gifted player could never find real success. He was always a target from his coach for his size, skating and overall commitment, but too often Markus showed an affinity to simply "play the game" as opposed to understand it, or learn from it. There has always been a clear yin/yang to his lifestyle with hockey representing one side of those two headed dragons. 


Post his initial professional flameout Markus stopped playing hockey, but was still caught attending games at various levels across Europe, Russia, and even in North America. What he did outside of that for the near decade between his fizzle out and announcing his eligibility for VHL remains a mystery. Markus himself would only comment that he "found myself, found my desire not only to exist but be a hockey player. I don't know if that means I've got some sort of...something to bring to the VHL or not. I just know that for the 8 seasons that I'm allowed I'm going to suit up, every game, and be there. I'm going to settle in, study the game and try to make something of my opportunity. After that I'll at least know I tried." Those sound like the comments of desperate man, grasping at straws. As Markus's VHL career unfolds the question of if his talent can make up for that, and if he can achieve his goal in leaving some lasting impact on the a sport he clearly loves to be around. 


Personality Assessment




Commitment - Every coach he's played for and everybody throughout much of Markus's life who have helped him always preached about his commitment afterwords. Markus is just a committed human being, once he's decided something he generally sticks with it. While at times that can be stubborn, as it leads to locking in lifestyle choices that later could contradict or halt necessary evolution, it also shows a heart and desire to accomplish that is necessary in any pro sport. If harnessed correctly and in the right role, Markus's commitment could help a team in the VHL. 


Humility - Despite having big goals and aspirations Markus has been known to be a very humble person. He hasn't felt the hockey world has owed him anything just because of his dreams. This has allowed Markus to take his personal and professional lumps in stride, and not prevent him from attempting to achieve in spite of them. Given that sometimes players take time to evolve and grow in the league, Markus's humility means he is still fully capable of recovering from any sort of career setback or performance issue the VHL may throw his way. It may just be a case of him getting through the growing pains to becoming a very good player. 




Simple-Minded - Markus has been known to be a very simple minded player and person. His simple minded approach to his lifestyle means he doesn't live an optimal life, especially for an athlete where staying and being in peak physical condition is often important. On top of that his simple minded approach to the game has made it hard to teach him nuanced strategies and other things that would normally be associated with a top hockey IQ. While he's shown desire to learn, it could take some time to see him push through his initial reaction to just play.


Hesistant/Self-Effacing - Probably his biggest weakness as a person and on the ice is an overall lack of confidence which has lead to him being a hesitant player overall. Part of being a great player is knowing the timing to make those close right decisions, and Markus being more of a naturalist is often stuck or stunned by the onus to make a decision. The overall content he may feel from having what he needs and not bothering anybody else has shown an ability to be too modest on the ice. 

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