The SHL Champion and 2015 Playoff MVP, Noah Welch, is a gracious host when he welcomes the pod to the Växjö Lakers home, Vida Arena. It is easy to talk to him, and he has a good story to tell, having almost quit hockey at one point, getting traded, and moving as a newlywed to a completely new country and a new culture, and of course the Swedish relegation system, having been on the wrong end of a series loss to Leksand.
I had promised to be done in 40 minutes, or otherwise we would have been talking another 40 minutes more, hence it became a bit rushed in the end and we missed one of the highlights of Welch’s career so far: winning the championship in overtime in front of a fanatic home crowd, and getting crowned the playoff MVP.
Having found a new home in the forests of Sweden, both north and south, the leader on one of the absolute top teams in Sweden (both on the Championship team in 2015 and this season with the Lakers 13 points clear at the top) there was no chance that USA Hockey would look away from the big defender for the Olympic Games in Pyeongchang when it was clear that NHL players would not participate.
Here is a chance to get to know one of the leading players on Team USA in a different way and in his own words, on how to cope with the time difference, growing up in a single-parent home, and how much a good education is worth in the end. He also offers some good insight on Vancouver Canucks prospect Elias Pettersson.
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