By Joshua Boyd / USPHLPremier.com
It’s a big decision to up and move from one team to another. It’s a whole other level of commitment to the game to change continents.
But that’s exactly what Wilhelm Patriksson did, leaving Stockholm, Sweden and the Nacha HK squad behind to play his first North American season, choosing the Islanders Hockey Club to make his NCAA hockey dreams come true.
“I think IHC as an organization is a good place to develop, both as a human but also as a player,” said Patriksson, an ‘02 who 27 points in 22 Premier games, and also played in 17 NCDC games, putting up three points at the Tier II level.
“They do a good job at making the life away from the rink as easy as possible, especially for foreign players who move across the world to pursue their dreams,” he added. “They do a really good job at Premier to develop players, I think that you can see that from Coach Jay [Punsky]’s track record. The thing that Jay helped me to develop the most was my compete level especially on defense and on the defensive side of the puck.”
That is also part of what attracted the Curry College staff to Patriksson. Curry was one of the best NCAA Division III teams this past year, finishing fifth in the PairWise rankings. They reached the national tournament and fell in the quarterfinals to the eventual champion Hobart College.
“The thing that impressed me was the progress of past years and obviously this year where they established themselves as a top program in the NCAA,” said Patriksson. “The other thing that was really intriguing was the coaching staff with Coach [Peter] Roundy and his team, and not to mention the facilities. On the academic side there was a great match for my future ambitions with a large section of programs.”
Curry and Patriksson first began talking at the mid-February South Shore Kings Presidents Day Showcase.
“I think the coaches liked my speed and ability to make plays offensively,” he said. “But I also feel like they appreciated my commitment to the smaller details, like winning faceoffs, blocking shots, etc.
“It’s really flattering and it’s an amazing opportunity to pursue my dreams.”
Curry College is located in Milton, Mass., just south of Boston, and Patriksson is excited to be joining the business management program when he arrives on campus.
“I was able to visit the campus and the thing that stood out to me was the feeling around campus, but also how the campus itself wasn’t too big or too small,” added Patriksson. “The thing that made me decide to make my commitment official was how competitive they are along with where the hockey program is heading. This combined with how I felt about the campus, together with the business program, made my decision really easy.”
With 10 goals in 27 games, he already has a strong shot (not to mention posting four goals and six points in seven postseason games, including at Nationals). Even still, everything can be worked on when you’re moving up a level.
“The main thing is to work on is my shot but also to get stronger in order to compete at the NCAA level,” he said.
Overall, coming to the USPHL Premier and the Islanders was certainly the right decision for Patriksson, but don’t take our word for it.
“I think the USPHL Premier doesn’t get the credit that they deserve. There have been multiple players who have played at the Premier level who then went on to be impact players on top programs in NCAA,” he said. “It’s also a good league to develop and move up to other junior leagues.”
The USPHL congratulates Wilhelm Patriksson, his family, the Islanders Hockey Club and Curry College for his commitment.