By Matt Mackinder
Adrian Larsson grew up playing competitive hockey in his native Sweden, but that all changed this season as he ventured across the Atlantic Ocean to play for the Flint Jr. Generals.
A 19-year-old defenseman from Stockholm, Larsson said word of mouth helped convince him to leave home.
“My brother played on the East Coast a few years ago,” explained Larsson. “Since then, I've wanted to play in the States after hearing nothing but positive feedback from him. I got in contact with the Jr. Generals through my advisor and they seemed to be the best organization for me and I haven’t had any regrets since I've been here.”
Larsson has tallied three goals and 14 points in 30 games this year. He’s banking on this being his only year in Flint and the NA3HL.
“I consider myself defensively sound and at the same time, I can bring an offensive presence to the team,” Larsson said. “Next year, I hope to be playing either a higher level of juniors here in the States or going back to Sweden to play semi-pro.”
Being thousands of miles away from home has also been an adjustment for Larsson, but living in a billet house that includes teammates Eddie Osowski, Jake Peacock, Eric Jones and at one time, Lucas McDiarmid (before he was promoted to the NAHL’s Corpus Christi IceRays), he’s been able to feel comfortable away from the rink.
“It's not my first season living away from home, but living in a different country absolutely makes it harder,” said Larsson. “It hasn’t been easy all the time. I miss a lot of people, but having my teammates and especially my billet makes it worth it and my roommates have been nothing but good to me.
“The organization does a great job setting us up with good billets and I probably live in one of the best ones. We have great chemistry in our billet house and our billet mom is phenomenal.”
Larsson said that although he didn’t know much about Flint or the organization prior to arriving towards the end of last summer, he’s quickly gained respect for everything the Jr. Generals stand for.
”Pretty much all I knew about the Jr. Generals I found online and I didn’t know any of the previous Swedes that played here,” Larsson said. “This has been a great season and I owe a lot to this organization.”