As mentioned in an article earlier this week, former Kings captain Mattias Norstrom was back in Los Angeles recently to work on a documentary he’s putting together about youth hockey in California. We’ve already posted his thoughts about the Kings winning the Stanley Cup and the guest of honor at tomorrow’s Appreciation Ceremony, Ian Laperriere. Now, we’ll get into a few other topics, including Anze Kopitar and his coaching plans…
While LA may be a long, long plane ride from home, Norstrom was very happy to be back in the City of Angeles.
“Always good to be back here,” he told MayorsManor. “I love the hockey environment here, especially with some former friends around the Kings. Everything from media relations to the front office – that’s what makes you (feel good), the memories and the people, not just the place. And I won’t complain about the weather here compared to what we have back home in Sweden right now, so this is way better.”
By now, most people know Kopitar played with his brother Gasper over in Sweden during the lockout. Unfortunately though, it was in the wrong part of the country for Norstrom.
“He played way up in Northern Sweden in a tiny little town,” shared the former Kings’ defenseman. “So, I didn’t even try to make it up there. But I saw him play on TV pretty regularly.”
Even from afar though, Norstrom was impressed with what was going on.
“That tells a lot about Kopi’s character. You know he did it a lot for his brother, who is playing there. That’s what the game is all about, giving back. I think it meant the world to that local team, but I think for Kopi personally, he went to play with his brother. And you never know it might be the only time they get to play together on a club team.”
With his playing days far behind him – even though the Kings could use a player like him right now – Norstrom has dabbled in a few things, including an assistant coaching position at the 2010 Winter Olympics.
“That was a special situation,” he said. “The head coach for that year, he was a full time head coach for the national team. During that year they had six tournaments. They had two big ones – the biggest one was the Olympics and the second one was the World Championships. At the time, he actually had assistant coaches. Two of them for all the tournaments in Europe and the World Championships. But for the Olympics he wanted someone that knew the NHL players. So, I was more a bridge link, I played with every single guy on that Olympic team except Nicklas Backstrom. So I had more of a personal relationship with them. He wanted that more than he wanted me as an assistant coach. I knew that role, it was only for the Olympics, there was no more plan beyond that. Not from his side and not from my side. It was kind of a special assignment.”
Fine. But, what about in the future – is that something he’d be interested in on a more permanent basis?
“I tell everybody if I get into coaching, it’s going to be when my kids are moved away from home, and a different situation in life. Because coaching for a long time, but especially for today, you put in more time as a coach than you do as a player. And I’m not at that point in my life where I’m prepared to do that yet. I love the game and I could one day see myself coaching, but the biggest thing I got from all of my good coaches was that they had that fire in their eyes. They love what they’re doing, and I love the game, but I’m not there yet – to put in that kind of time. So, you never know, one day.”
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