At the end of Tuesday’s hockey practice, Michigan sophomore Carl Hagelin walked off the ice, saw his father in the bleachers and called out to him in his native Swedish.
Standing close to Hagelin as he conversed with his dad, senior forward Danny Fardig tried to mimic his teammate.
After a couple of attempts, Fardig gave up with a smile, and the father and son continued making plans for the evening.
Boris, Hagelin’s dad, has been in town visiting from Hagelin’s hometown of Sodertalje, Sweden, since last Thursday. Last weekend, he watched the Wolverines sweep Lake Superior State, and he’ll be in the stands again tonight as they take on Nebraska-Omaha.
And when Boris is around, it usually bodes well for Michigan — or at least his son. Last Saturday, Hagelin tallied the game-tying goal with 28 seconds left in the first period to swing the momentum in Michigan’s favor. The Wolverines eventually won the game, 2-1.
It’s hard to quantify, but the Michigan coaching staff agrees: Hagelin plays better when his father is in town. That could be a good omen for this weekend’s series against the Mavericks (8-9-7-3 CCHA, 13-11-7 overall).
“Some kids put too much pressure on themselves when their parents are here to really show them what they can do,” Wolverine assistant coach Mel Pearson said. “Obviously, in his situation, it’s different. He doesn’t feel that pressure to have to perform. It just encourages him. … We might have to get (Boris) to live over here permanently if that’s the case.”
Boris normally flies to Ann Arbor about four times each year for ten-day trips, during which he stays with Hagelin and his roommate, sophomore forward Louie Caporusso.
“It’s me, him and Boris, the three amigos,” Caporusso said. “He made us steak Monday night. Unbelievable. Filet mignon, and he made us mashed potatoes and a nice salad with avocado. … My stomach’s been well-nourished since Boris has gotten here, for sure.”
Caporusso said they also like to go to the movies together, adding that the three of them recently saw Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa at the Dollar Movies at Briarwood Mall.
Hagelin said his father also keeps him and Caporusso in order. The two rushed to clean up their apartment last Wednesday evening, the night before Boris flew in.
Despite the added chores, Hagelin enjoys having his father around. And even though Boris attends practice each day when he’s in Ann Arbor and has previous coaching experience, he said he hardly discusses hockey with his son because Hagelin doesn’t like it.
“That’s just something me and my dad stopped doing when I turned 17,” Hagelin said. “He used to talk a lot about hockey. We just stopped talking about hockey because I can’t think too much about it. Still, he talks about hockey everyday with my other brothers, so he’ll get his hockey talk in every day.”
Caporusso explained that each player treats hockey differently. Some like analyzing their play off of the ice, but others prefer distancing themselves. Hagelin is one of the latter.
“Carl doesn’t like to think about hockey too much during the week,” Caporusso said. “When he’s away from the rink, he likes to stay away from the rink. When he gets to the rink, he gets pretty excited.”
With his father in the stands, Hagelin has even more of a reason to be fired up tonight.