Return to the country of longing
Article - Return to the country of longing
Carl Klingberg was a forward on EV Zug for seven years – Switzerland became his second home. Now the edgy winger returns to this place with Frolunda.
‘I almost forgot how nice it is to play at home’, says an amused Carl Klingberg over the phone. Klingberg (32 years old) was away from his home, Gothenburg, and Sweden, for a long time; he left his young love Frolunda in early 2011 to conquer the ice hockey world. He played in North America, including 12 NHL games for the Winnipeg Jets, became a world champion, was signed in Russia und Switzerland for a long time – in 2016 he joined EV Zug. He stayed loyal to that club for seven years – an eternity considering the traditionally high fluctuation rate amongst foreign players. Klingberg says he had experienced things in Zug, that he will never forget. ‘The two championships were emotionally incredible. And the cup win in 2019 was a big thing too, it meant so much to the club.’
Klingberg established himself as one of the strongest, most robust power wingers in the league. And not even a neck injury in 2018 could stop him. ‘Switzerland became my second home. The people are so kind, there are so many wonderful mountains and lakes. It is like a cure for the soul, a worry-free environment. A am grateful that I was able to stay as long as I did’, he says.
The end in Zug had been a long time coming. He found himself sitting in the stands as a healthy scratch, such as during the 2021-22 championship playoffs. ‘I would have liked to have stayed, but, honestly, I realized that I needed a change too. Fresh impulses, a new challenge. A return to Frolunda was a perfect option for me’, he says.
Klingberg had gone through all youth levels in this continually successful premium organization of European hockey (and with four titles record title holder of the Champions Hockey League) – and as a youngling had emulated the likes of Martin Pluss and Tomi Kallio. ‘I enjoy being here again. I appreciate being able to re-emphasize my social environment’, he says. The question is whether this could soon be extended – by John Klingberg, Carl’s younger brother, who currently is under contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs. ‘It would be a dream to play with him once more. But there are reasons why he’s playing in the NHL. He belongs there with his qualities’, says Klingberg.
Who knows, maybe the reunion will happen someday. But for now, Klingberg looks forward to another reunion: with Switzerland at the Spengler Cup. ‘I can hardly wait, and not only my anticipation is huge.’
Text: SLAPSHOT – Das Hockey-Magazin der Schweiz Foto: IMAGO/Bildbyran/Michael Erichsen