The Athletic’s Scott Wheeler wrote a massive article discussing the respective statuses of 5 NHL prospects who are playing in Europe at present, and one of the prospects he profiles is Red Wings center Joe Veleno, who’s currently playing for the Malmo Redhawks of the SHL:
Sweden’s loose approach to COVID also contrasts starkly against the lockdown he experienced in Montreal. On his visits downtown during his days off, everything is open.
“Masks are not really obligatory here. It’s different but it’s more like normal. Some people wear masks but some people choose not to and you go inside a store and not really anyone is wearing masks,” Veleno said. “(But) the city’s really nice. There’s a lot to do here. It’s not really a dead or quiet city. Everything’s pretty busy and everyone’s always outside. I’m soaking everything in learning a different culture and seeing the lifestyle that they live and how different it is from North America.”
The hockey itself has had its own highs and lows as well. Though he has just three points through seven games, he’s playing a prominent role, averaging more than 17 minutes per game. He thinks the results are coming, but it’s not easy.
“It’s a lot different,” he said. “You have to skate twice as much and you can’t really overextend your shifts or you’ll be pretty gassed.”