116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — There were draft picks. A ton of them.
There were returnees. A lot of them for a change.
There were “free agents” who came in from around the country, looking to either make the team or an impression. Then there was Douglas Andersson.
The 20-year-old winger flew all the way from Sweden with his father, Per-Arne, to attend this year’s Cedar Rapids RoughRiders tryout camp. It was only the second time he’d ever been in the United States.
“I’d been here before when I was, like, 11 or 12,” Andersson said Sunday, after taking part in the Top 40 Game, the camp’s finale. “I was in Detroit, then Toronto. This is quite different from Sweden, but it was a good experience coming here.”
Andersson is intriguing because he’s got a skinny 6-foot-6 frame. He appears to have skill and wasn’t afraid to throw his body around at times Sunday.
His hockey advisor/agent reached out to RoughRiders head coach/general manager Mark Carlson about his desire to come to the U.S., which got him an invitation to this camp. Andersson’s cousin is former longtime NHL defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson.
“I had some interest from some other USHL clubs, but I thought this would be the place,” he said. “I think it went well. There is a big difference with the smaller ice and stuff like that. The game was very different from what I was used to. It went OK. I think I could have done better. But I think it went OK.”
There are no guarantees for anyone at this point, so it remains to be seen if Andersson eventually will be a RoughRider. He said Carlson told him the club would stay in touch with him.
His goal is to play college hockey in the United States, though he played four games this past season for IK Oskarshamn of the professional Swedish Elite League, so he was uncertain if or how that would affect his eligibility.
“I want to play college hockey,” Andersson said. “That’s why I’m here.”
Andersson was one of 45 players to play Sunday in a game of top players at the camp. The five-day camp consisted of 133 players.
Sunday’s participants also included returning players Andy Moore, Zaccharya Wisdom, Brendan Fitzgerald, Joe Fleming, Will Brenner, Josh Karnish, Liam Lesakowski, Dominic Elliott and Geno Pichora. First-round draft picks Carson Buydens (Phase II) and Lukas Fischer (Phase I) also took part.
The RoughRiders eventually will have to submit an initial list of players whose United States Hockey League rights are protected by them. A working roster will be fluid as the summer progresses and the 2022-23 season approaches.
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