Filip Westerlund strides out of the locker room to face the press after practice with Frölunda earlier today. You can tell it still hurts to have been left off Swedens World Junior Championship Squad even after having spent time at home with his family over Christmas.
Westerlund describes getting the news that he didn’t make the team as a “Big rock that fell down to my stomach. It’s something I have worked for the whole season [to make the team] and it is a sour feeling, to say the least”. He does, however, point to Jacob Moverare as an inspiration, Moverare was cut the day before Christmas Eve last year and is this year he is one of the pillars in a stacked Swedish blue line. “You have to see it as a learning experience and return to prove yourself and find revenge that way, it will get me even more fired up for next year”.
Swedish Coach Montén was brief in his meeting with Westerlund but promised to return with constructive critique at a time and place that was better suited; as both Montén and Westerlund realized how disappointed Westerlund was at the time the news was given. Something Westerlund is looking forward to. Westerlund knew it was between him and some of the others to fight it out for the last spot on the roster, he was prepared for the worst but you can never prepare enough for a meeting like that. “It was the toughest moment of my hockey career to date, still I have another chance, but that thought haven’t really gotten through yet”.
He does, however, point to the fact that it will be difficult to watch the WJC this year, he tuned into the Sweden - Belarus game on the radio on his trip from home, having spent Christmas with his parents.
“At least I didn’t turn over to the other games, Sweden is still my team. I might be a bit more observant on the mistakes the defenders make in the Swedish team though” he says with a laugh.
Interestingly this opens a chance for a more prominent position on his return to Frölunda, with Rasmus Dahlin away for the WJC and Mike Weber just retiring, there are spots on the team open and Westerlund thinks the perfect revanche is to grab that chance by the horns and prove his worth.
Mike Weber has a few interesting things to say about Frölundas set up, practice and coaching and that could point to a good development for Westerlund.
“It’s also good to be able to play a game tomorrow, Coach Rönnberg just confirmed I am in, instead of sitting and wait for a U20 game somewhere. SHL games is much better preparation and more of a challenge at this time.”
It remains to be seen how Westerlund can take advantage of the situation, but the glint of revanche has taken hold in his eyes.