Knights add European culture with trio of overseas players
For the Phoenix Knights of the Western States Hockey League (WSHL), adding a dash of Europe to the roster this season is a situation the club hopes propels the Knights into the Thorne Cup Playoffs next spring.
Goaltenders Marcus Nylander (Finland) and Tim Zurbuchen (Switzerland) join forward Marcel Hack (Austria) in the desert this season. All three have previously played AAA or juniors in the United States.
And all three want to see the Knights succeed.
“My main reason to come here is to prepare and show myself for college hockey,” said Zurbuchen. “My brother is a U.S. citizen, so I have been in the U.S prior to this year. I don’t really have too much to adjust to, but the few small cultural differences are easy to overcome as people are super friendly over here.”
Hack said he’s ready for the off-ice experiences that await him in Phoenix.
“European culture is becoming more and more Americanized and I don’t think that there are too many differences between the two,” said Hack. “However, due to me being European, I am obviously excited to experience the American culture and learn more about it. I always look to improve myself as a hockey player, but I also try my best to improve as a person in general. I believe that if you are not willing to improve as a person, you will never achieve your other goals in life.”
For Nylander, the adjustments have been a bit more complex.
“The culture is a lot different from Finland – the climate is very different from the hot and dry Arizona to cold and freezing Finland, and the food, of course, has been a big change. I think I’m a very adaptive person, so the cultural differences haven’t been a problem to me.
“I am very happy that I came here, and I think this will be a great place for me to develop as a goaltender and a person.”
— Matt Mackinder