Coquitlam’s Adam Rockwood never got the chance to play with Henrik and Daniel Sedin, but now he’ll play for the team that gave the retired Vancouver Canucks superstars their start.
Rockwood, a former player with the Coquitlam Express who scored an invitation to the Canucks’ development camp in 2018 after he graduated from Northern Michigan University, has signed a contract with Modo, which plays in Sweden’s second-tier league, HockeyAllsvenskan.
That’s where the Sedin brothers launched their professional careers when they were 16 years old.
Another former Canuck great, Markus Naslund, also played for Modo’s junior and professional teams and he returned to the club after his retirement from the National Hockey League to play 29 more games; he became its general manager in 2011.
Other NHL stars that trace their hockey lineage through Modo include Anders Hedberg, Peter Forsberg, Niklas Sundstrom and Victor Hedman.
Those connections were not lost on Rockwood.
“I have only heard positive things about Modo as an organization and the club has an impressive reputation for creating elite players at the highest level,” he said in a statement on the team’s website.
After finishing his college career that he spilt between the University of Wisconsin and NMU, Rockwood, 25, signed his first pro contract with the Springfield Thunderbirds of the American Hockey League. He played 15 games and scored nine points before heading to the ECHL’s Greenville Swamp Rabbits last season. There, he scored nine goals and added 26 assists in 49 games.
Modo sports director Fredrik Glader said he’s impressed with Rockwood’s offensive skills and perception on the ice.
“He can drive a power play with his fine creativity and good passing game,” he said on Modo’s website. “He also likes to go into the melee and even if he does not run over people. He is often there and wins the puck.”
Tuesday, on Twitter, Rockwood said he’s anticipating his move overseas. “Let’s go,” he said. “Excited to get to Sweden.”
He’ll have to temper his excitement though as Glader said Rockwood will first have to clear bureaucratic hurdles before he can join the team “as soon as possible after Christmas.”
Modo is currently in 12th place in the 14-team league, with 27 points in 21 games. Teams are currently playing in empty arenas as Sweden wrestles with a surge in cases of COVID-19.
The Nordic country had been an outlier in its response to the pandemic as authorities initially opted to eschew widespread lockdowns implemented by other nations when the contagion swept the globe last spring, and allowed life to carry on pretty much business as usual other than restrictions on public gatherings larger than 50 people.
But that strategy may be catching up to them.
Last Friday, Sweden, which has about twice the population of British Columbia, reported 9,654 new cases of the virulent respiratory infection, along with 100 deaths.
Several hockey teams have also been waylaid by infections, including the squad that is getting set to contest the IIHF World Junior Championships in Edmonton beginning Friday; several players and all but one of its coaching staff tested positive for the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 as they prepared for the tournament and were sidelined.