Carl Hagelin is the fastest skater in the NHL and has scored more than 30 goals in his three-year NHL career. With that type of record, we were curious about what drives the 25-year-old Swede’s success on the ice. We recently sat down with the New York Rangers left wing to talk training, recovery, and life outside the rink.
MF: What is a typical training day like for you?
CH: On a normal day, we’ll get to the rink around 10 a.m. We do activation of the hips and shoulders. I had shoulder surgery, so I need to get back full range of motion and strength, so I do shoulders before every practice. Then, I skate for about an hour, get on the stationary bike for 10-15 minutes to cool down, and then stretch. That’s a normal day of practice. On game day, I usually skate in the morning, do some stretching, and play the game. If you want to do legs, you usually do it after a game, because then you get enough rest until the next game.
MF: How did your training change after shoulder surgery?
CH: I usually run a lot in the summer, but due to the shoulder, I wasn’t allowed to run, especially not quick sprints. So, I did everything on the bike. I also did body-weight squats, lunges, and jumping. I did more reps and sets of everything with weights that were not as heavy.
MF: Did your coaching change the way you worked out?
CH: On the ice, Coach [Alain] Vigneault likes us to practice for longer. We practice 50-60 minutes. There is definitely more skating in practice now. I’m a guy who likes to skate a lot, so I don’t mind it.
MF: You’re the fastest skater in the NHL. What have you done to improve your quickness on the ice?
CH: It’s a mix of working out in the gym and practicing on the ice. My speed started with my working hard as a kid; I did a lot of leg workouts in the gym. Now, I do a lot of explosive, agility, and jumping exercises, like quick feet on the speed ladder. Also, I go 100% on the ice because you can be a great runner and still not be a good skater. It’s important to get a good mix of running, biking, and skating.
MF: What do you like to do in your free time?
CH: When I’m in the city, I like to go to different events and get introduced to different people. That’s what New York is all about. There is great diversity and there are people from all over the world who have done amazing things. That’s my favorite thing to do: meet new people. I also like going to the movies with friends. Since we travel a lot as a team, I spend a lot of time on a plane where I like to play Football Manager. I have been a soccer fan since I was 5 years old, so to be able to manage soccer teams is a lot of fun.
MF: What is Football Manager?
CH: It’s a management simulation game where you can manage any soccer club in 51 countries around the world. You do everything a head coach would do. Now there are younger and younger players coming in so it’s tougher to know who’s good and who’s not. It’s very addictive.
MF: What is the real rush of playing hockey as a player?
CH: The fact that you’re on the ice and you’re using a stick to control a puck, so there are so many components that have to click for you to play a good game. Then, there is the physical part. You’re going to play with guys who are out there trying to hit you. Most guys are doing a great job of competing. It’s a war out there. That’s what really gets me going. Everyone is out there to do their best, and it’s a physical and fast-paced game.