CALGARY, AB — It’s been a global expedition for Victor Rask this year.
Since the start of the 2012-13 season, Victor Rask has suited up in North Carolina for the Charlotte Checkers of the American Hockey League, the Calgary Hitmen, Team Sweden for the IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships in Ufa, Russia, and finally, now back to the Hitmen, all in the course of four months.
In total, he’s seen action in 29 games plus a handful of exhibition contests.
Unfortunately, only 13 of those games have been for the Hitmen, where he has produced at a point a game clip for the last season and a half.
But he’s picked up valuable experience at each stop, including his silver medal with Team Sweden at the World Juniors to go with last year’s gold medal.
“I thought I played pretty well. I know I could do better, but as a team, we did the most we could,” said Rask about his Team Sweden experience.
That was just another stop in a long year.
Since coming back to North America in August from his homeland of Sweden, he started off in the American Hockey League with the Charlotte Checkers, the top affiliate for the Carolina Hurricanes.
He made the team after training camp, and picked up valuable experience in 10 games before it was decided to send Rask back to the Hitmen on November 13. In total, he managed one goal and five points in his time.
Rask finally made his season debut with the Hitmen five days later, seeing action in only 11 games before Team Sweden.
In Ufa, he notched two goals and four points in six games as he helped Sweden to a silver medal.
“This year, I got more ice time and got to play on the powerplay,” pondered Rask, the Hurricanes 2011 second round draft pick. “It was a bigger role.”
From there, Rask was granted a week-long vacation back home in Sweden to recuperate from a three-month stretch that saw him ply his trade in four countries.
“It was very nice. I’m grateful I got to spend some time with the family,” Rask explained. “I’m thankful the Hitmen let me go back for a week and see all my friends.
“My mom and my cousin came to visit me at the beginning of Decemeber. Besides that, I hadn’t seen anyone since August.”
But he’s back in Cowtown and should be for the rest of the year.
To head coach Mike Williamson, it’s another gun in the arsenal. The Hitmen have done fantastic with Rask out of the lineup, currently in third place in the Eastern Conference, but he’s produced 77 points in 77 games since coming over to Canada from Leksand, Sweden last season.
“He’s a high-end, good two way-player and he cares about winning. He’s a good team player so he’s going to add a tonne,” Williamson said. “He wants to be here, it’s not a case of him putting in time. He wants to gets better everyday so it’s great for our team.”
It did not take long for Rask to find chemistry back in the Hitmen lineup. Centering a line between Zane Jones and trade deadline acquisition Colten Mayor, the trio earned rave reviews in their first game against Prince George. They combined for two goals, five points and a plus-6 rating.
“They created a tonne of chances and could have had more. We have some depth there and should be able to get some offense from all of our lines,” he said.
The Hitmen will be back on the ice Friday night on the road against the Lethbridge Hurricanes. The next home game comes on Sunday when the Brandon Wheat Kings make their second visit to the Saddledome this year.