It doesn’t take much to make a father proud of his son, but NHL Draft night on June 22nd was truly a special night for the Dahlin family. In attendance with Buffalo Sabres’ first overall draft pick were his father, mother, little brother and little sister.
Rasmus Dahlin is slotted as the best defenseman of his generation. He’s the second Swedish player taken first overall, joining Mats Sundin — drafted by the Quebec Nordiques. He’s just the second defenseman drafted first overall in the past 12 years.
And on June 25th, Rasmus Dahlin was introduced to the NHL by his new team, the Buffalo Sabres — our Buffalo Sabres.
Several days later, the Sabres started their development camp where we saw Dahlin on the ice in Buffalo territory. Again, in attendance, was Dahlin’s father, mother, brother and sister, among many more Sabres’ fans.
Thanks to the Buffalo News, Sabres’ fans got their first taste of Martin Dahlin as he sat down with local media for the first time. Dahlin described the past week as being fantastic, but also “kind of overwhelming,” according to the Buffalo News. “Everybody here is so nice. We really feel – especially Rasmus, but also we as his family – everybody has been treating us so well since we arrived here. Everybody has been so — I’m trying to find the words,” Martin Dahlin continued.
Martin Dahlin, who is a hockey instructor in Sweden and also coaches the under-18 national team, opened up about how Rasmus got to where he is now and what it was like seeing his son live out his dream of playing hockey.
We never talked like, “When you go…” We don’t talk hockey like that at home. What happens in our country, we say, “Take one day at a time.” That’s what Rasmus has been doing, and we’ve been doing as a family. He moved from home to Göteborg (Sweden) to start playing for Frölunda, and we took one day at a time, one season at a time, and we never really talked about the NHL. It’s been a dream for him, so it’s more like take one day at a time, work hard, and if he works hard, good things can happen.
Martin also added that while he will be staying in Sweden with his two other children, Rasmus’ mother will be moving to North America during the season to help give Rasmus some consistent family support in Buffalo.
Martin, on the other hand, plans to visit as often as possible. “Of course we will miss Rasmus, but we will try to come here as often as we can,” said Martin. “We’re planning on flying over lots of times during the season. But at the same time, we’re also happy for Rasmus because he’s living his dream. To move to Buffalo and to play hockey here, we’re so happy for him. It’s what he wants to do.”
Also in the interview with the Buffalo News, Martin opened up about Rasmus as a person, adding that the Sabres’ new star defenseman is a great cook and very responsible since moving out of his parent’s house at 15 years old.
More of Martin Dahlin
Sabres’ fans got another hint of Martin Dahlin recently in an interview with Henrik Sjöberg of HockeyNews.se.
In that interview, Martin Dahlin was asked what it was like when Rasmus Dahlin got selected No. 1 overall in this year’s draft, knowing that it was likely to happen the whole time.
“It was something that nevertheless we were not prepared for and it was very emotional when it happened. Even if we thought we were prepared, it became a special situation. Everything was built up in the days before, so it was an exciting day when it was time.”
As far as the Buffalo Sabres’ development camp goes, Martin was very pleased and surprised by the event. Although it didn’t quite have the NHL feel to it, “there were around 2,000 fans and the club had planned very well,” said Martin. “They know how to build interest.”
And if you didn’t like Martin Dahln up to this point, that will likely change when you hear what he had to say about our beautiful city.
“I’ll stay with you all the way. One has heard Buffalo is a bad city, but it’s a bit of an unseen reputation. There is a great sporting interest here and there are good and bad parts of the city like in all cities. Then you have had some tough times like many other cities over there as it’s an old steel city, but it has turned there too and it’s built a lot and there’s positive spirit. Despite the lack of success, Buffalo still has good and faithful supporters.”
Martin is happy to see his son living out his dream, despite not knowing how it will turn out exactly. Him and Rasmus both understand that this is nothing more than an opportunity and it’s important to take advantage of these opportunities and give it your all.
“There are many who say he will be successful but nobody knows. I also do not know and Rasmus does not know either so we will see. But the club will do everything possible to develop its young players and Rasmus is working hard every day, so we’ll see how it goes. He will do everything he can and then see what happens. It’s one day at a time.”
The entire city of Buffalo, as well as the country of Sweden and the rest of the NHL, are excited to see how Rasmus Dahlin performs come the regular season. He is highly touted as the next best defenseman, but the NHL is also a league where nothing is handed to you.
Luckily, it seems that Rasmus is ready for the challenge and ready to prove to Buffalo that they were right in selecting him with the first overall pick.
How confident are you in Rasmus Dahlin and what’s your first impression of his father, Martin Dahlin? Leave your thoughts below!