“Every team says I’m really young and that I’ve been developing with the sport since the Vancouver Games when I was 16. But the good thing is that they’re saying I’m better now than I was then.”
Editor’s note: Every Wednesday in the lead-up to the 2013 IPC Ice Sledge Hockey A and B Pool World Championships this season, Paralympic.org will publish its Sledge Spotlight, allowing the public to meet the faces behind the helmets. Each week, we will feature one ice sledge hockey player, giving fans a chance to get to know them better.
At just 19 years old, Swedish ice sledge hockey player Per Kasperi is expected to be one of the top scorers at this weekend’s Paralympic Winter World Cup in Solleftea, Sweden.
Last November, Kasperi starred in his team’s silver-medal performance at the 2012 Ice Sledge Hockey World Championships B-Pool in Novi Sad, Serbia, where he had six goals and 26 shots on goal, while helping his team move up to the A Pool for this season.
Since then, Kasperi has recruited a personal trainer to help become even more explosive at the top of the ice to keep up with some of the world’s other top players.
“Every team says I’m really young and that I’ve been developing with the sport since the Vancouver Games when I was 16,” Kasperi said. “But the good thing is that they’re saying I’m better now than I was then.”
“We don’t have that many players, but I think we’ve done good so far this season with what we have. Most of the time I play a whole game without changing out with anyone.”
Swedish captain and defenseman Rasmus Isaksson, as well as defenseman Marcus Holm have provided nice complements to Kasperi for Sweden’s team on the ice this season.
Kasperi and the Swedes will challenge Estonia, Italy and Norway this weekend in Solleftea, all of whom should provide
them with good tests prior to the 2013 IPC Ice Sledge Hockey World Championships A-Pool in April in Goyang, Korea.
“Our goal there is to finish in the top five,” Kasperi said of the Championships in Goyang, where the top five will automatically qualify for the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games.
Here’s a closer look at Per Kasperi …
Loves to play against: Norway because we know them very well personally and it’s always fun to play against them, as it’s a tough, even matchup. I like playing against Germany as well, as they’re always a good test for us.
Wears jersey number: 8
Pre-game meal: Just an ordinary meal such as pasta.
Post-game meal: I usually have a protein shake immediately after the game just to get something in me fast.
Pre-game music: We have a stereo in our locker room … it mostly plays rock and hip-hop to get us excited.
Pre-game superstitions: None. We’re always just in our locker room having pep talks that take us through the game and making sure we keep it positive and just relax. We like to have a good mix of being serious and joking.
Models his game after: Sidney Crosby because I just like the way he plays. He scores a lot of goals and has a good style of playing hockey.