Logan Neilson Interview

After Team Great Britain’s thrilling shootout win against Poland, I had the chance to speak with Nottingham Panthers forward Logan Neilson. Neilson has had an incredibly successful first professional season, earning him an international call-up and an award for the best under 23 British player. I spoke to Logan about the season, Team GB’s progress, and the upcoming World Championships.

Q: Thoughts on that performance?

“Yeah, it was a good win. We battled hard, and it was a really close game. It took us a while to get going and clicking, but yeah! Systematically, I thought we were fine; just a lot of bounces weren’t going our way, and they came a lot harder than they did yesterday. But we got it done in the end, which was good.” 

Q: How impactful are these warm-up games in preparation for Prague? 

“Yeah, they mean a lot. I mean, it’s the competition you face out there. Personally, I’ve never been, but I assume as soon as you get there, you’ve got Canada and all those teams who are going to play a lot harder, so it’s good to have warm-up games; they are a lot of fun!” 

Q: In the EIHL, you are going to play with the puck a lot more than what you will against the teams in Prague. How hard is it to switch that mindset? 

“That’s a tough question! I don’t know, to be honest. I’ve never been! I don’t know what it’s like, but you’re obviously not going to go into games expecting to score 10!” 

Q: Team Great Britain have gone over a year without losing. How much confidence does that give the boys in the locker room? 

“Yeah, it’s awesome! I had no clue that was a thing! Yeah, it’s pretty cool. It just shows that when you work hard, you will find a way to win, so it’s perfect.” 

Q: Every year, it seems GB take another leap forward and continue to make staggering progress. What do you put this down to? 

“You know, coaching is huge. I’ve only been here a couple of days, and I’ve learned a lot already from Pete (Russell). It’s been really fun, and the boys are well-connected, and they have brought me in really well and made me feel at home, so it’s been really good for me!” 

Q: You got to play alongside your brother Cade and Liam Kirk today. That must have been special for you. 

“Yeah! We played for a little bit together. It was pretty cool; me and my brother have never played together before, and obviously playing with Liam, an NHL Draft pick, was pretty good. It was pretty cool to play with Cade; I have literally never had the chance to play a game with Cade, besides yesterday. It was pretty special and something I’ll cherish.” 

Q: Obviously, it has been your first professional year. How do you think this year has gone for you? 

 “The start was a little rocky; obviously, I wasn’t doing what I thought I could do, and then Felix (Pare) headbutted somebody, and that changed everything for me! I luckily got a good streak playing with Westy (Westin Michaud) and Loony (Alexander Lunsjo), and it was really fun! The back half was definitely better than the first half, but it was good! There were a lot of good leaders in Nottingham with Roos (Caruso) and those older guys, and they really helped me out, and I thought it was successful.” 

Q: What’s the biggest difference between Junior and Professional hockey? 

 “The pace. The pace is completely different, and the systems are different too. It’s a completely new ball game, and just the puck management, checking your shoulder, and getting the puck on the wall, you really just don’t have a lot of time. It’s a lot of small adjustments, but I’m a hockey player at the end of the day; you’ll figure it out and find a way. Thankfully, I did. It took a couple of months, but I got there.” 

Q: Coming into this season, did you ever think you would get an international call-up? 

 “No! I have a little Journal/Diary or whatever, and I wrote in there a couple of months ago, maybe in January. I was like, “I want to make GB in like 3 or 4 years.” Yeah, I can’t believe it, to be honest! I think even Pete (Russell) is like, what is he doing here! But he has known me since I was little. It’s a dream come true, and I’m so grateful, and I’m just doing what I can with it!” 

Q: Last question, we have seen you on social media giving your Sketch impression to the world. What is your favourite Sketch quote? 

“Hmmm, I like ‘Tuesday.’ Tuesday is good. Sketch is funny; I see him on my TikTok all the time! But he’s good; great question! 

Once again, congratulations to Logan Neilson on what has been a fantastic season and a thoroughly deserved international call-up. A huge thank you to Chris Ellis and Nottingham Sport for allowing me to conduct this interview. Finally, a huge thank you to Logan Neilson for giving me his time for this interview; it’s greatly appreciated, and thanks for everything! 

*Article provided by Joe Maciag (Ice Hockey Correspondent).

*Main image @PanthersIHC GB star Logan Neilson whilst in Panthers colours.

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