Friday, June 01, 2018

Filip Engarås: UNH Hockey's First Swedish Player

Filip Engarås
2018 UNH Commit
“Filip Engarås is a clever two-way center who reads the game well." Carl Larsson, Swedish scout for Future Considerations
A couple years ago, the New York Times (December, 2015) chronicled the increasing trend of young Swedish players coming to America to play college hockey. The movement reportedly began in the mid-1970's with the Carlsson brothers. Anders Carlsson donned a hockey uniform for Yale University in the 1975-76 season and his brother Mats joined him in the 1977-78 season. By the 2015-16 season, 111 Swedish players had played NCAA hockey and a few, such as Douglas Murray (Cornell) and Carl Hagelin (Michigan), went on to have successful NHL careers.

Last season, four Hockey East teams had one or more Swedish players on their roster - UConn (1), Maine (2), UMass-Lowell (2), and Merrimack (2). In fact, every Hockey East program other than the University of New Hampshire has had at least one native of Sweden, who also played youth and/or junior hockey in Sweden, play for their team. If all goes according to plan, that will change next season. 19-year-old Filip Engarås (DOB: 5/16/1999), a native of Stockholm, has committed to enroll at UNH and play for the Wildcats this fall.

Engarås is a 6'0", 181 lbs., right-shot centerman who played his youth hockey with the Stocksunds-Danderyds-Enebybergs Hockey organization just north of Stockholm. In his final season with SDE, Engarås was the 15-year-old Alternate Captain of the under 18 team in the Swedish J18 Elite League. He tallied 18 goals and 11 assists in 35 games. He was also selected to the 2014-15 Sweden U16 team. In 9 international games, he scored a goal and 2 assists and served as the team's Alternate Captain.

At the age of 16, Engarås moved nine hours north of Stockholm to play for the Skellefteå AIK hockey organization. He began the 2015-16 season with the Skellefteå J18 team and wound up scoring 11 goals and 12 assists in 29 games. He was also called up to play 10 games with the Skellefteå AIK J20 team in the Swedish Super Elite League. Once again, Engarås made the Swedish National team, this time the U17 team. In 6 international games, he posted a goal and an assist.

Over the last two seasons, Filip Engarås has captained the Skellefteå AIK J20 team and his scoring production took off in 2017-18. He went from 10 goals and 9 assists in 40, 2016-17 games to 18 goals and 18 assists in 43 games last season. He tied for 14th in scoring in the Swedish Super Elite League. His +17 rating tied him for 9th best in the league. As these video highlights show, Engarås (wearing #21) skates strong to the net and has a deadly wrist shot:

In mid-February, Filip captained Team Sweden U19 at the 5 Nations Tournament in the Czech Republic. Team Sweden defeated Germany, Switzerland and the Czech Republic but lost to Finland. Engarås scored 2 goals in the tourney.

With the assistance of Dennis Schellenberg, European Head Scout for Future Considerations, I obtained a new scouting report on Filip Engarås from Carl Larsson, Future Considerations' scout for Sweden:
“He is a clever two-way center who reads the game well. Has really great skating abilities and good work ethic. Has improved his release and is now a good shooter, combined with the smartness which he uses to find unexpected passes. I am excited to see his future development as he is that kind of guy that really works hard, on and off ice. He is certainly determined to have a good hockey career.”

I had an opportunity to interview Filip Engarås, via email, about his hockey career and commitment to UNH:

Mike Lowry ("C-H-C"): Congratulations on your commitment to pursue a college degree and play hockey for the University of New Hampshire. Would you describe when and why you started to consider coming to the United States to play NCAA hockey?

Filip Engarås: Thank you. I have always had my thoughts on playing NCAA hockey but I made my decision in November when I first talked with (UNH Head Coach) Mike Souza. I want to develop and take steps as a hockey player and I think that playing in a top league as the NCAA will be great for me and a great next step in my hockey career. Also, it's an opportunity to combine great hockey with great education. That’s something I'm really looking forward to and I am very excited.

Mike Lowry: How did you first hear about the University of New Hampshire and its hockey program? Did you have an opportunity to visit UNH during the recruiting process?

Filip Engarås: I wasn’t familiar with UNH until Mike Souza contacted me. I didn´t have an opportunity to visit UNH under the recruiting process, but I have watched a lot of clips and searched on the Internet about UNH.

Lowry: What are the main reasons you chose the University of New Hampshire?

Engarås: I got a very good first impression when I talked with Mike Souza for the first time. And when he visited me in Skellefteå I was convinced. I felt right away that UNH will fit me perfectly when Mike talked about the program and it's philosophy. It´s well known and a very good school as well.

Lowry: What other college programs did you consider? Which schools did you visit and which ones made an offer to you?

Engarås: There were some colleges that contacted me but at that time I had already decided and verbally committed for UNH. Therefore, I didn´t consider any other colleges and I am very confident with my decision.

Lowry: What other playing opportunities in Sweden did you consider?

Engarås: It was to play in either SEL (Swedish Elite League) or in Hockey Allsvenskan (second highest league).

Lowry: At this stage in your hockey development, what are the strengths of your game? What areas are you trying to improve?

Engarås: My strengths are my skating abilities and my hockey sense. I’m working hard in all three zones and I think I have good defensive qualities. It’s the offensive part of my game that I want to improve.

Lowry: I've read that you were born in Stockholm and played youth hockey for the Stocksunds-Danderyds-Enebybergs hockey association just north of Stockholm. When did you start playing hockey and who was a major influence in your development?

Engarås: I was seven years old when I first started skating and as you mention, SDE was my first club. It was there I got my ground education to be a hockey player. They helped me a lot in the beginning. There are some very talented and good trainers in SDE and they are a big reason I’m where I am today.

Lowry: You've played for the Swedish National team at the U16, U17, and U19 level. What has playing in international competition been like for you?

Engarås: It has been great experiences to compete against top players on other national teams. And to be around with the top players in Sweden on training camps.

Lowry: Over the last two seasons, you have been the captain of the Skelleftea AIK J20 team. What makes you an effective captain?

Engarås: I always try to lead by example both on and off ice in all teams I have played with. That´s what I think has been the main reason I have got the honor to be team captain.

Lowry: What are your academic strengths and interests? Have you thought about what you might major in when you enroll at UNH?

Engarås: I’m interested in business and leadership studies. I would like to major in business.


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