For Swedish hockey player, Norwich has provided a great experience


In 2010, the Norwich Men’s Ice Hockey team had the opportunity to recruit and commit a big strong defenseman named Erik Lyrvall from Falun, Sweden.

Lyrvall is 6-4 and 216 pounds and a 22-year-old business major with a math minor, currently in his sophomore year while maintaining a 4.0 cumulative grade point average.

Norwich University was not the first destination for Lyrvall when he came to the United States in 2009. Lyrvall first went to Minnesota as a foreign exchange student.

“I came for the whole experience of living in a new country, going to school in the U.S., and playing high school hockey,” Lyrvall said. “I didn’t know anyone to start, so I had to make new friends and adapt to the new culture.”

Although it was a new and different experience, according to Lyrvall, learning new things while being independent in a different country was enjoyable and the least of his worries.

Lyrvall gets back to Sweden for a winter break that lasts about two weeks, and summer vacation from early May to late August, but traveling isn’t exactly easy, according to Lyrvall.

“I usually fly out from Boston, through Iceland, to Stockholm,” Lyrvall said. All the driving, waiting, and flying added together usually takes around 20 hours, door to door, he said.

According to Lyrvall, school in Sweden is a lot different than the United States. He explained that back home he would only take classes involving his major, and in the United States he would take a wide variety of different core classes and electives.

Another difference he mentions is, “We don’t have graduate school like we do here, so if you want to become a doctor you’re going to be studying medicine right away in college or if you want to go to law school you can do that right away.”

While being in America for just about five years, Erik feels that he has adapted to living in the U.S. but not thoroughly, “I don’t think I am ever going to be completely adapted to the American lifestyle, but I definitely have adopted some things of the American culture” Lyrvall said.

One thing that is most appealing to Lyrvall about the United States is the people and how friendly everybody is, and was, to him when he first moved here.

“I met a lot of good people and it’s also such a great big country,” Lyrvall said. “It’s cool to be here to learn more about the U.S. I’ve been lucky to be getting a chance to travel around some of the U.S. It’s a beautiful country with its changing nature.”

According to Lyrvall, hockey has always been a big part of his life, and it has opened many doors and opportunities for him to travel and learn.

“I probably wouldn’t have gone to college if it weren’t for hockey,” Lyrvall said. “I’ve gotten to see a lot of cool things from hockey, and just a few weeks ago we played at Fenway Park and we’ve been to Lake Placid for the national championship.”

After finishing up this year, Lyrvall has two more years to decide what he wants for his future, whether he will stay in the States or head back to live in his hometown in Sweden.

“I see myself moving back to Sweden at some point but I don’t know when yet,” Lyrvall said. “It depends on what I decide to do after college if I want to keep playing hockey or keep studying or work, I don’t know yet.”

While Erik is uncertain about what path he will take in the future, he has much to look forward to, and he has already gained some major accomplishments here at Norwich.

At the beginning of the year, Lyrvall was awarded for last year’s efforts of having the highest freshman academic average, with a perfect grade point average. He was also selected to the All-Rookie team by the ECAC East conference for the regular season in hockey, and was elected by his teammates for Rookie of the Year.

Although Lyrvall loves being here in the U.S., there are always a few things back home that he continues to miss, primarily those in his immediate family and close companions.

“I probably miss my family and close friends the most, I have a lot of good friends here, but it’s your family and your close friends that you’ve grown up with that you can’t really replace,” Lyrvall said. “But I can still keep in touch with them through Facebook and messaging.”

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