One year in Switzerland – interview with Swedish super sniper Billy ‘Mohawk’ Nilsson

Image: Michael Peter for Zug United

Billy ‘The Kid’ Nilsson has been one of Sweden’s most discussed players. He played in Falun, won the players point league with Sirius in 14/15, before disappearing to Switzerland to play with the relatively unknown team Zug United who came out in the Swiss second highest division NLB. If the goal was to bring Zug to the NLA he was successful indeed as the team now plays in Swiss highest league currently occupying a respectable 7th place out of 12. We have to admit that we lost track of him in the last season, so time to catch up with Mr. Mohawk (who sadly shaved off his mohawk – we also cover that in the interview) and see how he is doing!

How was your first season with Zug?
My first season was very different from what I was used to. NLB is way lower than SSL so the level of the game is a lot different. But I enjoyed the challenge to take the club to NLA again.

Did you fit in the team right away? What role did you have?
I would say that my role was more or less like everybody else except that I was more of a leader than I have been before and of course everybody expects a lot of points from me. The team was very welcoming and are used to players from other countries so I felt good instantly.

“Playing in Sweden with the level I did and not getting the chances in the national team that I deserved was tough mentally.”

How did the season progress?
We had a good start and everything went well and then in October I had a knee injury which made me miss 8 weeks of training and playing. Luckily for me, it was in a period of just 5 league games and 1 cup game. We lost the cup game and one game in the league during that time. Once I came back we won all the remaining games in the league and qualifying. So the season was very fun for me with 30 games and 30 victories.

BONUS: Watch Billy Nilsson’s top 10 goals!

How was it to adjust to Switzerland?
I like it a lot here so it was not that hard actually.

What is the biggest difference between Switzerland and Sweden?
In Sweden, players think much more of defending compared to here where everybody wants to score. For me, the tactical part in Sweden is much more strict and focused on defense.

In the first season, Billy Nilsson (16/17) still had his famous mohawk. Photo by Michael Peter

Are the trainings different? And in what way is it different?
I guess it’s different for every team in every country so yes. The biggest difference for me and my former team would be that we train late and with more physical exercises before and after training and less floorball.

How is the current season going for you personally and as a team? 
We had a rough start with some losses but the last weeks have been fine for us and we are at the moment in seventh place out of twelve. Personally, it’s going very well and I have 17 goals and 7 assists in the first 8 games here. Second place in the point league and a lot of goals with great impact. NLA is way more fun for me and the team than NLB. Last season was not a big challenge with this great team.

How is it to meet other Swedes in Switzerland?
It’s always fun for me to play against people I know or recognize, whether they are Swedish or not.

Are you ever going to back to Sweden? If so, which team would you like to play for most? A comeback to Sirius or another team?
I have a contract which is written for this season and the next. After that, I have no clue so I cant answer that and I enjoy it very much here but if I return to Sweden in the next years I would for sure play in a club that has faith in me and as high as possible.

You had a bit of a tough relationship with Sweden’s previous coach Jan-Erik Vaara. With Mikael Hill as a new coach, do you have any national team aspirations?
Yes, that’s right. Playing in Sweden with the level I did and not getting the chances in the national team that I deserved was tough mentally. Since I came to Switzerland I have just been focusing on my game and it has been good for me. Now I feel in very good shape and form in NLA so of course, I have been thinking of it but it’s never up to me and I will just keep focusing on my game and see how far it will take me and my team.

And the most important one: why did your mohawk disappear and will it ever come back?
Hahaha, I get that one a lot. I just felt like I wanted to do something different now. Like a new start or something. It will probably come back 😉

If you want to watch Billy ‘The Kid’ Nilsson in action there is good news. All Swiss games are streamed for free. Check FloorballToday regularly to find out when the games are played.

Follow Billy Nilsson on Instagram


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