New Edinburgh Capitals signing Loren Barron insists he has no regrets over swapping the sunshine of home city Los Angeles for Scotland’s capital.
The defenseman, who made his debut last week, is keen to make the most of his time on this side of the Pond.
Barron, who is sharing a flat in the city with four of his new team-mates, said: “I was looking to make a move from North America to Europe and I know a couple of guys who play in this league and they said they really liked it. I wanted a chance to experience a city like Edinburgh, so getting to come here is a real treat.
“Everyone on the team has been very nice and taken me in, the city is beautiful, there are so many different elements to it and so much to do.”
In a league filled with colourful characters, the likeable 25-year-old certainly knows who to stay the right side of, admitting his move came through a connection with Edinburgh enforcer Riley Emmerson and a seal of approval from Fife Flyers’ tough guy Matt Nickerson.
Speaking ahead of Sunday’s trip to Cardiff Devils, Barron said: “I played with Emmerson at Springfield in the American Hockey League, and I’m just fortunate to know him and that he was able to open a door for me to come here.
“I went to school with (Coventry Blaze forward) Ben Arnt and trained over a few summers with Nickerson, so I’m hoping that he and I have got a nice peace treaty going!”
The Californian certainly has the early bragging rights over his former training partner after the two sides clashed at Murrayfield last Sunday, Edinburgh coming out on top in a 4-3 win – just 24 hours after Saturday’s 3-2 victory at Dundee Stars.
Commenting on his opening two games in a Caps jersey, Barron said: “I was just focused on trying to minimise mistakes, limit the opposition’s scoring chances and let the other guys do what they do.
“I got a good feel for the league, the team and the style we play. I learnt a lot and we won both games so it all went pretty well.”
Barron, who describes his home as half an hour’s drive from the beach, yet the same distance away from snow-capped mountains where he loves to snowboard, grew up inspired by Wayne Gretzky to play roller hockey, and did not play hockey in an ice rink until he was in his teens.
“Wayne Gretzky played for the (Los Angeles) Kings and there was a big boom and they opened up a bunch of roller hockey rinks in the city and that’s how I started,” Barron said. “I didn’t play hockey until I was in high school.
“The last team I played for in California was the Junior Kings which is part of their feeder program. You often see celebrities walking around the rinks. I’ve seen David Beckham take his kids out to skate there and what not.
“Every hockey player’s dream is to play in the NHL and if it’s not you’re just selling yourself short. I think that time for me has passed so now I’m just enjoying any opportunity that comes my way.
“I don’t think many kids growing up in California dream of playing hockey in Edinburgh, but it’s an obtainable goal, you get to travel the world and experience a new culture, while playing a high level of hockey.”
Meanwhile, Capitals forward Daniel Naslund is expecting a tough battle when Cardiff host the Capitals.
The Swede, who until recently had been playing with a splint to protect a broken finger, said: “We’re preparing for a fast paced game in their small rink. It will be physical, but I don’t think anyone on our team will shy away from that.
“We’ve been successful in our last three games and we’ve got to think about that rather than worry about our opponents.”