This is a part of a series of interviews we had with Hurricanes players to get to know them a little better than just the guys we see on the ice and what the team readily shares. In this post, we share our Sebastian Aho interview and see below for links to the others. We hope you’ll enjoy! 

Jaccob Slavin Interview

Section 328: When did you start skating and playing hockey, and did you instantly like it?

Sebastian Aho: I was maybe two years old, just on an outdoor rink pretty close by our house, and yeah I liked it right away. And also, my dad used to play pro, and I just tried to do everything that he did, so it was so fun [from the very beginning].

328: What has been the biggest challenge in your career?

SA: Probably the injuries. Every year there’s a new challenge, to be a better player, and when I first got here it was the new language, new country… everything was new so it was kind of a big challenge, but I feel like I did alright.

328: How did you adjust to the language and the new culture so quickly?

SA: I worked pretty hard to learn English, and learn how everything goes [here]. But obviously, there’s some good guys who helped me a lot. Turbo was huge for me. I lived with him my first couple weeks and he had a car here so he helped me a lot. But also, there were a lot of other guys too, who came to me and helped me. Lots of Euros here, so it helped… I feel like Swedish is not that different.

328: What is your favorite part or the most rewarding thing about being a professional athlete?

SA: This is my hobby, I started it as a hobby because it was so fun, and now I do it for a job. It’s pretty awesome you can actually do it for a living. You start it as a hobby, and it’s just the reason you love it enough to do it for a living.

328: How do you shake off a loss or any pressure and reset before the next game?

SA: There [are] so many games that sometimes you just have to let it go. But sometimes, if I did bad and we have a day off the next day, I watch myself go through the game to see what I should do better. But sometimes when they’re back to back there’s no way you can keep thinking about the other game. It’s goes by fast, too. There’s so many different ways, sometimes you have to let it go and sometimes you have to think about it more.

328: What do you focus on in training to prepare and improve for the next season?

SA: I’m a young guy. I need to get more strength all over my body. I feel like every hockey player works to be pretty all-around nowadays and do lots of different things so it’s not just weights or just running but it’s all of them together.

328: What was the biggest “culture shock” or funniest thing that happened early into your career in the NHL?

SA: If you watch my first interviews here, they’re probably pretty funny. I know when I watch those I just laugh. I was always so nervous with the media here, and probably said some pretty stupid things.

328: What was your first thought after being drafted by the Hurricanes, and first impressions of Raleigh?

SA: It was awesome. They did work to get me, and it’s a special feeling when you get drafted. I didn’t even know I’d go that early, but you never know. There were 30 teams that could pick you, and just one picks you, and it was pretty awesome. First time I was here, it was hot. It was like 100 [degrees] Farenheit. It was for the development camp, and I came from cold Finland. It was really hot, and it was just different. I mean, this is not the biggest city in the US, but still, it’s different. Actually, there are a lot of woods and stuff, so I love it. But my first time it was so, so hot.

328: The team has talked about playing music in the locker room before games. What’s your go-to “hype” music?

SA: I go pretty easy actually, anything. Like, something not even heavy or anything like that. Sometimes I go for some kind of easy-going song, but I go with everything.

328: What’s your go-to healthy meal, and what’s your cheat meal?

SA: I love to eat fish [back home]; it’s so fresh, since it’s so close. Burgers… I like burgers, so that’s probably my cheat meal.

328: What would you be doing if you weren’t playing hockey?

SA: Something in another sport. There’s no way [I couldn’t]… I always liked to play all games, and I still do. Actually, in my offseason I practice and play a lot of tennis and golf, and all kinds of games, so I’d probably be something else in sports.

328: What is your biggest off-ice hobby?

SA: Maybe golf. I started a couple summers back. I’m not very good at it but it’s kind of fun now.

328: Do you have any secret talents?

SA: No, just hockey… but I don’t know if it’s secret.