Kristian Huselius calls playing under Mike Keenan horrible


  • With everything coming out in the news lately about perceived terrible behaviour by NHL coaches, it was probably only a matter of time before someone starting speaking out about Mike Keenan.
  • The man is well-known for being a hard-ass and having a short temper.
  • Well, it’s here.
  • Kristian Huselius, now 41, has done in interview with a Swedish media outlet in which he called playing under Keenan with the Florida Panthers horrible, saying he was told several times everyone would be “better off if I went home.”
  • Huselius said Keenan felt he was too small to play in the NHL and he also feels he was singled out because he was “young and European.
  • Huselius also stated that he had become ill at one point while with the Panthers and doctors could not determine what was wrong with him.
  • Despite losing more than 20 pounds and dropping to just over 152 pounds in total, he claimed he was forced to play anyway.
  • He said he didn’t want to say no and the whole situation felt “very pressured.”
Here are some excerpts from the interview:

“He was old school you could say. And he didn’t think I could play in the league because I was too thin. He said it to everyone several times that it would be better if I went home.”

“Most of the others he left in peace, but as I was European and young, it made a difference. I specifically remember an occasion when we were going to Carolina to play game. When we arrived, got off the bus, the team checked in at the hotel, but he told me I had to go on the exercise bike. So I got to sit on the test bike while the others on the team went to the hotel and ate…you felt very alone”

“Yes, it was tough, it did not go very well for the team either. We never went to the playoffs or anything like that. It was the same guys he was on. It was me, then Niklas Hagman who was a rookie just like me. And a guy, Jaroslav Bednar, he even sent home. He was completely cracked.”

  • Huselius would be traded to Calgary in 2005-06.
  • He claimed it was Keenan who pressured for the trade because he didn’t want him on the team.
  • Huselius added the move to the Flames was a fresh start as he had been told so many times by Keenan in front of his teammates that he couldn’t play in the league.
  • This is just the latest story to come out about current and former NHL coaches, as Mike Babcock, Marc Crawford, Bill Peters, Michel Therrien and others have all had allegations of disturbing or abusive behaviour leveled at them.
  • While Huselius’s account of playing under Keenan doesn’t quite reach those levels (although the story of being forced to play while ill and dropping weight is a bit of an eye-opener), he made it clear in the interview it was not a fun time in his life.
  • Besides the Panthers, Keenan also served as head coach for Philadelphia, Chicago, the New York Rangers, Vancouver, Boston and Calgary. He has been coaching in the KHL since 2013.
Sources & Credits:, Trade Rumours
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