Defence and offence in different hemispheres
“It almost feels like I grew up with hockey. It was my getaway. I remember the ocean, wakeboarding and some parties, but most of it was hockey.”
André Selander has got a discrete tattoo on the back of his left arm with the letters AJDS. They are his initials: André Josef Dichtchekenian Selander. Dichtchekenian from his Lebanese dad and Selander from his Swedish mum. He grew up with a sister and three brothers in Gothenburg, Sweden, in a house about two hundred meters from fellow Blue Tongue player Henrik Ivarsson. His broad shoulders and size could seem threatening, but they are often accompanied by a disarming smile or laugh.
André started playing because a lot of the other kids in his neighbourhood did and at the age of six, that was all the inspiration he needed.
“It seemed like a good sport” he says with a shrug.
About a year ago he sat down with a map and his friend Henrik. He had already played in Sweden, Denmark, Holland and the USA and it was time to find the next stop.
“We looked at Australia but didn’t really plan anything and then Henrik’s sister moved here and that was a good opening. It is a good way to see Australia, playing hockey here.” he says.
It is not unusual for André to leave the ice with a brand new bruise or cut. He is a hardworking forward that can hit hard and is one of the audience’s favourites.
“I have hurt my knees, my shoulder and my groin, but I would like to say I am a kind guy. A little bit clumsy sometimes with what I say, but I think I can be funny sometimes.” He says in an accent coloured by his time overseas.
These days however, it is hard to know if the bruises are caused by ice skating or learning how to surf. André lives in Broadbeach and is happy to do like the locals and throw a snag on the barby after being thrown around by the waves.
“The Gold Coast is amazing. Good people, nice weather, nice beaches and an easygoing lifestyle.” he says.
André’s experience with his last team, the Arizona Sundogs in Texas, and the Gold Coast Bluetongues in Surfer’s are as far apart geographically as they are in terms of ice hockey.
“The hockey is a lot different, mainly skill wise. You know it is not a lot of money here, but it is a lot of fun. It is not as competitive. I think Australian hockey is going to get better as times goes by.”
Brad Smulders about André
“He likes to have fun too, we have the same type of mentality. A fun guy to be around. He is a hard-worker. Also very skilled. He has played defence as well as offensively, and played great.”