It sounds made up, William Eklund celebrating his 19th birthday at IKEA, eating Swedish meatballs.
I mean, it’s such an American cliché, associating Swedes with IKEA.
But that’s what the 2021 San Jose Sharks first-round pick, who turned 19 on Tuesday, reported yesterday:
Eklund says he spent his birthday yesterday at IKEA and eating Swedish meatballs with Jasper Weatherby and Jonathan Dahlen
— Sheng Peng (@Sheng_Peng) October 13, 2021
Jasper Weatherby corroborated this account today: “We went before a couple of weeks ago and then he’s like, we gotta go again for my birthday. We headed over there, didn’t look at any furniture, just walked right [into the restaurant].”
What was the Oregonian doing at the Scandinavian furniture chain with two Swedes, William Eklund and Jonathan Dahlen?
“Me and Ecky have been roommates throughout rookie camp and we were together on the road and together in the hotel here,” Weatherby noted. “He’s almost like my little brother.”
At the Rookie Faceoff Tournament in Arizona, the 23-year-old San Jose Sharks prospect revealed that he had introduced Eklund to Chipotle. But at IKEA, it was the Swedes who taught the University of North Dakota product.
Eklund shared yesterday that IKEA was his birthday restaurant of choice because of how much he missed the food from his native Sweden. Besides Swedish meatballs, this also includes salty licorice. Weatherby tried that for the first time at IKEA.
“It wasn’t what I expected,” Weatherby said, smiling. “But it wasn’t too bad. Those guys were like that’s not even the saltiest kind.”
Salty licorice is another Scandinavian specialty, licorice flavored with salmiak salt. Let’s call it an acquired taste.
But one thing that Weatherby, Eklund, and Dahlen can agree on? The San Jose Sharks prospects, each in line to play his first NHL game this Saturday, are hoping for a not-so-bittersweet debut.
According to Weatherby, it was Burns (naturally) that coined the nickname "The Gecko" for Eklund: "He's got some experience with lizards, I hear."
Weatherby says another nickname is "Big Ecky"
— Sheng Peng (@Sheng_Peng) October 14, 2021
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