Swedish sniper is fit as a fiddle

CAMERON MAXWELL -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:37 AM ET

Maybe they should call him Fit Freddie because when it comes to fitness, Freddie Pettersson's virtually in a league of his own.

The Calgary Hitmen's Swedish rookie holds a rare honour in his homeland.

He's one of just four players to ever earn a gold medal in Sweden's national team fitness training.

Getting the gold involves a series of back-to-back exercises, including running 3,000m in less than 10 minutes, 50 seconds, benchpressing your own weight

15 times, chin ups and plyometrics.

And earning the medal is a pretty big accomplishment for the diminutive sniper.

"It's pretty big in Sweden, so I'm proud of that," said Pettersson, who leads the Hitmen in scoring with six goals and four helpers through 11 games.

Pettersson, who hails from Goteborg, Sweden, was drafted by the Edmonton Oilers this year.

While he's relatively new to Calgary, he knows all about the animosity between the Stampede City and the provincial capital.

"I know they don't like each other," said Pettersson, who took in last night's Calgary Flames/

Edmonton Oilers tilt at the Saddledome.

"But playing in the NHL is my dream and I'm going to work hard for that -- very, very hard."

After a 7-0 start, the Hitmen (8-3) have lost three of their last four games, with Red Deer (5-7) coming to town tomorrow (Saddledome, 7 p.m.).

While Pettersson's been great so far, he knows the Hitmen must continue to work hard so they can get back on track in terms of winning hockey games.

"For me, I'm doing pretty good but I think I can play better. I have to play more games and I think I can be really good," said the 5-ft. 10-in., 185-lb. left-winger.

"As a team, we won seven in a row and we're losing now because we had it too easy in the beginning.

"We found a way to win those games and the whole team worked together. But to win, everybody has to work together.

"If one guy doesn't work hard, it won't work."

Following the Red Deer contest, the Hitmen host Swift Current Sunday (Saddledome, 2 p.m.).

The Kamloops Blazers pay a visit to Calgary for a Tuesday tilt (7 p.m., Saddledome).


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