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UConn men’s hockey freshman Samu Salminen joins team after visa delay

The Huskies have been without one of their top freshman because he couldn’t obtain a visa.

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Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

UConn men’s hockey Samu Salminen has arrived in the United States after a visa delay prevented the Finnish national from entering the country, The UConn Blog has learned. He flew into Boston and met up with the team ahead of the Huskies’ 4-3 overtime win at BU on Friday.

Salminen missed UConn’s first three series because of the visa problem. He had been taking online classes while he waited. A native of Helsinki, Finland, Salminen’s visa took months to go through after he committed to the Huskies in early August. He was initially slated to go to Denver before running into an admissions issue.

Even though Salminen is with the team, he won’t play in UConn’s second matchup at BU on Saturday. He’ll begin practicing this upcoming week, though he’s unlikely to play next Thursday against Boston College. The hope is to have him in the lineup for the Maine series, which starts on Nov. 4.

Salminen is a 6-foot-3 center who was taken by the New Jersey Devils in the third round of the 2021 NHL Draft. He’s a left-handed shot who’s expected to slot in as a top-nine center for the Huskies and should factor in on the power play as well.

“Size, face-offs, scoring ability, he’s got all that. And all around he’s just a really bright, good person,” Denver coach David Carle told The Athletic. “He’s a real team-first guy too. When you text him about his games, he’s quick to deflect from his own play, good or bad, and talk about the team. He cares about winning and he cares about the team. And I think that’s why you’ve seen him as a captain.”

Even without Salminen, UConn has gotten off to the best start in program history at 6-0-1. The freshman should help in the face-off circle, where the Huskies are just 42.5 percent on the season.