Vasteras signs transfer to allow Backlund to play in WHL Staff

1/13/2009 11:24:24 AM

The Calgary Flames and Swedish club Vasteras have reached an agreement to allow prospect Mikael Backlund to play with the Kelowna Rockets of the Western Hockey League.

Earlier, a report in the Calgary Herald said Vasteras officials were angry with the Flames after Backlund played for the Flames on Thursday. They were under the assumption that Backlund would rejoin the Swedish club after the World Junior Hockey Championship.

''Mikael Backlund has not been given permission to play for another club,'' Vasteras official Anders Eklund told the Swedish media on the weekend. ''There is nothing in his agreement with us that allows him to play for a club in North America and we don't think it's right that he did this without communicating with us."

But now Vasteras, Hockey Sweden and the IIHF all agreed over the weekend that it was best to sign Backlund's transfer card and allow him to play in the WHL.

Backlund's father said Vasteras general manager Leif Rohlin and his constant criticism of his son's play was most blame for Backlund's decision to leave the Swedish club.

''Before that, he would have been more hesitant,'' Jan Backlund told the Hockey Sverige website. ''Now it was probably a pretty easy decision.''