Norway is not the country you would expect to produce so many stars in the Hockey world. The mountainous terrain of the country does not necessarily contribute to the development of the best players, though it does produce some of the best skiers in the world. But do not be mistaken, this country has its own, small, but significant roster of players who have had a big impact on the NHL and the world. Although most of the greatest hockey players from the country prefer to stick to their own native areas, some do come to visit the NHL, and they leave as stars if they do leave.
So who are the Norwegian players who have had a significant place in the past decade? Well, unfortunately, they haven’t been many. The thing is, we are not going to count the Norwegian players who passed the NHL draft but never participated because, well, they never became part of the game formally. But we do have a nice list of players from the past decade (2008-2018) that includes old players and a newcomer who shows some big promise to the game. The list is provided by Jacob Hanssen, editor of sports betting section of Norskecasino.casino. Special thanks to him! The players in the list aren’t necessarily arranged in the way they are for any reason, so let’s not start ranking them right away, okay?
Without further ado, let’s get into it:
Jonas Holøs was one of the most promising players in the world when he started playing. He started playing with the Sparta Warriors of the GET-Ligaen in 2002 and quickly became a point of interest for some NHL teams. His performance in the international games in Canada caused him to be invited by the Colorado Avalanches to the team, which he did in 2010. Before that he remained in his European team, fulfilling the contract that he had established with them earlier. He was the sixth Norwegian player to have started playing with the NHL. He set the records for time spent on ice by a Norwegian player, as well as the record for the most assists by a defenseman (according to this article).
After a year of playing with the Colorado Avalanches and the Lake Erie Monsters, he failed to take a spot on the Avalanches starting roster and requested to be released back to his European teams. Currently, he is playing for HC Fribourg-Gottéron.
Patrick Thoresen started his career way back in the day with the Stormahar Dragons, before moving to Canada for some junior league play. After spending several extremely successful years over in Canada, he was invited over to the NHL by the Edmonton Oilers for the 2006-2007 season. With this, he became the fifth Norwegian player to get on the ice as part of the National Hockey League in the United States. Despite a relatively good season with the Oilers, he was still placed on the waivers by the team at the end of the 2007-2008 season. He was then take off the waivers by the Philadelphia Flyers and put back onto the ice where he received a traumatic hit and was driven to the hospital. The joined the team again in the postseason, which made him the first Norwegian to play in the NHL postseason play. The 2007-2008 season was the last he spent as part of the NHL, moving to the European leagues and the KHL. Currently, he is back to his roots, playing for the Stormahar Dragons and for the SKA Saint Petersburg.
The start of Ole-Kristian Tollefsen’s career was extremely impressive. He spent most of his teenage career playing for a senior team in Lillehammer, where he was often part of the starting roster. He was also part of the Junior team, where he was able to earn his team silver and gold medals. After such an impressive debut, he left the Norwegian hockey league, to move to the NHL with the Columbus Blue Jackets, making him the fourth Norwegian player to participate in the NHL. He spent four years with the Columbus Blue Jackets, where he was part of the game where two Norwegian players got to play against each other for the first time. He was then drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2009-2010 season. He is now retired.
Mats Zuccarello is a well-known player in the world of NHL, having been with the rangers as long as he has. He started out in Norway, becoming one of the most valuable players in the country during his time there.At the end of his several years in Norway, he was awarded the prize for the most valuable player of the league. In 2010 he signed a contract with the New York Rangers and has been playing with them ever since, with a short break to move to the Metallurg Magnitogorsk, but returning to the NHL soon after. He has since been named an alternate captain and become a key player of the Rangers. He is the seventh Norwegian player to be part of the NHL.
Andreas Martinsen is the newcomer to the NHL and the eight Norwegian players to ever participate in the league. His career started in 2008 in his native Norway. He spent several years trying to get noticed and drafted by the Canadian Hockey League but had to spend several years developing, until being drafted by a German team. In 2014-2015 Martinsen had an amazing season, which led to him being noticed by the NHL. He would spend two seasons with the Colorado Avalanches, where his performance would remain under close scrutiny. Today he is signed with the Chicago Blackhawks and seems to be a promising player in the league.