January 26, 2018

From Norway To North Dakota To The Olympics

When I scanned over the anonymous list of Norwegians named to their Olympic team it was Ludvig Hoff's club team that really caught my interest. 
The NCAA is a very competitive hockey scene, and the University of North Dakota is always right at the top of the heap. These top teams vie for the top talent out of USA and Canada, and occasionally a Swede or a Finn. But UND has a player from the non-hockey power of Norway?
“It’s obviously been a goal my whole life, but I haven’t had that in my mind this season,” Ludvig Hoff said. “I’ve been trying to focus on hockey here at North Dakota. When I saw my name on the roster, I was surprised. It’s always been a goal but nothing I’ve been focused on.”
“I don’t think there’s anything bigger than the Olympics,” he said. “I’ve always been really happy and honored to represent national teams that I’ve been on. I’ll remember this for a long time.”
Hoff will become a second-generation Olympian.
His father, Geir, a key figure in Norwegian hockey who played at Michigan State in his youth, suited up for Norway in three Olympic Games -- 1988 in Calgary, 1992 in Albertville, France, and 1994 in Lillehammer, Norway.
“My dad has been telling me stories,” Hoff said. “Obviously, it’s something that means a lot to me.”
Hoff, a two time captain of the Norwegian World Juniors team, came to Grand Forks to study Graphic Design Technology and play hockey. It must have been quite a change to go from a worldly cosmopolitan city like Oslo to a University town of 50,000 people.

He actually moved to the United States at the age of 15 to play in the USHL with Lincoln, Nebraska. Excelling in the USHL allowed him to be on the NCAA radar much more easily.

Hoff is a depth player at UND, but is obviously impressing the powers that be in Norway. They see him as a big part of their future.

Playing in the NHL is still a far off dream for Hoff. Though he excels in the classroom and on the ice, he was passed over in the NHL draft. Going to the Olympics may help open up opportunities as a NHL free agent one day.

If the NHL never does come calling, he knows he will have a college degree to fall back on, as well as opportunities to play in Europe.

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