A small chapter was added to Norway’s hockey history on Saturday night at Nassau Coliseum, as Avalanche defenseman Jonas Holos
made his NHL debut.
A native of Sarpsborg, Norway, Holos had been a healthy scratch during the Avalanche’s first four games before being inserted into the lineup tonight against the New York Islanders. In the process, he became just the sixth Norwegian-born player to appear in the National Hockey League.
That list includes Holos’ fellow countrymen Espen Knutsen, Patrick Thoresen, Ole-Kristian Tollefsen, Bjorn Skaare and Anders Myrvold. Holos also became the second Norway native to skate for the Avalanche, as Myrvold appeared in four contests during the Avs’ inaugural season of 1995-96, totaling one assist during his time in Denver.
Holos, who has been a staple of Norway’s national teams over the past few years, played the previous two seasons with Farjestads BK of the Swedish Elite League before signing an entry-level contract with the Avalanche on May 26.
He was afforded the opportunity to make his debut tonight in part because Avalanche head coach Joe Sacco
elected to give captain Adam Foote the night off with Colorado playing its fourth game in six days.
Holos played a game-high 23:57 during his NHL debut, and was mostly paired along the blue line with John-Michael Liles. The defenseman recorded two shots on goal and blocked a pair of shots. He also saw a team-best 4:19 of ice time on the power play, setting up at the left point opposite Liles.
“It’s been a while since my last game, but I feel I’m playing better and better with every minute,” said Holos, who also commented on the importance of communicating with Liles.
“We try to talk and help each other out, and it makes the game easier.”
It was the first time that Liles and Holos had seen significant time together, as the Norway native was teamed with Kyle Quincey for the majority of training camp and the preseason. At the end of the exhibition slate, Quincey was impressed by what he saw from the rookie.
“He’s so solid and steady. He was like a rock back there,” said Quincey at the time. “He doesn’t do anything too flashy, but when he has his chance to shoot and jump up, he will. He doesn’t make too many mistakes.”
Holos became the second player from the Avalanche’s 2008 draft class to play in the NHL, joining forward Mark Olver
, who made his NHL debut on opening night. Holos was selected in the sixth round (170th overall) that year, while Olver was tabbed in the fifth round (140th overall).