To say Ole Julian Bjorgvik-Holm had a busy 2020-21 hockey season might be a bit of an understatement.
The defenseman was playing for Manglerud in his native Norway when he was chosen in the fifth round of the 2020 draft by the Blue Jackets in October. Soon enough, he was headed to North America when he signed a tryout offer with the Jackets' AHL team in Cleveland.
To top it off, after a successful stint with the Monsters, Bjorgvik-Holm traveled to Latvia where he took part in the 2021 IIHF World Championship while donning the sweater of his native country.
Yes, it was a busy year, but it was a good one for the defenseman, who at just 18 years old made his AHL debut and then played in his first major international tournament.
"I got a lot of opportunities," Bjorgvik-Holm said. "I'm pretty fortunate that way. The World Championships was good to be with the guys and see what it's like to play in that tournament. Playing for your country is a special moment and I tried to enjoy it as much as I could trying to help my team and my country win every game.
"In Cleveland, everyone was so nice and I think we were pretty good as a team. It felt like I fit in in that group."
A two-way defenseman with some skill and size (6-3, 207) who also boasts an excellent work ethic, Bjorgvik-Holm was impressive in those new situations given his young age (he didn't turn 19 until May). He skated in 16 games with the Monsters and posted a goal and four assists with a minus-1 rating. With Team Norway, he skated in six games at the World Championships, finishing without a point but getting his feet wet in a big tournament.
Having the chance to put on a Norway sweater also meant a lot for the Oslo native, who grew up close to a rink and chose hockey over more traditional Norwegian sporting endeavors like cross-country skiing or speed skating.
"It's an awesome feeling," he said of playing for the national team. "You know your whole country is watching. It's special for sure. Hopefully I can continue to play on that team."
In the meantime, he'll work to also march toward a potential NHL debut. Bjorgvik-Holm spent the 2019-20 season with Mississauga of the Ontario Hockey League, notching a 2-17-19 line in 57 games, and expects to return to the Steelheads this upcoming season.
It's one of the best places in the world to develop, and he said he knows he has to get better after playing some high-level hockey this past year.
"You have to get better at everything, I think -- skating, passing," he said. "It's a way more physical game, and you just get bigger, get stronger, get faster. Everything I guess."
Greaves returns to Columbus
Jet Greaves has learned that a good first impression can go a long way in the hockey world.
For the goalie, that came in the summer of 2019 when Greaves took part in the Blue Jackets' development camp. He clearly made the CBJ staff take notice of his skills, though, because the Jackets stayed in touch with the 20-year-old over the years and this offseason, the Monsters signed him to an AHL deal.
With that, Greaves is back in Columbus taking part in development camp and will skate as well in the Traverse City Prospects Tournament.
"We've been talking since I was in camp here a couple of years ago with Columbus, with (CBJ goaltending coach) Manny Legace and everybody there," Greaves said. "We kept that relationship and we kind of talked throughout the summer. They were like, we want to try to bring you in this year. We felt like it was a good fit for me -- a good fit both ways. My agent and Columbus and Cleveland kind of made it happen."
A native of Cambridge, Ontario, Greaves comes to Columbus after playing with Barrie of the OHL for two seasons, posting a 3.36 GAA and .911 save percentage in 2018-19 and marks of 3.99/.888 in 2019-20. But like the rest of the OHL, Greaves was unable to see the ice last year as the whole campaign was lost to the coronavirus pandemic.
"Fortunately, we have a lot of guys in the OHL that all live in the same area so we were able to skate together a lot," Greaves said. "We would skate every day. It was just like the longest offseason ever. A lot of skates, a lot of workouts."
As for returning to the ice today in a formal hockey setting, Greaves said, "It felt good. Timing is coming back. Just getting into a competitive situation like that, there were a lot of pucks coming in quick, but as the skate went on you feel a little bit more comfortable and feel better."
As for the name, Greaves' actual first name is Calvin but his middle name is Jet, largely because his father is a big fan of martial artist/actor Jet Li. He goes by Jet, but a very important person made sure that his name is the way that it is.
"My middle name is Jet because my mom liked the flow of Calvin Jet better than Jet Calvin," he said.
News and Notes
- Each CBJ draft pick/signee on last week's released roster was on the ice Monday except Martin Rysavy, a seventh-round pick in 2021. The Czech forward who is slated to play with Moose Jaw of the WHL was present but did not take to the ice.
- The full list of players those referenced above who took part included forward Tyler Angle, Ben Boyd, Yegor Chinakhov, Josh Dunne, James Malatesta, Carson Meyer and Cole Sillinger; as well as defenseman Bjorgvik-Holm, Tim Berni, Jake Christiansen and Stanislav Svozil.
- The Blue Jackets will be on the ice again Tuesday morning, then practice Wednesday afternoon before flying to Traverse City for the annual prospects tournament hosted by the Detroit Red Wings. The first game will be Thursday at 3 p.m. vs. Toronto.