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ONE-ON-ONE WITH: Steven Goertzen

by Staff Writer / Columbus Blue Jackets took time to sit down prospect defenseman Ole-Kristian Tollefsen, Columbus' third pick in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft. Tollefsen is entering his second professional season, after appearing in 64 games for the Syracuse Crunch as a rookie pro last year. You have moved up through the system rather quickly. What’s the secret to your success?
Ole-Kristian Tollefsen: For me, ever since I was drafted by the Blue Jackets I wanted to come over here and play. Just playing at the different levels and getting better has helped me. What were you able to learn this past season with Syracuse that has helped you the most?
O.T. I think it was the pace, playing with seniors again. Plus you get used to the bigger, stronger guys and the better players. What differences have you noticed as you have moved through the system?
O.T. Oh, the speed and strength of the players. The players are faster, bigger. Much bigger. What is your favorite part about being a defenseman?
O.T. Playing my gritty style. Hitting guys. You can body check and stuff like that, and I think it’s fun. What do you feel is the most important aspect of being a defenseman?
O.T. For me, I like being very defensive. I have to be strong and make smart plays. What is your pre-game ritual?
O.T. I put on all of my left equipment first. It’s just one of those things that came to me. I have always done it. What was it like representing Norway in the 2002 World Junior Championships?
O.T. It was huge for me. I got to meet a lot of people. It’s pretty big. Representing my country, even if it was a small one like Norway, I am proud of it. What do you do during the off-season?
O.T. I go back to Norway, hang out for the summer and workout there. Who has been the most influential person in your hockey career?
O.T. It has to be the coaches I had in Lillehammer when I went to hockey college before I went to juniors. Those two guys have been important to me. How did you get into hockey?
O.T. I played all kinds of sports at first. I played soccer, European handball, but I think it was my friend in kindergarten who got me started on hockey. It was just so fun, so I wanted to try it and I was hooked after that. If you weren’t a hockey player, what would you be?
O.T. I don’t know A fireman, probably.

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