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Olden Ready For North American Debut

by Mike Ulmer / Toronto Maple Leafs
If Sondre Olden graduates to the Maple Leafs, he will be the first Norwegian to wear the Blue and White.

Also he seems sure to be the only player to have learned the game at his mother’s hockey school.

The 19-year-old, a six-foot-four forward recorded seven goals and 22 points last season with Modo in the Swedish Elite League and has long since caught the eye of scouts with his strong skating. A native of Oslo, he will spend his first season in North America as a member of the OHL’s Erie Otters.

We sent writer Mike Ulmer to speak with Olden.

Mike Ulmer: How old were you when you started to play.
Sondre Olden: I was three years old when I started to skate. My mom, she runs a hockey school.

Mike Ulmer: Really?
Sondre Olden: She is still doing it. She has done it for 15-16 years. Every Saturday the young kids come and skate at the arena where I am from. I started to play on a team when I was five or six years old.

Mike Ulmer: Most people would assume it was your Dad who operated the hockey school. Is that unusual?
Sondre Olden: Oh, I don’t know. I have to ask her. I was young when she started.

Mike Ulmer: Did she play?
Sondre Olden No. Just for fun she was a goalie for my brother and I.

Mike Ulmer: How do you get to teach at hockey school if you have never played before?
Sondre Olden: I don’t know.  (Laughs) You would have to ask her. I really don’t know. She’s great at it.

Mike Ulmer: What is her name?
Sondre Olden: Her name is Kate.

Mike Ulmer: What does your Dad do?
Sondre Olden: He plays bandi on an all boys’ team. He also plays soccer. He sells shoes.

Mike Ulmer: Your Mom sounds great.
Sondre Olden: Yep, she’s great.

Mike Ulmer: Because you played at Modo do most people assume you are from Sweden?
Sondre Olden: Yes, it happens all the time. Here too, some people think that. Everyone I meet seems to think I am from Sweden.

Mike Ulmer: As a Canadian, I wouldn’t want to be known as an American just as an American would insist he was not a Canadian. Does it bother you when people make that mistake?
Sondre Olden: Yes. It’s the same way with Norwegians and Swedes as it is with Canadians and Americans.

Mike Ulmer:
If you ask Canadians they would say they are most proud of,  they would say our nature and hockey. What are Norwegians most proud of?
Sondre Olden: I guess the nature. The fjords.

Mike Ulmer: You guys have fjords?
Sondre Olden: Yep.

Mike Ulmer: Really?
Sondre Olden: Yep.

Mike Ulmer: What’s a fjord?
Sondre Olden: It’s a lake. There are lot of them. We are proud of the nature.

Mike Ulmer: Oslo is a long way from Erie, Pennsylvania.
Sondre Olden: Yes, it’s a long flight.

Mike Ulmer:
It’s not just a long flight, it’s a long way.
Sondre Olden: Yes, it’s a long way but I want to learn the North American hockey style. When I came to Erie I found I had a good coach. I have been there a week and I am just looking forward to start to play.

Mike Ulmer: What’s your best asset as a player?
Sondre Olden: My skating.

Mike Ulmer:
You learned that from your Mom.
Sondre Olden: Yes, at hockey school.
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