The road to the NHL can take many different paths. Sondre Olden believes his road needs to go through the Canadian Hockey League.
More specifically, the Erie Otters.
“[I came] just to learn the North American hockey style; it’s better hockey here,” said the six-foot-four Toronto Maple Leafs prospect. “If you want to make the jump to the NHL, you have to know how to play the game over here.”
But to know how he arrived in North America, one must know where Olden has come from.
Olden began his hockey journey 16 years ago. He was just three years old when he stepped onto the ice of his mother’s school.
“My mom runs a hockey school, so I started there when I was about three years old. I started to play there and skate every Saturday until I was six,” the Norwegian pivot recollected.
Oddly enough, his mother never played hockey.
The next 10 years of his life were spent in Norway crafting his game, before a move to Sweden. MODO was calling on his services.
“[I] moved to Sweden for three years, and now I’m here.”
Unable to garner much ice time with MODO, a move to better his development path seemed likely. Especially after a rocky year in which he was unable to crack to the top MODO club.
Only a year after being selected 79th Overall in the 2010 NHL Draft, Olden made the move to CHL through its annual Import Draft. Erie would grab the rights to Olden with the 31st pick. The move to North America was official.
And beneficial, Olden explained.
“It’s a huge difference, but I’m getting used to it now. I’m excited to go to practice everyday, and look forward to the next day, every day.”
Having a fellow Maple Leafs draft pick in Otters captain Greg McKegg, was certainly eased the transition.
“It helps a lot having [McKegg] around,” Olden remarked with a smile. “The guys up in Toronto are amazing; I have a lot of contact with them.”
The move seemed like a good fit for the third round pick, especially with Toronto pushing for a change in Olden’s development. The two sides were in agreement on the lanky centre’s future.
“[Brian Burke] called me a couple of times, just to ask how it was going in Sweden,” Olden said. “He wanted me to come over.”
With three games under his belt with Erie, Olden has the right attitude going forward.
“Today was a bad game, but you have to have some of those sometimes. We have a game tomorrow, and we’ll have to play better then.”
The sort of attitude that can put Olden on the right path.