From the time he broke through in the 80’s, Knutsen was the face of Norwegian hockey for many years.
Mats Zuccarello was a disappointment, however. The talent flourished and became the next Norwegian superstar.
Zuccarello is now 34 years old. He has not taken his foot off the accelerator, on the contrary. He’s better than ever, if we look at the numbers from this season. But one day, age must also catch up with Norway’s currently the only hockey player in the world’s best league, the NHL.
Recently, TV 2 has revealed that several Norwegian players have been contacted by NHL clubs. Rögle player Philip Granath, Frölunda player Sander Wold and Vålerenga player Gabriel Koch have been contacted. Färjestad player Martin Johnsen has also become one. Storhamar talent Eskild Bakke Olsen has also been noticed.
Ice hockey player impressed in a completely different arena
In July, this year’s NHL draft will be completed. Shampoo is optimistic on behalf of Norwegian hockey.
– I think Johnsen and Koch both have a good opportunity. Bakke Olsen is older, but it will be exciting. I really hope that someone is drafted, says the 50-year-old who himself has several years behind him in the NHL.
Great talent in his own club
The coach does not hide that there is a talent in the club he has extra faith in.
– Gabriel (Koch) is a back talent I have not seen in many years. He is incredibly advanced in the way he plays. I understand well that some clubs in the NHL have been here and watched him, he says.
– Do you think he can be good enough to play in the NHL?
– Yes, I think he can become an NHL player. There is something about how he solves the game and how little mistake he makes. He had no problems taking the step up on the A-team. I think he is the type who takes step by step, and when he gets a new challenge he just raises his game. He has to put on a few kilos and get a little stronger, but it will come. He is among the smartest players I have seen, Shampo answers.
Koch is humble and is currently very happy to play for the A-team to Vålerenga at all. The 18-year-old says the following about the coach’s statements.
– It’s very cool to hear.
Earlier this month, he confirmed to TV 2 that the Arizona Coyotes and Chicago Blackhawks have contacted him.
– It is big. It should not work. Hockey is such a big sport and when clubs in the biggest league make contact, it is a bit unreal, he said at the time.
– Absolutely essential
In addition to the mentioned players, the Vålerenga coach points out Mathias Emilio Pettersen, who is under contract with the Calgary Flames, as one he hopes will soon be able to take the last step.
The coach also has very good words to say about one of the team’s biggest rivals’ players.
– Bakke Olsen in Storhamar is a player that I am a big fan of. He has a wonderful playing style. He is trailed and nice, and sees the ice in a nice way, says Shampo.
– How important is it for Norwegian hockey to get more players out in major leagues?
– I think it is absolutely crucial if the national team for many years will be part of the A-group. We can not have it so that half the team plays in the domestic league. We need to get talent out to better leagues. That we have players who can compete at a higher level is incredibly important for development, he answers.