This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
Thunderbirds’ Olofsson continues to blossom

By Matt Mackinder H

e turned just 17 in December, but Gustav Olofsson already has much of his immediate hockey future all mapped out.

In his third year with the Colorado Thunderbirds organization, the

defenseman has shown constant improvement while setting himself up to play next season with the Green Bay Gamblers of the United States Hock- ey League (USHL) and, in either 2013 or 2014, at Colorado College, which will then be a part of the new National Collegiate Hockey Conference. A native of Boras, Sweden, Olofsson’s family moved to Colorado three

years ago mostly for his father’s business, but also to learn the North American style of hockey and improve enough to play at the USHL and Division I college levels. “Playing here for the

Thunderbirds has been great for my develop- ment,” said Olofsson, who dressed three games earlier this season with the Gamblers. “The repu- tation the program has is awesome and it seems each year the teams here are contenders for na- tional championships.” The 1994-born Olofs-

son was also aided by his familiarity with the English language. “It’s pretty easy to

learn, actually,” said Olofsson. “We learn it in school in Sweden and my family also lived in San Jose for four years when I was younger, so I learned a lot in California, too.” The 6-foot-2, 175-pounder also learned to hold his own against older

Thunderbirds 18U AAA defenseman Gustav Olofsson, from Sweden, will continue his seasoning in the USHL before man- ning the blue line at Colorado College. Photo/

competition this season while manning the blue line for the T-Birds’ 18U AAA team. “I don’t see myself as an elite player yet, but I started to recognize that

might be the case earlier this season,” Olofsson said. “Last year when I visited CC and then committed, I guess I started to realize it then, too, but I still need to put in the work and keep improving.” The chance for Olofsson to play for a national powerhouse like Colorado

College is an ideal opportunity, noted Thunderbirds director of hockey operations Angelo Ricci. “Gustav has developed into a very special player,” said Ricci. “The scary

thing is his potential is unlimited and I truly believe CC felt the same way. “He possesses great patience with the puck, his first pass is tape-to-tape

and he’s a terrific 1-on-1 defender. CC is very fortunate to be getting such a terrific student-athlete.” “The first time I went to CC, I just fell in love with the place,” admit-

ted Olofsson, whose brother, Freddie, plays for the Thunderbirds’ 15U AAA team (another one of his brothers, 6-year-old Jesper, skates with the Boulder Hockey Club). “It’s a pretty stable environment and just looks like a pretty nice setup. It was everything I expected and then some, and the coaches there are some of the best in the country. When he’ll debut with the Tigers will depend on his continued progress

in the coming seasons. “I’m not sure if I’ll be going there in 2013 or 2014 - that all depends on

my development in Green Bay,” he said. “That organization is run a lot like the Thunderbirds and I’m anxious to get started there.” Olofsson believes in the old adage that hard work pays off, and his

long-term goal is to lace up the skates in the NHL one day. “Back in Sweden, it’s either hockey or soccer and I chose hockey,” he

said. “My dream is to play in the NHL, but I know only a small number of guys get that chance, so if that doesn’t happen, I think I’d be open to going home and playing pro hockey in my hometown. “I just want to play hockey - that’s all I’ve ever wanted to do.”


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20