Photo by Rena Laverty
For Owen Lindmark, the 2018 USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game at Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul, Minnesota, was a night and an event to remember.
“It was awesome,” he said. “It was a real honor to go out and represent the top American players in the event. I was able to meet some new guys and interact and play with them at the game.
“The Minnesota Wild did a great job in setting the event up. It was a really special night and to play in front of the fans, it is something I will not forget.”
Lindmark, who was a member of Team Jamie Langenbrunner, came away with the 6-4 victory over Team Jordan Leopold. More than anything, he took away a few suggestions from Coach Langenbrunner over the course of a few days.
“He was telling us that this is just another game,” Lindmark said. “He said we need to go out and leave it all on the ice. We can’t take any shifts off. He told us to go out and have fun and remember who you are as a player.”
With the fun of the AAPG behind him, the Naperville, Illinois, native is very focused on his second season with the USA Hockey National Team Development Program. He loves the bond that he has with his Under-18 “brothers.”
“It really helps knowing that this team has a bond that is really strong,” said Lindmark. “Everybody is close — there are no rifts. We are really one team and I think everyone is close to each other.
“This bond is so important. It is really like I have 21 brothers. That is really what sets this team apart from other ones I have been on.”
In addition, he credits the program for helping develop his game from his first season to now.
“I have definitely developed my confidence,” said the 6-foot, 184-pound forward. “Every day you are working to get better and they have everything you need to do that whether it is in skill development, skating or weight training. You are going to get better with it and it will make us more competitive on the ice and help in our game.”
Lindmark also is excited to add the college games to the team’s schedule this year. He knows that the competition will be huge for each player on the team.
“It is a good challenge for us,” he said. “I do not have one favorite team to play. I think we plan to go in with the attitude and mentality that we want to beat them. We know that everyone needs to play their best to make that happen.”
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If Lindmark did have to circle one game on the calendar, it’d have to be the Jan. 12 contest at the University of Wisconsin, where he will play his college hockey next season.
“I think it will be pretty cool to play against my future team,” Lindmark said. “I’m taking every game the same. I need to focus on the next game and not who we are playing. I want to become a better player.”
It was an easy decision when it came to his future college team.
“The coaching staff is the best I have met. Personally, they are easy to talk to,” he remarked. “The campus is awesome, and Madison is such a great city. I look forward to playing there but right now, I am just focused on this year.”
This year is a key one for Lindmark. He tallied 18 goals and 37 points in 61 games last season as the Under-17 team finished the year in record-breaking fashion. He understands that they cannot rest on last year’s laurels.
“Everyone had some ups and downs last year,” he stated. “We know that we must put in the work this season. Everyone has gotten down to business. In practice, we are definitely pushing each other. The competition in each practice is definitely getting us ready.”
It really helps knowing that this team has a bond that is really strong. Everybody is close — there are no rifts. We are really one team and I think everyone is close to each other.
He truly appreciates the U18 coaching staff — John Wroblewski, Dan Hinote and Kevin Lind — knowing the right buttons to push to help him and his teammates reach their goals.
“This is the one area that I really appreciate,” said Lindmark. “The way the coaching staff approaches practice, they really put thought and effort into it. We can never give up or take a shift off. They want us to challenge ourselves.
“The coaches love to see us compete. It really shows our dedication and determination. They work hard so we can focus on the next game and they are prepared to really help us succeed.”
Lindmark also has another cheering section in his parents Steve and Monica. Both are former collegiate athletes, as Steve played football and baseball at Augustana College and Monica ran track at Truman State University.
“It’s really helpful to have parents that played college sports,” Lindmark said. “They know what it takes to make it to that level. They motivate me every day and push me to be the best that I can be.
“They really made sure that I have resources I need and helped me with my training this summer. They had to give us to help me out so I’m really thankful to them.”
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.
Photo by Rena Laverty