After a year and a half, discount I was finally back at the Madhouse this past weekend for the Chicago Blackhawks’ third home game of the 2013-2014 season. And though I’m not superstitious, generic I happily rocked my Toews jersey as number #19 scored his second goal of the season and helped the team snap a two-game losing streak.
But something special also happened that night: Blackhawks’ rookie Joakim Nordstrom scored his first NHL goal. The look on his face was pure elation, and with his superior skills on the ice and super sweet looks, Nordstrom has definitely earned this week’s HAM of the Week.
The adorable Swede, who said he would send the puck back home to his parents, has been ever so determined to play in the NHL. And while the Blackhawks’ penalty-killing skills are still a work in progress despite having the third-best penalty kill in the league last season, Nordstrom seems at ease with teammate and fellow Swede Marcus Kruger. We can definitely sense a bromance brewing.
Although the Blackhawks drafted the twenty-one-year-old center as a third-round pick in 2010, he made his NHL debut this month, and has played in every game since.
At 6’1’, 160”, don’t let his rookie status and lack of strength fool you. He’s shown awareness to the game and a fearless attitude in the preseason, scoring major points off the ice in our book.
The Tyreso, Sweden native began his hockey career with the Hanvikens SK youth league. He then moved to the AIK junior league ice hockey section of the Swedish Hockey League in Stockholm in 2008. He divided his time between three levels of the AIK’s J20 and J18 teams, netting 16 points in 39 regular-season games. He continued to split his time between three levels of the AIK section Swedish Hockey League over the next three seasons through 2012 (the AIK for two seasons, Almtuna IS for one), yielding 45 points in 129 regular season games and three points in 11 postseason contests.
Nordstrom helped lead his country to the gold medal at the 2012 World Junior Championships, where he had four goals and one assist in six contests as an assistant captain. He received a silver medal in the same championship with the team in 2010.
Nordstrom signed with the Blackhawks in 2012, but he continued to play in the AIK Swedish Hockey League for the 2012-2013 season, and then joined the Rockford Ice Hogs in March 2013. Nordstrom scored five goals and four assists in 43 regular-season games that season with the AIK league and three assists in 11 games with the IceHogs.
Nordstrom points out the differences in playing on American soil versus his native Sweden in this interview following his debut with the IceHogs.
Hockey also runs in the family: younger brother Dennis currently plays in the AIK ice hockey section and older brother Jimmy plays for the Tyreso/Hanviken league. Joakim played with both brothers in the Hanvikens SK youth league.
While the center might not be as social-media savvy as his new teammates, he’s certainly got the looks. With the dirty blonde hair, milky-white skin, piercing hazel eyes and baby-faced look, we think he could totally pass for a younger Patrick Kane. He’s single, loves tacos, is devoted to the sport, and his perfect English is a major turn-on.
Number 42 seems to be bursting with confidence this season, and judging by his play in last Friday’s game, he’s bound to make great strides.