In 1988, shockwaves were sent throughout Canada and California when Canadian icon and arguably the greatest hockey player to ever play the game, Wayne Gretzky, was traded from the Edmonton Oilers to the Los Angeles Kings. But the after-effects of that trade created a hockey boom in the Golden State and its legacy is still felt more than 25 years later. 29 NHL players have called California home, and an even greater number fill out the ranks of the top North American junior leagues and NCAA collegiate teams.
As long as Brady Skjei can remember, he wanted to be a Minnesota Gopher. His grandfather Stan Skjei and relative Brett Sadek both played football at the University of Minnesota and like many other players born in the self-proclaimed State of Hockey, Skjei went to many games at Mariucci Arena in Minneapolis hoping to one day be on the other side of the Plexiglas representing the school as a student-athlete.
Team USA started their quarterfinal contest against Russia on the offensive, scoring three goals to take a 3-2 lead into the first intermission. But a string of USA penalties in the second period swung the momentum towards Russia as they scored the last three goals of the game to take the win, 5-3.
While a majority of the players on the roster for Sweden at the 2014 World Junior Championship were plucked directly from that country, there is a handful of Swedes that are plying their trade in North America. One such player is defenseman Gustav Olofsson, a Minnesota Wild prospect who is currently playing NCAA hockey for Colorado College.