Before Michael Nordstrom was wearing the “C” across his chest for the Montclair State University men’s ice hockey team, he had no idea he would end up where he is today.
Nordstrom, called “Nordy” by his teammates, hails from Monmouth County, New Jersey, where he learned how to skate at the age of four. By the age of seven, he began to play competitive hockey and quickly fell in love with the game.
Playing varsity ice hockey in high school, Nordstrom spent time looking for colleges that would allow him to continue his career. He was drawn to the culture of the Montclair State ice hockey team.
Entering his freshman year of college, Nordstrom was only 17 years old. He remembers realizing how strong his work ethic would need to be to compete with older, far more experienced players.
Now, in his senior season, Nordstrom is one of the four captains of the men’s ice hockey team. He went from playing defense in his first two years, to playing center in his junior and senior years.
Becoming a captain is the greatest honor he has been given.
“If someone told me my freshman year that I was going to be captain, I would have laughed at him,” Nordstrom said.
Nordstrom commented on how he understands his role on the team.
“I’m not the most skilled guy,” Nordstrom said. “I’m not the guy that stands out on the stat sheet, but my work ethic has really got me to where I am now.”
Rob Martinez, head coach of the team, spoke about Nordstrom’s leadership.
“Mike is definitely a valued leader on and off the ice,” Martinez said. “He thrives in the role due to his incredible dedication, attention to detail and how he communicates with his teammates and the coaching staff.”
Coach Martinez continued to discuss Nordstrom’s incredible work ethic.
“My favorite memory of Mike would be the leadership he demonstrated in our win at Sacred Heart last season,” Martinez said. “He was basically a third coach during the game and his line essentially shut down one of the better teams we played last season, because of his leadership.”
Nordstrom’s first college goal was scored against Connecticut College. Just after scoring, a defenseman from the opposing team knocked him into the goal post. Not realizing how hard he got hit until the adrenaline wore off, he realized he had a huge bruise down his entire shoulder.
“I was so happy, I didn’t even care that I was in so much pain,” Nordstrom said.
Nordstrom’s favorite ice hockey memory at Montclair State is from the team’s fall training trip, right before his freshman year. The trip gave Nordstrom his first collegiate game experience and allowed him to connect and feel a part of a family with his new teammates.
Aside from many freezing 7 a.m. practices, playing through injuries, bumps and bruises, he continues to put in maximum effort.
Coach Martinez sums up his feelings toward Nordstrom.
“The thing I personally will miss the most is the way he takes younger players under his wing and helps them with everything, from academics to on-ice play, when it comes to systems,” Martinez said.
He knows Nordstrom was impactful on all different levels of the game throughout the whole team, both on and off the ice.
Nordstrom wants his dedication and hard work to rub off on younger players.
“I gave up a lot during my four years to make sure hockey was my priority,” Nordstrom said.
He hopes to leave behind his passion for dedication all throughout the team. This is especially true for the younger players who can see how far they can go as long as they are dedicated and put the work in.
Nordstrom is not looking forward to his college career coming to an end, but is confident he can become a coach in the future and give back to the sport that has brought so much joy to his life. He wants other kids to feel that way he has and to be successful, while having great a work ethic and keeping the passion for hockey alive.