They say some of the greatest scorers ever to play the game were also lacrosse sensations.  In five years of playing short stick for the Junior A Etobicoke Eclipse, Bruins former assist-man Adam Oates scored 735 points and won three straight MVP awards.  Dallas Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk was so good that the Ontario Lacrosse Association annually bestows the Joe Nieuwendyk award to the league's most outstanding rookie.  And John Tavares has long credited his hockey dexteriety with the lacrosse skills inherited from his professional lax playing father.

Oliver Wahlstrom's breakaway goal in Boston.
        Add to this elite class of hockey superstars Oliver Wahlstrom, a Peewee forward on the Portland Pirates '97 birth-year team.  Over the past two weeks, the 9-year Maine native has left millions in awe after flawlessly executing a lacrosse inspired behind-the-back spin-o-rama breakaway goal in a Mini One-on-One showdown at the TD Banknorth center in Boston, Massachusetts.  That goal has immediately catapulted Oliver to international stardom among sports fans in the US, Canada, and his father's home country of Sweden. 

And yet, many do not know even how impressive Oliver's young hockey career has been so far.  At the age of 9, Oliver plays for a Tier 1 AAA Peewee Major team in Portland, Maine, ranked 100 in the country at that age level.  This means that he plays with and against players two and three years older than himself.  This is reminiscent of years ago when Wayne Gretzky played at the Peewee level as a Mite in Ontario.  Perhaps Oliver's hockey abilities come from his father, Joakim Wahlstrom, who grew up in Sweden before attending and playing for the University of Maine.  During that time Wahlstrom played with UMaine standouts and former veteran NHL netminders Mike Dunham and Garth Snow. 

This past week, HockeyBarn.com had the opportunity to sit down one-on-one with Oliver and Joakim and learn, in their own words, about the hockey move that has swept the nation.

HockeyBarn.com: How old was Oliver when he first started skating? 
Joakim Wahlstrom: Oliver first started crawling on the ice with his skates when he was 2 years old.  He learned to skate at the age of 3.


HB: Who is your favorite player of all-time?
Oliver Wahlstrom: 
Alex Ovechkin is definitely my favorite player.
 

HB: Oliver is only 9 years old, but plays on a team with 11 and 12 year old kids.  This sounds a little bit like the stories we hear about Wayne Gretzky playing with Peewees when he was a Mite.  We know that Gretzky gives lots of credit to his father Walter for his success in hockey, in what ways do you think your role in Olivers hockey career has helped his development?
JW: Oliver has a big passion for sports and particularly Ice Hockey, most of what he is doing on the ice or in any other sport is driven by himself.  He is very stubborn in making sure he can complete what he is trying to do. He keeps practicing until he feels that he has something down.

All I can do as a parent is to guide him and direct drills and movement in a direction that he then can practice. We spend a lot of time off the ice for different drills both with the stick as well as without. Oliver also plays Lacrosse and Soccer, and we focus a lot on those sports as well. Most of his moves and ideas comes from him playing in the back yard, living room etc.

I believe his way of imagining and fantasizing as he plays himself as well as with friends is what drives him.  He plays a lot with his older sister Alexandra as well in several sports.  I also believe that 20% of creating a positive environment for the kids and sports might not come from the actual practice or game itself. It comes from what they are exposed to, going to other games, watching pro sports, going with friends to activities and sporting events of all kinds, reading about other athletes, etc.  If you force your kid to play a sport that they dont love for themselves you will probably not find success.

That being said, we are very firm on continuing and following through with things that we have signed them up for. I believe the kids need to learn about diversity and find ways around it to get stronger both in school as well as in sports; if we pull them out constantly as soon as something goes wrong or they dont like something I believe you install a poor self image and no accountability.  We try to give them a good balance of sports while ensuring that school comes first.

Photo Courtesy of DVMSports.com
HB: I think a lot of people would firmly agree that it is very important to give your kids a proper balance of sports when they are at a young age. 
Oliver, how many times have you practiced "the move"?
OW: On and off for a year or so.


HB: How many times have you pulled it off before?
OW: I have scored some goals on it in practice every now and then. 


HB: And finally, how many requests to do that move again do you think youll receive this season?!
OW:  It feels like it's been millions already.


HB: Yes, and I'm sure that lots of players wish they could pull that one off.  For all the hockey players out there, both young and old, that would love to pull off your spin-o-rama move, walk us through the move and tell us how its done...
OW:  Okay. Start with a lacrosse stick and a ball and learn to cradle the ball. Then try to cradle the puck on the stick in the air.  Next you need to learn how to pick the puck up on the blade standing still, then try to spin around with the puck.  All this should happen when you play street hockey first, maybe even knee hockey.  Once you have it down try it on the ice standing still first and then with speed. Have fun and dont get sad if it doesnt work in the beginning.  Try again and again.

HB: Thanks for the tips.  With a move like that youd have a chance at scoring on any given goaltender in the National Hockey League.  If you could go in on a breakaway against any NHL goalie who would it be and why?
OW: Definitely Martin Brodeur; he is awesome. I actually scored one on Hannu Toivonen at practice this summer when he was practicing in our rink. That was fun.

HB:  In the video the goalie on the other team looks absolutely stunned.  What did he say to you after the shot or after the competition?
OW: I have not met him yet, but I will soon. He is a great kid and I want to talk to him and play with him. I dont think he will let me score one again on him. I have to come up with something else.

HB:  Youve been featured on Sportscenter, TSN, Swedish television, and have received all sorts of fame from your dazzling move.  Whats been the coolest part of this whole experience?
OW: It has been really fun.  I would say the best part has been talking to Jeremy Roenick on the phone, getting goodies on the plane rides, and seeing things I have never seen before.

HB:  That sounds like a great time.  Can you tell us a little bit about the next big move that you're working on?
OW:  You will see it soon.

HockeyBarn.com: And finally, a question for Joakim.  What would you like to see as the next level of progression in Olivers burgeoning hockey career?
Joakim Wahlstrom: A smile on his face with whatever he wants to try going forward.

Thank you, Oliver and Joakim.  We expect to hear great things about Oliver's hockey career for many years to come.

Leave your comments and messages for Oliver in the comment section, below.