Lars Rodne lights the lamp wherever he plays.
Whether it’s the Bismarck Bobcats or the U-20 Norway world junior team, the 6-foot-1, 184-pound forward knows how to score goals. Rodne’s next challenge? Burying the biscuit at the NCAA Division I level after committing to Niagara University.
It was a step-by-step process for Rodne, who played professionally in Norway before coming to the United States. Per NCAA rules, he needed to be cleared to play collegiately.
“It was a really long process. We just needed to make sure everything was A OK,” he said. “Basically, I got a text this summer that said I was able to play college hockey. When that happened, I was pretty pumped.”
With Rodne’s offensive prowess, colleges were bound to come calling. In 54 career NAHL games, 50 with the Bobcats, Rodne has scored 27 goals. He’s equally adept at setting up his teammates as his 23 assists show. He also excelled in international play. During the U20 World Junior Classic Division I tournament last December, he led Norway with four points.
While he was not able to visit Niagara, which is located in Lewiston, N.Y., virtual recruiting more than did the trick.
“I started to fall in love with the Niagara program right away,” he said. “When I got the offer, it was kind of a no-brainer I was going there.”
Layne Sedevie, head coach and general manager of the Bobcats, said Rodne earned the opportunity to play at the highest level of college hockey.
“From day one since he’s come to our program, he’s been a difference maker for us,” Sedevie said. “I’m glad that it’s been rewarding for him with the path that he’s taken, and I’m just excited for him and the opportunity he’s been given.”
Earning a D-I scholarship is the latest dream realized for the Stavanger, Norway, native.
“I had a dream my whole life to play in the US,” Rodne said. “When the opportunity came up, it was a no-brainer I was going to hop on it and I never looked back.
“I’ve loved every minute of my time in Bismarck playing for the Bobcats. It’s been a great experience.”
Rodne came prepared. The 20-year-old speaks fluent English.
“I was always fascinated by your guys’ language and I wanted to learn this language,” he said. “If I got the opportunity to come to America, I knew I had to learn how to speak the language. If I couldn’t, I knew it would be a huge problem and I probably couldn’t come here.”
Rodne lives with Ardella and Kent Bellerud in Bismarck, saying he and his teammates are “treated like pros.”
“They are amazing people. We are so fortunate to get to live in their house,” he said. “I’m so thankful for them.”
The comfortable living quarters have been even more important this season. The Bobcats are coming off two weeks of quarantine. Like all NAHL teams, their schedule has been heavily impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Originally scheduled to host St. Cloud tonight and Saturday, those games have been postponed to later in the season.
“It’s been tough. We’ve just been sitting and waiting for decisions to be made,” he said. “We’re taking it day by day and worrying about what we can control. We know the Bobcats and our coaches are doing what’s best for all of us.”
The Bobcats have not played since Oct. 31, but there appears to be some light at the end of the tunnel, albeit faint. The Bobcats are scheduled to host Minot on Wednesday, Nov. 25 at 7:15 p.m.
“We’re really excited to get back on the ice,” Rodne said. “It's a challenging time for everyone with everything that’s going on, but the boys are ready to get back to work doing what we love to do.”
Reach Tribune sports editor Dave Selvig at (701) 250-8246 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Be the first to know
Get local news delivered to your inbox!