After one season with the Fairbanks Ice Dogs, 19-year-old forward Oliver Kjaer is headed back home to Denmark where he signed his first professional contract with the Rodovre Mighty Bulls.
The Bulls, who play in the Metal Ligaen, the top tier of Danish ice hockey, announced their contract with Kjaer on May 19.
“He’s signing his first pro contract and is getting paid to play hockey and we just couldn’t be more excited for him,” Ice Dogs head coach Trevor Stewart said over the phone on Thursday.
“The thought process from teams over there was that they wanted him to come to North America and play against his peers and have success against his peers, which he definitely did.
“They evaluated him throughout the year and there were multiple teams that offered him contracts, but he ended up signing with Rodovre and they’re pretty confident that he is going to be able to have a positive impact on their hockey club.”
Kjaer led Fairbanks with 1.19 points per game this season, tapping in 20 goals and making 30 assists through 42 games played. He was also a dominant force on special teams, contributing a team-best 10 power play goals.
He took December off to represent Denmark in the International Ice Hockey Federation U20 World Championship in Belarus.
When he rejoined the Ice Dogs he didn’t skip a beat. On Jan 20, the North American Hockey League named Kjaer its Midwest Division Star of the Week, for his five-point effort, which helped his team to a two-game home sweep of the New Mexico Ice Wolves.
“Now he’ll be playing against grown men and players much older than him and stronger so he’s going to have to have a good summer with strength and conditioning,” Stewart added. “But he showed that he’s able to produce at a high level with us and I think as time progresses he will be able to do that at the next level too.”
Contact News-Miner sports writer Laura Stickells at 459-7530. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMsports.