Lincoln Hjelm commits to the Division I program that inspired his love for the game long ago
Omaha native Lincoln Hjelm currently plays for Northstar Christian Academy in Alexandria, Minn., but he recently announced his commitment to play for his hometown team at the University of Nebraska-Omaha.
ALEXANDRIA, Minn. — As Lincoln Hjelm started the recruiting process he wasn't quite sure what NCAA programs would reach out to him, but one school always stood out at the back of his mind.
"I was probably around 3 years old, the very first hockey game I went to was at Nebraska-Omaha," said Hjelm.
"I immediately fell in love with the sport and all the banging around and the fast pace and I knew I wanted to be out there someday."
Fast forward about 13 years and the high school junior has earned a commitment to play for the program that inspired his love for the sport many years before.
"Growing up I told myself that I wanted to play Division I hockey ... It's always been a dream of mine to go there," he said.
I am extremely excited to announce my commitment to play division 1 college hockey and further my academic career at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. I would like to thank my family, coaches, friends, and most importantly my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! @OmahaHKY #gomavs #agtg pic.twitter.com/utwEaQ524A— Lincoln Hjelm (@HjelmLincoln) November 24, 2022
Growing up in Omaha, there were a good number of hockey players around but the sport was still sort of emerging in the community.
Lincoln grew up playing hockey alongside his older brother, Kaden . When Kaden eventually decided to seek opportunities in the sport outside of the state of Nebraska, he ended up hearing about Northstar Christian Academy, located in Alexandria, Minnesota, where he played for two seasons.
"As he went up there and played, I saw how he changed as a player and I wanted to be there too," said Lincoln about his older brother's experience at NCA.
The 16-year-old Hjelm is currently in his second year with the Knights and has been consistently a point-per-game player.
"When I'm playing my best hockey I'm winning faceoffs, pressing the puck hard, forechecking, throwing the body, and setting up my teammates for success whether that's playing defense or getting the puck up and scoring goals," said the 6-foot center.
Hjelm is currently second in total points on his team with 11 goals and 16 assists in 24 games for the Knights 16U AAA squad.
The junior has a good feeling about the Northstar Christian Academy squad this year.
"We're probably the best 16U team that Northstar has had so far ... I've had an opportunity to be a real leader on the team and I feel like every day we're making strides in the right direction," he said.
The 16-year-old isn't sure what the future holds, since there is still a few years before he will head to college at UNO, but he was drafted by Waterloo of the USHL in the seventh round this past summer.
Hjelm tries to not focus on the future too much but instead take things one day at a time.
Committing to the school that he grew up loving so much isn't something that was just important for Lincoln, but also a big deal to his family.
"It's a big thing for them, they are so proud of me and they've been so supportive since I started playing hockey, they're the best parents I could ask for," said the Omaha native.
When he's not out on the ice, Hjelm is a student of the sport of hockey and enjoys studying the game. He also grew up playing baseball but stopped competing in high school after throwing out his arm. He can be found golfing or reading in his free time as well.