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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.

A player with a white, black, and blue jersey stands above his kneeling team before a game to lead them in a pre-game speech and prayer.
Lincoln Hjelm of Northstar Christian Academy leads his team before a game. Hjelm, originally from Omaha, just announced his commitment to play Division I at the University of Nebraska-Omaha.
Contributed / Blake Steinbring / Bulldog Photography

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.

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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.

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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.

A player wearing a white jersey with blue and black trim shoots the puck at a goaltender wearing a light blue jersey with navy blue and black pads.
Lincoln Hjelm of Northstar Christian Academy shoots the puck at a Minnesota Lakers goaltender.
Contributed Photo. Blake Steinbring / Bulldog Photography

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.

Sydney Wolf is a reporter for The Rink Live, primarily covering youth hockey. She joined the team in November of 2021 and graduated from St. Cloud State University with a B.S. in Mass Communications and a minor in Writing and Rhetoric Studies and was a part of the University Honors Program.
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