Hans Martin Ulvebne set to become Bemidji State's first Norwegian-born skater
Ulvebne, who recently committed to the Beavers, could become the first player from Norway on the Bemidji State men's hockey roster in its Division I era.
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Bemidji State University typically has a handful of international skaters on its men's hockey roster, but — at least to this point — there's never had a player from Norway.
Since the beginning of the Division I era for the Beavers, the program has welcomed numerous hockey players from countries like Finland and Sweden. The squad even has a forward from Poland this season. But still none from Norway.
That's about to change in the near future.
Hans Martin Ulvebne, born and raised in Oslo, recently announced his commitment to BSU. The 18-year-old is currently playing with the Corpus Christi IceRays in the North American Hockey League (NAHL) and leads his team in points with 27 in 32 games.
Ulvebne didn't come from a hockey family in Norway — neither of his parents played the sport. When he was around the age of five or six, his father took him skating. After a handful of tries, Hans took a liking to it and started to play with friends. He also grew up skiiing and playing tennis, soccer, and golf, all of which he still likes a bit of in his free time.
In Norway, the 6-foot forward competed for Valerenga U16 and U18 teams before making the move to the U.S.
Ulvebne suited up for Selects Academy in South Kent, Conn. for the 2019-20 season before then joining the Bishop Kearney Selects program in Rochester, New York, for two seasons. Over the years, he has also suited up in a couple of games on the international stage, representing Norway at the U16 and U18 levels.
Moving to the United States wasn't a particularly easy transition for the Oslo native. He knew a little English from school, but speaking it all day was tough when he first arrived. After living here for a few years, he says it's no longer an issue.
Ulvebne's family has remained in Norway throughout his time in America, but he tries to go back home a few times each year around the holidays and in the offseason.
Congratulations to 18U BKS Forward Hans Ulvebne on signing a NAHL Tender with the Corpus Christi Ice Rays… Hans has been an extremely dedicated student-athlete during his 2 years at BK and we can’t wait to see him continue to succeed at the next level! #bkselects #opportunity pic.twitter.com/uDEydOJrpC— Bishop Kearney Selects Boys (@BKSelectsboys) December 15, 2021
The 183-pound forward put up good numbers in 2021-22 with the Bishop Kearney Selects 18U squad — 72 points in 56 games — and ultimately signed a tender with Corpus Christi.
This season, his first full year of junior hockey, Ulvebne leads his team in assists (19) and total points (27) after 32 games played. He has picked up a couple points on special teams as well, including a power-play goal, five power-play assists and a shorthanded goal over the season so far.
Collegiate programs have been reaching out to the Norwegian over the past few years, but Bemidji State started to come into the picture over the last couple of months.
Welcome to #BeaverTerritory, Hans Martin Ulvebne!#GoBeavers pic.twitter.com/VZFpHZVH4V— Bemidji State Men’s Hockey (@BSUBeaversMHKY) January 25, 2023
"Benidji State was kind of always at the top for me, I knew that it was a really good program," said Ulvebne.
The international skater hasn't visited the campus yet, but he was recently able to take a virtual tour and enjoyed what he saw. Even though he hasn't been to Bemidji, he does have some familiarity with the state of Minnesota after visiting for the NAHL showcase in Blaine.
If Ulvebne stays committed to the program and comes to campus in a few seasons, Bemidji State will have its first-ever player from Norway on the Division I mens hockey roster sooner rather than later. The forward plans on bringing his speed, strong hockey sense and playmaking abilities to the Beavers — likely in the fall of 2024.
The Oslo native is averaging 0.84 points-per-game in the NAHL and hopes to keep improving his game throughout his junior hockey experience.
"My goal is to play professional and I've always wanted to play college hockey, and it's a big accomplishment to me to be able to do that," he said.
The top plays in the NAHL from January 16-22, 2023 presented by @USAFRecruiting— NAHL (@NAHLHockey) January 24, 2023
5. Andrew Clarke - @StCloudNorsemen
4. Luke Roelofs - @BismarckBobcats
3. Hans Martin Ulvebne - @iceraysnahl
2. Jack Wieneke - @BlackBearsNAHL
1. Thomas Heaney - @MaineNordiques pic.twitter.com/QAu0uTmRDZ
The IceRays have some work to do before the end of the season as the team currently sits in the cellar of the South Division. The team has won three of its last four games though, so the tide may be turning in the second half of the season.
"It certainly hasn't gone the way we want it to. We had a pretty good weekend this past week though and I think we're on a good path now from that. I hope we can turn things around and keep playing like that."