Marius Holtet was the darling of Norwegian media on Tuesday after scoring no less than four goals in Monday’s match against France at the ice hockey world championships in Slovakia. Holtet’s astonishing performance won Norway a coveted place in the championships’ quarter finals for only the second time in history.
“It was a great presentation, really great,” Norway’s most famous veteran hockey player, Espen “Shampoo” Knutsen, told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). “It was almost unreal.”
Others were equally impressed after the modest, 27-year-old player from Hamar nailed one goal after another and then, in typical style, refused to take credit for the team’s historic victory. “It was a fantastic performance by the entire team,” Holtet said generously to one reporter after another as media folks lined up to interview him.
After losing to Canada over the weekend, Norway ended up beating France by a score of 5-2, securing the national squad a quarter-finals match against Finland on Thursday afternoon.
As newspaper Aftenposten recalled, it was only a few months ago that Holtet’s future with his current club (Färjestad of Karlstad, Sweden) was uncertain. “Yes, I have to admit it,” the club’s sports boss, Thomas Rundqvist, told Aftenposten. “That’s what can happen when you’re a long way back on the team and your contract is is expiring.”
Holtet ended up winning a new two-year contract, though, after getting a new chance because of injuries to other players. He scored for Färjestad when it counted last season and he’s been a marvel on the ice for Norway during the world championships.
“He’s been good during the entire championships but today (Monday) he really shone,” Norway’s coach Roy Johansen told Aftenposten. Johansen’s team has kept surprising everyone and even had to change all their return airline tickets, because they never expected to stay in the game.
Thursday’s match is scheduled to being at 4:15pm.
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