Building a dream

TERRY JONES -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:35 AM ET

HALIFAX -- At first, the Norway goalie coach wouldn't allow The Carpenter, The Hammer of Hamar to be interviewed yesterday.

Pal Grotnes, the goalie who faced 52 shots in Norway's 2-1 preliminary loss to Canada, was not allowed to speak in the mixed zone. Instead, Norway sent out another carpenter -- Eirik Skadsdammen.

Skadsdammen, the Iron Man of the Norwegian hockey league, explained he's a carpenter for a different company in a different part of Norway.

Norway has two carpenters on its team, which will try to write the ultimate story by knocking off host Canada in the first world championship ever played here.

Norway also has an electrician and several other tradesmen on the team, which has already reached new heights by getting into the quarter-final game here today.

"We have everybody needed to build a house," coach Roy Johansen joked.

"We got it all covered," said Anders Myrovold, a former NHLer who played a grand total of 33 games with Colorado, Boston, Detroit and the N.Y. Islanders.

"You need anything done, give us a call. You can't call anybody on the Canadian team. They can only play hockey."

It would be a helluva story if Norway won this game.

Norwegian reporters spent the morning interviewing Canadian writers asking how our nation would handle it if Norway managed to knock off Team Canada.

"I'm going back to Columbus," said Canadian head coach Ken Hitchcock when asked the question.

Norway has only two NHL players and neither are here. A handful play in Sweden and Germany, and a dozen play as amateurs and semi-pros in Norway.

Grotnes and his mates may have been the best story of the tournament in the beginning but a 9-1 loss to the U.S. yesterday and a 4-1 loss to Latvia the day before changed that. Maybe that's why goalie coach Per Erik Alcen decided not to give Grotnes his moment in the spotlight.

George Kingston, the Calgarian who headed up Norway hockey leading up to the Lillehammer Olympics and is back running the program, finally produced The Carpenter for media.

Grotnes said he's happy to be both a saver and a sawer.

"I like carpentry. I don't mind doing both. I like having something else to do. Otherwise, every day is Saturday."

Grotnes took Finland to overtime and Canada to the final four minutes before Rick Nash scored to win it 2-1 in the preliminary round. Now it's the game which either sends the Polar Bears to the medal round in Quebec City or back to Oslo.

"It would do a lot for the game back home," coach Johansen said. "It would mean more money. We struggle for everything."

The Norwegian players spent yesterday working on the think-we-can, think-we-can, think-we-can approach.

"We have to believe," said Skadsdammen, who added the Norwegians respect, admire and envy the Canadians, but don't fear them.

"It would be a dream to be a professional hockey player like the Canadian guys. I think about it all the time," said Skadsdammen, who makes about $40,000 US playing for Storhamar and about the same pounding nails.

Myrvold says this is special stuff we're dealing with here.

"This is the first time for Norway in the quarter-finals. This is a dream come true."

And he says the ultimate upset of this tournament can indeed happen.

"We have Viking blood!"


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