Teemu Kivihalme has a hockey story that could only happen in America, by way of Finland.
One who did not know better would presume from the name that the puck-moving defenceman hails from someplace such as Hämeenlinna or Helsinki. Kivihalme, who is ranked 64th among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting, is actually dual Finnish-American citizen. His father and coach at Burnsville (Minn.) High School, Janne Kivihalme, immigrated to the U.S. midwest as an exchange student and ended up settling there. A generation later, Teemu Kivihalme, while being a Karlssonish slight 5-foot-11¼ and 161 pounds, has impressed scouts with his speed, skill and son-of-a-coach smarts.
"I try to treat it as no different," Kivihalme, who also played for the USHL's Fargo Force last season, says of playing for his dad in the Minnesota high school ranks. "He's really on me. He tries to tell the team that he treats me no differently than any other player. He's on me constantly, on and off the ice. It's good for me. He definitely helped me as a player growing up.
"It's great having my American side and my Finnish side," adds the Colorado College recruit, whom in case you're wondering, is named after future Hall of Famer Teemu Selanne. "The family on the Finnish side is really proud of me. I try to visit every summer. It's unique, not every kid has that."Read More »from NHL draft tracker: Teemu Kivihalme, Burnsville Blaze