Out on Olimb
by Andrew Podnieks|13 MAY 2018
Norwegian brothers Mathis and Ken Andre Olimb try to beat Latvian goaltender Elvis Merzlikins.
photo: Andre Ringuette / HHOF-IIHF Images
There is no official IIHF record for this, but it is unlikely that any pair of brothers have played more consecutive World Championships than Mathis Olimb and his brother Ken Andre.
They are an important part of the team here in Herning, and this makes it their NINTH consecutive World Championship playing together.
Eat your hearts out, Daniel and Henrik!
It’s always something special when we can play together. We’ve been lucky enough to play for the national team for so many years, but we enjoy it.
Ken Andre Olimb
Norwegian forward
In many ways, they are making up for lost time. Born and raised together, like most brothers, Mathis was three years older, which in hockey terms ins an eternity, especially in youth hockey.
“We didn’t play at all when we were young,” Ken Andre continued. “There is a three-year difference, and he was way better. The first time we played together was with our club team when I was 17. It was my first year as a pro.”
That was with Valerenga Oslo. Ken Andre started the year with the junior team but quickly earned promotion, playing most of the season together. But then they went their separate ways. Ken Andre stayed in Oslo another year before joining IF Frisk Asker, and Mathis went to Augsburg in Germany.
“After Valerenga, we didn’t play again until two years ago,” Ken Andre continued. “It was about 10 years we didn’t play together on a club team. We always talked about playing together, but we always agreed that it has to be right for both of us. The team has to want us both.”
Olimb brothers top plays
13 MAY 2018
Mathis, the more skilled of the two, if truth be told, was signed by the Chicago Blackhawks as a free agent in 2010, but he was assigned to the team’s AHL affiliate in Rockford and never got a call to the big time. At season’s end, he returned to Frolunda Gothenburg, in Sweden, where had played the previous year.
But as Ken Andre said, the two both signed with Linkoping for the 2016/17 season and were re-united for two years. The upcoming season will again see a change as Ken Andre goes to Dusseldorf.
Of course, the advantage of having them play together is their familiarity with each other. “We know how each other likes to move, so we make a good combination together,” Ken Andre suggested.
And the good news for Norway is that Mathis is still only 32 and Ken Andre 29, so they have time together still. “We hope to play a few more years together on the national team,” Ken Andre said. “And maybe we’ll finish our careers together on the same club team. It’s hard to say now.”
For the immediate future, they’re here trying to keep Norway in the top division and earn as many points in the standings. Brothers, united in cause.