When 9-year-old Oliver Wahlstrom earned ESPN’s No. 1 Play of the Day earlier this week, his father’s phone began ringing off the hook.
Wahlstrom is the son of former University of Maine winger Joakim Wahlstrom and what he did to earn the top Play of the Day was unveil an eye-opening move during the New England Sports Network’s Mini One-on-One competition that airs between periods of Boston Bruins games.
Oliver Walhstrom maneuvered the puck up onto his stick and balanced it there chest-high before doing a 360-degree spin and flipping the puck into the net past a startled goaltender.
The response has been overwhelming.
“I can’t describe what the last 24 hours have been like. We’re in shock. It has been unbelievable, especially when NHL players call us,” said Joakim who, along with Oliver, daughter Alexandra and wife Penelope were flown to New York City to film segments for a host of shows including ESPN, Fox and a Swedish TV station that is sending a crew up from Washington, D.C.
“Oliver’s move blew everybody away,” said Joakim.
Washington Capitals star Alexander Ovechkin and recently-retired NHLer Jeremy Roenick have been among those who have congratulated Oliver along with Boston Bruins radio color man and former Black Bear and Bruin Bob Beers.
Joakim has heard from several ex-Maine teammates.
“It has been fun to hear from everybody,” said Joakim.
Oliver has also been invited to a Boston Bruins game and a Portland Pirates contest.
Wahlstrom said his son began perfecting the move in knee hockey — played on knees with plastic sticks and a ball in confined spaces like hotel hallways — and it further evolved during street hockey and ice hockey.
“He nails it just about every time,” said Wahlstrom, who figured his son has scored “two or three goals” off the move during games. “He does it when he has enough space.”
Oliver’s lacrosse training has helped him perfect the move.
Joakim Wahlstrom said the best aspect of the experience is his son has helped put “the fun back into hockey.”
The Mini One-on-One competition was filmed in its entirety in one day.
Wahlstrom and goalie Conrad Albert represented the Portland Junior Pirates’ 97 AAA team.
“I can’t tell you how it ends but they did very, very well,” said Wahlstrom, who added his son unveils another move during a Mini One-on-One episode.
The Wahlstroms recently moved back to Cumberland from New Hampshire and Joakim is the general manager of the Saco-based Portland Junior Pirates, which is composed of 12 teams.