Norway may be the top winter sports country in the world, but hockey has never really caught on.
"The Polar Bears" have been part of the International Ice Hockey Federation since 1935, but they have generally been a 2nd tier nation at best. At the end of the 2009 season they were ranked 12th in the world. With a population of 4.6 million people, only about 6400 of them play hockey, with 2/3rds of that number being youth. There are about 400 female players in the country that has 37 indoor rinks.
So you can imagine most hockey players in Norway don't dream of the National Hockey League when they are growing up. But Anders Myrvold did.
Anders Myrvold's stint in the NHL was short. He only played in a total of 13 big league games. But by doing so he became the second Norwegian to play in the NHL after the Norwegian legend Bjorn Skaare.
Anders came over to play in Sweden as a 15-year old where he spend two seasons. In Sweden his trainers thought that he was overly aggressive and that he was yapping too much with his opponents. Yet his aggressiveness earned him the attention of NHL scouts. The Quebec Nordiques drafted Myrvold with the 127th overall draft pick in 1993.
After his two year stint in Sweden Myrvold decided to test his game at a higher level. He decided to play Canadian Junior Hockey. He played the 1994-95 season for the Laval Titans in the QMJHL. He was one of Laval's steadiest defensemen and had a fine 14 goals, 50 assists and 64 points in 64 games while also picking up a hard earned 173 PIMs. It was his toughness that caught the attention of the scouts. His agent Pat Brisson arranged that Anders would keep in shape during the summer of 1995. Anders was working out in LA together with players like Wayne Gretzky, Chris Chelios, Ed Belfour, Mathieu Schneider and Bob Probert.
Anders had a very fine rookie camp for the relocated Colorado Avalanche and immediately made the team. In his first NHL game against Detroit he was tested by several players, most notably Martin Lapointe. Anders did well in his NHL debut and his coach Marc Crawford liked what he saw from the young Norwegian. Crawford saw him as a potential powerplay specialist.
But his NHL odyssey didn't last long. After only four games Anders was sent down to the Cornwall Aces (AHL) where he played for the rest of the season, where he would learn the professional game. Colorado went on to win the Stanley Cup that season without Anders. By the way, in his short time in Colorado, he was the only player other than Patrick Roy to wear sweater number 33 in franchise history.
Early in the 1996-97 season Anders was traded to the Boston Bruins. He got the chance in nine more NHL games but didn't impress the Bruins staff enough to earn a regular spot on the blueline. He spend almost the entire season with the Providence Bruins in the AHL.
The 97-98 season didn't start all that well for Anders. He was cut from the Bruins roster during training camp and went on to play yet another season for a dreadful Providence team.
Anders' patience was finished and he requested to be released by Boston. They obliged and he quickly signed a contract with AIK, a team in the Swedish Elite league for the 98-99 season. Anders was back on square one, where his quest for the NHL had started...Sweden.
After two seasons in SEL, Myrvold would return to North American, lured back by his dream of playing in the NHL. He signed with the New York Islanders late in the summer of 2000. Yet the dream would not be realized again, as he spent all but 12 games in the minor leagues.
In 2001-02 he once again fled the AHL for Europe, this time signing in Switzerland. In the summer of 2002 he signed with the Florida Panthers, but never played with them. In 2003 he signed with the Detroit Red Wings, but only got into 8 games with the Wings, the last 8 games of his NHL career.
During the NHL lockout season of 2004-05 Myrvold returned to Norway where he signed with Valerengen in Oslo, and concentrated on representing Norway at the world championships. Unfortunately for Myrvold, his life became an unmitigated disaster at this time. In 2005 he was arrested on charges of possession of cocaine. He later admitted to his drug use and went into rehab. Then two days before Christmas 2006, a drunken Myrvold was attacked outside an Oslo bar. In the fight he fell, hitting his head on the pavement. He badly fractured his skull, needed 60 stitches to his scalp, and suffered from head injuries for much of the next year.
Myrvold was able to make a full recovery from the fractured skull, and even returned to the ice. He finished off his hockey career representing Norway at the 2008 World Hockey Championships. He failed to register a point in 7 games, but in classic Myrvold fashion he played his physical style, earning 22 minutes in penalties.