By Kevin Scott
GREAT FALLS, Mont., March 22, 2020 — The Great Falls Americans, who finished up their sixth season as members of the North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL),announced that goaltender Viktor Wennberg has signed his letter of intent to continue his education and play Division III hockey.
Wennberg, who will turn 21 years old on March 31st, is a native of Stockholm, Sweden and will join the Northland College men’s hockey team in Ashland, Wisconsin in the fall of 2020. Northland College is a private liberal arts school located at the top of Wisconsin near Lake Superior.
The Lumberjacks, coached by Seamus Gregory, are an NCAA Division III school. The Lumberjacks men’s hockey team is affiliated with the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) and the Midwest Collegiate Hockey Association (MCHA).
Wennberg played two seasons with the Great Falls Americans (2018-2020) and won 41 of the 50 total games (41-8-1) including two playoff games during the 2020 Fraser Cup Playoffs (playoffs were cut short due to the Coronavirus). The 6’1”, 170 lbs. Swedish sensation amassed 1,350 saves for coach Greg Sears’ team. The new college signee, ranked sixth in the NA3HL, had a 1.93 Goals Against Average (GAA) and an 0.936 save percentage during his 27-game regular season (21-5-1-0). The “Swedish Nightmare” had six shutout victories all coming during the 2019-20 season with his final shutout coming on February 22nd at home against the Bozeman Ice Dogs (1-0).
Here are the results of Viktor Wennberg’s career shutout wins with the Great Falls Americans.
|2019-20 NA3HL Season|
|October 19, 2019||vs. Yellowstone Quake||5-0 WIN|
|October 20, 2019||vs. Yellowstone Quake||4-0 WIN|
|November 8, 2019||@ Helena Bighorns||4-0 WIN|
|November 29, 2019||vs. Missoula Jr. Bruins||5-0 WIN|
|December 31, 2019||@ Helena Bighorns||1-0 WIN|
|February 22, 2020||vs. Bozeman Ice Dogs||1-0 WIN|
Wennberg was one of the best goaltenders for the Americans in recent years and was selected to play in the 2019 Top Prospects Tournament in Attleboro, Massachusetts as a member of the Frontier Division. He made appearances in all three contests and finished the tournament with a record of 1-1-0-1 including a 2-1 overtime win against the Northeast Division and 57 saves.
Wennberg was recognized by the NA3HL throughout his two-year career with Great Falls. He was the NA3HL’s Goaltender of the Month in November 2019 and the college freshman was a 3-time Player of the Month (Honorable Mention). Viktor earned Frontier Division Goaltender of the Week (week ending October 20, 2019), twice earned Frontier Player of the Week (2nd Star) and was the recipient of the Frontier Player of the Week (Honorable Mention) five times.
Prior to playing for the Americans, the NA3HL goaltender played one season for the Florida Eels of the United States Pacific Hockey League in both the Elite and Premier teams. Current Great Falls Americans head coach Greg Sears was the head coach of the United States Premier Hockey League (USPHL) Elite team while he was there.
“Viktor is a good goalie but a better person. He bought into what we were trying to do here, and he did a great job both on and off the ice,” said Great Falls Americans Head Coach and General Manager, Greg Sears. “We are very excited that Viktor has committed to Northland College.”
Viktor grew as a player and a person while playing junior hockey here in Great Falls. “You not only develop as a player, you develop off the ice as a person with your teammates and its been a great experience with this club,” said the outgoing goaltender for the Americans.
“As a goalie and an import (to the United States), my understanding of English and American hockey has vastly improved,” said Wennberg. “In junior hockey, you are put in many hard situations and you have to earn your (roster) spot and that greatly improves a players preparation coming from high school to college.”
Greg and Serena Sears were his host family while playing here. “Greg and Serena took me in (as my host family) and made me a part of their family and I know I will always be a part of their family.”
As one of three international players on the roster, Wennberg was enthusiastic when he spoke about his coach. He stated that he was the best coach he has ever had and the main reason for (Greg’s) success and for him to be a great coach was that he doesn’t only focus on players becoming better but focuses on players being better individuals. Greg was a great coach and an outstanding leader, and he motivated him to do his best every day at practice is what Viktor had to say about his junior college coach.
“I’m very excited to get to the next level (college),” said the young netminder. He looks forward to representing a school since Sweden doesn’t have any school sports and earning a roster spot.
The “Swedish Nightmare” wanted to personally thank the Great Falls Americans supporters, coaching staff and teammates for making this one of his most amazing experiences of his life. “This is the way junior hockey is supposed to be,” he stated in reference to the community support in Great Falls that isn’t felt in other cities.
His home country of Sweden is where former Great Falls Americans head coach (1998-2001) Rikard Gronberg is now the head mentor of the Swedish men’s national hockey team.
Wennberg plans on majoring in Graphic Design and minoring in Sports Management with hopes to become a hockey coach in the future.
Click here to view Viktor Wennberg’s statistics for the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons.
Click here for a full listing of the NA3HL college commitments.
“WE ARE SOLDIERS” Video Created By Viktor Wennberg (2020)
Additional Media Coverage: March 20, 2020: ABC/FOX Montana (KFBB): Great Falls Americans’ Goalie Viktor Wennberg commits to Northland University
Additional Media Coverage: March 22, 2020: 406 MT Sports: Great Falls hockey goalie signs with Northland College in Wisconsin
Additional Media Coverage: March 23, 2020: North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL): Great Falls goaltender Wennberg makes NCAA commitment
Additional Media Coverage: April 6, 2020: North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL): The 3 Show (4/3/20): The 3 Show profiled over a dozen players (including Viktor Wennberg) that made NCAA commitments or NAHL tenders. The NAHL Commissioner and President Mark Frankenfeld also discusses the state of the league. Wennberg profile comes at the 6:03 mark.