Olmstead Looks to Revive Hockey Career in Charlestown

By: 
Dickie Dunn
Charlestown Gazette

CHARLESTOWN–It has been quite some time since former BFA St. Albans hockey player, and current Sports Editor at the Newport Daily Express, Mike Olmstead, has laced up his skates in a competitive game.
In a press release by Charlestown Chiefs General Manager Mr. McGrath, the team was happy to announce that Olmstead was invited to participate in the team’s summer workouts with the promise of an opportunity to join the team if he does well.
The Chiefs currently compete in the Federal League, and after losing star players Jack, Steve, and Jeff Hanson to the NHL, the team is looking to bolster their roster.
“We are happy to have Mike come and try to earn a spot on our team,” said head coach Reggie Dunlop. “We saw the numbers he put up in Florida, as well as his ability to mix it up when things start getting nasty, and we believe he has the tools to make it as a Chief.”
“This kind of came out of the blue,” said Olmstead, who was reached at his office at the Daily Express in Newport on Sunday. “It has been awhile since I last took to the ice, but I am hoping that I can get back on the horse and make the team.”
Olmstead last competed for the West Palm Beach Planet Ice All-Stars during the 1996-1997 season, but spent most of his time with club being suspended from action due to an on-ice altercation with several members of a team from Orlando.
Ironically, the All-Stars would win the League Championship that year, the only title Olmstead has won in his career.
Since then Olmstead has served as an assistant coach from the Lyndon Institute boys hockey team, as well as the North Country girls team.
Newly named Chief captain Ned Braden weighed in on the issue, saying, “As you know I’m not one for the rough stuff, but if he (Olmstead) can bring a scorer’s touch to the team, as well as the toughness to compete in the Federal League, then by all means, let’s sign him.”
One of the few Chief players that has seen Olmstead play is goaltender Denis Lemieux.
Having grown up near the Vermont-Canada border, Lemieux’s Bedford, Quebec team would be invited to play in tournaments in Olmstead’s hometown of St. Albans.
Said Lemieux, “I know he has a heck of a shot. He once blew one by me from centre ice that I’m still baffled by. There must be something in the air in St. Albans, because every time I would play down there I would get sick.”
Olmstead’s coach at BFA, Toby Ducolon, was asked what he thinks his former player’s chances were of making the team.
“Anything’s possible. I didn’t think he would be able to do a Wheel Run in under an hour, but he did, so more power to him. It’s always nice to see former Bobwhites get an opportunity to play the game at a higher level.”
Olmstead says he plans to start training immediately, and hopes to enlist former North Country standout Ed Gaudreau to help with his on ice conditioning.
He said he will continue to work for the Express while training, but might have to take a sabbatical in the summer to really ramp things up.
“I’m not going to lie, it’s going to be a grind,” said Olmstead. “Forty years old is not the usual age for someone to try to enter the world of professional hockey, but if Gordie (Howe) could come back and play into his fifties, then I might as well give it a shot.”
Coach Dunlop also spoke to Olmstead’s age, saying, “Is forty on the older side of things? Absolutely, but we think Mike’s high hockey IQ, and ability to throw a mean left hook will help him find a spot with our club.”
Olmstead wasn’t the only player that was extended an invitation to the summer workouts, as two others are also headed to Charlestown this summer.
In an odd twist of events, former Syracuse Bulldogs’ enforcer Ogie Ogglethorpe was also asked to come and try to make the team, as the departure of the Hansons also left a need for more physicality on the team.
The third player heading to the workout is junior sensation Dean Youngblood, who recently capped off a championship run with the Hamilton Mustangs.
Before offering Mike, Ogie, and Dean a congratulations on their recent good fortune, make sure you consult with your calendar so you know what day today is.

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