Christian Blomquist is back in L-A, where his junior hockey career began, but this time with the Nordiques
Aug. 27—LEWISTON — Christian Blomquist wants another chance in the North American Hockey League and the Maine Nordiques are giving him one at this week’s training camp.
He started the 2020-21 season with the New Jersey Titans after signing a tender contract in the spring of 2020. He earned that opportunity after a standout 2019-20 season with the Auburn-based Twin City Thunder of the USPHL National Collegiate Development Conference. He ranked second on the Thunder that season with 50 points (24 goals and 26 assists) in 50 games.
Blomquist’s time with the Titans didn’t last long. He was released in October after recording one assist in three games. A week later, the Titans added former Thunder forward Levente Keresztes to the roster. Blomquist stayed in the Garden State by joining the Rockets Hockey Club of the NCDC. He appeared in 29 games with Rockets HC, scoring one goal and tallying nine assists.
Now the 20-year-old forward is back in Maine and is on the other side of the Androscoggin River as a free agent invite to the Lewiston-based Nordiques’ 40-man training camp.
“I found out about a week ago, and (the Maine Nordiques coaching staff) told me they were looking for guys and I have to make most of my opportunity,” Blomquist said.
Nordiques coach Nolan Howe said that he wants players who have been on successful teams in the past. The Rockets HC went to the NCDC championship game last year, losing to in-state rival the Jersey Hitmen.
“Anytime guys that have gone through the grind of the playoffs and they learn what it takes to be on a winning team, it’s a good experience for them,” Howe said. “We try to surround ourselves with great character players and that’s what we have been able to do with this camp. We have a ton of quality hockey players and great young men who would love to be Maine Nordiques this season.”
Blomquist, a Milwaukee, Wisconsin native, is one of 24 forwards vying for a roster spot. The Nordiques have six forwards returning, four of whom have committed to play at NCAA Division I colleges: Reeses Farrell (Army), Aidan Connolly (Sacred Heart University), Tyler Gaulin (University of Maine), and Ignat Belov (University of Connecticut).
There are two other forwards bound for Division I schools — tender signee Jack Kurrle (University of Vermont) and Jonny Meiers (Colorado College), who was acquired from the St. Cloud Norsemen — trying to make the Nordiques’ roster.
During Blomquist’s short stint in the NAHL last year, he felt the league had more skill and was more physical than the NCDC.
If he makes the Nordiques, Blomquist said he is ready to play whatever role the team needs. If that is to be a physical presence, that suits him just fine.
“You want to make an impact; that’s why you are here (at camp),” Blomquist said. “Scoring helps, but I know (the coaching staff) wants other things besides goal scoring. I think I can provide that with physicality.”
In fact, the 6-foot-1, 194-pound Blomquist was brought into camp because he’s physical, and the type of player the Nordiques were missing in their semifinal series loss to the eventual Robertson Cup champions, the Shreveport Mudbugs.
“Last year, falling a little bit short against Shreveport, we wanted to bring some guys into camp that bring some physicality to their game, and (have) size as well,” Howe said. “(Blomquist) does a good job with that and is a heady player that looks to make plays.”
In Thursday’s morning’s scrimmage, Blomquist found the back of the net for Team Red in a 4-3 loss to Team Blue.
While most of the 2019-20 Thunder team has moved on — only Dominic Chasse, who played three games that season, remains with Twin City — he did let his former teammates know he was back in the area. He also was able to say hello to his former billet family.
“That was great to see, I was looking forward to that,” Blomquist said of visiting his former billet family. “Obviously, not too many guys on the (Thunder) team are still here, but I sent them a text letting them know I was here.”
Jobber Wiki author Frank Long added to this report.