Raving Fans: Bjorn Lindgren '97

Bjorn Lindgren ’97, ONU Hockey Coach

February 7, 2023 Athletics

Coming from Swedish lineage, Bjorn Lindgren ’97 was destined for winter sports. Even so, he was a bit late to the ice, getting into hockey only at the end of his high school career. Ice hockey has now been a major part of Bjorn’s life for nearly three decades, offering opportunities for leadership development, relational engagement and even faith refinement.

“The Lord has shown me a lot through playing sports,” he says. “Of course, I want to win. But just one team wins every year. It’s a shame to think that the one team has success, and everyone else failed. Whether we win or lose, we’re still going to create good memories and develop as players. If you pin everything on winning, what does it mean for times you lose?”

When he attended Olivet in the 1990s, the University didn’t have a hockey team. In fact, there wasn’t even a local rink, so Bjorn drove home to Willow Springs, Illinois, every other weekend to continue honing his skills. When he was on campus, he played lots of stick ball and roller hockey with friends in the Grand Apartments parking lot.

“I knew absolutely no one coming in as a student at Olivet,” he remembers. “I didn’t have an established group or a clique, so I got to know everyone. In the beginning, it was really difficult, but after a time it was wonderful.”


Bjorn learned that with time and intention, beautiful and long-lasting relationships are formed. As the head coach of Olivet’s men’s club ice hockey team, Bjorn’s coaching style reflects that: Just as being a good friend is a choice, a player must choose to be a good teammate.

“Relationships are very important; they’re eternal,” he explains. “When we get to Heaven, that’s the treasure we’ll have. I believe that God has brought us, players and coaches, together purposefully.”


Though he had a positive experience at Olivet, Bjorn never expected to return to work for the University. In accepting the invitation to serve as the head coach, he was excited to impart his life experiences and athletic expertise on the team dynamic. The team has a PURE mission: Perseverance, Understanding, Responsibility and Encouragement.

“Oftentimes we have a positive interaction with people, but we don’t often express that,” he says. “Creating a culture where everyone is comfortable sharing intentional and specific encouragements with each other is probably part of the reason we’re not seeing divisiveness.”

It has been a tough first season on the ice. Olivet’s inaugural team is short on players and new to the competition. Even so, Bjorn maintains that the team is developing a winning team dynamic.

“The guys’ attitudes and commitments to each other are amazing,” he says. “Everyone is working hard to improve. As I look at how they are all developing as players and men, I just see success. We pray before and after every game and invite the other team out to join. I give a lot of credit to my players. They play tough but not dirty. They represent God and the University very well.”

Olivet competes against other club-level teams from throughout the country. The season runs from September through February, and all home games are at the Kankakee Valley Park District Ice Arena.

From Olivet The Magazine, Winter 2023. Read the full issue HERE.


Published: 2/07/2023

Student on main campus wearing pink sweater and holding water bottle.

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