By Bethany Drysdale
A standard hockey puck is six ounces of black, vulcanized rubber; usually measuring 25 millimeters or 1 inch in thickness and 76 millimeters or 3 inches in diameter. The average college player can shoot a puck towards the goal about 95 miles per hour. UNLV junior goaltender Erik Eidissen stands in goal every morning at practice taking shot after shot from his teammates. There is no difference in force or speed from practice to game day. The six foot tall goaltender is quite comfortable in his surroundings; he has been taking shots like this since he was a young boy. Learning to play hockey at age five, Erik was often at the rink watching his older cousin Martin play hockey in their native Sweden.
Erik, a marketing major with a 3.6 GPA, came to UNLV after one season with Dakota College of Bottineau, playing thirteen games with a 3.09 goals against average and .920 SVS%. After winning the National Junior College Athletic Association championship in 2015-16, he joined fellow Swede and UNLV roommate Viktor Brask in Las Vegas. His first season at UNLV was very productive, playing seventeen games with 2.30 goals against average and .919 SVS%. Then his sophomore year, Eidissen suffered a lower body injury, taking him out of the game. This year, he has started his comeback, playing his first game of the season versus Grand Canyon University, getting the win over the Antelopes on October 27. With the team playing three games in a row this weekend, there is good chance Erik with suit up for his chance to be a playmaker.
Wearing number 27, Eidissen honors one of his favorite goalkeepers from Swedish football club AIK. Ivan Turina died in his sleep at the age of 32 in May of 2013. Football (or Soccer in America) is Eidissen’s second favorite sport. He says there is much to learn from both hockey and football that can help a younger player develop into a better athlete. Many hockey players enjoy kicking a football before their own games, to relax and clear their minds. Pregame routines are important each individual player, and one thing Erik does miss about playing in Sweden is before games, he would take a walk to his grandfather’s grave to talk. Having that sense of calm before a game eases the tension and nerves.
The standard goaltender pads weigh about 60 pounds, the equivalent to a seven year old child. Imagine wearing that much gear, with three or four large guys pushing each other in front of you, holding a goal stick in one hand and a glove in the other. Now imagine a player shooting a puck at you approximately 95 miles an hour from less than fifteen feet way. You are trying to keep six ounces of vulcanized rubber out of an area four feet high and six feet wide, all on ice. This is just another day at the office for Erik Eidissen. Watch Erik and the UNLV Rebels this weekend by following them on UNLV’s twitter @UNLVRebelHockey where each game is broadcast live through YouTube.
Here is a reader’s comment on this story:
“This really took me inside of a goalie’s perspective. I am a novice with much to learn so I appreciate Drysdale’s matter of fact explanation and style of writing about these players. Well done.