Ontario Hockey League grad John Armstrong is packing his thermal underwear and will be off to play in Lillehammer, Norway for the start of the 2014-15 season. The former captain of the Peterborough Petes will be a far cry from Las Vegas, Nevada, where he spent most of the 2013-14 season. As of yet, John is not accompanied by any other OHL alumni on the roster.
Armstrong played four years in the OHL from 2004-05 to 2007-08 with the Plymouth Whalers and Peterborough Petes. At the 204 OHL Priority Selection, John was taken 13th overall by the Whalers. He was shipped to Peterborough at the trade deadline in 2006-07. For his final season in the OHL, Armstrong served as team captain of the Petes.
At the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, John was a third round pick by the Calgary Flames, 87th overall. He spent from 2008-09 to 2011-12 in the Flames organization with the Quad City Flames and Abbotsford Heat of the American Hockey League, along with the Utah Grizzlies of the ECHL. However, Armstrong has yet to play in the National Hockey League.
This past season, 2013-14, John started the year with a tryout in the AHL with the Utica Comets. When not offered a contract by Utica, Armstrong began his season in the ECHL with the Kalamazoo Wings. After six games, he made the move to the Las Wranglers. With Las Vegas, Armstrong scored 18 and assisted on 19 for 37 points over 49 regular season games. Despite missing many games, John placed third on the team for goals and points.
Armstrong is signed with Lillehammer IK of Norway’s Get Ligaen for the 2014-15 season.
Lillehammer IK has roots back to 1957. In 2013-14, the team finished third in the ten team league over the 45 game regular season schedule and bowed out in the semi-finals. Lillehammer last won a championship in 1993-94, the year the city hosted the Winter Olympics.
The team plays home games at Kristins Hall in Lillehammer, Norway. The venue seats 3,194 for hockey and was opened in 1988 as part of an effort to win the bid for the 1994 Winter Games. However, once the bid was finalized, Hakons Hall was built next door to house the Olympic Hockey tournament. Hakons Hall is much larger with seating for 11,500 and was completed in 1993. Hakons Hall also hosted the 1999 IIHF World Hockey Championships.
Lillehammer is a landlocked city located in the south central region of Norway. The city has a population of around 27,000 residents. Lillehammer has been included with Oslo as a contender to host the 2022 Winter Olympics.