Odeen Tufto has had quite the hockey career so far. From playing junior hockey in both Canada and United States to making the jump to playing college hockey and becoming one of the best players in the NCAA.
Now, he is getting the opportunity to play pro hockey after signing a contract with a National Hockey League team. This is Tufto’s journey so far.
Time in Vernon
Tufto only played in a single season in Vernon, in 2015-16. However, during that season, he showed his potential.
The Chaska, Minnesota native led the Vipers in scoring and earned some valuable playoff experience. In a mediocre season for the Snakes, Tufto had 65 points in 57 games as a rookie in the BC Hockey League.
He also had another three points in five games in the playoffs as Vernon lost in the first round to the Penticton Vees.
Despite only skating in the BCHL for one season, Tufto caught the eyes of college scouts and he committed to attend Quinnipiac University and play hockey for the Bobcats.
For the 2016-17 season, Tufto bounced between three teams in the United States Hockey League. He first played with the Fargo Force and had 21 points in 30 games. Even though he only played 30 games, he finished in the top ten in scoring on the Force.
Tufto’s next stop was Kearney, Nebraska, where he played for the Tri-City Storm. He played in eight games and finished with seven points.
The last team he played for was the Sioux City Musketeers, getting into 21 games and putting up 20 points. Much like his time with Fargo, Tufto wound up in the top ten in scoring on the team.
Tufto also got to play some playoff hockey in the USHL, tallying 13 points in 11 games. He finished in the top ten in playoff scoring in the USHL that spring.
In September 2017, Tufto started his NCAA hockey career with Quinnipiac. In his first season with the Bobcats, Tufto had 41 points in 38 games. He increased in point production to 42 the following season in the same amount of games played.
In the 2019-20 season, Tufto became the assistant captain and also led his team in scoring with 38 points in 34 games. The season was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 2020-21 season is where Tufto proved he was one of the best college hockey players in the world. Tufto finished second in all NCAA scoring, only behind NHL first-round pick Cole Caufield. He posted 47 points in 29 games.
Tufto was named captain of the Bobcats prior to the season and wound up leading them into the playoffs. In the post-season, Quinnipiac was knocked out of the regional semi-finals in overtime against Minnesota State, ending Tufto’s college career.
Tufto was one of 10 players nominated for the Hobey Baker award as the best player in NCAA hockey this season, but lost to Caufield in the final voting.
His last season of college hockey turned the heads of pro scouts and the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning signed him to a one-year deal worth $842,000 for the 2021-22 season.
He made his pro debut with the American Hockey League’s Syracuse Crunch on an amateur tryout contract on Apr. 7 in a 4-3 overtime win against the Rochester Americans.