LEWISTON — At a young age, Isac Nordstrom learned what it took to overcome life’s challenges.

“Travis Roy’s career was cut way too short. Mine wasn’t even supposed to have started,” Nordstrom told the crowded room at the Ramada Inn in Lewiston on Sunday afternoon. “I was not expected to be a hockey player.”

Born blind in his left eye, doctors told Nordstrom he would never have the coordination to play sports like hockey. It is pretty clear he did not agree with their assessment.

Sunday, Nordstrom was announced as the 2014-15 recipient of the Travis Roy Award after a tremendous career at Falmouth High School that included two state championships and 113 career points. He is just the second ever recipient of the award from Falmouth, joining 2005 winner Peter Gustavson.

“I was nervous coming up to the podium and having my speech, but it feels really good right now. It’s nuts,” Nordstrom later said. “I really don’t have words for it, but I just want to thank my teammates and my coach for bringing me here. It’s been great. Also my parents, (because) without their support I wouldn’t have been here.”

Nordstrom beat out Lawrence/Skowhegan’s Cody Martin, Saint Dominic Academy’s Brad Berube and South Portland/Freeport/Waynflete’s Andrew Whipple for the honor.

“I thought Isac really deserved it,” Martin said. “He’s a great player.

“… I worked really hard to get here and I’m glad that I was nominated.”

Becoming a great player did not happen without its fair share of obstacles for the native of Sweden.

In his speech Nordstrom recounted the eye patch he had to wear over his right eye to strengthen his left and the years of thick glasses that followed. He talked briefly about his journey to the United States, moving from Sundsvall, Sweden to Maine in 2011 after his father took a new job.

“The first couple months it was pretty tough. I didn’t know the language too well but I had to work through it,” Nordstrom said. “It’s just like hockey, you have to bear down to get better so that’s what I did. I got a lot of help from the teachers and my friends.

“… It ended up being the right thing for me and I’m very blessed.”

This winter presented its own set of challenges for the Falmouth senior captain. After tearing ligaments in his right ankle, it appeared his final year with the Yachtsmen was over prematurely.

In typical fashion for Nordstrom, he did not let the initial prognosis hold him back.

“The first thing they said to me was I was going to be out for the season, but I battled back and I came back for this,” Nordstrom said. “I was fortunate enough to only miss six games, but it’s tough standing on the sidelines, being a captain and watching your teammates. They took charge and they played well without me. I’m really proud of them.”

Falmouth (14-5) finished as the top seed in Western Class A but even with Nordstrom back, it could not win its third state title in a row, The Yachtsmen were knocked off by eventual state champion Scarborough (14-5-3) 5-4 in the regional semifinals.

Nordstrom’s high school hockey career may be over, but he is not done playing the sport he fell in love with skating on frozen ponds as a 4-year-old in Sweden. He has already received offers from Kimball Union, Cushing Academy and Kents Hill for a postgraduate year with the hopes of playing collegiate hockey.

“I’m still deciding and I’ve got a couple junior offers too,” Nordstrom said. “For now, I just want to enjoy this and see what happens in the future.”

Evan Crawley — 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Evan_Crawley


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