CORAL SPRINGS — While Owen Lindmark’s hockey season at the University of Wisconsin ended in March, he still has some unfinished business to take care of while he fights to make a name for himself at Florida Panthers development camp.
The 22-year-old center has one class left for his business degree and has made it a point to finish up school and graduate before he begins his professional career.
There is just one issue.
His final exam for the business law class he is taking is on Saturday morning, a day after the Panthers wrap up their development camp.
Lindmark’s flight from Fort Lauderdale to Wisconsin is not supposed to land until 10 p.m., which leaves him in a tough spot.
“I e-mailed my professor and he never responded,” he said, when asked if he tried to get the date of the exam pushed back.
“It looks like I’m stuck in the mud, but I will figure it out.”
The 6-foot, 192-pound center brought his textbooks with him and has made it a point to carve out time to study in between the camp’s on-ice sessions and team outings, which have included learning how to make sushi and attending the Blink-182 concert at the Sunrise arena on Tuesday night.
Hey, that’s life as a college hockey player.
While he is trying to leave his textbooks at the hotel and enjoy life at the beach — something Lindmark doesn’t get much of in Madison nor in his hometown of Enid, Oklahoma — it is something he has grown used to as his career has gone on.
And, it will be something he will continue to deal with as he returns to the Badgers as a fifth-year senior to finish out his hockey career and get a master’s in business.
“I am getting great degrees at the business school at Wisconsin, which is top-notch, then I’ll get a master’s program and hopefully start my professional hockey career,” Lindmark said.
“It’s definitely different. A lot of these guys [at development camp] haven’t taken classes in years. When at Wisconsin, you’re either at the rink or doing school.
“That’s another different aspect I really enjoy about college hockey because you can only play hockey for so long. At the end of the day, you got to have something to fall back on and I am grateful for that at Wisconsin.”
For Lindmark, the balancing act of hockey, school and fun is nothing new for him as he navigates development camp.
And making a name for himself at camp is just as important for him as he enters his last year of college eligibility.
Lindmark lost a good chunk of his 2021-22 season due to injury, registering just one goal in nine games.
He had a fully healthy senior season, playing in 36 games, but saw his point total drop from 17 in his first two seasons to nine in 2022-23.
Lindmark did not feel 100 percent last season — he had not been in the weight room in three years before development camp started — but has been trending in that direction since working with Florida’s strength and conditioning staff.
“It’s definitely taking a lot of work, a lot of rehab, and a lot of time and it’s really frustrating, but I’m glad to have that in the past and to keep building for the future and keep working on my game,’’ he said.
“The mental aspect of the game is something that’s not talked about enough. When you go through adversities and overcome them, you learn how to persevere through them, so that helped me a lot.”
The defensively-minded center is preparing himself for a whole new situation while strengthening up his game in Coral Springs with the Florida Panthers.
Wisconsin cleaned house after a disappointing 13-23-0 season and Lindmark is set to lead the charge as the younger crop of Badgers looks to bounce back.
“We have a whole new coaching staff at Wisconsin and it’s been great so far,” Lindmark said.
“We’ve been there for a couple of months with them and they have really put the nail in the coffin and changed things up a bit. But it’s been really good. We’ve been pushed really hard and I think we’re going to surprise a lot of people this year.”
On top of adding some muscle at development camp, Lindmark wants to establish himself as a shutdown center who can win face-offs and kill penalties in a Florida Panthers’ system which seems to favor them.
But once he leaves Florida’s prospect scrimmage on Friday and gets to the airport he has one big question for himself: Study on the plane or rest up for the big exam?
“I think I gotta do school,” Lindmark said.
“I’m going to tell myself that, but it’s going to be a hard week at camp. You never want to leave this place, but I’m sure as soon as I hit that plane, I’m going to hit a huge wall and then have to close my eyes for sure.”
PANTHERS DEVELOPMENT CAMP SCHEDULE
(Open to the public at Coral Springs IceDen)
- Today: Group B 9:30-10:30; Group A 10:45-11:45
- Friday: Group A vs. Group B 10-11
FLORIDA PANTHERS ON DECK
- Now: Free agency period is open
- Today-Friday: Development camp, Coral Springs
- Mid-September: Training Camp, South Florida
- Sept. 25: Preseason starts; Doubleheader v. Nashville @ Sunrise
- Oct. 7: Preseason ends; v. Tampa Bay Lightning @ Sunrise
- Oct. 12: Start of 2023-24 Regular Season at Minnesota Wild
- Oct. 19: 2023-24 Home Opener vs. Toronto Maple Leafs