International Ice Hockey Federation

Sorensen a fan favourite

Sorensen a fan favourite

No. 39 in your program, no. 1 in your hearts

Published 30.12.2014 12:24 GMT-5 | Author Andrew Podnieks
Sorensen a fan favourite
Danish goalie Georg Sorensen clears the puck at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship. Photo: Andre Ringuette / HHOF-IIHF Images
At 5’9” and 165 pounds, he’s the shortest and second-lightest goaltender at the 2015 U20.

But Denmark’s George Sorensen is winning over fans at the Air Canada Centre with his superb goaltending which has earned his country two critical points in the standings.

“We’ve had some success here so far, but you can’t really call it success because we’ve had two overtime losses. It’s very disappointing,” Sorensen said after yesterday’s second tough loss, 4-3 to the Czechs in overtime, after leading 3-2 late in the third period.

That came after the opening night loss to Russia, a 3-2 result in a shootout in which Sorensen was again the best Dane on ice. Indeed, he was named the team's best player for both games.

In truth, the Danes have two critical elements to the team - its first line of Nikolaj Ehlers, Mads Eller, and Oliver Bjorkstrand, and Sorensen in goal. That puts extra pressure on the 19-year-old goalie, but he doesn’t see it that way.

“Not really,” he said, brushing aside the hypothesis. “Everyone knows their role on the team. The top line knows it has to score, and I try to do my best to stop the puck.”

Sorensen wears number 39 because he admires Dominik Hasek, but their styles couldn’t be more different. While Hasek flopped and flipped his body and equipment every which way, Sorensen is a master of body position and patience.

“I’m not that big of a goalie, so I have to compensate for that,” he explained. “And, times have changed. You have to play a different style. The game is going faster and faster. I think I’m the smallest goalie in the tournament, and I can’t be falling all over the place.”

Continue reading

Sorensen started playing hockey under odd circumstances. “I started when I was five years old, and I’ve always been a goalie,” he continued. “It’s a funny story how it started. My father was a security guard in the top level of the arena in my hometown of Herning, and he took me to a game. I stood there and pretended to make the same saves as the goalie in the game, and later the coach asked me if I wanted to be a goalie. I said yes and have been in goal ever since.”

Sorensen has risen through the ranks, and as he improved, so too did the team. He played at the top level of the 2012 U18, but the team was demoted and had to start from scratch. A year later, Sorensen was the number-one goalie at the U18 in Division I Group A, and he also played at the U20, same level. In 2013-14, he was a key factor in Denmark winning Division I Group A and earning promotion to the top level in Toronto.

He hasn’t been scouted, and he defies current NHL logic which sees goalies getting bigger and bigger, but he’s not deterred.

“Of course, it’s my dream to come over here and play in the NHL, but I’m just happy to go as far as I can,” he said. “I’m willing to work my ass off to get there. Someone once told me if you work as hard as you can, you’ll get to the top or near the top. That’s my dream. I’m not there yet, but I’m not giving up on my dream to play in the NHL.”

Sorensen is now of the age when he has to make decisions. If he’s going to reach the NHL, he can’t develop in the Danish league where the competition simply isn’t NHL calibre. But he seems in no rush to leave home, either.

“We’ll see after this season what I’ll do next year. My focus is now. I’m open-minded to move somewhere else to play, but I’m happy in Herning as well. I feel like I can still develop a lot.”

If he could pick and choose his team, it would be the Pittsburgh Penguins, but not because of Sidney Crosby or Yevgeni Malkin. “Marc-Andre Fleury,” he said. “He’s a bloody good goalie. You can learn a lot from him, and you can see how good you have to be to play in the NHL.”

Taking that first step to senior hockey, Sorensen played with Denmark’s top national team last month at a tournament in Stavanger, Norway. “It was nice to be with them, to see how good they are, and how good you have to be. Everything is faster. It’s a tough adjustment from the junior team to the top team.”

It’s an adjustment Sorensen might well be capable of making - and going further after that.


Back to Overview