Toronto Star/Zuma Press/Icon SMI)
It wasn’t too long ago that forward Patrick Thoresen looked to have been establishing a regular role on a lower line with the Philadelphia Flyers after several seasons in the Edmonton Oiler organization. However, the 5-11, 188-pound forward decided to head to Switzerland for the 2008-09 season where he put up 63 points in 48 games. This then led to two seasons in the KHL with Salavat Yulayev followed by a year with St. Petersburg. In the KHL, he’s managed to score 196 points in 191 games.
This spring he’s an assistant captain with Team Norway, with whom he is spending his seventh straight World Championship. After collecting six points in six games at last year’s tournament, the stocky winger is currently leading the entire tournament in scoring after 7 games with six goals and 10 assists, 10 of which have come in the last two games.
Patrick was all smiles when we got to speak to him after the team’s first point in the tournament was gained in OT against the Czech Republic, when he could fill us in on why Norway has been so successful at this and other recent tournaments.
Hockey’s Future: How’d you feel tonight when you assisted on that big goal that tied the game at 3-3?
Patrick Thoresen: I felt really good. You know, my line was on the ice when the Czech’s scored to make it 3-2, so I had felt like our line had let the team down. So it felt really good to contribute offensively and get us back in this game.
HF: In light of the new modus this year, where you play against all of the teams here in Stockholm, do you see it as an advantage that you’ve now gotten Sweden, Russia and the Czech Republic behind you right off the bat, even having taken a point with you?
PT: Welp, both yes and no. Yes, because obviously they are the top three teams here. All are former world champions. But yes, I mean… Heck, who are we kidding. Of course I am happy we are finished with them and played so well against all three. We got one point from those three teams and every point you get from them is a big bonus for us.
HF: Is it safe to say you’re very happy with the play of the team and those colleagues of yours in the locker room?
PT: Yes, I think so. Against Sweden, we didn’t look all that good. We didn’t play all that well, but we kept the score low and the goalie kept us in the game. We were even better against the Russians and found ourselves attacking more and ultimately pumping in a few goals. Today I felt we looked pretty much every bit as good as the Czechs.
HF: You sure did. Now last year you guys had an awesome tournament. You’ve started off well here and seem to be getting into the swing of things. How do you explain Norway’s success at the World’s in recent years?
PT: I’d say that four or five years ago, we didn’t have many players playing in top European leagues, but now we do. Not only that, but these players are actually key contributors to their teams. They then bring that into the national team. Now we are 20 guys pulling in the right direction and that’s the big key for us. Before we had a few top players, but now we have 20 guys who are leaders in their teams and then show that here with the national program. Now we also have two very good goalies in Lars Haugen and Lars Volden. They are both young and talented, so a lot has happened in the past three years.
HF: That bodes well for the future. To you personally, you’ve had a few really strong years in Russia. Will you be staying there next season?
PT: Yes I will. I have one more year with St. Petersburg, so I will stay there.
HF: Could North America ever be a topic for you again?
PT: Yes, of course. I will never shut the doors on that possibility. We’ll see how things go next year and then I will view my options. We’ll see what’s out there for me.