#4: Patrick Thoresen
The best players you've never heard of
Team: Edmonton Oilers
Pos.: C - Ht.: 5-11 - Wt.: 188
Hometown: Hamar, Norway
Key stats: Two goals and nine points in 20 games so far, and the little Norwegian has played just 10:27 per game. He's played very little on special teams but has filled the spark-plug role well on a line with Marty Reasoner and fellow TBPYNHO member Brad Winchester.
James on Patrick: The people of Edmonton have certainly heard of — and taken a liking to — him. Grabby at The Battle of Alberta (and the guys at Covered in Oil) has about 32 equally absurd/creative nicknames for him, all of which involve every Norwegian reference known to North Americans (which essentially begin and end with Marvel's Thor). An interesting note is that I actually wrote a little tidbit about Patrick in a World Junior Championship preview for The Globe and Mail, as his father, Petter, was coaching the Norwegian entry in the tournament. From the Dec. 23, 2005, WJC preview:
Behind the bench: Petter Thoresen. The head coach of the Storhamar Dragons in Norway's top league, the 44-year-old Thoresen is a veteran of Norwegian international hockey, having played in three Olympic games and four world championships. His son, Patrick, played two seasons in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, including a 108-point campaign with the Baie-Comeau Drakkar in 2002-03.I remember at the time wondering why Thoresen had never had a kick at the pro game in North America — and wasn't even drafted — despite possessing some obvious offensive talent. He put up pretty decent totals in Sweden the past two years (including 17 goals last season) and could definitely find himself in a second-line role in the future (and probably would have already if not for the Oilers' considerable depth). His father's essentially the Wayne Gretzky of Norwegian hockey, which is somewhere in the realm of Mariusz Czerkawski's claim to the Polish Gretzky moniker.
Pub for Patrick:
"It's a big thing to watch your son play in the NHL," Petter told the Edmonton Sun last week when he was in town for a game. "I'm very proud. There are not many Norwegian players that make it this far."
Patrick Thoresen is actually one of five Norwegians to have played in the NHL.
"He came from nowhere, well, Norway, and has played great."