Hockey Star Thoresen Talks Almaty’s Olympic Chances, his Place among Current Greats

This season, Astana Barys defender, Canadian-born Kevin Dallman, who once again plans to play for Kazakhstan’s national team at the World Cup, crossed the 300-point mark in his Continental Hockey League (KHL) games. This is the sixth instance of someone passing this mark in the KHL and is an absolute first among defenders.

Чемпионат мира по хоккею 2013

In the short history of the league, only five forwards have been able to pass this milestone. One of them is Norwegian Patrick Thoresen of St. Petersburg SKA, whose club is battling in the West Conference finals with Moscow CSKA for the Gagarin Cup.

Thoresen spoke to The Astana Times about hockey’s popularity in Norway, the Astana Barys and Almaty’s chances of hosting the 2022 Winter Olympics.

You played against Barys a few times. Is it true that their attack is one of the most powerful in the league?

In fact, Barys plays some very entertaining hockey. The team’s first tactic is to play in a fast attacking manner. I agree with the fact that they are one of the best teams in the KHL. I played against Barys and Ufa’s Salavat Yulayev when we were neighbours in the general KHL’s Chernyshev Division and now as part of SKA. During the most recent match in St. Petersburg, we had a very tough game. We were holding the game with a comfortable advantage, but Barys brought it to a minimum.

From year to year, the Norwegian national team participates in the World Championships. In 2012, the team beat Germany in the World Cup with a crushing score. Do you remember that fantastic victory?

Yes, of course, we ourselves were slightly shocked. Everything went well during that game.

There is talk in the press that the Norwegian club Valerenga may join the KHL. Is this true?

Yes, it is being discussed. However, it is to too early to say that Valerenga will join the KHL. This is a question that will linger for the next few years.

Today, a modernskating rink is being built in Oslo. The main goal of this Norwegian hockey club today is to complete its rink in order to be able to host KHL games.  Of course, this will benefit Norwegian hockey.

Do you dream of playing for Valerenga post accession to the KHL?

No, at the moment, I have different goals. I am a realist and do not have any such dreams.

Which game is most popular in Norway: hockey, football or bandy?

Football, no doubt.

Is hockey continuing to gain popularity?

Yes. Over the past six to seven years, hockey has gained extraordinary popularity in my country. The national team’s matches, which are getting better and better, contribute to this a lot. In addition, our country spends a lot of money on promoting hockey, including broadcasting reports and media publications. The situation in this respect is getting better and better.

By the way, the Bandy World Championship for men just took place in Khabarovsk. The sport is very popular in both Kazakhstan and Norway. In one of your interviews, you said that children in Norwegian villages are surprised when they see hockey with bands. Is this true?

Today, the situation has changed in favour of classic hockey. Such cases can occur only in the north of Norway, where there are not very many hockey rinks.

As with any other Norwegian, you probably have ski raced?

Yes. I skied during childhood.

Do people in your country remember Kazakh skier Vladimir Smirnov (Smirre)?

Yes, many people know about him in Norway. In particular, we remember the great confrontation between Smirre and our famous compatriot Bjørn Dæhlie. Those were some great battles.

As you know, after Oslo dropped from the race for the 2022 Winter Olympics, there are only two contenders left, the Kazakh city of Almaty and the Chinese capital Beijing. What is your position on this important issue?

As for me, I believe that right now, Almaty is the best contender.

What is your personal opinion on Oslo not moving ahead in its bid?

As for me, I certainly would have preferred that the 2022 Olympics were held in Norway. First of all, because sports infrastructure in Norway will change radically for the better. But most of my countrymen did not support the idea of ​​holding the Olympics in Oslo.

Who was your hockey idol during childhood?

First of all, like all Norwegian boys, my idol was Espen Knutsen and the famous Swedish hockey player Peter Forsberg.

Well, our traditional question. Can we call you All-Star Patrick Thoresen?

Only if everyone knows that you are joking.

You have earned the title

Ok. But in regards to who is top dog, for defense, that would be Kevin Dallman of Barys and Finlander Patrick Nummela. In regards to offense, my colleagues Czech Roman Cervenka of SKA and Swede Tony Mortenson deserve the title most. Well, third place, I would like to reserve for myself.

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