A year ago when Lasse Petersen pulled his jersey over his head, it bore the logo of the Swan Valley Stampeders. Two weeks ago, the son of Stampeders head coach and general manager Erik Petersen was putting on the Denmark jersey while taking part in the recently-completed World Junior Hockey Championship.
And while Petersen did not see any game time during this year’s tournament, he said he will take away many great experiences and lessons that will help him grow as a player.
“It was a great learning experience to see how everything worked on the team to prep me for next year’s tournament,” said Petersen, who is playing in the WHL this year with the Spokane Chiefs. “Being around some of the best junior players was a great bonus.”
Denmark really made their mark last year, earning their first-ever victory in the top group at world juniors. But with so much of their top talent gone from last year, the team was a bit of an unknown factor at this year’s event. But not only did they once again win a game and avoid the chance of relegation, they pushed eventual silver-medal winner Russia to the brink, losing 4-3 in overtime. And that included a heart-breaking goal by Russia with 44 seconds remaining to send it into overtime.
“Of course we were very disappointed to be so close to beating them but we also realized after the game that we have had a great tournament,” he said.
Petersen has dressed for Team Denmark in the past, most noticeably last spring in the under-18 tournament. And Petersen figured to have a good shot at making Team Denmark again next winter.
“I definitely feel I have what it takes to make the team next year,” he said. “Obviously nothing is guaranteed in hockey but next season I’m expecting to have a much more important role on the team.”
As for the rest of this season, Petersen wants to solidify a position on the Chiefs, a team he joined after starting the year with the Calgary Hitmen. In 11 games this year in the WHL Petersen sports a 2.95 GAA and a .886 save percentage with two shutouts.
“My hopes for the rest of the season are to stay in the league and work hard to get as much playing time as possible,” said Petersen.