“Kyle Sorensen is a soldier.”
Those were the first words out of Stealth Head Coach Chris Hall’s mouth when asked to describe the game of the Stealth assistant captain. And if you have ever seen Sorensen play, it’s an adequate assessment.
Despite being just 24 years old, Sorensen has played in as many big games at the highest levels as many players ten years his elder. He was selected by the Stealth with the second overall pick in the 2006 National Lacrosse League Entry Draft at the age of 20. He has since appeared in all but six games, including eight playoff games.
A native of Peterborough, Ontario, Sorensen plays for the hometown Peterborough Lakers, one of Canadian lacrosse’s most storied clubs. He started playing Junior ‘A’ ball at the age of 15, and made the jump to Senior ‘A’ at just 17. In 2004, his first season of Senior ‘A’ lacrosse, he played 16 playoff games for the team en route to a Mann Cup title. In 2006, he became one of the few players to ever play for Man Cup and Minto Cup-winning teams in the same season. A year later, he won his third Mann Cup with the Lakers.
With all the high-level lacrosse he’s played, it’s safe to say Sorensen is battle-tested.
“Kyle is mature far beyond his years,” adds Hall. “He plays with the wisdom of someone that has been around a long time. He provides tremendous leadership. The examples he sets on the floor and his passion for the game are things you expect from a much older player.”
While on the floor he’s a tenacious defender and not afraid to vocalize his opinion to both teammates and opponents, away from the game Sorensen is mellow, modest and a welcoming presence. He is quick to attribute the development of his game to others.
“I started at a young age and tried to suck everything up like a sponge,” he says. “Growing up and playing with the guys I have, it was easy to learn. Whether it was the first guy on the bench or the fifteenth guy, I’ve always tried to learn from my coaches and teammates.”
Sorensen is a team-first guy, never worried about personal accolades, just trophies. When the team is desperate for an offensive possession, he’ll dive head first into the corner to dig out a loose ball. When the opposition is getting rough, he’ll drop the gloves and defend a teammate. He’ll willingly step in front of a 90-mile per hour shot if it keeps the ball out of the net.
“If I think it’s going to help our team, I’ll do it,” says Sorensen. “I have no problem getting in someone’s face and bothering them. If I have rug burns and bruises after a game, it means I contributed.”
That mentality has developed Sorensen into one of the brightest and best defensemen in the game. To further prove his worth, the Stealth went 2-3 without Sorensen in the lineup during last season’s championship run. They were 12-2 with #11 on the floor.
It’s also a mentality that puts Sorensen in a position where his body takes a beating. After missing the entire month of February in 2010 due to injury, he returned to Peterborough after the NLL season and suffered a torn ACL just four games into the summer season. It was a disappointment for Sorensen as he was sidelined during the Lakers’ Mann Cup run, but now he’s focused on rehabbing his injured knee and getting ready to return to Everett and defend the Stealth’s NLL title come January. He expects to be back early on in 2011.
After playing his entire NLL career in San Jose, Calif., at a nearly deserted HP Pavilion, Sorensen has found comfort in Everett, Wash., playing in front of the passionate fans at the Comcast Arena. He’s excited to return to the city he compares favorably to his home town.
“The atmospheres in Everett and in Peterborough are pretty similar believe it or not, especially during the Champion’s Cup and Mann Cup Finals,” he says. “The fans are extremely loyal and loud. Everett is more like home [than San Jose]. I know a lot of the guys feel comfortable [in Everett]. Winning the championship there was a special moment.”
The Stealth will return home to begin training camp in early December. And while every team in the league has improved, Sorensen likes what the Stealth did to improve for the title defense.
“We got better at all the things we needed to during the offseason,” he says. “We added pieces on defense like [Jeff] Moleski and our transition game improved with [Chet] Koneczny. And our offense is already one of the best, if not the best, in the league.”
That being said, repeating as champion is never easy and a guy with Sorensen’s experience realizes that. As an assistant captain and leader of the team, he knows it’s up to the leaders to reinforce the mentality that got the Stealth its first championship a year ago.
“The best players are the guys that come together as a team. Last year the mentality on our team is to do whatever it takes to win. We’ve got the coaches and the talent to do it as long as we remember that.”
With a soldier like Sorensen helping to lead the charge, the Stealth should be prepared for the title defense.
What's your favorite part about road trips with your Stealth teammates?
Sorensen: Per diem!!!!!!
What's playing on your iPod right now?
Sorensen: Well nothing right now, but I think I had some Bon Jovi with a bit of Eminem rocking today at the gym.
If you weren't a lacrosse player, what would your job be?
Sorensen: That’s a close one between a "video game tester" and " Hugh Heffner's assistant"! I think we all know which jobs wins at the end of that debate!
What would be the title of the Kyle Sorensen story and who would play you in the movie?
Sorensen: I think I would leave the title up to Steven Spielberg or James Cameron, but I think I could handle the acting! I got pretty good reviews in my 8th Grade musical!
What TV show are you ashamed to admit you watch?
Sorensen: Oh man, I was hooked to Teen Mom this season! That Amber girl is crazy!
What Stealth player has the best nickname?
Sorensen: Going back to my buddy Luke Wiles. I think it was Sean Morris who came up with "Big Earn"! (aka Earnie McCracken)
Who is the best dancer on the Stealth?
Sorensen: Now that Brett Manny is now in Philly (all the best to you ManRam!) Its a toss up between The Walnut (Tyler Richards) and Big Earn!
One thing that people don't know about you?
Sorensen: In my graduating class of a whopping 25 guys! I was Prom king
Do you have any pregame rituals?
Sorensen: Lots! Usually grab a coffee from the lobby or anywhere close, and then when I get to the arena I re-tape my shaft and make sure that my stick is working( Because I shoot so much!) and then usually go out and check out the Bombshells or the opposing squads dance team! Don't think any team comes close to our bombshell squad! There is more but Id be here all day typing.
What were you for Halloween?
Sorensen: Well, my costume usually is made up the day of Halloween, but this year there was a group of friends that dressed up as the "Wiserhood". If your not sure what that is, check out some Wiser's Whisky commercials.