Spelling autocorrects hockey balance in Denmark
by Risto Pakarinen|26 APR 2022
The Aalborg Pirates player celebrate their Danish championship win.
photo: Svend Christensen / Aalborg Pirates
The Aalborg Pirates are the 2022 Danish champions, after beating Rungsted 5-1 in Game 5 of the final. The team’s big hero was 29-year-old Thomas Spelling, who scored a hat trick in the game and led the league in playoff scoring with 18 points in 13 games. 

“This is awesome, it’s every hockey player’s dream. It’s what we live and breathe for,” Spelling told Danish broadcaster DR.

“It all comes from inside the locker room. We're having a great time together and someone will always step up when we need it,” he added.

In the last five years, the Danish Metal Ligan has been a story of two teams, Aalborg and Rungsted. Those two have won the title twice since 2018 – the pandemic wiped away the playoffs in 2020 – bookended by the two won by Aalborg Pirates, who returned to the throne in 2022. 

Add to that the fact that the Pirates played in the final last season as well, and that this year’s final was also played between Aalborg and Rungsted. 

According to the old adage, “defence wins championships,” Aalborg has nothing to complain about their defence. The Pirates made an impressive run back to the throne, dropping only one game in the playoffs, Game 2 in the final. The Pirates swept Herlev in the quarter-finals, allowing only three goals. In the semi-final, they allowed only four goals in the series against Odense. 

Aalborg also won the Danish mid-season Final Four tournament, played between the top four teams after 16 games, on home ice in February. 

“We won the regular season title, we won the Final Four and now we win the championship, so I think we’ve been the best team in Denmark all year,” assistant coach and GM Ronny Larsen told Danish TV2. 

“It was also nice to be able to win it at home in front of our fans. It made it a little more fun,” he added. 

Team captain Julian Jakobsen finished third in playoffs scoring with 15 points in 13 games. 

And of course, championship teams need a solid goaltender and the Pirates had that, too. In their 13 games, en route to the title, the Pirates goaltender George Sorensen posted a league-best 1.31 goals against average, which was almost a full goal better than the next one. His save percentage was an impressive 93.8. 

But with the championship trophy getting hoisted and champagne being sprayed all around him, getting some rest was the last thing on Sorensen’s mind. 

“I’m not going to bed until tomorrow night,” he said.