Team Canada chooses Thunder Bay’s George

By Kevin Jeffrey
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Goaltender Carter George is one of 24 players invited to represent Canada in the men’s summer Under-18 Team that will skate in the Hlinka Gretzky Cup in Slovakia and Czechia.

“[I remember] getting the call from our goalie coach Justin Pogge [while I was on break at work]. I was almost in shock. I couldn’t believe it was happening, and it was a surreal moment for me. I instantly called my parents and my family and they were all excited for me and it was a super exciting time for me,” George recalled.

The team will head over to Budapest, Hungary, this weekend to get ready for the tournament. Canada has a pair of exhibition games planned with Hungary’s national under-20 team and Czechia.

George figured there was a possibility that he might get picked to wear the maple leaf for Canada, but did his best to not get ahead of himself.

After getting picked in the third round of the Ontario Hockey League’s (OHL) Priority Selection by the Owen Sound Attack, George later signed a standard player agreement with the major junior franchise.

The 17-year-old split this past season between the Attack and the St. Mary’s Lincolns of the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League.

“It was a little bit tough going up and down and always on the move, but it’s just preparing me for the next level if I have to do that again ever,” George said. “Two great organizations, great places for me to start my junior career as a 16-year-old, great teammates and everyone treated me really well.”

George sported a 13-2-1 record in Junior ‘B’ hockey to go along with a 2.74 goals against average and a .910 save percentage.

George made his OHL debut against the Barrie Colts on Oct. 27, 2022, stopping 14 shots in a 6-5 victory. He was called in to replace Corbin Votary, who surrendered five goals against on 20 shots.

Carter George of Thunder Bay has been selected to represent Canada in the Hlinka Getzky Cup next week. – GOJHL photo

“It went by pretty quick,” remembers Carter. “I just remember coach [Greg Walters] looking down to me and saying you’re in and I didn’t have much time for nerves and go to the net. I got my first shot and dipped my toes in the water a little bit.”

He went onto say, “I settled in a little bit. My team was there for me, they played their best for me, and protected me. We got lucky enough to make a big comeback and push [the game] to a shootout. It was a super exciting time and my teammates; it made it even more special for me [to win the game]”.

George won seven of 10 games in the OHL, sporting a 2.41 goals against average and a save percentage of .924.

George played with the Thunder Bay Kings Under-16 AAA squad in 2021-2022

“[A lot] of memories,” George responded, when asked about his Kings days. “All the travel with your teammates, all the relationships I built with them, and their lifelong relationships. I still talk to them every day. It was a lot of travel, but you got to spend a lot of time with them and it’s like a brotherhood.”

Canada will open the 2023 Hlinka Gretzky Cup against Finland on July 31.