Burned out on School, Philip Larsen Reached the Goal of his Dreams

The Esbjerg boy knew very early on that he wanted to be a professional hockey player

Philip Larsen always knew what he wanted to do. Just ask his old homeroom teacher in Esbjerg.

– I didn’t need all those school classes, and I told my teacher that. Already in the sixth grade, I was burned out on school, and I wasn’t the best at sitting still. I wanted to be a professional hockey player. When I’m back in Esbjerg on vacation and run into my teacher, we joke about that. But already back then, I had established my life’s goal, he says.

After the ninth grade, the Esbjerg boy moved to Rögle, and made history when he debuted as Allsvenskan’s youngest player at the age of 15. The following year, he played in Frölunda, and then coach Per Bäckman had him debut in the Elite Series at the age of 17.

– I remember my first game in the Elite Series. It was in Jönköping. We beat HV 71 8-1. In the next, which was in Skellefteå, we also won 8-1. Could you ask for a better start? he laughs.

In his first year abroad in Rögle, he played with Oliver Lauridsen.

– Already then, he was a six-foot-six giant, and I was a little guy, weighing just over 130 pounds. We shared a big apartment. The following year, I came to Frölunda, and he went to Linköping. When we played against Norway, it was the first time in eight years, we were paired as defensemen, Philip Larsen says.

– Before the match, we joked with Per Bäckman, saying we were used to playing together.

Sporten.dk meets up with Philip Larsen, age 23, at the players’ hotel, Hotel Clarion, where you can see the gigantic dome of the Globe in the distance from the restaurant.

– It’s a wonderful, lively hotel. I like having a lot going on around me, and I might not have felt like that was happening at school, he says.

All Philip Larsen’s dreams have come true, and he is quickly nearing NHL match number 100 for the Dallas Stars.

He debuted in the world’s best league in the spring of 2010, and has impressed international experts with his unique speed, technique and understanding of the game. A smart and active offensive back radiating calm and confidence.

Philip Larsen was on the ice for almost 26 minutes against Slovenia, of which eleven minutes were in the third period, and his layup over the length of half the rink to Morten Green’s winning goal in overtime was a detail that will not soon be forgotten.

– I was totally spent. I didn’t have a whole lot left, he says, laughing.

Philip Larsen has had a great season in Dallas and has arrived in Stockholm in tip-top shape.

– The start was a little turbulent with a concussion in a crash with the gang in late January, but in the second half, I’ve found my game. It sucks missing a playoff. When you have fought and slogged away for months on end with your team, and you fail, you’re left with an empty feeling. That’s no fun. You’re irritated, and you promise yourself to give everything next season, so it won’t happen again, he says.

For Philip Larsen and the other Danish NHL players, the club comes first. Another thing they have in common, however, is the honor and pride of coming home to play for Denmark in the World Championship.

– It’s a great tradition in Denmark that people show up to play for their country. There’s great harmony and an amazing camaraderie on the national team. We also have an incredibly talented coach (Per Bäckman, ed.), who has all the guys behind him. It’s too bad he is stopping, he says.

This article originally appeared in the Danish tabloid newspaper BT: