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NHL: George ‘one of the most consistent goalies ...

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Published Time: 12.06.2024 - 01:13:16 Modified Time: 12.06.2024 - 01:13:16

His mother, Tara George, was an elite-level curler during her professional career, winning four Ontario provincial titles. She finished third in the 2009 Canada Olympic curling trials and competed in the Scotties Tournament of Hearts five times, including a third-place finish in 2010. She also competed in 2006, when she was pregnant with Carter. NHL



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To help him handle those rough times, he had the perfect person to rely on. A high-level athlete in the family who understood exactly what he was going through.

His mother, Tara George, was an elite-level curler during her professional career, winning four Ontario provincial titles. She finished third in the 2009 Canada Olympic curling trials and competed in the Scotties Tournament of Hearts five times, including a third-place finish in 2010. She also competed in 2006, when she was pregnant with Carter.

"Anytime she missed a shot it was usually because I was kicking or something like that," George said.

Having someone with a long list of high-level athletic achievements a phone call away made things much easier as he dealt with the ups and downs of his NHL Draft season.

"I say that's probably the biggest reason why I remain so calm in the net is because of her," George said. "In the big moments, she always tells me, ‘Just take a deep breath and relax, don't try and get too nervous. Don't do anything extra.’ She's calmed me down a lot, and that's helped my game excel for sure. She's really good in big moments, so I feel like I got that from her."

That mental strength helped George (6-foot-1, 194 pounds) excel on the ice, where he was 23-21-9 with a 3.30 goals-against average, .907 save percentage and four shutouts in 56 games.

Those results came while facing an OHL-high 1,923 shots.

"This year, for some reason, our group just didn't connect," Owen Sound general manager Dale DeGray said. "But through it all, quite frankly, he was the bright spot through the whole season. He gave us a chance every single night. I don't know what more you can ask of a goalie but to give your guys a chance to win, and he did that every single night."

George also won the Bobby Smith Award as OHL Scholastic Player of the Year, and the Ivan Tennant Award as the league's top academic high school player. Those facets showed themselves on the ice in George's ability to read plays as they unfolded.

"He knows where pucks are going because that's the play that should be taking place, and a lot of times he's already there when the shot is coming," DeGray said. "He really is a smart, smart goalie with high IQ."

After Owen Sound lost in the first round of the OHL playoffs, George helped Canada win the gold medal at the 2024 IIHF World Under-18 Championship. He was voted the tournament's best goalie after going 6-0-0 with a 2.33 GAA, .915 save percentage and two shutouts in six games.

That bookended the gold medal he won at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup last August, when he had a 2.25 GAA, .889 save percentage and one shutout in five games.

George's numbers on the bigger stages could be closer to the kind of goalie he develops into.

"We had a good team in Owen Sound, it's unfortunate we didn't win, didn't get past the first round," George said. "We had a pretty good run there at Hlinka and at U-18. I attribute that to my teams because they played unbelievable in front of me. They were blocking shots on the PK, buying into system, [defensive] zone and in the [offensive] zone. In Owen Sound, unfortunately we didn't have too much success, but I thought it was overall good season as a group."


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George said he relished seeing as many pucks as he did this season in the OHL. The only regret he had was not responding with a goal.

"I've tried," he said. "I think I'm 0-for-4, 0-for-5 right now. ... I tried twice this year. The one got swatted down by [Oshawa forward Dylan] Roobroeck who's 6-7, so I was pretty [angry] that one. And then the other one, I fanned on it. It's something I'm definitely trying for, but I know it's got to be a two-goal cushion, it can't be a game on the line with one goal. Don't want to risk that."

DeGray believes George's puck moving ability is at an elite level.

"His ability to handle pucks is off the chart," DeGray said. "He is probably the best puck mover in our league as far as goaltenders go, and one of the best puck movers I think we have ever had in Owen Sound."

George's puck play isn't limited to between the whistles. His warmup activity would be impressive for any player.

"He does trickery with the puck like [skaters] do," DeGray said. "In his warmup he'll put the puck on his stick and he'll go with one hand from one side to the other, forehand/backhand in the air. He'll throw the puck 30 feet in the air and try to catch it on the stick like the players do."

"There's a lot to like him even though he doesn't have that big, tall status. He plays bigger than his size and he's so consistent. I really like the way this kid plays."


























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