Islanders’ Ilya Sorokin’s father makes 1st trip to United States to see son play in NHL

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Ilya Sorokin Islanders
New York Islanders goaltender Ilya Sorokin (30) protects his net during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Winnipeg Jets Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2023, in Elmont, N.Y.
AP Photo/Frank Franklin II


EAST MEADOW — New York Islanders star goaltender and potential Vezina Trophy candidate Ilya Sorokin has 15 career shutouts over his first three years in the NHL. He’s faced — and shut down — the likes of Connor McDavid, Sidney Crosby, and Alex Ovechkin while keeping the unflappable facade of a level-headed netminder who is at the top of his game. 

But if you wanted a true gauge of just how even-keeled the 27-year-old is, look no further than this weekend when Sorokin will finally get to play in a live NHL game in front of his father, Igor. 

“Like Shesterkin,” Sorokin joked as he alluded to his friend and star Rangers netminder, Igor Shesterkin. “There are no extra nerves for me. But he’s going to be more nervous than I am.”

This is Igor Sorokin’s first time in the United States, arriving on Thursday and spending Friday morning at Islanders practice to watch his son prepare for Saturday night’s clash with the Detroit Red Wings at UBS Arena.

“It was emotional for him and for me,” Sorokin said of seeing his father for the first time since the summer when he was training in Moscow. “He’s never watched my game in real life, just watching replays.”

Ilya Sorokin (AP Photo/John Minchillo)AP Photos

Sorokin admitted that his father wasn’t all that big into hockey, perhaps playing when he was a child. But the man who spent most of his life as a miner in Russia was never short of support for his son’s dream. 

“When you come back home from a game, you have a man who is about family there to talk to you not about hockey, but about life,” Sorokin said. “About emotions, about moments. He would help me as a kid, he would take me to a lot of camps and always watch practice. 

“He did a lot for me.”

And Sorokin has done a lot for the Islanders this season. He’s tied for the league lead in shutouts (5) and owns a 2.37 goals-against average for a team that is in desperate need of points heading down the home stretch of the 2022-23 season. 

The Islanders sit in the Eastern Conference’s second and final Wild Card spot with 70 points, six points ahead of the trailing Buffalo Sabres, who have played four fewer games. 

For more on the Islanders and Ilya Sorokin, visit AMNY.com