Big Man on Bemidji's Campus
Jordan George Finds New Life After Read's Departure
by Dan Myers/CHN Staff
Undersized and under-recruited out of Madison (Wis.) Edgewood High School, Jordan George left Wisconsin's hockey hotbed and trekked to Topeka, Kansas, to play in the North American Hockey League.
Three years later, George is one of the WCHA's most underrated and unknown stars. With former linemate Matt Read playing in last weekend's NHL All-Star Game, George has found himself the target of opponents all season long. At 5-foot-8 and barely 160 lbs., George has risen to the occasion — leading BSU with 13 goals and 20 points this season.
Playing without Read and Ian Lowe, who George played with for two years at BSU, has certainly been a new experience. As a group, the trio formed one of the best lines in the league. This season, it took almost two months to find the right mix.
"It's a big loss when you lose those guys, especially when you've had chemistry with them for two years," George said. "We've done our best to find two guys to play with and it's been nice."
The fact George has risen to this level is quite an accomplishment in his own right. A veteran of 108 games in the NAHL, George scored 99 points for the Roadrunners. But his size kept schools away.
George, who grew up a big Badgers fan (his family had season tickets for several seasons), wanted to play in the WCHA. Bemidji State, which wasn't even in the league his freshman season but was headed there for his sophomore season, was the only league school to give him that chance.
"I think some people may have overlooked his size," said BSU coach Tom Serratore. "We recruited him hard and we're glad to have him."
"That was my hope, I just wanted to play in the WCHA," George said.
Bemidji's decision to recruit him hard has been gold for Serratore and the Beavers. George scored 13 goals and 34 points his freshman season, upping those numbers to 17 goals and 36 points last season. Lowe scored 10 points in each of his first two seasons with the Beavers, but saw those numbers spike when moved next to George, including a 21-goal season when George was a freshman. Even Read had his highest scoring season and best goal-scoring season when George came aboard. Their chemistry as a group was immediate, and playing with two veterans had a big affect on George.
"The best education he could get was to play with, not only two great players, with guys who do things the right way; they play the right way, they practice the right way, they do things off the ice the right way. I think he had great mentors," Serratore said.
"Filling that role was overwhelming," George said. "Two great guys beside me and they taught me every step of the way, taught me how to mature quick. When you're playing with guys like Read and Lowe, they make all the plays, so it was nice."
Now, George is the main target — the new Matt Read. Using the education he received from the man himself, George is now trying to find his own path to the next level — someday.
"Here, they teach you how to play at two ends of the ice," George said. "This place matures you, gets you ready for the next level and I think [Read] has shown that."
George has been playing under the radar for years. Now the focus of the Beavers, that could be changing — at least on nationally.
"People realize when they're playing Bemidji State that Jordan George is very dangerous," Serratore said. "Teams do key on him. He might be under the radar nationally, but I don't think he is in our league."