Born in Chesterville Ontario on January 16, 1906, Sorrell's hockey career began in the Can-pro league in 1927 with the Quebec Beavers. In 1928 he moved on to play with the Windsor Bulldogs. He was technically the property of the NHL's Montreal Canadiens. The Habs moved Sorrell to the London Panthers of the IAHL for the 1929-30 season.
The mild mannered Sorrell exploded with the Panthers, leading the entire IAHL with 31 goals in just 42 games. Instantly, every NHL team was interested in Sorrell's services.
It was the Detroit Falcons (later renamed Red Wings) who won the Sorrell sweepstakes when they traded Herbie Stuart to London on February 8, 1930. For the next 7 1/2 seasons Sorrell was a key contributor to the Detroit franchises' success. Part of that success included back to back Stanley Cup championships in 1936 & 1937. That first Stanley Cup championship was Sorrell's career highlite. He scored 7 points in as many games to help his team realize the dream of hoisting the Stanley Cup.
A skilled player with good skating ability, Sorrell twice led the Wings in goal scoring. This was quite an accomplishment considering his teammates included the great Ebbie Goodfellow, Syd Howe and Mud Bruneteau.
As his production hinted of slowing down, Sorrell was traded to the NY Americans in 1938 in exchange for Hap Emms. Sorrell played 3 1/2 seasons in New york and a couple more in the minor leagues before turning to the world of coaching in Indianapolis.
John was also a heck of a baseball player. In the hockey off season he played semi-professional baseball.