8th of October the National Hockey League starts up in North America and we celebrate that with a post about one of the superstars of hockey: Swedish forward Peter Forsberg who retired in 2011.
Most hockey fans connects Forsberg with his success in the Colorado dress in the NHL and his contribution to the Swedish national team. Two Stanley cup victories and two olympic gold medals together with some world champion titles make Forsberg one of the greatest player in ice hockey. He was elected into the Hall of Fame in 2014.
Born and raised in Örnsköldsvik, Sweden
Peter Forsberg was born in 1973 in Domsjö outside Örnsköldsvik. He is the son of Kent Forsberg who has coached both Peters motherclub Modo in the Swedish elit league (now called SHL – Swedish Hockey League) and the Swedish national team Tre Kronor. Örnsköldsvik was a plant school of many great hockey players at this time, including the Sedin brothers, Markus Näslund and many more.
When Forsberg was 16 years old he made his debut for Modo in the Swedish elit league. He has always done well in his home club, but never went won the league with them. The swedish hockey fans probably remember him the most for his game-winning roles in important games for the swedish national team. Sweden has two olympic gold medals, 1994 and 2006. In both these tournaments Forsberg played a game winning role in the final game. He also won the world championships with Sweden in 1992 and 1998 (in the later tournament the team was coached by his father Kent). In the 1993 Junior World Championships Forsberg got the scoring record which stand yet today.
Drafted to the NHL in 1991
In the 1991 draft pick Forsberg got selected by the Philadelphia Flyers as the sixth player overall. He would only play one game for them before he was traded to the Quebec Nordiques as part of a larger deal where the flyers got the Powerforward Eric Lindros. Lindros was a great played, especially when he played in the”Legion of Doom”-line together with Mikael Renberg and John LeClair. The question is whether he was worth six players (including Forsberg), a pair of draft picks + cash…
The 1994/95 rookie season was cut short because of the lockout. The regular NHL season started in January. Forsberg won the Calder Trophy as the best rookie of the season.
Dual Stanley Cup victories
The following year, Quebec moved to Denver and the team became the Colorado Avalanche. It would be a team to be reckoned with for years to come. In 1996 Colorado won the Stanley Cup and Peter Forsberg became the youngest member to have won the World Championships, Olympic gold and Stanley Cup.
Later in his career began Forsberg’s injury problems. These would also be the reason why he chose to end his career in 2011. Before that, however, he got another Stanley Cup title 2001. In 2003, Forsberg probably did his best NHL season when he won the award for most points during the regular season (Art Ross Trophy) and most valuable player (Hart Memorial Trophy).
The Swedish national team in the 1990s
In 1992, as we wrote above, Peter Forsberg won the World championships with Sweden. In the 1994 hockey olympics in Lillehammer Forsberg scored in the last shootout round with a famous penalty:
In the 1998 olympics Sweden got knocked out by Finland in the quarterfinal. Later that year, the swedes took revenge against Finland at the World championships in Switzerland. The coach Kent Forsberg got to celebrate a World Championship title with his son.
Back in the swedish league
In 2004-05 it was time for another NHL lockout. Peter Forsberg played along with several other stars with his Modo who got knocked out in the quarterfinals.
Now began another session in North America where Forsberg would represent three clubs before he was again back in Sweden and Modo 2009: Philadelphia Flyers, Nashville Predators and Colorado Avalanche. Now Forsberg had also begun to feel the foot injury that would put an end to his career two years later.
Between 2009 and 2011, the injury problems continued. Forsberg made a few brief, but successful appearances in the swedish elite league.
In 2011 he made one last comeback in the NHL, and the club where he won the Stanley Cup twice. After two games Forsberg announced at a press conference that his career was over – his foot injury stopped him from continue playing the game he loved.
Olympic participation in 2006 and 2010
It would be sad to finish a post about a talented player like Peter Forsberg writing about injuries. All stories have an end, however. Injuries aside, we must not forget that Forsberg participated in the Olympic Games in both 2006 and 2010 in 2006, Sweden won the gold in Torino in a team with names like Mats Sundin, Henrik Lundqvist, Nicklas Lidström among others. Forsberg had a significant role in the final game against Finland when Sweden won with 3-2:
Peter Forsberg had toughness and a strong mentality and an eye for the game
What was it that made Peter Forsberg so great? Of course, he had talent with the puck and was a good skater, but so are most hockey players, more or less. What made Forsberg to a superstar was probably a combination of a few factors:
- An eye for the game: he could make genius passes to his teammates.
- Winner mentality: Peter Forsberg wanted to win at any cost. When he did not win, he was pissed!
- Physical toughness: Forsberg’s body took a beating. It was part of his style. Few players could use ”offensive” checks and cover the puck like him.
We can only hope the world will bring us more players like Peter Forsberg in the future…