February 24, 2010

Olympic Hockey Legends: Peter Forsberg, Sweden

It is pretty safe to say Peter Forsberg left his stamp on the game of hockey.

Before "Foppa" came to North America and dominated the National Hockey League, he was the dominant player in his native Sweden. He was already well known to NHL fans, as he was a high draft choice, a standout at the World Junior Championships and the enticing centerpiece of the big Eric Lindros trade.

But Forsberg did not come to North America right away, preferring to play for Modo and the Swedish national team for 3 years. He was particularly interested in playing in the 1994 Winter Olympic games in Lillehammer, Norway, as at that time the NHL did not release their players to participate in the Olympics. Forsberg did not want to miss what at the time looked like his only chance at Olympic competition.

And what an Olympic competition it was. Sweden defeated Canada in a classic gold medal game that ended in a thrilling sudden death shootout. Peter Forsberg scored one of the most magnificent goals in the history of the sport for a thrilling ending, giving Sweden its first ever Olympic gold medal in hockey.

Posten AB, the Swedish postal service, decided to use the overhead image of Forsberg's goal to create a stamp to help launch the 1995 IIHF World Championships being held in Sweden. The stamp, pictured above, remains popular amongst hockey collectors all around the world.

With Olympic gold, World Championship gold and silver, and two Golden Puck awards (top player in Sweden's Elite League), the man regarded as the best player outside of the NHL decided it was time to begin his career in North America. The Quebec Nordiques, who patiently waited on their star prize, welcomed him with open arms.

Full Peter Forsberg biography

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