January 07, 2015

Kent Nilsson Mistaken For Danish Beer Story Too Good To Be True

Back in 1995 The Hockey News reported a fascinating story of mistaken identity whereby super Swede Kent Nilsson being mistaken for a Danish beer. Unfortunately the story is not true.

Here's the story:

"When the Atlanta Flames chose Torbjorn Nilsson 192nd overall in the 1975 entry draft, they thought they were getting a premier European player. It may be they ordered up a Danish beer extremely popular in Sweden.

"As the story goes, the Flames meat to choose Kent Nilsson, but unfamiliarity with Swedish names - scouting European leagues was in its infancy - led to Atlanta calling out the wrong name.

"It's a name suspiciously close sounding to the Danish beer, Tuborg, and long time Flames scout Ian MacKenzie says that's where the confusion likely resided. There was no such player as Torbjorn Nilsson."

Stop it right there. I will allow for the possibility that the Flames genuinely mixed up the two Nilssons. But there very much was a player named Torbjorn Nilsson. I can't tell you too much, but he played with Skelleftea and later a little known team named Nybro IF throughout the 1970s and never came to North America.

Kent Nilsson, by the way, was not even eligible for the 1975 NHL draft because he was only 19 and back then it was a 20 year old draft. 

The Atlanta Flames did draft Kent Nilsson the following year. As we all know he did come to North America and was one of the most talented European players in NHL history.

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