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October 12, 2015

Peter Regin

Denmark's Peter Regin played 243 NHL games, scoring 23 goals and 67 points. A pass-first center came from Denmark to find a job in the NHL as a depth forward known for his stellar work ethic, conscientious defensive play and solid penalty killing. He was lanky which made his skating look a little awkward at first, but he filled out and embraced the physical game.

Regin was from Denmark, which is not exactly known as a hockey power. But he proved himself in Sweden's top league as well as at the World Championships.

Ottawa had drafted him back in 2004, and by the 2009-10 season he was a full time NHLer, playing in 75 games and scoring 13 goals and 29 points. He even played a stretch on the top line with Jason Spezza and Daniel Alfredsson.

A devastating shoulder injury threatened to derail his NHL career. He only got into 55 games in 2010-11, and he scored only 3 goals. In 2011-12 he was limited to just 10 games.

Regin was able to overcome his shoulder woes but was let go by the Senators. He signed with the New York Islanders in 2013, playing 44 games while scoring just twice. He was traded to the Chicago Blackhawks at the trading deadline.

Chicago's annual Stanley Cup-contending roster was too deep for Regin. He ended up playing mostly with the Hawks farm team before returning to Europe.

Regin grew up in Denmark idolizing Wayne Gretzky.

“I wanted to be like him. Gretzky was all we knew over there. We did not know anything else. I saw him on TV and collected hockey cards and that’s how I got to like him,’’ says Regin.

"Now all the kids at home were watching the NHL and they want to be like him,” said former Danish player Jesper Damgaard of Regin.

“It is an honour (being a role model),” Regin said. “When we grew up, we had no NHL players and nobody was coming so we had no one to look up to. “I am proud of coming from a small country and taking the long road to make it. I think it is pretty neat to come from a country with 15 rinks or whatever we have.”

Regin did have an opportunity to come to the OHL's St. Mikes Majors as a 17 year old but he felt he was too young to leave home. He stayed on more year Denmark before crossing the waters to nearby Sweden to continue playing.

Playing in the Swedish league was a wise move for Regin. It prepared him for his North American apprenticeship at the AHL level.

“I came from Sweden, which is a better league,” he declared. “The AHL is more similar to the NHL, obviously, and it’s a good league if you want to develop into the NHL, but I think the Swedish league is better. I came from a level that was at least as good as the AHL so I knew I could play there."

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