July 09, 2023

Patric Hornqvist

Hockey players are renowned for their tenacity, incredible work ethic and relentless competitive spirt. But none more so than Patric Hornqvist. Hornqvists' legacy as a true hockey warrior will inspire hockey generations in Sweden and around the whole hockey world for years to come. 

Born on January 1, 1987, in Sollentuna, Sweden, Hornqvist's love for hockey began at an early age, and he quickly excelled in the sport. He played his junior hockey in his hometown before joining Djurgårdens IF in the Swedish Hockey League (SHL). His impressive performances earned him recognition, and he represented Sweden in various international tournaments, showcasing his skills on a global stage.

In 2005, Hornqvist was drafted by the Nashville Predators in the seventh round of the NHL Entry Draft. In fact, he was the very last player selected in that draft. That's how much of a long shot Hornqvist was to make it to the NHL, but he certainly did not let that deter him.

He made his NHL debut in the 2008-2009 season and quickly established himself as a formidable presence on the ice. Known for his gritty style of play, Hornqvist became a fan favorite everywhere he played for his willingness to go to the dirty areas of the ice and battle for goals.

During his time with the Predators, Hornqvist consistently showcased his scoring prowess, becoming known as one of the league's most reliable net-front presences. He was a consistent 20+ goal scorer and regular on the power play.

In the 2017-2018 season, he was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins, where he achieved his greatest success. Hornqvist played a pivotal role in the Penguins' back-to-back Stanley Cup victories in 2016 and 2017, displaying his knack for scoring timely goals and his unwavering determination in the postseason. He scored several key goals in those playoffs, notably against arch rival Washington. The 2017 championship was extra special for Hornqvist, as he scored the Stanley Cup winning goal against his old team from Nashville.

He was crucial to the Penguins Stanley Cup reign, and a regular winger on Sidney Crosby's line (with Chris Kunitz on the other side). He was arguably the best linemate Crosby ever had. 

"Very good on the forecheck, very good around the net. You see it on the power play but you also see it 5-on-5," Penguins coach Mike Johnston explained. "He's got a really good stick, creates traffic, creates havoc there ... Overall, his energy is contagious on our team."

Hornqvist's success extended beyond the NHL. He represented Sweden in numerous international tournaments, earning a gold medal at the 2018 IIHF World Championship and a silver medal at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Hornqvist consistently delivered for his country, serving as an inspiration for aspiring Swedish hockey players.

Throughout his career, Hornqvist was revered for his unwavering dedication to the game. His willingness to sacrifice his body and battle for every inch on the ice made him a true warrior in the eyes of teammates and fans alike. Beyond his offensive contributions, Hornqvist was known for his leadership, serving as an alternate captain for the Penguins and leading by example.

Hornqvist wound down his career with three seasons with the Florida Panthers. Injuries, notably serious concussions, limited his time on the ice, but he was still hailed as the clubhouse leader of a very successful Panthers team during his short tenure there. 

Hornqvist retired in 2023, establishing the Hornqvist Foundation, which aims to improve the lives of children and youth through various charitable initiatives.

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