Peter Forsberg (SWE)

Born: Örnskoldsvik, Sweden, July 20, 1973

Peter Forsberg had the vision of a world-class passer, the hands of a top scorer, and the competitive fire of a winner who could perform under the greatest pressure. It is no wonder that he was not only the youngest member of the Triple Gold Club; he reached the three milestones faster than any player, winning World Championship gold and Olympic gold in his first try, in 1992 and 1994, respectively, and holding the Stanley Cup in 1996 in only his second NHL season. Before the end of his career, he had repeated these TGC feats, becoming the only player to achieve “double TGC” credentials in this way.

Forsberg was on the 2006 Tre Kronor team that won Olympic gold in Turin, giving him his second complete set of Triple Gold Club honours. He assisted on Nicklas Lidström’s gold-medal winning goal early in the third period against Finland.

In all, Forsberg played for Sweden at four Olympics, five World Championships, two World Cup of Hockey tournaments, and two U20 events. In 63 top-level games, he recorded 57 points, and he was named Best Forward by the IIHF Directorate at the 1998 Worlds. At the 1993 U20 he set a record that will surely never be beat, recording 24 assists and 31 points.

Forsberg’s first important career moment came in 1992. He was part of the team that defeated all comers to win gold at the IIHF World Championship in Prague even before he played in the NHL.

Forsberg played with MODO Örnsköldsvik in the Swedish Elite League for three years before beginning a pro career in North America. The final European season for “Foppa” culminated with the 1994 Olympics in Lillehammer where he scored one of the most famous – and bravest – goals in Olympic and shootout history. He one-handed the puck to the far side past a sliding Corey Hirsch of Canada to score the winning goal in the gold medal game.

In his first NHL season, with Quebec in 1994-95, Forsberg won the Calder Trophy as the league’s best rookie, and the next year, the team now in Denver, he helped the Colorado Avalanche win the Stanley Cup. Forsberg was just 22 years old and had already completed his Triple Gold Club honours. Two years later, he began his quest for a second TGC run by leading Sweden to a gold medal at the 1998 World Championship in Switzerland.

Forsberg’s style of play was unique. By no means tall, he had a low centre of gravity and powerful legs, able to fend off checkers while maintaining puck possession. He was a master weaver and dodger, feigning and turning quickly to avoid contact, all the while looking for an open man or an opportunity to shoot. He was a threat to create a scoring chance every time he had control of the puck inside the enemy blue line.

Forsberg was a dominating presence with the Avs for many years, helping the team to a second Stanley Cup in 2001. In 2002-03, he won both the Art Ross and Hart Trophies as scoring champion and league MVP after a sensational season, but injuries were taking a toll on his body. He had missed the entire regular season of 2001-02, and in later years his feet were the cause of enormous pain and problems.

He retired in 2011 after playing two games with Colorado in 2010-11, trying to come back from foot injuries he just couldn’t skate around, but by that time his legend in both Sweden and the NHL had long been established.

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