He won silver with Sweden in 2011 and gold in 2017. He also played for Sweden in the 2018 Olympics and won two Swedish titles with Växjö Lakers (2018 and 2021). This season, he also won the Honken Trophy, awarded to SHL’s Goaltender of the Year, for the fourth time, surpassing Henrik Lundqvist on top of the all-time list.
“He’s had a fantastic season, and the way he’s been so good for so long is impressive,” said former Tre Kronor goalie Leif "Honken" Holmqvist whose name the award carries.
The jury echoed Holmqvist’s words.
“Viktor Fasth has been excellent for more than ten seasons in a row and several experts believe he played his best season yet at 38. Thanks to his strong will and attitude we’ll surely see many great feats by the Växjö goalie,” they wrote.
The award jury can be excused for not anticipating Fasth’s retirement. Sure, there had been injuries, even as late as in April when he suffered a lower-body injury in a crease collision in the first game of the SHL semifinal and had to sit out the rest of the playoffs. But he did return to play for Sweden at the Worlds.
When Fasth now retires, he does it as a former NHLer, and having played almost a hundred games in Sweden’s blue-and-yellow sweater, a feat nobody would’ve believed in when he was 25 and played in the Swedish Division 1, the third-tier league, for the fourth consecutive season. Not even Fasth himself.
But his 92.4 save percentage in 39 games convinced GM Henrik Evertsson to bring him over to Växjö, then in HockeyAllsvenskan, just one tier below the SHL.
“And then things started happening. In my last year in Växjö, I could pretty much live on the income I made from hockey,” he said.
After three seasons in Växjö, and after a failed chance to earn promotion with Växjö, Fasth signed with Stockholm AIK – the team that did earn the promotion to the top division – in 2010.
“He was a good goalie when he came to Stockholm, but he had played only about 40 games in the previous two seasons due to a knee injury. I suppose other teams didn’t want to take a chance with him,” AIK’s then goalie coach Stefan Persson told the IIHF reporter a few years ago.
Fasth had injured his knee in warm-up soccer before a practice and while the injury kept him sidelined for nine months in 2008-09, it also gave him the opportunity to really build himself up both mentally and physically.
“When I saw his attention to detail, I realized he’d go far. He’s also a very modest person and he just keeps working hard to see how good he can get,” Persson added.
With AIK, Fasth blossomed. If the first ten years of his career were him fumbling in the dark, the last ten had him right in the spotlight.
In 2011, he made the SHL (then Elitserien) All-Star Team, was league MVP, Goalie of the Year, made the Worlds All-Star Team, was tournament MVP and Best Goaltender, and won silver.
In 2012 brought another Honken Trophy and an NHL contract with the Ducks. After three seasons in the NHL, Fasth signed with CSKA Moscow and played in the World Championship in 2016, won gold in 2017, and bagged another Honken Trophy in 2018 – having recorded six shutouts that season.
“The heart still wants to play, but the body says no,” Fasth said.
Just eleven days earlier, he had been Sweden’s goaltender in their game against Great Britain in the 2021 World Championship.
Liam Kirk got the lone Team GB goal, but Sweden won the game 4-1.
Viktor Fasth left the game a winner.