Eriksson lives Swede dream
As childhood dreams go, this one is pretty great.
Loui Eriksson was 9 when Peter Forsberg scored the most
famous goal in Swedish hockey history, a one-handed slide in the
shootout that won the 1994 Olympic gold medal over Canada. It was a
play that made Forsberg Eriksson’s hockey hero growing up and
cemented the Olympics as an ultimate goal for kids throughout
So when Eriksson was informed Sunday morning that he had been
named to Sweden’s 23-man roster for the 2010 Olympics that will be
played in Vancouver in February, and that Forsberg would be his
teammate, it was like a childhood dream coming true. Forsberg, 36,
has battled injuries for the last few seasons, and this will be his
last Olympics. So the fact it’s Eriksson’s first chance is a
strange sort of Swedish kismet.
“That was such a big game, and it was something that we all
remember so much, it was a great, great day,” Eriksson said of the
1994 game that is remembered like the 1980 Miracle on Ice in the
United States. A painting of the goal was even made into a stamp in
“He was the player I looked up to the most, so to get the
chance to play on the same team, it’s just something I never
Eriksson’s star has been rising briskly over the last two
seasons. The 24-year-old winger struggled to score goals in his
first two NHL seasons, but then put in 36 last season to lead
Dallas. This year, he is second on the Stars in scoring with 35
points (12 goals, 23 assists). He is fast becoming the team’s best
defensive forward and is plus-19 for his career.
“It wasn’t surprising, and I think he’ll play really well for
them. He’s that level of player now,” Stars coach Marc Crawford
said. “He’s such a good skater, and he’s so strong on the puck.
He’s a complementary player, and I think he can play with just
Even Forsberg, possibly?
“I know he has played well in his comeback, and he can do so
many things,” Eriksson said of Forsberg’s battle to come back from
chronic foot injuries. “I think he will be a great player for us.”
In addition to Forsberg, Sweden has a loaded lineup that will
include Nicklas Lidstrom and Henrik Zetterberg of the Red Wings,
Henrik and Daniel Sedin of the Canucks, Nicklas Backstrom of the
Capitals and Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist. Sweden won the gold
medal at the 2006 Olympics in Italy.
“It’s a very good team, and I know they are looking forward
to defending their title,” Eriksson. “It will be a big challenge
with lots of teams coming after us, but I’m looking forward to it.”
It will also be a big challenge for Eriksson. He signed a
four-year contract extension with the Stars that will pay him an
average salary of $4.25 million starting next season, and he is
seen as one of the stalwarts on Swedish Olympic teams for years to
“I think it is important,” Crawford said of the selection.
“It shows that he’s taking the steps along the way.”