The small town of Örnsköldsvik, Sweden, is situated on the eastern coast of Sweden. The city boasts a population of less than 30,000 people. To put that into a Florida perspective, that’s about the population of Winter Haven or Plant City. But Örnsköldsvik is the birth place of a number of NHL hockey players. Included in that list is Peter Forsberg, Markus Naslund, Niklas Sundstrom, Tobias Enstrom, Daniel and Henrik Sedin, and the Lightning’s own Victor Hedman.
Over the summer, Hedman and the Sedins, who are good friends with Hedman despite the age difference, were approached about investing in two new ice rinks for “spontaneous” hockey (as the translation from the Swedish article states). I can only imagine that this means it will be a place for pickup games and practices.
Örnsköldsvik has a rich hockey heritage, and the town’s professional team, MODO Hockey, has a long history. While MODO Hockey has fallen a bit and was relegated to the Allsvenskan league, the players that came from there are still very proud of their hometown.
Hedman has talked about how important his hometown is to him. How he knew many NHL players growing up because they would return home during the offseasons. They would be seen at the local rinks and were very interested in giving back to their community. That spirit was instilled in Hedman from a young age.
Hedman and the Sedins have each contributed half a millon Kronor (which comes out to just over $55,000 USD at the current exchange rate). With that investment, the hockey culture in Örnsköldsvik can continue to grow as they give back to the community that helped turn them into successful NHL stars.
With thanks to Patrik B of Habseyesontheprize for finding the news and helping with translation.