Hockey Hall of Fame - Stanley Cup Journals: 23

Hundreds of fans gather to meet and receive an autograph from their hometown hero Nicklas Lidstrom. (Bill Wellman/HHOF)
Much has been made of the fact that Nicklas Lidstrom is the first non-North American captain to accept the Stanley Cup. And although the fact has merit in a historical context, Lidstrom is an exceptional captain, leading by example, demonstrating superior skills and extraordinary consistency on the ice, and like his predecessor, Steve Yzerman, was, without question, the proper choice to lead this Detroit Red Wings team. And like the man himself, his time with the Stanley Cup was calm, dignified and shared with others.

The Stanley Cup flew into Stockholm on Saturday, July 26 at 1PM, and was met there by the Red Wings captain. Lidstrom then drove the Cup to his hometown of Vasteras, about 100 kms. west (60 miles) of the Swedish capital.

Without so much as a rest, Lidstrom drove directly to the ABB Arena Nord, where he had played with Vasteras IK in the elite Swedish league just prior to joining the Wings. A media conference was held at the arena, followed by photographs and autographs with the local boy made good.

Lidstrom proudly hoists Lord Stanley's Cup looking on at the fans that have come to welcome him home. (Bill Wellman/HHOF)
Later that evening, Nicklas hosted a party for family and friends in a historic banquet hall in his hometown. One hundred guests enjoyed Swedish caviar, chicken, shrimp and pasta salad. There was plenty to do at the celebration party. Much to the amazement of attendees, the shy Lidstrom was coaxed out onto the dancefloor briefly by his sister. In the meantime, Nicklas's oldest son was running a game of chance. Contestants were faced with a covered net that had holes of varying sizes, each worth appropriate points. For example, if a guest shot the puck through a larger hole, it was worth 5 points. A smaller, trickier hole was worth 15 points. Each guest got three shots, and the highest score for the evening was to win an excellent but unspecified prize. Once the winner had been determined, Nicklas announced that the winning score had earned the recipient four tickets to the October 4, 2008 exhibition contest between the Ottawa Senators and the Pittsburgh Penguins to be played at the Globe Arena in Stockholm!

As the party wound down at 2AM, a bus waited out front to return the out of town guests to their homes. A handful of friends joined Nicklas for a continued celebration in his hotel room until 4AM.

Nick, his wife and their four sons gather for a photo with the Cup outside their off-season home. (Walt Neubrand/HHOF)
The next morning, Sunday, July 27, Lidstrom drove the Stanley Cup to his summer home in Vasteras, although the stay was brief, as Nicklas had planned to share the celebration. He stopped in at the local rink where he had played as a young boy, learning the skills that would later earn him six Norris Trophies as the NHL's premier defenceman, and four Stanley Cup championships with the Detroit Red Wings. Again, the media were in attendance and a press conference was held, followed by autographs and photos with the Stanley Cup.

Afterwards, Nicklas took the Stanley Cup and retired to the home of his parents, where a small party was held in his honour. Pastries and coffees were served and by 7PM, the party concluded.

Calm, reserved and classy, Nicklas Lidstrom's fourth Stanley Cup celebration mirrored the man himself.

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Hey, on Friday, the Stanley Cup Journal will be in Stockholm with Niklas Kronwall, so make certain you come back and check it out!

Kevin Shea is the Editor of Publications and Online Features for the Hockey Hall of Fame.

All Photographs are property of the Hockey Hall of Fame or Getty Images and may not be reproduced without prior written consent. For more information regarding use of our photographs please contact us.
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