Jag hittade en artikel från den amerikanska tidningen Washington Post ( https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2018/sports/stanley-cup-path/?utm_term=.089ad5024eb4 ) skriven av Isabelle Khurshudyan där hon har följt Stanley Cup-bucklans sommar när den har besökt de olika spelarna i Washington Capitals. Här återger jag berättelsen om Nicklas Bäckströms dag...dock på engelska.
VALBO, Sweden — Nicklas Backstrom rocked from one foot to the next, a hand stuffed in each pocket and the Stanley Cup on the ground beside him. Still hidden from the crowd, he listened to his own introduction, a summary of his impressive career resume and “that I don’t forget my roots,” Backstrom said, interpreting the Swedish for the English speakers standing next to him.
Backstrom’s father, Anders, lifted the walkie-talkie to his ear for an update.
“Four minutes,” he announced.
Backstrom stared straight ahead, described as always being serious even when he was a young boy.
“Two minutes and 30 seconds,” Anders said, and Backstrom cracked a smile at his father’s countdown.
Anders then hoisted his phone up, preparing to record a video of Backstrom’s big entrance. There was just one minute left.
“Does anyone have vodka here?” Backstrom joked.
The garage door to the Zamboni tunnel started to rise, and Backstrom picked up the Stanley Cup to walk down a red carpet lined with local youth hockey players as the biggest crowd in NickBack Arena’s history gave the pride of Valbo, Sweden, a standing ovation. The rink has carried Backstrom’s name for the past seven years, and it was home to the first team Backstrom ever played for as a kid. His Washington Capitals jersey is framed in the café upstairs, and there are posters of him on the walls.
Backstrom had invited teammates from some of his earliest playing days to stand on the ice with him. Backstrom often defers the spotlight to others, but on Sunday morning, he took the microphone and then did his best to hold back the tears.
“I’ve been waiting for this for 25 years,” the 30-year-old Backstrom told the crowd.
He first started dreaming of bringing the Stanley Cup to Valbo when he saw Hall-of-Fame defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom celebrate with it in Stockholm after Detroit’s titles in the late 90s. Backstrom said a championship was the one thing he wanted before retiring from the NHL, and as the Capitals repeatedly failed to advance past the second round of the playoffs, he started to question if he’d ever get to take part in the tradition of spending a day with the iconic trophy. Even as his two children ate his favorite ice cream out of the Stanley Cup’s top, Backstrom jokingly reminded that this “only happens once in 11 years,” referencing how many seasons it took him to bring the prize home. In that time, the center has amassed 799 points in 815 games, the first player in Washington franchise history to record 500 assists. Backstrom is the elite playmaker so often behind superstar captain Alex Ovechkin’s goal-scoring.
He has a different reputation here. The area is known for its coffee production; the Gevalia coffee company has a factory in nearby Gävle and Backstrom said windy days make the whole town smell like the beans. But it’s also a hockey-crazed community, and Backstrom is the greatest player it’s ever produced. Backstrom and young Washington defenseman Christian Djoos are the first to bring the Stanley Cup to this corner of Sweden
“He’s still the most humble guy,” said Peter Gustafsson, one of Backstrom’s first coaches. “And that’s probably the reason this brings tears to your eyes.”
When Backstrom started skating at this Valbo rink, it was an outdoor sheet. A cover and some wooden bleachers were eventually built around it, and the capacity is roughly 600 people. More than 1,200 showed up to see Backstrom and the Stanley Cup, and anyone who wanted a photo with him and the trophy got one. In a town of roughly 7,000, Backstrom recognized many of the faces, including Ingrid, who worked at the rink back when he spent most of his free time there.
“When we were kids, my mom used to drop us off and say, ‘Ingrid, can you look after these kids?’” Backstrom said as he held up the Cup for her to touch.
He stopped by his old school to lift the trophy over his head in front of it. Then he took it to his old neighborhood, where a field would get flooded every year so the eight kids on that street could skate on it. It’s part of a farm now, and as sheep roamed behind him, Backstrom posed for a photo in front of the plot of land that he first stood on skates as a 2-year-old.
|(Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)|
His childhood home was sold years ago, but Backstrom pointed out his old bedroom window. A poster of Mats Sundin hung on his door then, and one of Peter Forsberg on his wall both legendary Swedish players sporting Quebec Nordiques colors.
"I remember the first time he got his skates on his feet, he walked outside, and I told him, ‘You have to take them off to go inside,’” Anders said. “’No, no,’ he said. He got to sleep with the skates on.”
Once a rainy morning became a cool late afternoon, Backstrom carried the Stanley Cup to the dock off his backyard, hopping on a boat for a short ride on the Baltic Sea. He later held up the trophy as his grandmother ran a finger along the engravings. She put one hand on the top rim and another on the base to test its weight and gasped. It’s 35 pounds.
More friends and family arrived for a party under a tent at his home. Anders’s friend’s band played late into the night, and when it was time to part with the Stanley Cup, Backstrom lifted it over his head for a last time. He gave it a series of kisses as guests started chanting, “back-to-back.” He placed the trophy into its black case – “It was awesome,” he said to Cup minder Philip Pritchard. Backstrom then raised his fist and spurred on the “back-to-back” cheering, hopeful the wait for another day like this would be short.
“It was very emotional, and that’s what it’s supposed to be, I think,” Backstrom said. “Just bringing back this trophy is what I’ve dreamed about since I came to the league.”
— Isabelle Khurshudyan