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Lightning’s Victor Hedman celebrates day with Stanley Cup in Sweden

Tampa Bay Times
Tampa Bay Times
 28 days ago
Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman poses with the Stanley Cup, his French bulldog, Harry, and the Conn Smythe Trophy during his Cup day in Sweden. [ HHOFarchives/KeeperoftheCup ]

TAMPA — At last, the Stanley Cup is back in Tampa.

The NHL’s championship trophy finished its worldwide tour Wednesday after stopping to see the Lightning’s Victor Hedman, Nikita Kucherov, Mikhail Sergachev, Andrei Vasilevskiy and Pat Maroon.

For Hedman, the visit was all the sweeter because he finally was able to share the Cup with friends and family back home in Ornskoldsvik, Sweden. And because the Lightning won back-to-back championships, he was able to celebrate with the Conn Smythe Trophy, too, having won the playoff MVP award in 2020.

The night Hedman was reunited with the Cup, he celebrated with family at home drinking gin — from a world-leading, Sweden-based distillery called Herno — and tonic out of the Cup’s bowl.

Hedman started off the next day on the Gold Coast. The Stanley Cup has been to the street where he lives four times, and he’s the third person there to have it at his house. World championship and Olympic medalists also live on the street.

“I think more than anything, he wanted to bring it back home not for himself, but for everyone else that helped him along the way,” said Phil Pritchard, the Keeper of the Cup who accompanied it to Sweden.

Hedman later took the Cup downtown so he could recreate a childhood memory of his own. At age 6, he saw the Cup for the first time when Peter Forsberg brought it to Ornskoldsvik after winning the championship in 2006 with the Avalanche.

“He wanted to take it there, because that was the first place he saw it and that fulfilled his dream,” Pritchard said. “He’s hoping that he will inspire a bunch of other kids moving forward.”

In addition to a key to the city — which Hedman received the week before he got the Cup — the Lightning defenseman also got a brick on the local walk of fame, Pritchard said.

After spending some time downtown, Hedman and his family returned home and took some photos on the water with the Cup. And of course, his French bulldog, Harry, was front and center for most of the afternoon.

That night, the Hedmans hosted a “beautiful” reception with family and close friends. He ate Swedish meatballs, mashed potatoes and loganberries out of the bowl of the Cup, continuing a trend of players eating out of the Cup that has been popular this offseason.

“(Hedman) said it was perfect,” Pritchard said. “”For the family, his mom and dad were so proud. His two brothers were also there. I think it was pretty special for all of them.”

Contact Mari Faiello at Follow @faiello_mari.

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