The 2017 World Championship-winning Swedish national team arrived in the capital of their home country, Stockholm, to participate in a celebration at Sergels Torg, Monday. The location, which is located in the center of the city, drew thousands of Swedish hockey fans.
There was singing. There was chanting. And there were gold helmets. Lots and lots of metallic gold helmets.
Capitals first-line center Nicklas Backstrom spent a majority of the celebration standing with 2017 World Championship MVP William Nylander.
Each player was introduced to the crowd before the team sang We Are The Champions.
— Tre Kronor (@Trekronorse) May 22, 2017
The team also saluted the crowd with this synchronized arm celebration.
Backstrom was interviewed three times during Aftonbladet’s live stream of the event.
“It’s incredibly valuable!” Backstrom said of his gold medal-winning experience in Cologne. “I rank it on top of my list. Such an amazing group to be part of and an amazing feeling to be part of all of this.”
It’s an amazing feeling. I remember [this kind of celebration] from when I was 18 years old. It was exactly this I wanted to experience again. To come home and celebrate with all the fans. Thank you all so much!
Announcer Åke Unger: [To the crowd] “What do you guys think of this duo?!” (Backy, Nylander)
Åke Unger: “Before the shootout, what did you two talk about?”
Nicklas Backstrom: “I just asked him where he wanted to shoot the puck.”
William Nylander: “It didn’t go very well.”
[Nylander shot first in the gold-medal shootout and missed]
Åke Unger: “We’ve mentioned your story from Washington, can you tell us again Nicklas?”
Nicklas Backstrom: “Ten years ago, William was 13 and I was babysitting him. Now we played on the same line. It’s pretty unique. I really want him to have this success.”
Åke Unger: “William, what was he like as a babysitter?”
William Nylander: “One of the better I had! I beat him in ping-pong!”
There’s a lot of people here today, what are your thoughts about this?
Nicklas Backstrom: “We got lucky with the weather! It’s absolutely amazing. A big thank you to everyone who showed up here and supported us throughout the tournament.”
What’s it like to have that kind of support?
Nicklas Backstrom: “It feels really good, this support is amazing.”
What were your thoughts in the shootout?
Nicklas Backstrom: “Score! I thought I’d use my shot and it worked out pretty well.”
Did you have a plan?
Nicklas Backstrom: “Yeah, I decided to shoot stick side.. And yesterday it was open!”
What did you think of Henrik Lundqvist in net?
Nicklas Backstrom: “He was unbelievable. When we got up 2-0 all us guys on the bench knew he’d shut them out. Unbelievably impressive.”
How was the celebration last night?
Nicklas Backstrom: “It was good. We got up early to go here. And this is what we wanted, to come here and celebrate with the Swedish people.”
How much does this gold mean to you?
Nicklas Backstrom: “It’s incredibly valuable! I rank it on top of my list. Such an amazing group to be part of and an amazing feeling to be part of all of this.”
Was it a natural thing for you to come to this tournament after being knocked out of the NHL playoffs?
Nicklas Backstrom: “Yes. When they called it felt really good to come over. We had a great team and everyone played at their best. That’s important.”
What happens next?
Nicklas Backstrom: “Err.. I don’t know.. I’m not really up to speed of what’s going on.. We’ll see.”
Nicklas Backstrom: “Thanks!”
Why did your line with Nylander and Lindberg work so well?
Nicklas Backstrom: “The key was us going hard from the start. It was really fun playing with those two guys, they’re two very talented players.”
It must feel special coming home to Sweden after a long season.
Nicklas Backstrom: “Very special! To finish of the season like this, it couldn’t feel any better.”
How long of a time do you need to process a thing like this, a long season in the NHL and now a gold medal?
Nicklas Backstrom: “I’m just focusing on this right now. You have to think about the positive things and this is very positive.”
In the past, Swedish celebrations have been held at Kungsträdgården (the Royal Garden), but due to the soccer final of the Europa League being there Wednesday, organizers decided to move the event.
On Sweden’s return home, the Swedish national team was greeted with fighter airplanes, two JAS 39 Gripen, when they entered Swedish air space.
While landing, two fire trucks saluted the team by spraying water high in the air with hoses.
Tre Kronor’s first event of the day was held at the Royal Castle, where Prince Daniel, Crown Princess Victoria, 5-year-old Princess Estelle, and 1-year-old Prince Oscar welcomed the team. The King Carl XVI Gustaf was unable to do so because he is on a royal visit to Indonesia.
In the middle row, from left to right: Prince Carl Philip, Crown Princess Victoria, Prince Daniel. The children in front are Princess Estelle and Prince Oscar, both kids of Daniel and Victoria.
Then the team headed to Sergels Torg.
Additional reporting and translations by Magnus Cadelin.
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