Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom, like most Swedish athletes, started and owns his own company. The company, aptly named NickBack Invest AB, is run by Backstrom and his family. It was first formed on July 1, 2010, shortly after Nicklas signed a 10-year, $67 million contract with the Capitals.
Anders, Backstrom’s father, is the chairman while Backstrom’s mom, Catrin, and brother, Kristoffer, are on the company’s board.
So what is NickBack Invest AB and why did Backstrom start it? Here’s why.
Back in 2005, the Swedish IRS decided that athletes could create companies to spread out their earnings for the rest of their lives, instead of taxing them away. For a non-Swede to understand this, it’s important to understand that Sweden used to have the highest income taxes in the world. When athletes came home from a successful soccer career or ten seasons in the NHL, they had a lot of problems carrying their hard-earned earnings into the country.
Creating a company in Sweden is the de facto setup for a Swedish athlete making money abroad who has plans to return home someday. For instance, former Legion of Doom member, Mikael Renberg, set up his company ahead of the 2004-05 season before moving back to Sweden after nine years in the United States. More recently, soccer star Zlatan Ibrahimovic created multiple different types of companies that do everything from padel arenas to perfumes.
In Backstrom’s case, NickBack Invest AB, according to Swedish records, focuses on “managing and renting premises”, “horse racing” (trotting), and “managing and trading stocks and bonds.”
It’s also how Backstrom does charity, like the “Bäckis-stipendiet” [The Backy scholarship], a yearly award given to two young athletes of his former school. For 10 years, the small rink in Backstrom’s hometown Valbo has had his name, NickBack Arena – and it’s through his company he’s able to sponsor his former club and give back to his community.
Nicklas has always pledged he’ll one day come back to Sweden and play for his favorite club Brynäs once more. It’s like he said – “I’ll never forget where I came from.”
Headline photo: Cara Bahniuk/RMNB
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