Nicklas Bäckström and the 59 Meatballs

Nicklas Bäckström made a surprise visit to his former team Brynäs summer hockey school last Thursday to talk to the kids and to hand out some awards. The hockey school lasted for two weeks and ended with a very popular surprise appearance by Nicklas Bäckström.

The final day also included a lot of cake eating (Brynäs, in its one hundredth year of existence this year, won the Swedish championship) and awards handed out for best (hockey?) hair, and of course “the meatball of the week” award which was handed out to the kid who ate the most meatballs during the camp; this year’s winner managed to eat 59 meatballs.

Nicklas started out his career with Valbo HC (Valbo’s ice rink is now named after him) but moved on to play for Brynäs in his teens. The first Brynäs team he was on was their under 16 team.
“I started to play hockey when I was just 2-3 years old. That’s really early but I tagged along with my older brother and dad [Nicklas’s dad Anders played for Brynäs between 1978-88]. A while later I started playing at Valbo’s hockey school. I practically lived at the rink in Valbo,” Bäckström tells Brynäs’s official site.

Nicklas answered questions on what he does to keep up his motivation to train two times a day five days a week as he does in the summer,  how he deals with going through rough patches and a difficult injury like concussion, and if he has ever considered quitting hockey.

“No, I never got to the point that I wanted to give up on hockey. One of the things I love most about hockey is to just hang out with the guys in the locker room. However, I did spend a lot of time thinking about why I didn’t heal up properly and if I ever would feel good again.”

“The thing I liked most about hockey summer school as a kid was that it was filled with fun hockey stuff both on and off the ice. We also did other things such as going swimming. It was the combination of things that made it so much fun. I went to summer hockey school for 7 or 8 years as a kid and always had a great time.”

All the pics are courtesy of Brynäs.se, where you also can read more about Bäckström’s visit.

***

 

Nicklas Bäckström and Marcus Johansson will both play for Peter Forsberg and Markus Näslund’s charity team the Icebreakers this year. Nicklas Bäckström has played on the team for a couple of years but this year will be the first time for Marcus.

The team consists of current and former Swedish NHL players. They will play two games against Swedish teams this year: Timrå on August 8 and Visby on August 9.
The purpose of the Icebreakers is to raise money for sick children. They have raised 6 million Swedish kronor since the foundation was started in 2002. All of the players that take part in the event always say the same thing: playing in the games is fun but the reason they do it every year is to meet the children. They visit the children’s hospital in all the cities they travel to play in, as well as meeting all the kids that receive the money they raised through the games. It’s the interaction with the kids that makes it all worthwhile to the players.

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