Peter Forsberg recently came back to the Colorado Avalanche after taking a four year hiatus to work out his bad ankle. He had a couple of surgeries and tried to play for a team in the Swedish league but still could not overcome the injury. Recently he thought about a come back to the NHL where if he could play he would sign with the Avalanche one more time. He spent a week practicing making sure he could come back and last Sunday he made a final decision to come back and play. But just a week into his surprise return to the Avs we are left watching Forsberg hang up the skates for the last time.
It is a sad day for everyone including me. I have always been a Forsberg fan, he was like my Gretzkey or Howe or Hull. I watched everything about him. As a kid playing street hockey whether it was practicing or playing a pick up game with my friends I would always play as Forsberg. His intensity and knowledge of the game was amazing. When Quebec moved to Colorado in 1995 I watched and rooted for the team. They had some of the greats on that team including Roy, Sakic, Heduk, Foote, Deadmarsh, the list goes on. Forsberg and Sakic were unstoppable and I was excited to see them raise the cup back then.
Before I would watch the Olympics and root for just U.S.A and Canada. Being from the U.S. I always wanted to see them win but seeing Canada dominate their sport was another thing to watch for. Then came Forsberg. When I first started following him, I looked into the swedish leagues and began watching and rooting for the Swedish team during the Olympics. Another fond memory that I have is watching as Forsberg helped the Swedes win an Olympic gold medal.
Another memory I had was watching the 2001 Stanley Cup finals. My dad is a big New Jersey Devils fan and that year Forsberg and the Avalanche played the Devils for the ultimate prize. I remember game seven very vividly. I was 10 years old just coming back from a field trip to an amusement park. Got home for the third period where the Avs started the period being down then came back with two quick goals to get the lead. I was thrilled not just to see my team win, and not just cause I saw Ray Bourque get his first and only stanley cup, but I got to watch The Peter the Great skate around with the cup. I would not have thought that would be the last I would see him do that.
Forsberg went on to play for the Flyers and Predators before his days in the NHL were over. He never really looked the same until last week when he was finally able to put that sweater with the A on and skate with his teammates including those who are still there from the Stanley Cup days.
A man whose career was cut a little too short due to injury made a hell of a career out of it, and was able to inspire many like myself. Peter The Great's moments in hockey will forever be remembered, just look up to the rafters at the Pepsi Center and you will remember those days when the high flying Swede came down the ice to score so many of his great goals.
So on the day that he will formally announce his retirement, I thank you Peter Forsberg for the memories and god speed where ever life will take you. Hopefully it is to the Broadcast booth for his home team of Colorado, or if and when Quebec gets another team Forsberg will go to coaching.