Saturday, April 3, 2010
On this date in 1988, Håkan Loob became the first Swedish-born player in the NHL to score 50 goals, a record that still stands today. The previous high for a Swede was 49, set in 1981 by Loob's former Calgary Flames teammate Kent Nilsson, who had 40 or more three times. Nilsson was the first Swede to reach the 40 goal mark, which he did in 1980.
The only other Swedes to have registered 40 goal NHL seasons are the Ottawa Senators Daniel Alfredsson, who had 43 in 2005-06 and 40 in 2007-08, Markus Naslund, who did it on three occasions with a high of 48 in 2002-03 while with the Vancouver Canucks, Mats Naslund, who had back to back seasons of 42 and 43 while with the Montreal Canadiens in the mid 80's, Mats Sundin, who also accomplished it three times, with a high of 47 in 1992-93 while with the Quebec Nordiques and twice more with 41 while with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The most recent Swede to join the group is Henrik Zetterberg of the Detroit Red Wings, who totaled 43 in 2007-08, but Loob still remains the only one to have reached 50 goals.
Loob played one season with Färjestads BK Karlstad before being drafted 181st overall by Calgary in the 1980 NHL Entry Draft. He would play three more seasons for Färjestads BK, including winning a championship in 1981 and setting the Elitserien scoring record with 42 goals and 76 points in just 36 games in 1982-83 and being named Swedish Player of the Year before joining the Flames in 1983-84.
In his first season in Calgary, Loob scored 30 goals, the first of three consecutive 30 goal seasons to begin his NHL career. After a down year in 1986-87 with just 18 goals, Loob would rebound with the best offensive season of his time in the NHL, with his record 50 goals plus 56 assists for 106 points.
Following the 1986-87 season, Loob would score nine points in eight games as Sweden captured gold at the World Championships in Vienna, Austria.
The 1988-89 was a magical one for the Flames. Loob would have 27 goals and 85 points during the regular season and add another 8 goals and 17 points in 22 playoff games as the Flames would capture the 1989 Stanley Cup for the only time in franchise history.
Håkan Loob skating in the 1989 Stanley Cup Finals
Winning the Stanley Cup was the last thing Loob would do in the NHL, as he returned to Färjestads BK the following season, where he would play the final seven seasons of his career, which included scoring the 250th goal of his Elitserien career.
Loob would finish his career with 262 goals and 499 points in 405 Elitserien games as well as 193 NHL goals and 429 points in 450 NHL games.
In 2005-06, on the Elitserien's 30th Anniversary, the league created the Håkan Loob Trophy, which is awarded to the leading goal scorer each season.
Internationally, Loob competed for Sweden in the World Junior Championships twice, the World Championships four times, winning gold in 1987 and 1991, the Canada Cup in 1985 and the Olympics twice, first in 1992 and then again in 1994 as Sweden won the gold medal, making Loob, along with teammates Tomas Jonsson and Mats Naslund, the first players to win World Championship gold, the Stanley Cup and Olympic Gold, in what is know known as The Triple Gold Club. To date, only 23 players have ever accomplished the feat.
Loob, Naslund and Jonsson celebrate their Olympic gold medals
Today's featured jersey is an 1994-95 Färjestad BK Håkan Loob jersey. This mesh jersey features the typical European sponsorship logos and distinctive Adidas triple stripes down each sleeve. This garish purple and gold jersey was worn during a season in which Loob had 38 points in 39 games, the next to last season of his career.
Bonus Jersey: Our Bonus Jersey today is a Sandow SK 1983-84 Calgary Flames Håkan Loob jersey that features the City of Calgary 100th Anniversary patch, the first patch ever worn by the franchise, including their time in Atlanta where they wore no additional patches. This jersey was worn by Loob during his rookie season in the NHL when he scored 30 goals and 25 assists for 55 points in 77 games and was named to the NHL All-Rookie Team.
Our first video today is a feature on the NHL career of Loob.
This next video is from the Elitserien playoffs in 1996 and shows Loob scoring a goal. We believe this to be Loob's final game, as he is shown waving as he leaves the ice after the loss.