Forsberg will play in the Swedish Elite League
STOCKHOLM, Sweden -- While the NHL tries to sort out its labor problems, Peter Forsberg is set on his plans. The Colorado Avalanche star will play in Sweden, even if part of the NHL season can be salvaged.
Forsberg, the 2002 NHL MVP, signed a one-year contract with Modo and will join a long line of other Swedish NHL players returning to the Elite League following the owners' lockout.
"It feels best this way," Forsberg said at news conference in his native Ornskoldsvik. "I've always said that I'll play one more year for Modo Hockey, and now we're here."
Forsberg, one of Sweden's most popular athletes, grew up playing for Modo's junior teams. His contract with the Avalanche expired this summer, making him an unrestricted free agent. He left the window open for an NHL return.
"I wouldn't say the circle has been completed," said Forsberg, 31. "We'll see what happens later."
Forsberg said he most likely will play in the Elite League opener Tuesday. He will be joined in Modo by Vancouver's Sedin twins, Henrik and Daniel; Mattias Weinhandl of the New York Islanders; and Pierre Hedin of Toronto. Vancouver's Markus Naslund, one of Forsberg's childhood friends, and Montreal's Niklas Sundstrom are expected to join their former club.
Forsberg's father, Kent Forsberg, will coach the team, which immediately becomes a favorite to win the league.
"Not many in my position are fortunate enough to put the world's best player on their roster," said Bengt Hedin, Modo's sports director.
Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press
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