Two years ago, a few days before his 40th birthday, Nick Lidstrom took a few minutes out to sit down with The Globe and Mail and chat about retirement and what could potentially be next for him in hockey.
As it turns out, he went on to play another two seasons at a very high level after that, winning the Norris Trophy in 2010-11 and filling a big role on the Detroit Red Wings blueline again this past season.
On Thursday, however, Lidstrom will retire at a press conference at Joe Louis Arena, ending a Hall of Fame career. And based on what he has said of late and our conversation back in 2010, his next role will likely be as a hockey mentor to his four sons in Sweden.
The oldest, Kevin, is 18 and playing hockey in his father’s hometown of Vasteras with the junior team.
His other three boys (Adam, Samuel and Lucas) are also at various levels and could potentially play and develop overseas should the family move to Sweden full time.
Here were Lidstrom’s thoughts on what was next back when we chatted:
How much have you thought about what you’ll do when you finally stop playing?
Lidstrom: “A little bit. But I haven’t really made up my mind what I want to do. I’ve got kids playing hockey so I’d definitely like to be involved with youth hockey somehow. Right now the plan is to eventually move back to Sweden.”
That seems pretty common among Swedish players in the NHL. After 20 years in North America, why do you think you’ll leave?
Lidstrom: “I think we are just close to our families, that’s what it comes down to. I have all my family back home, so I think that’s really what it boils down to for a lot of Swedes.”
Will you be involved in Swedish hockey?
Lidstrom: “Yeah. Where I live, they’re in the second division, right below the Elite League [in the Allsvenskan] So I might be involved with that team and hopefully they’ll make the step up to the Elite League.”
Is all the talk about turning 40 and retirement off putting?
Lidstrom: “Well, it’s going to come sooner or later. It’s going to come. Now I’m getting up there in age, people are watching me closely and they think something’s going to happen [with my play falling off]but I prepare for every game the way I have for the past 10 to 15 years. Nothing’s really changed on my side. I know what I have to do. I feel the same out there.”