Swedish defenceman Niklas Kronwall, the feared physical blueliner with an equally fearsome slapshot, today announced his retirement from hockey, after an illustrious 20 year career that includes a Stanley Cup, Olympic and World Championship Gold, and membership in the Triple Gold Club.
The 29th pick of the 2000 NHL Draft, Kronwall joined the Red Wings after coming up through his hometown Djurgårdens of the Swedish league, debuting for Detroit in 2003. Emerging as a roster mainstay following the 2004-05 lockout, Kronwall became known as a punishing physical force on the Wings blueline, famously using his open ice hits to leave his opponents “Kronwall-ed.” Kronwall won the Stanley Cup with the Wings in 2008, allowing for Kronwall to join the prestigious Triple Gold Club, alongside teammates Henrik Zetterberg and Mikael Samuelsson. Kronwall spent all 15 seasons of his NHL career with Detroit, totaling 432 points in 953 career games, along with 47 points in 109 playoff appearances.
Kronwall first joined Tre Kronor as a member of the Juniorkronorna at the 1998 European U18 Championships, later playing in both the 2000 and 2001 World Junior Championships, where he’d win European U18 Gold in 1998 and World U18 Gold in 1999. Kronwall joined the senior team in 2003, winning Silver at that year’s World Championship. Kronwall would play at another three Worlds (2005, 2006, 2012), winning Gold in 2006, the first team to win Olympic and Worlds Gold in the same year. He also played at three Olympics (2006, 2010, 2014), winning Gold in 2006 and Silver in 2014, where he also served as team captain for his final international tournament.
Kronwall captured the IHLC four times over his long career – twice at the World Championships (in 2005 and 2006), and twice at the Olympics (in 2006 and 2010). We wish Niklas and his family the very best for his retirement and the things to come!