Swedish centre Joel Lundqvist, a mainstay of both the Swedish Hockey League and national team for over two decades, today announced his retirement just shy of his 41st birthday, a year and a half after his twin brother Henrik hung up his skates.
A third round pick of the Dallas Stars in the 2000 NHL Draft, Lundqvist would try his hand in North America after six full seasons with Frölunda, but could not find a strong foothold in Dallas, spending three seasons between the main club and their minor league affiliate, before returning to the Elitserien for good in 2009. Lundqvist would spend his final fourteen pro seasons as captain of Frölunda, capturing four Swedish league titles (2003, 2005, 2016, 2019) and four Champions Hockey League titles (2016-17, 2019-20). The 2017 CHL MVP, Lundqvist wrapped his 20 season Frölunda career with 196 goals and 505 points in 905 career games, along with another 82 points in 162 career playoff games, only missing the postseason four times in two decades.
Debuting with Sweden’s Under-17 national team, Lundqvist debuted with the Juniorkronorna at the 2002 World Junior Championships, joining the senior national team on the 2001-02 Euro Hockey Tour. Lundqvist would capture Gold in his first of seven (2006, 2009, 2012-17) World Championship appearances, winning the second half of Sweden’s historic “Golden double” following Tre Kronor’s Olympic Gold win in Turin, backstopped by his brother in net. Lundqvist would win additional World Championship Gold in 2013 and 2017, the latter winning alongside Henrik while serving as team captain, and would also win a pair of Bronze medals in 2009 and 2014. A two-time Euro Hockey Tour winner in 2015 and 2016, Lundqvist would cap his international career as captain of Tre Kronor at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, with the NHL’s absence serving as an opportunity to play on the grandest stage.
Lundqvist was a ten-time IHLC champion over the course of his career, winning first on the 2005-06 Euro Hockey Tour, with his final coming in 2018 in the Olympic preliminary round. We wish Joel and his family the very best for his retirement and the things to come!
Photo Credit: IIHF Worlds 2017 – IIHF – HHOF – IOC