Markus Naslund’s retirement from pro hockey was short-lived.
Naslund left the New York Rangers this spring, announcing his 15-year NHL career was done. He didn’t say anything about playing in Europe, though. Naslund has announced he is coming out of retirement to play with Modo, his first pro club.
It appears the lure of playing with Peter Forsberg was enough to coax the 36-year-old out of retirement.
“I will do anything to get in shape and hope I can add something on the ice, but as everybody understands it’s not just to get on the ice and perform,” Naslund said in a statement. “I’m really looking forward to play with Modo again and the fact that Peter and I will do it together is of course something really special.”
Forsberg announced Monday that he would forego his plan of returning to the NHL this season in order to play for Modo, also the club of his youth. Forsberg is trying to come back from debilitating foot injuries that have sidetracked his career.
Both players have talked wistfully about playing on the same team since they left Modo, a team famed for its pipeline of players shipped to the NHL. Forsberg and Naslund went to high school together in Ornskoldsvik and played for Modo for four seasons before Naslund left for the NHL in 1993. Forsberg followed two seasons later.
The players have also played together, often on the same line, for Sweden during international competitions for much of the past two decades.
Part of the reason Forsberg is coming back is in the hopes of impressing Team Sweden management enough to earn an invitation to the Olympics in February. Naslund did not mention the Olympics in his release, but would have to be considered an option if he can get into the proper shape.
Naslund spent most of his NHL career with the Vancouver Canucks, playing a dozen seasons there. He also made brief appearances with the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Rangers. In 1,117 games, Naslund scored 395 goals and finished with 869 points.
The additions of Forsberg and Naslund will help a Modo club that has fallen on hard times. Usually among the most successful teams in the Swedish Elite League, Modo sits at the bottom of the SEL table with just 16 points in 19 games.