Born April 28, 1970, Nicklas Lidstrom is one of the very few elite hockey players to have joined the Triple Gold Club, representing an Olympic gold medal, a World Championship victory and a Stanley Cup win. Lidstrom monopolized the Norris Trophy as the league's best defenceman during his 20-season NHL career and the Hockey News selected him as the 'Best European-trained player ever in the NHL.' The Swedish-born defenceman spent three seasons with VIK Vasteras HK in the Swedish Elite League, and was drafted 53rd overall by the Detroit Red Wings in the 1989 NHL Entry Draft.
Lidstrom joined the Detroit Red Wings in 1991-92, where he earned a Calder Trophy nomination and was named to the NHL's All-Rookie Team. He would go on to play his entire 20-season career with the Detroit Red Wings, collecting extraordinary accolades along the way. One of the greatest defencemen of all time, Lidstrom was awarded the James Norris Memorial Trophy as the league's best blueliner on seven occasions. Only Bobby Orr with eight and Doug Harvey with seven can match Lidstrom's feat. He was selected to the NHL's First All-Star Team on ten occasions and twice was named to the Second All-Star Team.
With the exception of the 2004-05 lockout season, Lidstrom participated in the playoffs for 20 consecutive seasons, an NHL record he shares with Larry Robinson. He played in 263 playoff games (three shy of Chris Chelios's record) and was a member of four Stanley Cup championship teams (1997, 1998, 2002 and 2008). Nicklas was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoff's most valuable player in 2002 and in 2008 became the first European-born captain of a Stanley Cup champion.
For the last six seasons of his career, Lidstrom captained the Red Wings, replacing the legendary Steve Yzerman upon his retirement. He holds several Red Wings' franchise records, including games played by a defenceman, most regular season goals, assists and points by a defenceman (264, 878 and 1,142), most playoff games (263), goals (54), assists (129) and points (183) by a defenceman. The Detroit Red Wings retired his number 5 on March 6, 2014.
Lidstrom's international accomplishments are equally impressive. Prior to his NHL career, Lidstrom competed for Sweden in the World Junior Championship in 1990 and in the 1991 Canada Cup, contributed to a gold medal for his country. After joining the Detroit Red Wings, he was a member of the gold medal-winning Swedish entry at the 1991 World Championships. In 1994, he helped Sweden to the bronze medal at the World Championships and led his homeland to silver at the same tournament in 2004. He also participated with Sweden at the World Cup of Hockey in 1996 and 2004.
A four time Olympian, Lidstrom made his Olympic debut with Sweden at the 1998 Winter Olympic Games. He would also compete for his country at the 2002, 2006 and 2010 Olympic Winter Games, earning gold in 2006 to gain entry to the prestigious Triple Gold Club. He was inducted into the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) Hall of Fame in 2014.