Legends of Hockey -- NHL Player Search -- Player -- Pelle Lindbergh
He began his hockey career with Stockholm's Hammarby, long known for sending able players to the best teams in Sweden, among them Djurgarden and AIK in Stockholm, where Lindbergh was born on May 24, 1959. In 1979, while still a junior, Lindbergh was spotted by Team Sweden's coach, Bengt Ohlsson, and made his debut with the national team against Czechoslovakia in Prague on May 6. The Swedes lost that game 9-1, but Lindbergh was chosen as the team's MVP.

The young goalie played well at the Olympic Games in Lake Placid in 1980. Hockey fans remember the exciting game on February 20 against Czechoslovakia. The Czechs fired 36 shots on goal and the Swedes returned with only 16 shots. The superiority of the Czech players was clear to anyone watching, but the Swedes won 4-2. Goaltender Lindbergh and forward Mats Naslund were outstanding that day.

That autumn, Lindbergh turned pro. It was a difficult beginning for the young Swede. He was sent to Portland, a farm club for the Philadelphia Flyers. Not all-Swedish hockey players taken on by North American farm clubs could withstand the test, and many couldn't overcome the psychological barrier that existed for them. In the two years he spent in Portland, Lindbergh was voted best rookie in the AHL and the league's MVP.

Lindbergh joined the Flyers in the 1981-82 season and played eight games. He was voted the best rookie goaltender in the NHL and was included on the NHL All-Rookie Team. The only Swede to accomplish this previously had been Borje Salming, a defenseman for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The peak of Lindbergh's career came on June 13, 1985, when he was awarded the Vezina Trophy. He was the first foreign goaltender to receive the award, which is the highest honor bestowed on a goalie by the NHL. Everything pointed to an outstanding career for Lindbergh. He signed a six-year contract with the Flyers and all doors were open to him. A month after receiving the Vezina Trophy, he bought himself the Porsche he had always wanted and was happier than he'd ever been. But, tragically, he hit a concrete wall while driving his car in New Jersey. Reports said there was alcohol in the 27-year-old goaltender's blood.

Lindbergh lay in a coma in the intensive care unit at the John F. Kennedy Hospital in Stratford until his parents made the difficult decision to ask doctors to disconnect the artificial life-support system that was keeping their son alive.


REGULAR SEASON PLAYOFFS
Season Club League GP W L T SO Avg GP W L T SO Avg
1975-76 AIK Solna Jr. Swe-Jr.
1975-76 Sweden EJC-A 3 1.33
1976-77 AIK Solna Jr. Swe-Jr.
1976-77 Sweden EJC-A 3 1.00
1977-78 AIK Solna Jr. Swe-Jr.
1977-78 Sweden WJC-A 4 0 2.50
1978-79 AIK Solna Sweden 6 0 6.33
1978-79 Sweden WEC-A 6 1 4 1 0 6.33
1979-80 AIK Solna Sweden 32 1 3.41
1979-80 Sweden Olympics 5 2 1 2 0 3.60
1980-81 Maine Mariners AHL 51 31 14 5 1 3.26 20 10 7 0 0 3.54
1981-82 Sweden Can-Cup 2 0 0 0 0 6.00
1981-82 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 8 2 4 2 0 4.38
1981-82 Maine Mariners AHL 25 17 7 2 0 3.31
1982-83 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 40 23 13 3 3 2.98 3 0 3 0 6.00
1982-83 Sweden WEC-A 9 4 4 1 0 3.00
1983-84 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 36 16 13 3 1 4.05 2 0 1 0 6.92
1983-84 Springfield Indians AHL 4 4 0 0 0 3.00
1984-85 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 65 40 17 7 2 3.02 18 12 6 3 2.50
1985-86 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 8 6 2 0 1 2.88
NHL Totals 157 87 49 15 7 3.29 23 12 10 3 3.11


Named Best Goaltender at EJC-A (1976, 1977)
WJC-A All-Star Team (1979)
Named Best Goaltender at WJC-A (1979)
Swedish World All-Star Team (1979, 1980, 1983)
AHL First All-Star Team (1981)
Harry "Hap" Holmes Memorial Award (fewest goals against - AHL) (1981) (shared with Robbie Moore)
Dudley "Red" Garrett Memorial Award (Rookie of the Year - AHL) (1981)
Les Cunningham Award (MVP - AHL) (1981)
NHL All-Rookie Team (1983)
NHL First All-Star Team (1985)
Vezina Trophy (1985) Played in NHL All-Star Game (1983, 1985)
Died of injuries suffered in an automobile accident, November 10, 1985.