Arguably one of the greatest goalies in New York ice hockey history, Henrik Lundqvist is certainly living up to his potential having recently celebrated his 400th win in the NHL. Hailing from Sweden, the athlete has become a household name to sports fans big and small around the world. Case in point: After slipping on an icy sidewalk last week and catching myself just before hitting the cement, two bystanders shouted "Nice save, Henrik Lundqvist!"
You only get one ride, so you want to make the most of it.
While most-known for his prowess on the ice, his family values, humanitarianism, and sartorial choices don't go unrecognized. During the height of hockey season, Lundqvist found time to sit down for a Q&A with sports journalist Jeremy Schaap at an event held exclusively for Citi cardmembers. Schaap, with help from the audience, succeeded in getting Lundqvist to dig deep when it comes to his hockey career, life as a New Yorker, and confidence in the rink. Here's what we learned:
1. Playing against his brother strengthened their bond.
Fans are familiar with Lundqvist's hockey-playing twin brother (yes, there are two of them!), but what they might not know is just how close they really are. Growing up in Sweden, the Lundqvists played various sports together – until being drafted to the NHL where they played for competing teams. "It was a surreal moment. There were a lot of emotions in that game when we played against each other – for him as well – and I think we both realized how much we meant to each other."
2. He's always had a keen sense of style.
The hockey player is well-known for his fashion choices and always has been. When his Swedish teammates received word that Lundqvist was moving to New York, they agreed that the city would suit him well. And those enviable locks? Turns out Lundqvist only recently found "his guy" after walking past a barbershop, exchanging a few friendly glances with the barber, and taking a chance.
3. He's proud to call New York home.
Lundqvist had his first bite of the Big Apple after his parents took a trip to the U.S. and returned with a large poster of the city – it's been displayed in their home ever since! When he eventually relocated to New York as an adult, he immediately felt inspired. "New York is a one of a kind city. There are a lot of places that you can say remind you of another, but not New York."
4. He lives in the moment.
"When I reach a milestone, I want to be able to enjoy it for a little bit." The goalie acknowledged that he's better at savoring the moment now than he was 10 years ago. "You only get one ride, so you want to make the most of it." For him, remembering the positive moments is motivation to keep pushing himself.
5. He takes time for mental preparation.
"It's all about how you think," says Lundqvist. While he admits that proper focus won't change physical ability, he believes that it can make the difference between a good game and a bad one. "Sometimes I focused too much or I was too intense, but I learn from it every time and grow as a person."
6. He's not afraid of the puck.
What does it feel like when the puck hits you in the head? According to this veteran, it all depends on how you deflect the hit. "If the puck comes straight at you and bounces back the opposite way, it's probably going to hurt, so you need to make sure it bounces off and continues in the same direction," he says. "My brother had this high-rise slap shot and so many times it hit me in the head growing up, so I got used to that."
7. He knows how to handle game seven.
"Don't overthink it." When he's under pressure, Lundqvist trusts his instincts to know that he's done everything he can to play his best. "You need to be confident that you've done everything you can. You need to have a certain swagger and believe that you're a good team. It's going to help in so many different situations throughout the season, especially in the playoffs."
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