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Frozen Fire

Pelle Lindbergh: Triumph To Tragedy

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Pelle Lindbergh was a Swedish goaltender who first burst on to the scene during the 1980 Olympics at Lake Placid, where he helped the Swedish national team hold the gold-medal winning Americans to a 2-2 tie and becoming the only team who didn't lose to the champions during the tournament.

2008/09 ITG Between The Pipes Game-Used Jersey SP

In the 1979 NHL entry draft Lindbergh was selected in the second round, 35th overall, by the Philadelphia Flyers. After playing a couple of seasons in the minor leagues Lindbergh got his debut with the Flyers during the 1981/82 season, where he was named to the NHL All-Rookie team.

During the 1984/85 season Lindbergh led the NHL with 40 wins and became the first European goaltender in NHL history to win the Vezina Trophy. Later that year on November 10th, after a night of partying, he lost control of his modified Porche and crashed into an elementary school in New Jersey. He was kept on life support until his family could pay their respects, then he passed away on November 11th.

After his death Lindbergh led fan voting for the 1986 All-Star game, becoming the first player in a major North American sport to be chosen posthumously for such an honor. Sean Taylor's election to the 2008 NFL Pro Bowl has been the only other case of a posthumous election.

The story of Pelle Lindbergh's successful but tragic life has not been lost on collectors, and more than two decades after his death his cards continue to be popular with hobby enthusiasts. According to Beckett numbers Lindbergh has 89 cards in circulation to this day, 56 of those being memorabilia cards exclusive to ITG. Lindbergh memorabilia is scarce and tends to sell fairly high, with his 2008/09 Between The Pipes cards consistently out-selling their Patrick Roy and Martin Brodeur counterparts as an example. Most of his memorabilia cards have appeared in high-end ITG releases such as Ultimate Memorabilia, but inclusion in mid-range products like Between The Pipes has been limited and therefor a big draw for collectors.

2008/09 ITG Between The Pipes Super-Sized Pad

I have been fortunate enough to acquire the cards you have seen in this article for my collection, and they are pieces of hockey history that are likely to stay with me for quite some time. If you are a fan of the sport, a fan of goaltenders, or are intrigued by stories like this one, you owe it to yourself to find a nice piece for your collection before it is too late.

Updated 10-26-2009 at 11:52 AM by Inferno



  1. hossa18sens's Avatar
    Awesome blog Kevin. Knew the story but haven't read it in a while. GL on picking up some more

  2. AndroSFL's Avatar
    Nice tribute. Pelle Lindbergh really set the bar high for future Swedish goaltenders. Hopefully, Henrik Lundqvist can carry the torch.
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