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Swedish Sensations

by Nate Ewell / Washington Capitals
Just a few days after the King of Sweden visited the nation’s embassy in Washington, D.C., Capitals centers Nicklas Backstrom and Michael Nylander received a royal welcome on their visit to the House of Sweden Monday, Nov. 12.

The duo enjoyed lunch with the Ambassador, Jonas Hafstrom, a question-and-answer session with embassy staff members and a behind-the-scenes tour of one of the newest – and most impressive – buildings on the Georgetown waterfront.

“This is more excitement than we had for the King’s visit,” said Anders Ericson, the embassy’s press officer, as around 50 embassy staff members, including Ambassador Hafstrom, and a number of their children took part in the Q&A session. Backstrom and Nylander answered dozens of questions – all in Swedish – and signed autographs for the crowd.

They told their countrymen and women about life in the NHL and their experiences with the Capitals. Both compared the league to their previous experience in Sweden and talked about Nylander and his wife, Camilla, talked about what it’s like to be traded and their favorite things about the places Michael has played. Backstrom, meanwhile, joked about becoming a seventh child in the Nylander family.

The players and staff snacked on gingerbread cookies, a Swedish specialty that Nylander encouraged the Americans in their party to try. They were the perfect dessert to follow his and Backstrom’s lunch with the ambassador and vice ambassador Caroline Vicini, who were kind enough to eat late to accommodate the team’s practice schedule. After the visit with the staff, Backstrom and Nylander stopped by Ambassador Hafstrom’s office to enjoy his view of the Potomac River, Arlington, The Watergate and the Kennedy Center.

The House of Sweden occupies prime real estate at the corner of K St. and 30th St. NW, right on the water. It was designed by a prominent Swedish architect and features an open design filled with windows and light shades of wood. It opened just more than a year ago.

Four stories above the ambassador’s office is a rooftop deck, where the players visited next.

“It’s a beautiful building,” Backstrom raved as planes flew overhead to National Airport. “The location is perfect. You can see everything from up here.”

The tour wrapped up in the public area of the House of Sweden, which is currently home to an exhibit called “Children First!” Backstrom and Nylander challenged each other to several of the exhibit’s interactive games, which are open through Nov. 25.
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