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Global Series

Lightning, Sabres get special masks to mark Global Series in Sweden

Viking-themed souvenirs highlight qualities of Tampa, Buffalo

by Shawn P. Roarke @sroarke_nhl / Senior Director of Editorial

STOCKHOLM -- As far as souvenirs go, these can't be beat.

Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman and Buffalo Sabres forward Marcus Johansson each were presented a one-of-a-kind goalie mask Thursday to commemorate the visits of their teams to Sweden for the 2019 NHL Global Series.

The masks highlight qualities of the city from which each team hails, as well as some touches to signify their time in Sweden. The idea for each mask was conceived by the players and refined and executed by Dave Gunnarsson, the custom mask artist to many of the goalies in the NHL.

Video: Hedman, Lightning presented with Global Series mask

Hedman and the Lightning wanted a mask that somehow combined the passion of Tampa for its Gasparilla Pirate Festival in January with their visit here.

The result is a mask featuring Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy as a pirate with a cat, instead of a parrot, on his shoulder. Vasilevskiy is sometimes referred to by teammates as the "Big Cat" for his unusual combination of size and quickness. On the other side, Hedman is depicted as a Viking holding the Swedish flag.

A Viking theme also dominates the Sabres mask.

Video: Johansson, Sabres receive Global Series mask

On the left side, the wavy hair of a buffalo head flows around the animal's horns, a nod to the loyal fans from Buffalo. On the other side, a Viking helmet, also adorned with horns, is painted in the national colors of Sweden -- blue and yellow -- as a nod to Swedish fans across the country.

What's next for these one-of-a-kind souvenirs is still up in the air. The NHL is working with each team on a plan to auction them off for charity.

So stay tuned for a chance to obtain the ultimate souvenir of the 2019 NHL Global Series.

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