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Global Series

Landeskog plays host with most in Stockholm

Avalanche forward going all out showing teammates sights of hometown prior to 2017 SAP NHL Global Series

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / Senior Writer

STOCKHOLM -- For this week only, Colorado Avalanche forward Gabriel Landeskog has a new title with extra responsibilities.

Team tour guide.

"It's finally my turn," Landeskog told during an interview at the Avalanche's hotel following practice Tuesday, in advance of the 2017 SAP NHL Global Series featuring games against the Ottawa Senators on Friday (2 p.m. ET; NHL Network, TSN5, RDS, ALT, NHL.TV) and Saturday (1 p.m. ET; NHL Network, SN, RDS, ALT, NHL.TV) at Ericsson Globe. 

Since arriving in the NHL in 2011, Landeskog, a Stockholm native and still resident, has only been the visitor in someone else's hometown, city or state. He has been shown around, told where to go and how to get there, where and what to eat.

Only in Landeskog's dreams did the chance to come home to play an NHL game exist. Only in his dreams did he picture himself showing his teammates around his town, giving them a history lesson, sight-seeing recommendations, restaurant and food tips.

"I never thought I'd see the day, but here we are," Landeskog said. 

Video: A look at Landeskog's hometown of Stockholm, Sweden

Landeskog's teammates said it's going on months now that he's been talking about this trip. He kicked it into gear Monday, during the Avalanche's bus ride from Stockholm Arlanda Airport to Grand Hotel, where they are staying. Landeskog stood up in the back of the bus and went into tour guide mode, talking about everything they were passing, especially after they rolled into downtown.

Landeskog joked that his teammates were annoyed with him, yelling at him to sit down so they could just enjoy the ride.

"We were giving it to him a little bit," defenseman Tyson Barrie said.

Landeskog was too amped up to stop.

"That's just pure excitement," Landeskog said. "You're so excited to have everybody here and you want to share it. It's not like I'm trying to brag about my city, but you don't know if these guys are ever going to come back to Stockholm. I want to make sure I tell them a little bit about certain things, whether is the Royal Castle on the other side or certain parks around downtown. You want to give them some inside scoop and tell them some of the best restaurants. You don't want to go down in the books as one of the worst hosts. I'm not going to say I'm going to be the best, but I'm going to at least try."

As part of his hosting efforts, Landeskog arranged a team dinner at one of his favorite restaurants on Tuesday.

"We'll see what he's got," Barrie joked. "We'll see what he's got to offer. I know he's pretty proud of this place and I see why. It's a beautiful spot."

Barrie has tried to put himself in Landeskog's shoes by thinking about what it would be like to return to his hometown of Victoria, British Columbia, to play an NHL game.

Video: Landeskog and the Avs travel from NYC to Stockholm

"I think that would be so cool," Barrie said. "I mean, I know I get to play in Vancouver, but nothing quite like being right in your hometown. This seems like a great experience for him and I know he's enjoying it. He's been smiling the whole time."

Landeskog is hopeful this won't be a once in a lifetime experience for him, but just in case it is, he's going all out.

He personally bought 90 tickets, 45 for each game, at approximately $220 per ticket for friends and family to attend the games.

"I think I'm pretty good on Christmas presents for a couple of years with all these tickets I'm buying," he said.

His father, Tony, a former Swedish Hockey League defenseman, was in the stands during practice Tuesday. Tony, in fact, recently found a picture of Landeskog sitting in the stands at Ericsson Globe with his brothers watching the Avalanche play Brynas IF, a local SHL team, on Sept. 17, 2001 as part of the NHL Challenge.

"It's crazy to think that 16 years later we're sitting here and it's my turn," Landeskog said. "Things happen fast and I'm really excited."

Landeskog is planning to have dinner at his father's house Wednesday. He'll have dinner with his mother, Cecilia, on Thursday.

"Days are going to move by pretty fast but I want to make sure I get to see everybody, not just go home and sit on the couch," Landeskog said. "I can do that in Denver."

He can, technically, do that here too. Landeskog owns an apartment that is about a five-minute drive from Ericsson Globe. He used to rent it out, but now it's empty, awaiting his return in the offseason.

"I might go home [and] make sure everything is clean, nothing has broken," he said.

Landeskog said he grew up in a suburb 20 minutes south of Stockholm. This trip marks the first time he has been here in the fall since 2012, when he stayed because of the lockout. It also marks the first time in his life he has stayed in a Stockholm hotel.

"Any time you come home it's a great feeling," he said.

As part of that, Landeskog is hoping for some hometown love from the fans Friday and Saturday.

Senators captain Erik Karlsson might be the more well-known Sweden-bor player on a national level, but Karlsson isn't from Stockholm. He's from Landsbro, about a four-hour drive south.

Landeskog hopes that matters come game time.

"That's kind of what I've been pushing," Landeskog said. "I hope people will root for the good guys on Friday and Saturday, and realize who is really from this city."

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