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PRINCIPE: One Swede Deal

by Gene Principe / Edmonton Oilers
Photo by Getty Images

Anton Lander and Henrik Zetterberg have a few things in common. They both play in the NHL and were in action Monday night. They both are Swedish. They both play centre and they both have a big heart for their old club Timra IK. Zetterberg and Lander may have been on different teams at Joe Louis Arena, but when it comes to their Swedish hockey roots they are clearly on the same team. Both their hearts and wallets in the right place when it comes to giving back to their home country and home team.

Monday night's game was the second of the season between Edmonton and Detroit, but it was after game one on January 6th that the two got the ball, or in this case the puck, rolling. Timra is a well known Swedish team that has produced NHL'ers including Zetterberg and Lander. The club was once part of the Swedish Elite League but they fell on hard times both on and off the ice. The team was relegated and fell into second division hockey. The drop in divisions also led to a big drop in revenues. The biggest fall coming in the area of television money. The best way to explain it is imagine being in the National Hockey League and getting everything that comes with being in the big league, then you find yourself in the AHL getting what minor league teams receive. It's a sliver of what clubs have handed to them in the NHL.

Now you can understand the dilema Timra found itself in. After their initial conversation, the Oiler and Red Wing both decided to help. After that Rexall Place rendezvous on that January night the two talked again a couple weeks later. At that point, they decided they were in, ready, willing and able to help. This was strictly a financial donation from both of them. An amount Lander didn't want to divulge. Can't say as I blame him because the amount doesn't matter as it is the thought that counts. It wouldn't be a small amount and it would make a big difference. In fact, Timra had set a deadline. If they passed the deadline without the financial support they needed that would have been it for the season. Instead, the support was there. Zetterberg and Lander weren't the only ones to help, but they provided a much needed cash payout for the Swedish team's survival.

His help, that of Zetterberg, means no less than that of Lander but the two are in much different career and financial situations. Zetterberg, a star who makes and has already made millions. Lander, still establishing himself and his salary in the thousands. Not knowing what either provided, but safe to say, or at least guess, the percentage of what the Red Wing gave compared to what he has earned would be less than what has been given compared to amount made on the part of Lander. The 23-year-old from Sundsvall, which is about 10 minutes from where Timra plays its games, had a look on his face when speaking about the team he played on for four seasons. A look of disappointment when speaking on the club's desperation but a smile when speaking on his time and experience in Timra.

The club isn't out of the financial forest just yet. They are trying to sell the arena, which will bring with it a windfall. There's also the attempt to get back into the top league. Until that happens, you can thank a couple of alumni for keeping the Timra Red Eagles from extinction.
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