In the late 1990s, there was a natural pull for a young Swede named Filip and his favorite athlete.
"He was my biggest idol growing up… I would try to watch him as much as I could," Nashville Predators winger Filip Forsberg said following Monday's practice.
A fellow countryman, who played Filip's favorite sport of hockey, there was an additional element that made the sell pretty easy.
"Well, the name drew my attention right away," Filip joked when talking about NHL legend Peter Forsberg. "I would try to watch as much as I could at night and then on the national teams as well… He was the big star when I was growing up in Sweden, but how can you not notice the last name?"
Peter, who was named one of the NHL's 100 Greatest Players this weekend at the NHL100 event, has also returned the favor of watching another Forsberg play at hockey's highest level. And again, for the record, no, they're not related.
"I like the way he plays," Peter said of Filip to NashvillePredators.com. "I like the way he approaches the game. He's always professional, really good shape, good teammate, so I think Nashville's going to enjoy having him play there for a long time."
"Wow, that's really cool to hear him say that," Filip said with a large smile.
Video: Former Preds forward Peter Forsberg talks at NHL100
If Peter sees some of himself in Filip's game, it's not by accident. Filip said he's tried to emulate elements of the Swedish hero's game for years. During his career, Peter helped to break a stereotype for European-born players that claimed they played a "softer and less physical" style. Likewise, today, Filip can both put the puck in the net (tying the Preds single-season record with 33 goals last year), while also throwing his patent-pending reverse check, when necessary.
"He was one of those guys that could do everything. You had him out there at the end of the game to win a game, to tie up a game and everything," Filip said. "He won two Stanley Cups, so one of the best players in the Avalanche era."
It was a 12-year-old Filip that saw Peter and other Swedish greats win Gold during the Winter Olympics in Torino, a memory he still cherishes.
"The Olympics in 2006, in Torino is my favorite memory," Filip said. "In 1994 (when the Swedes also won Gold via Peter's shootout move dubbed 'The Forsberg') I wasn't even born yet, but I've seen that move a bunch of times. The one in Italy with him and Markus Naslund and [Henrik and Daniel] Sedin and Nicklas Lidstrom when they won it for the last time together that was probably the coolest thing I've seen."