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Kronwall, Ericsson proud of their brothers, country

by Bill Roose / Detroit Red Wings

Niklas Kronwall's younger brother, Staffan (8), used to play in the NHL. He has played the last two seasons in the KHL, and helped Sweden win the World Championship on Sunday. (Photo by Getty Images)

DETROIT – While several Red Wings reveled in Sweden’s World Championship victory over upstart Switzerland on Sunday, for Niklas Kronwall and Jonathan Ericsson the win was a family affair.

The Wings’ defensive partners had brothers on the Swedish team that posted a 5-1 win in Stockholm, becoming the first home team to win gold since 1986. It is the Scandinavian nation's ninth gold medal at the World Championship.

“Yeah, that’s pretty special,” Ericsson said, following the Red Wings’ morning skate on Monday. “Of course it’s special to have your brother play and I know Kronner feels the same way. It’s pretty cool that we’re pretty close and to have our brothers win together.”

Ericsson’s older brother, Jimmie, had a goal in seven tournament games, while Kronwall’s younger brother, Staffan, collected one assist with a plus-3 rating as the team captain in 10 games.

“It’s pretty cool. I hadn’t really thought about it that way,” Niklas Kronwall said. “Obviously both of us are really proud today. I think all Swedes are, really.”

During the post-game celebration, the Swedish players donned gold hockey helmets, akin the metallic lids made famous by the University of Notre Dame football team.

“That’s what we do in the Swedish (SEL) championship. They come out right away like we do with the Stanley Cup hats,” Ericsson said. “They have the golden helmets, but I don’t think I’ve seen it in the World Championship before. I don’t know where that came from.”

But for Jimmie Ericsson, a 33-year-old forward, it was the second time gold helmet in two months. He helped Skellefteå win the Swedish Elite League championship in April.

Asked if the four brothers might celebrate their hockey success with a round of golf this summer, Jonathan said, “I don’t play golf and I don’t think my brother plays golf. We all went for a fishing trip once, but Kronner, Nik, he can’t fish. He’s awful at that.”

Kronwall seemed flabbergasted by his partner’s assessment of his casting ability.

“Really?” Kronwall said. “The last time I fished with him I caught the biggest one. So I’ll just leave it at that.”

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @Bill_Roose

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