TAMPA — If Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman seemed a bit nervous during Saturday's playoff game against New Jersey, it was only because he knew he was playing in the presence of royalty from his native Sweden.
Prince Daniel of Sweden was in attendance at Amalie Arena, and took time after the game to meet with the Lightning's two Swedish-born players — Hedman and fellow defenseman Anton Stralman.
"I was a little bit nervous before the game," Hedman said after Tampa Bay's 5-3 win to take a 2-0 lead in the opening round of the playoffs. "It's obviously all fun. He's a great guy, very humble. It was an honor to meet him again."
Hedman and Stralman had met Prince Daniel before — he hosted the Swedish national team last year after their win in the World Championships in Cologne, Germany.
"We got invited to the castle and I saw him and a few other royalties," Hedman said. "It was good to see him here. It was phenomenal."
Lightning coach Jon Cooper, who coached Canada's team in the tournament and lost in shootout to Sweden in the championship game, chatted with Prince Daniel after the game, reminding his players that their win came at their coach's expense, with Hedman even scoring a goal in the game.
Prince Daniel, 44, carries the title of Duke of Västergötland — since 2010, he has been married to Crown Princess Victoria, daughter of King Carl XVI Gustaf, who has been Sweden's king since his grandfather's death in 1973.
He wasn't the only Swedish celebrity presence at the Lightning game. Golfer Henrik Stenson watched the game with his children and met the players after the game, as did former NHL star and Hockey Hall of Famer Peter Forsberg, who will also attend the Lightning's next game on Monday in New Jersey.
Contact Greg Auman at [email protected] and (813) 310-2690. Follow @gregauman.