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Sweden trip is a chance for other European Lightning players as well

Ondrej Palat, Erik Cernak, Andrei Vasilevskiy and others get to play nearer to home.

STOCKHOLM — This may be Victor Hedman’s home country, but the Lightning also brought six other European players closer to home with this trip to Sweden.

“I know some Russian fans will come over because it’s a short flight,” Andrei Vasilevskiy said. “It’s pretty exciting.”

For any of the European players’ families to come to Tampa is something of a production. They rarely make the trip for less than two weeks, some look for opportunities to spend a month in the States.

Stockholm is a reasonable weekend trip, within about a three-hour flight from their hometowns, and thus a chance to see their sons, brothers and friends play.

Related: RELATED: Lightning bring Community Hero program to Sweden

Jan Rutta’s sister, Denisa, had the easiest trip. She lives outside of Stockholm and planned to meet Rutta in the city and attend the game.

Ondrej Palat’s parents arrived Thursday. He planned to see them for dinners, and Hana and Pavel hoped to explore a new city while he practiced. They usually make two trips to Tampa and are planning to spend Christmas there with his 1-year-old daughter Adela.

Erik Cernak’s parents didn’t make the trip because they’re flying to Tampa on Sunday instead. He did have a group of friends coming into Stockholm, as well.

Alex Volkov’s parents wanted to come but could not get a visa in time when Volkov was recalled last week. They are hoping to make a trip to Tampa soon, however, to see their son in his first NHL stint.