1. Sports
  2. /
  3. Lightning

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.
Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) of the Tampa Bay Lightning tends goal during practice at Ericsson Globe on Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019 in Stockholm, Sweden. [BILL WIPPERT/NHLI | TNS]
Published Nov. 9

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: 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.


  1. Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman (77) celebrates beating Minnesota Wild goaltender Alex Stalock (32) to score his 100th career goal during second period action at Amalie Arena on Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019 in Tampa. DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    The loss to Minnesota puts a damper on the milestone, but he’s the first Tampa Bay defenseman to do it.
  2. Hedman scores his 100th career goal as the Bolts are defeated
  3. This undated photo provided by the Cook County Jail in Grand Marais, Minn., shows Mark Pavelich. The family of Pavelich, a player on the 1980 "Miracle on Ice" Olympic hockey team, believes concussions and blows he received during his playing career have contributed to his current legal troubles. He is charged with beating a neighbor with a metal pole.  (Cook County Jail via AP) AP
    The family of Mark Pavelich, who assisted on the winning goal in the 1980 victory over the Soviet Union, believes he has been affected by repeated concussions from his playing days.
  4. Predators center Ryan Johansen was fined $5,000 for elbowing the Lightning's Brayden Point in the head in Tuesday's game. MARK HUMPHREY  |  AP
    Point left Tuesday’s game but returned.
  5. Tampa Bay Lightning center Cory Conacher (89) warms up before an NHL hockey game against the Anaheim Ducks Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019, in Tampa, Fla. JASON BEHNKEN  |  AP
    That is a good sign about the status of Alex Killorn, who has been out with a lower-body injury.
  6. Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) looks on as the St. Louis Blues celebrates their shorthanded goal scored by Blues center Oskar Sundqvist (70) during second period action at Amalie Arena on Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2019 in Tampa.  DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    The standings can be misleading and the team has been playing well, even if it’s not winning at a rate Tampa Bay is accustomed to winning.
  7. Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (88), of Russia, blocks a shot by Nashville Predators center Calle Jarnkrok (19), of Sweden, in the second period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. MARK HUMPHREY  |  AP
    Tampa Bay had lost three straight before posting a 3-2 overtime victory over the Predators.
  8. Tampa Bay Lightning center Cory Conacher (89) on the ice against the St. Louis Blues during first period action at Amalie Arena on Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2019 in Tampa. DIRK SHADD  |  Times
    The forward has been recalled three times in the first two months of the season.
  9. Tampa Bay Lightning center Brayden Point (21) shoots and scores beating St. Louis Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington (50) to pull the Lightning within one goal during third period action at Amalie Arena on Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2019 in Tampa. DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Diana C. Nearhos | Steven Stamkos had another round of strong comments, these ones centering around the pronoun “I.”
  10. Lori Graves will fill in on the organ at Amalie Arena for a few Lightning games. MARI FAIELLO  |  TIMES
    Krystof Srebrakowski is unavailable for personal reasons, so Graves steps in.