blank'/> THE PUCK REPORT: Today In NHL History - Samuelsson's Olympic Exit

Friday, February 17, 2017

Today In NHL History - Samuelsson's Olympic Exit

On February 17th in 1998, Ulf Samuelsson was dismissed from Sweden's hockey team and sent home from the Winter Olympic Games in Nagano when officials deemed he was no longer legally a citizen of Sweden on account of his receipt of a U.S. passport.

What started as an off-hand post-practice comment from Sports Illustrated hockey writer Michael Farber to Swedish journalist Janne Bengtsson ("Why would we give a dirty player like that U.S. citizenship?") sparked an investigation into the legalities of dual citizenship, or lack thereof, revealing that under Swedish law the acquisition of a foreign passport annulled local citizenship.

The next day Bengtsson confronted Sweden Ice Hockey Association President and IIHF council member Rickard Fagerlund with his findings during the first intermission of Sweden's match with Belarus. During the second period team manager Bo Tovland confirmed Samuelsson's possession of a U.S. passport and thus his ineligibility to play for Sweden.

Despite being allowed to keep the points collected with an ineligible player, Sweden lost 2-1 to Finland in the quarterfinals finishing fifth in the tournament. Bengtsson returned home to death threats and a devastated Samuelsson never suited up for his homeland again.

That's today in NHL history.

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