After playing for Sweden at the 1980 Olympics, goalie Pelle Lindbergh embarked on a pro career in North America that saw him rise quickly from the AHL to NHL, with Philadelphia. Once with the Flyers, he again rose to prominence, taking the team to the Stanley Cup finals in 1985, where Philly lost to the dynastic Edmonton Oilers.
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But a career that had nothing but hope and promise ahead ended horrifically the night of November 10, 1985, when Lindbergh smashed his Porsche into a wall at high speed, sustaining fatal injuries. His blood alcohol was measured to be 0.24 per cent, nearly two and a half times New Jersey’s state limits of 0.1 per cent. He was twenty-six years old.
Lindbergh’s superstitions included two noteworthy additions to the library of odd and crazy. He wore the same orange T-shirt he had brought with him from Sweden for every game, a freebie from a sporting good manufacturer back home. Whenever the shirt sustained a rip, he’d have it repaired. But it was that shirt or nothing for the goalie.
Between every period, he had to drink a Swedish beverage called Pripps. It had to be served in a cup and have two ice cubes, and it had to be delivered to him by the same trainer. If both of these rules were not adhered to, he wouldn’t drink it.