Calgary Flames legend Hakan Loob doesn’t get celebrated enough

Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
8 months ago
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When we think about great National Hockey League players or great Calgary Flames, our thoughts often focus on longevity and excellence. But plenty of players have long, excellent careers, just not all spent in the NHL.
One of those truly excellent players was Hakan Loob, who spent just six seasons playing in the NHL with the Flames, but was quietly one of the most impactful players of his era.
Loob was a ninth-round selection by the Flames in the 1980 NHL Draft. Back in those days, European players were often more focused on making their national team and competing for a World Championship than the NHL, and so heading to the NHL wasn’t a huge priority. Heck, some European draftees didn’t find out that an NHL team drafted them for weeks or months after the draft.
Loob spent three more seasons in Sweden, playing with Farjestads in the top-flight Elitserien, before moving to North America in 1983. During those three seasons he won the league championship (in 1980-81) and was his league’s leading scorer and won the Guldpucken as Sweden’s most valuable player (in 1982-83). Not bad, but could he hack it in the NHL?
In Loob’s first NHL season, 1983-84, he scored 30 goals and was named to the NHL’s All-Rookie Team. In fact, he scored 30 or more goals in his first three NHL seasons, and f0ur of his six total NHL seasons. Loob’s offensive peak was 1987-88, when he scored 50 goals and 106 points. He is the first (and to date, only) Swede to score 50 goals in the NHL, and one of just a dozen Swedes to reach 100 points in a season. (Fellow Flame Kent Nilsson did it twice.)
He was part of the Flames’ trips to the Stanley Cup Final in 1986 and 1989, and was part of a core group of Flames players that played in both the initial loss to Montreal and the revenge series where the Flames won their lone Cup. Loob also won gold medals at the World Championships in 1987 and 1991, and joined the Triple Gold Club when he won Olympic gold in 1994.
After Loob won his Stanley Cup with the Flames, he bid the club adjö and returned to Sweden. He played another seven seasons with Farjestads, remaining at a high level until his retirement following the 1995-96 campaign.
Loob was one of the first prominent Swedes to come to North America and really devour the league. He had individual success, but he also was a really crucial component of some of the best Flames teams ever. Not only did he have six really good years in the NHL, but he had success in Sweden’s domestic leagues and was one of their best international players during that era.
Jarome Iginla is unquestionably the best player to wear 12 for the Flames franchise. But man, Loob was really, really good. He wasn’t here for a long time, but he was simply great while he was.

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