Swedish hockey celebrities to triumph Olympic gold at home

Sweden 's hockey team was set to celebrate its Olympic gold medal in Stockholm on Monday, even though many of its stars would be hard pressed to return to their NHL clubs in time for the season resumption.

Peter Forsberg, Mats Sundin and Sweden's other NHL players were originally scheduled to go directly from Turin to North America, where some have games scheduled Tuesday. But no one wanted to miss out on the celebrations hastily planned in the Swedish capital, team officials said.

The team was scheduled to arrive at Stockholm's Arlanda airport at 3 p.m. (1400 GMT), and ride a chartered bus through the capital, before basking in Olympic glory in front of thousands of fans at a downtown square.

The hockey gold medal, capping Sweden's best ever Winter Olympics, was the top story in the country's biggest newspapers Monday. Tabloids Aftonbladet and Expressen printed special sections devoting dozens of pages to the 3-2 final win over Finland.

The Finns appeared to have recovered from the loss quickly with thousands of hockey fans braving freezing temperatures in Helsinki's central market square late Sunday to celebrate the nation's silver medal.

A six-hour ceremony, with local singers performing on outdoor stages, culminated in the homecoming of the Finnish "Lions," who flew in on a chartered plane. Flag-waving fans greeted the team with shouts and screams at the icy waterfront square near the president's palace.

"The Return of the Heroes," the Iltalehti tabloid splashed across its front page Monday. The country's largest newspaper, Helsingin Sanomat, said the Olympic silver was Finland 's "all-time greatest hockey achievement", reports the AP.


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