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Meltzer's Musings: Saturday Games; Friday Results; Pelle Lindbergh

November 9, 2012, 11:58 PM ET [12 Comments]
Bill Meltzer
Philadelphia Flyers Blogger •NHL.com • RSSArchiveCONTACT

AHL: PHANTOMS (5-5-0-0) @ Albany Devils (2-5-0-2) -- 7:00 PM

Coming off a 2-1 victory last night over high-scoring Rochester and a shutout of Albany in the previous game, the Adirondack Phantoms appear to getting on the right track defensively. Last night, Cal Heeterturned back 26 of 27 shots to earn the win, while defenseman Danny Syvret (power play goal) and Garrett Roe tallied goals for the Phantoms.

On a night where Sean Couturier was a late scratch due to the flu and Brayden Schenn was held off the scoresheet, the Phantoms finally got some contributions from the supporting cast. In addition, the pairing of Marc-Andre Bourdon (one assist, fighting major, two shots on goal) and Erik Gustafsson (plus-one, three shots on goal) has settled in over the last couple games and started to play much closer to the level the Flyers hope to see from the duo during the lockout.

Tonight, the Phantoms will look for their third straight win as they continue their current road trip. The Albany Devils, who lost 2-1 to Providence last night, will look to avenge last Saturday's 4-0 loss at the hands of the Phantoms.

BROADCAST LINKS: The game broadcast is available for free via the streaming Phantoms radio broadcast or you can purchase a streaming video webcast via AHL Live. A single-game webcast costs $6.99, with a variety of multi-game purchase options.

ECHL: TITANS (5-5-0) vs. Reading Royals (5-5-0)

Losers of four straight game and each of the first three games of a five-in-a-row set with the Reading Royals, the Trenton Titans will look to end their recent scoring struggles.

Last night, Niko Hovinen once again served as the backup to New Jersey Devils prospect Scott Wedgewood. Hovinen entered the game at the start of the third period. The Finnish rookie turned back 6 of 7 shots but ended up being charged with the loss in the 2-1 defeat.

In the last three games against Reading, the Titans have scored a combined four goals. Last night, an early third-period Bryan Haczyk goal (unassisted) temporarily tied the score at 1-1 but Reading's Kirk MacDonald responded less than two minutes later with what proved to be the winning goal.

Tonight and Sunday, the scene shifts from Trenton to Reading.

BROADCAST LINKS: Tonight's game is available via a free radio stream. Alternatively, a webcast can be purchased here for $8.


Friday Results Roundup: Flyers junior prospects

* The Peterborough Petes peppered rookie Erie Otters goaltender Oscar Dansk with 44 shots, but skated away 6-3 losers in a battle of two of the weakest teams in the OHL. Flyers enforcer prospect Derek Mathers tallied one assist, fought Erie's Johnny McGuire in the game and later was sent off on a hooking minor.

* The Oshawa Generals spent most of the night chasing the game and were unable to catch up to the Barrie Colts, going down by a 5-3 score. Oshawa defenseman Colin Suellentrop did not record a point and was minus-one in the game.

* The Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds dropped a 3-1 road decision to the Kitchener Rangers. Center Nick Cousins failed to record a point and took a costly high-sticking penalty moments after the Greyhounds finished killing off an Alex Gudbranson minor midway through the third period. Kitchener scored on the ensuing power play to extend their lead from 2-0 to 3-0 and effectively put the game away.

* The Portland Winterhawks prevailed in a 9-5 slugfest with the Vancouver Giants. Left wing Taylor Leier contributed a goal and an assist to the winning effort.

Saturday Games: Flyers junior prospects

* OHL: Oshawa Generals @ Erie Otters-- 7:05 PM: Scott Laughton will serve the seventh game of his 10-game suspension. Suellentrop will start in the Oshawa defense lineup per usual.

BROADCAST LINKS: A free radio stream (Otters broadcast) will be available here. You can also purchase a live webcast for $6.99.

* OHL: Peterborough Petes @ Niagara IceDogs -- 7:05 PM: Mathers and company will go back to the drawing board in an effort to scrounge up a much-needed win.

BROADCAST LINKS: A free radio stream of the Petes' broadcast is available or you can purchase a live webcast for $6.99.

* OHL: Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds @ Owen Sound Attack -- 7:35 PM: Cousins and his teammates figure to be in a foul mood after another potentially winnable game got away from them on Friday.

BROADCAST LINKS: A free radio stream of the Soo broadcast is available or you can purchase a live webcast for $6.99.

* WHL: Portland Winterhawks @ Spokane Chiefs -- 10:05 PM: Leier and his comrades are now 10-0-1 in their last 11 matches matches. But the Winterhawks and Chiefs remain neck-and-neck for the top spot in the U.S. Division in the still-young season.

BROADCAST LINKS: A free radio stream is available (Portland broadcast) or a webcast stream can be purchased for $6.99.

Friday Results Roundup: Flyers Collegiate Prospects

* Union College dispatched home team Harvard by a 6-2 count. Union defenseman Shaye Gostisbehere did not record a point but was plus two and registered three shots on goal. His defense partner, Greg Coburn (a Flyers 2012 summer prospect camp invitee and the younger brother of current Flyers defenseman Braydon) had a goal and an assist. Harvard winger Petr Placek remained scoreless on the season to date.

* Cornell dropped a 5-3 road decision to Princeton. However, freshman defenseman Reece Willcox earned his first collegiate hockey point on a third-period assist. He finished the game at plus-one and was credited with one shot on goal.

* University of North Dakota forward Michael Parks remained out of the lineup on Friday due to a leg injury suffered in the preseason. UND shut out St. Cloud State, 3-0.


* Union College @ Dartmouth-- 7:05 PM: Gostisbehere and Union will try to keep up their winning ways in the ECAC.

BROADCAST LINKS: There will be a free audio stream available and a webcast is available for $7.50 purchase from the same site.

* Harvard vs. RPI -- 7:05 PM: Coming off ugly losses to Yale and Union, Harvard hockey needs to establish some positives soon. Placek will look to get on the board for the first time this season.

BROADCAST LINK: A free radio stream will be available here.

* Cornell University @ Quinnipiac-- 7:05 PM: Cornell remains on the road after the loss in Princeton last night. Tonight, they are in Hamden, CT.

BROADCAST LINK: There will be an audio stream available for tonight's game.

* University of Vermont @ University of New Hampshire -- 7:05 PM: Sophomore defenseman Nick Luukko and the Catamounts are back in Hockey East action after an idle night on Friday.

BROADCAST LINK: A free radio stream is available here or a webcast can be purchased here for $9.99.

* University of Nebraska- Omaha vs. Minnesota Duluth -- 7:05 PM: Freshman goaltending prospect Anthony Stolarz (3 GP, 0-3-0, .871 SV%) did not appear in either of his team's games last weekend against Michigan Tech. Senior John Faulkner has played well early this season and is likely to get the start tonight -- it's homecoming night at UN-O -- in the first of two weekend games against Minnesota Duluth.

BROADCAST LINKS: There will be a free audio stream available plus an webcast available for $8 purchase.

* University of North Dakota vs. St Cloud State -- 8:05 PM: Parks will sit this one out as well with the leg injury.

BROADCAST LINK: There is an audio stream available of tonight's game.


Today marks the 27th anniversary of the car crash that killed Pelle Lindbergh and injured two passengers in his vehicle. The accident took place at 4:46 AM on Nov. 10, 1985. The Vezina Trophy winning goaltender was rendered brain dead but his death certificate was not signed until the following day when his family agreed to donate his organs after doctors removed him from the respirator that was keeping him breathing.

Twice each year -- on May 24 (Lindbergh's birthday) and Nov. 10 -- I devote the end of a blog to an excerpt from the Behind the White Mask book. I will continue that tradition this year, but shift the focus a bit.

Rather than using excerpts about Lindbergh himself, this year I'm posting both published and unpublished sections of Chapter 25, which focuses on the people he left he behind in the days immediately following his memorial game in Philadelphia, in which the Flyers defeated the defending champion Edmonton Oilers in a rematch of the 1985 Finals.

PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 15, 1985

The Philadelphia Flyers’ charter flight lifts off for Hartford. Despite the emotional victory over the Edmonton Oilers the previous night and the team’s 10-game winning streak, the usual banter and joking is missing during the short trip.

Thomas Eriksson makes the trip with the team, but has permission to leave right after the game to attend Pelle’s funeral in Stockholm.

Back at Pelle's house in Marlton, New Jersey, the Lindbergh family sits at the breakfast table. They talk about how moved they were by the memorial at the Spectrum and about the upcoming trip to Sweden.

Kerstin talks to Kevin Cady and asks if he will come to Stockholm for the funeral. Cady, who had originally planned to head back to Portland, says yes.

“I’ll call the Flyers and arrange it,” Kerstin replies. “You’ll meet us at JFK in New York tomorrow.”

Across the ocean in Sweden, it’s already the afternoon. The two biggest national newspapers, Aftonbladet and Expressen, have extensive coverage of the memorial and the game at the Spectrum.

Later, Anna-Lisa and Göran pack everything they’ve brought to the U.S.. Kerstin prepares a bag for a one-week stay in Stockholm.


Kerstin asks Jack Prettyman if he’ll drive her to visit Ed Parvin Jr. at Cooper Hospital and Kathy McNeal at Kennedy Memorial. She buys flowers to bring to both of Pelle’s passengers.

Parvin is still unconscious. His parents are nearby, consumed by their own sorrows. She tries her best to comfort them, but feels like she’s intruding and is still grief-stricken herself. The visit is brief.

Kerstin returns to Prettyman’s car. They travel southbound toward Kennedy Memorial, discussing the arrangements for Pelle’s Stockholm funeral as they go. Prettyman nears his exit, and starts to pull off the highway.

Suddenly, a tow truck changes lanes and pulls right in front of the car. The collision is unavoidable. Prettyman’s car slams into the back of the tow truck. The front of the car is smashed.

“Are you OK?” Prettyman asks, turning to Kerstin.

“Yeah, I’m OK.”

They step out of the car. Neither Prettyman nor Kerstin are hurt, but Kerstin is a little freaked out that she’s just been in a car accident in the same week as Pelle’s fatal accident and the Mercedes breaking down on the way to the Spectrum.

Prettyman gets to a phone and calls his wife to tell her what happened.

“Can you come here and pick up Kerstin?” he asks. “I don’t want the reporters to find out what just happened.”

“I’ll be right there.”

Ten minutes later, the car arrives and Kerstin steps in, still holding the bouquet of flowers. As originally planned, she goes to Kennedy Memorial Hospital to visit Kathy McNeal. The conversation is short and stilted.


On Saturday night, the Flyers beat Hartford, 5-3. Darren Jensen stops 31 of 33 shots in the absence of Bob Froese, while Brian Propp, Rick Tocchet, Pelle Eklund, and Brad McCrimmon (who is playing without injured defense partner Mark Howe) contribute the goals.

The Flyers have now won 12 straight games.


Early the next day, the casket containing Pelle’s body is discreetly loaded into the cargo hold of an SAS plane bound for Stockholm. Pelle’s family members board the plane, sit in the first-class section, and try to get some sleep during the flight.

When the plane lands at Arlanda airport, it’s just a few hours before Hammarby IF’s memorial for Pelle before a game at Hovet.

“I want to go to the game,” Sigge says.

“OK, but we don’t have a lot of time,” Anna-Lisa replies.


Arlanda is about a 45-minute drive from the Lindbergh family’s apartment on Barnängsgatan. But they make good time, meeting up at the apartment with Ann-Louise and Ann-Christine and Kerstin’s father, Werner. Anna-Lisa and Ann Christine remain at the apartment, while the others head to the game.

There are only a few minutes to spare when Sigge (clad in his Hammarby jacket) walks through the entrance with Kerstin and Ann-Louise. They’re escorted to the stands, sitting with Pelle’s former national team coaches Leif Boork and Anders Parmström.

A crowd of 2,000 fans – significantly higher than the usual attendance for a Hammarby IF game – has come out for the game. The arena has been decorated with green, white, yellow, and pink carnations. Instead of the usual rock music blaring over the loud speaker, the music of choice is Lars-Erik Larsson’s soothing “Pastoralsvit”.

The arena is darkened with a single spotlight on the ice. Precisely as with the memorial at the Spectrum, the players stand with bowed heads during the ceremony.

Former Hammarby IF executive Sivert Svärling leads the memorial, talking about Lindbergh’s love for Bajen and recalling his first meeting with an 11-year-old Pelle.

“He was the smallest on the team but he was the best player. He was already so good that when the older Hammarby kids played in the playoffs of the St. Erik’s Cup, they wanted Pelle in goal,” says Svärling.

Pelle’s former teammate Jan Lindberg (who played with Lindbergh on Hammarby’s junior and senior teams) then gives short speech on behalf of the players.

“You were a one-of-a-kind local kid who put the whole world at your feet. We were proud of you, Pelle,” Lindberg says.

After Lindberg finishes, Pelle’s final letter to Bajen management is read aloud: “Finally, here comes the money I promised. I hope it can benefit the little guys.”

Pelle wrote the letter earlier in the fall, donating the $2,000 prize money he’d gotten for being named first star of the game in a 2-0 shutout of the Hartford Whalers on October 24.

Hammarby management announces that it will be starting a memorial fund for its junior team, with Pelle’s donation as the first contribution. In addition, a 29,000 SEK portion of the ticket sales from the night’s gate will also go to the fund.

The ceremony ends with a minute of silence. After the game, which Hammarby lost on a bizarre deflection goal, Sigge talks to an Aftonbladet reporter.

“It feels good to be back. In Philadelphia, everything was so heavy and big with limousines and film cameras everywhere,” he says.

Johanneshov’s Isstadion is just about Sigge Lindbergh’s favorite place on earth. He understood Pelle’s obsession with the NHL in general and the Flyers in particular, but after traveling the world in his sailing days, Sigge would much rather stay put in Stockholm.

As is his custom, he visits the Hammarby locker room after the game. He says that he realizes the game must have been a very tough one to play under the circumstances.


On the same Sunday as the memorial game at Hovet, the Flyers take on the New York Islanders at the Spectrum.

Philadelphia’s winning streak appears to be in jeopardy early, as the Islanders run up a 3-0 lead early in the second period and Pat LaFontaine quickly responds to a Tim Kerr powerplay goal to restore the three-goal cushion.

The Flyers refuse to go down. Late in the second period, Kerr tallies his second of the game (and 18th of the season). Philadelphia dominates the third period, and goals by Pelle Eklund and Dave Poulin force overtime. At the 3:52 mark of the extra frame, Murray Craven scores to send the Flyers to their 13th consecutive victory.


Monday is a chilly and lonely Swedish autumn day and night. Winter is in the air. With the funeral still two days away, Pelle’s family members spend much of the day home alone for the first time since the crash.

On Barnängsgatan, Anna-Lisa walks into the kitchen, realizing that the days of her standing there yelling at a teenaged Pelle to turn down his blaring bedroom stereo are now a bittersweet memory. She’ll never get the pleasure of watching him stand in the kitchen, wolfing down her cooking, and asking for more.

She cries. Sigge sits pensively on the living room sofa.

It’s also a rough day for Kerstin. She’s staying with her parents at their home on Gökvägen in the Stockholm suburb of Täby. It’s the first time in many years that she’s gone home without him. So much of their life together revolved around the hockey season.

“The hardest times early on were when I was alone and I wasn’t able to try to make things feel as normal as possible,” Kerstin recalls two decades later.

Barely more than a week ago, Kerstin thought she knew what her future held. Pelle was the spontaneous type and usually not much for long-term planning, but he and Kerstin knew they wanted to be husband and wife after their long engagement.

She’d marry Pelle after the season, and the couple would continue to make their in-season home in the Philadelphia area and return to Stockholm for the summers.

They’d eventually start a family together. Pelle would be the type of father who loves gets down on the floor and play with his kids, take them fishing, and teach them how to skate. He’d leave the discipline to her, and she’d privately gripe about it from time to time, but she’d also realize that Pelle was away with the team half the time and just wanted to enjoy his time with his kids.

They’d watch their kids grow up alongside some of the other Flyers players’ children, and the children would feel equally at home in the United States or Sweden. They’d have a playroom full of toys and a home full of Pelle’s big kid gadgets and playthings. There’d be Swedish-style Christmases and American Thanksgiving dinners at friends’ houses.

They’d wash the car on spring Sundays, meet up with Pelle in the Spectrum family lounge after home games, and take vacations during the offseason. There would be fun and laughter, and even the bad times wouldn’t be that bad.

Now all of Kerstin’s dreams are gone, shattered as suddenly and violently as Pelle’s Porsche hit the wall.


On Tuesday afternoon, a delegation from the Philadelphia Flyers arrives at Arlanda airport: Bernie Parent, Bob Clarke, Jay Snider, and Keith Allen. Thomas Eriksson and Kevin Cady are already in Stockholm.

The Flyers’ leaders check into a Sheraton hotel in central Stockholm, but they spend the early part of the evening having dinner at Kerstin’s family’s home on Gökvägen in Täby. Sigge, Anna-Lisa, Ann-Louise, Ann-Christine, and Kevin Cady are also there.

The company at the table recounts some of their memories of Pelle. Bernie Parent sits pensively at the dinner table, saying very little. Sigge is also quiet, as much of the conversation is conducted in English on behalf of the vistors.

As the table is cleared, Clarke asks Cady if he can speak to him privately.

“We want you to come back with the team,” Clarke says.

Cady has been training for the police force in Portland, but decides to accept the offer and delay his longer-term career goals by a few months. Every time Cady had spoken to Pelle during the early part of the 1985-86 season, Pelle inevitably asked him when he was coming back.

Their final conversation took place less than a week before the acccident.

“Kev, you’ve gotta come back. We need you!” Pelle said.

Cady explained to Lindbergh that he needed to complete his education in Portland. But Pelle’s words gnawed at him, especially after the accident. As it turns out, Cady ends up staying with the team for the remainder of the season and an additional year beyond that before he returns to Maine to complete his police training.


The Flyers delegation is asleep in their Stockholm hotel rooms when the Flyers step onto the ice in Long Island to take on the New York Islanders in the back end of their home-and-home set.

Philadelphia trails the game, 6-2, midway through the second period. The team launches another comeback. Two goals by Tim Kerr and one apiece by Ilkka Sinisalo and Rick Tocchet cut the deficit to a single goal with 14:24 left in regulation.

Mike Bossy, who tallies two goals and adds three assists on the night, provides a much-needed insurance goal for the Islanders. Flyers tough guy defenseman Ed Hospodar scores a rare goal (shorthanded no less) with 2:31 remaining in regulation.

Philadelphia is unable to get the equalizing goal. Bryan Trottier scores into an empty net with one second left in the game. The Flyers winning streak is over at 13 games.


Goaltender Reino Sundberg’s Arosa team has an away game in Lugano, Switzerland. Afterwards, he has permission from the club to leave directly from the game to fly to Stockholm for the funeral the next day.

Sundberg has one of the worst nights of his pro career. HC Lugano lights the lamp 10 times against him, but the bad night at the rink seems unimportant at the moment.

After showering and changing into his street clothes, Sundberg hustles out of the arena, driving a rental car to Zurich. The team has paid for a charter flight, departing early the next morning for his best friend's funeral in Stockholm.

Tommy Mörth, a longtime hockey friend of both Sundberg and Lindbergh, picks Reino up at Arlanda airport.


There’s a biting chill in the air on the morning of Wednesday, November 20, 1985. A limousine pulls up in front of the apartment building on Barnängsgatan.

Clarke, Snider, Allen, and Parent enter the building and walk up to the second floor where Anna-Lisa, Sigge, and Kerstin are already waiting for them. Kerstin translates as necessary.

This is the first time any of the people in the Flyers’ contingent have seen Pelle’s childhood home. It’s emotional for all of them, but especially for Parent. He goes into Pelle’s bedroom and sees the various mementos, photos, and old equipment Pelle kept in his room. He also sees a poster of himself, a copy of his autobiography and other tangible testaments to the way a young Pelle idolized him.

Nearly a quarter century later, Parent vividly recalls standing in Pelle’s childhood room. It was one of the most emotional parts of the trip for him:

“I had the chance to be alone in Pelle’s room for a few minutes, and it was a very, very special moment. The room was full of Pelle’s private memories, but it didn’t feel strange to be there. I felt at home, and, well, this is hard to explain, but I got a warm feeling in there. Pelle was talking to me. He was saying that everything would be good, everything was OK, and I could go on.”


The magnificent Sofia Church overlooks south Stockholm from the peak of the White Mountains (Vita Bergen) in Södermalm’s Vitaberg Park (Vitabergsparken). From Barnängsgatan or the Sofia school, one can go up Vita Bergen via the Skånegatan access road, climbing up the steps to the church.

Standing on the grass plain at the top, the visitor is treated to a spectacular unobstructed view of all of south Stockholm. The church’s entry portal is heavy and tall, opening to an interior cathedral with a high domed ceiling and plenty of light.

On this day, the skies are overcast and few pay much notice to the vista, with the temperatures below the freezing point. Hundreds gather in front of the church an hour before the funeral. There have been so many floral tributes donated for the funeral that there are enough bouquets to place flowers at every pews.

Sigge, Anna-Lisa, and Kerstin walk into the church last. Kerstin holds Sigge’s arm. Sigge wears a Swedish flag lapel pin on his dark suit. Anna-Lisa enters directly behind them, next to vicar Inga-Britt Lindell.

Ann-Louise and Ann-Christine are near the front with their families. The mourners stand as the procession moves past them. The inside of the church is filled beyond capacity with over 700 people of all ages filling the pews or standing in the back. Outside there’s at least another hundred people who couldn’t get into church. They stand outside on the grass.

The clock strikes 1p.m.


In the middle of the church’s meticulously maintained wooden floor stands an upraised closed casket, white as a new sheet of ice. Lindell, who hails from Täby and is a friend of the Pietzsch family, begins the ceremony with a psalm chosen by Anna-Lisa.

The only speech made during the ceremony is by Lindell, who talks about “all the energetic, gentle, and trusting traits of Pelle’s personality.”

She concludes by speaking directly to Pelle:

“You who were so eager to achieve, who trained extra and reach the status you dreamed of and strived for from the time you were little… you, Göran Per-Eric Lindbergh from Söder in Stockholm, Sweden, are here in the earth at just 26 years.”

The funeral ends with several of Pelle’s favorite songs by Elton John.
With Anders Eljas on piano, Vicki Benckert sings “Your Song,” a tune
that reminded Pelle of Kerstin. The next song is “Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word”.

Finally, Eljas plays the instrumental “Song for Guy,” which Elton John had written for a young friend who died in a traffic accident. The only lyric in the song, repeated at the end, is “life isn’t everything.”

When the music ends, everything is still for a moment. Kerstin and Anna-Lisa have each laid a rose on the casket. One by one, the most important people in Pelle’s life then head out of the church.

Kerstin, Anna-Lisa, and Sigge.

Ann-Louise, Göran, and their children. Ann-Christine and her husband and kids.

Reino Sundberg, Thomas Eriksson, Rolf Ridderwall, and a host of other Swedish hockey friends and officials.

Björn, Ankan, Micke, and other childhood friends with whom Pelle has stayed close through the years.

Bernie Parent, Kevin Cady, Bob Clarke, Jay Snider, and Keith Allen.

Agent Frank Milne.

Rolf Alex, Janne Halldoff, and other friends from the Swedish entertainment world.

Hammarby IF team members and supporters, some of whom lay their white and green scarves at the coffin. One person even leaves a hockey puck.

It takes over an hour for everyone to get outside and for the crowd outside to dispurse. Dusk falls over Stockholm.


After the funeral, the family hosts a buffet reception for 200 invited guests. Much of the food and drink goes untouched.

At each place setting, there’s the same black-and-white memorial card the Flyers distributed at the game against the Oilers the previous Thursday. Kerstin walks around to each table, thanking the guests for coming.

Afterward, the guests are shown a video with parts of the tribute show that aired on television before the Flyers-Oilers game. There’s also a sequence of video clips and still photos of Pelle on and off the ice. A clip of Pelle with the Maine Mariners angrily chasing after a referee to protest a goal elicits laughter.

Several people stand up and talk to the gathering. Björn Neckman reads a tribute he’d written on behalf of all the guys in Pelle’s closest circle of friends. Midway through, he breaks down in tears.

Afterwards, Bob Clarke approaches Thomas Eriksson.

“We lost last night,” Clarke says.

“I know, 8-6.”

“Well, anyway, what I wanted to say is that you can take as long as you need here. We’ll get by without you until you come back,” Clarke says.

Eriksson smiles weakly in reply.

Nearby, Philadelphia Daily News writer Mark Whicker stands with Frank Milne. The agent recounts some his memories of Pelle.

“We’ll never have another one like Pelle. One time, he asked me what the newspapers had written about him. I told him that one reporter had written that he was a flash in the pan. After that, he’d call me up and say, ‘Hey, Franko! It’s Flash-in-the-Pan calling!’

“Another time we were out in Jersey, and several people came by the table and said, ‘Thanks Pelle.’ I asked him what he’d done for them but he didn’t want to talk about it.”

The guests start to file out, saying their goodbyes to Pelle’s family. Later that night, a group of Pelle’s friends will go out to two of their favorite hangouts. First stop is Martini on Norrmalmstorg. The group then heads to Bäckahästen on Hamngatan.

After the reception, Al Morganti stands with Kerstin as the reception hall staff cleans off the tables.

“What were those blue bottles on the tables?” he asks.

“It’s called Ramlösa,” she replies. ”It’s for guests who are driving. We don’t drink alcohol when we drive here in Sweden.”

She sighs.

“This is all so upsetting. We were going to get married next summer and we were going to have our reception here. What a shame that you had to come here for such a sad reason instead.”


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