A few weeks ago, schools let out in Sweden. But before the kids were freed for the summer, a special scholarship was awarded to two special 16-year-old student athletes, Sebastian Mattson and Julia Holmstrom.

According to, the students received the Nicklas Backstrom scholarship, which they got straight from the Capitals superstar himself. They traveled to Backstrom’s hometown of Valbo to receive the prize.

It’s the fifth time the Caps first-line center has presented the award. Every year, it goes to two promising talents who graduate from the same school Backstrom did eleven years ago. The initiators of the scholarship, gym teachers Stefan Fougman and Tobias NorlÈn, select two students who are good at sports, balanced, humble, and dedicated.

Holmstrom, a promising right wing for the soccer team Hagastroms SK, was honored and humbled by the award.

“Of course it motivates you to make the most of yourself when you look at what a superstar Nicklas has become- even though he’s from a small [town] like this,” Homstrom said. She added, “I’d love to go to college in the US and play soccer over there.”

Mattson, a winger for Brynas’s U16-team that won silver last winter, was awe-struck. Backstrom is his idol.

“It’s huge to win this award,” Mattson said. “My goal is to get as good of a player as I can and I’ll work really hard to try and make it happen.”

For Backstrom, it’s a matter of pride to present the award every year.

“I remember my time here at Sofiedal with joy, and I’m not surprised there’s a lot of good young athletes coming from this school,” he said. “Myself, I practically lived in the hockey rink, on the soccer fields, and in the swimming pools.”

Before leaving, Backstrom noticed a few hesitant young boys and girls who were unsure if they should approach him.

“Come on, guys, just come over here,” Backstrom said. He signed autographs for everyone in attendance.

Despite a disappointing Olympics and missing the playoffs for the first time in the NHL, Backstrom has a lot to celebrate. His first child is approaching her first birthday. And he’s a role model for the next generation in Valbo.

Translation by Magnus Cadelin (@DenTadd) for RMNB.

  • Brouwer Rangers

    When you win this scholarship, does Backstrom’s grammy give a speech at the ceremony outlining how terrible you are?

  • Amykins

    Even more of an argument for some kind of RMNB awards. In ADDITION to the hahahahahbest))))) category, there could be a Nicholas Backstrom scholarship (a $19 Chipotle gift card) given to the best performance at development camp.
    What would we call the awards? The RMNBeanies?

  • Alli S.

    My eyes are… raining… or something…

  • Steven Lemmeyer

    I mean…His Airness shirt, priceless.

  • Brouwer Rangers

    We’ve been advocating for “Russian Machinies.”

  • Owen Johnson

    Ah, yes. The good old NickBack scholarship which will remind you of what you really are (sorry, I still have the file sitting on my desktop)

  • Amykins

    I tried to get too cute. It’s a problem, I’m dealing with it.

  • Owen Johnson
  • Brouwer Rangers

    What is the scholarship, though? A lifetime supply of Zyrtec-D?

  • Amykins

    Backstrom is there to acknowledge you won, but you don’t actually receive the prize for about a month or so, and it comes via FedEx.

  • VeggieTart

    Wow, that’s so awesome of him. And best of luck to the two young athletes who received this honor.

  • William

    Those glasses make me cringe…That said well done Nicky!

  • jp_daddi0

    Make it stop.

  • SeminAllOverTheIce

    See, I got here late…I was going to make the joke that the funding for the scholarship was brought to us by Zyrtec-D.

  • SeminAllOverTheIce

    Lets face it, the entire ensemble needs work. If this photo panned down, Im guessing we’d see crocs. $6.7 per Nicky…hire a fashion consultant.

  • Owen Johnson

    No, that song is from a much BETTER band (although the music video is kind of tough to watch).

  • cantab70

    So much cynicism! This is a great gesture and kudos to Backstrom for doing it.

  • Pat Magee

    Whenever he makes beer: BREW IT
    Throws meat in a pot: STEW IT

  • GraboviMyBozak

    Germany vs Brazil reminds me of the 5-0 beat down we got from the Rangers last year. :((((((

  • Owen Johnson

    Game Grumps? Are you a fellow lovley?

  • billy
  • Pat Magee

    ABSOLUTELY!!! Watch em every night! <3

  • Owen Johnson

    LOL! I got all of my co-workers to start doing that Palpatine voice.
    Anyway, time to watch Arin fail at Heart of Darkness.

  • Pat Magee


  • Owen Johnson

    I work at Trader Joe’s. When I’m on demo and I run out of coffee, I ring the bell. My coworker comes up “What do you need?” I hand him or her the coffee pot and say “BREW IT!”
    One time, I was on the cash register and a customer said “darn, I meant to get the kosher beef.” I rang the bell and told my co-worker to “JEW IT!”