Known for putting up big points with the Vancouver Canucks, Daniel and Henrik Sedin are also quite familiar with scoring on the racetrack. On Saturday evening (Sept. 17) at Mohawk Racetrack, the Sedin twins hope to win Canada’s biggest trotting event, the Maple Leaf Trot, with their superstar horse Nahar.
Throughout their National Hockey League careers, Daniel and Henrik have combined to score more than 500 goals and nearly 2,000 points. Off the ice, the Sedin brothers have watched their trotter Nahar win 39 races and more than $1.8 million.
Hockey and harness racing are big business in Sweden, so it only made sense that when the brothers began playing professional hockey nearly 20 years ago in the Swedish Elite League, they also began their journey into racehorse ownership.“We got into racing when we started playing for (Modo) back in Sweden,” noted Henrik. “There were a few guys on the team who bought a horse together. They dropped out one after one and we stuck with it.”
The Sedin twins are coming up on their 20th professional hockey season, 15 of those spent with the Vancouver Canucks. Playing in big moments is what it’s all about for any athlete, but racehorse ownership taps into another side of competitiveness and anticipation for the brothers.
“Just the excitement once you see your horse’s name on the start list,” said Henrik. “To read up on it the week before the race and see what other horses are in the race. Then you come up to race day, it’s just exciting.”
The Sedin brothers have enjoyed great success as owners with Nahar. The 11-year-old gelding is trained by top Swedish horseman Robert Bergh and has been at the top of the sport for several seasons.
In 2013, Nahar took Bergh and the Sedin twins to the top of the Swedish trotting game by capturing the nation’s biggest race, the Elitlopp.
“It was amazing,” recalled Henrik. “Just to be in that race is tough enough and then Robert put the horse in terrific shape for that day and I mean as a horse owner, it’s a dream come true.”
Nahar has since continued to race at a high level for the Sedin brothers, who are also currently enjoying success with trotter Ed You and own eight horses in total.
With Daniel and Henrik in Toronto this month for the World Cup of Hockey, Bergh mapped out a schedule to have the brothers’ top trotters in town for the Maple Leaf Trot.
“Robert told us in July that this was his plan,” said Henrik. “He was going to bring over Ed You as well, but he got hurt in August so it changed the plans. It would’ve been nice to have two here and racing, but it was perfect timing.”
The long hockey season doesn’t leave a lot of free time for the brothers, but they often make time to visit the track during the off-season.
“We try as often as we can, but Robert just moved down south in Sweden to a different racetrack,” said Henrik. “He’s further away now, so it’s not as much as before, but we try as much as possible.”
The sports of hockey and harness racing are well known for being family affairs and the Sedin family has everyone on board with the trotters.
“Our whole family is involved,” Henrik said. “We have two more brothers and Mom and Dad are part owners as well. It’s fun just to have family involved and we go to watch races as a family.”
The Sedin twins are hooked and plan to stay involved with harness racing for the foreseeable future.
For now, the brothers are hopeful Nahar can thrill them again Saturday and capture the C$632,000 Maple Leaf Trot to send them into the World Cup of Hockey sporting some gold.
C$632,000 Maple Leaf Trot
1. Resolve–Ake Svanstedt–Ake Svanstedt-9/5
2. Lookslikeachpndale–Sylvain Filion–Luc Blais-8/1
3. Flanagan Memory–Brian Sears–Rene Dion-4/1
4. Hannelore Hanover–Yannick Gingras–Ron Burke-2/1
5. Il Sogno Dream–Scott Zeron–Chris Beaver-12/1
6. JL Cruze–John Campbell–Eric Ell-15/1
7. Windsun Revenge–Rick Zeron–Jeff Durham-15/1
8. Nahar–Robert Bergh–Robert Bergh-15/1
9. Musical Rhythm–Mario Baillargeon–Ben Baillargeon-20/1
10. Shake It Cerry–David Miller–Jimmy Takter-10/1
AE: Etruscan Hanover–Mario Baillargeon–Ben Baillargeon