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Saturday, May 28, 2022

Meet 55-year-old Robert Burakovsky, the NHL Dad who can’t quit the Swedish hockey circuit – The Athletic

Andre Burakovsky has learned to be skeptical whenever his dad, Robert, says he’s done playing hockey. A Swedish TV station once visited Robert in Switzerland for an interview, Andre remembers, and the older Burakovsky assured the reporter he was in his last season.

That was more than a decade ago.

“He just has too much love for the game,” said Andre, a 26-year-old Colorado Avalanche forward.

In the latest chapter of a novel-length career, Robert spent part of the 2021-22 season with IK Pantern, a fifth-tier Swedish club in Malmö, where he resides. The former NHL player scored 11 points in six games — all at 54 years old (now 55).

Before the fall, Robert hadn’t been on the ice for around two years but, wanting to prepare for a charity exhibition game, he asked IK Pantern’s coach if he could skate with the team, just to get into shape. The club obliged, and Robert was surprised at how good he felt on the ice. So when IK Pantern had a series of injuries, he told the coach he could fill in as needed.

Then on Oct. 14, just over a month shy of his 55th birthday, sporting a graying beard, Robert pulled on a black IK Pantern jersey with a growling panther as its crest. He took the ice and, by the end of the night, he had three assists, one of which came on a goal by Sebastian Mollden, his part-time defense partner and full-time son-in-law. IK Pantern, a first-place team, beat Åstorp 13-1.

“I always say it doesn’t matter how old you are or how young you are.

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