Lifelong Friends Team Up

Childhood Friends Frans Nielsen and Peter Regin Elated To Play Together On Islanders

Tuesday, 09.3.2013 / 3:03 PM ET / News
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Lifelong Friends Team Up
Peter Regin joined his new teammates at an informal skate at Islanders Iceworks on Sep. 3, 2013

When Islanders forward Peter Regin signed with the team as a free agent on July 5th, he realized a lifelong dream that once seemed impossible. Lifelong friends Regin and Frans Nielsen were finally set to play on the same NHL team.

Although Nielsen is two years older than Regin, for years it was tough to find the two apart growing up in Herning, Denmark. Since their parents are best friends, Frans and Peter have known each other since the latter was born. Over the years, they’ve formed a bond through hockey.

Regin and Nielsen have played together on nearly every level imaginable and come October, will find themselves wearing the same jersey at the highest level.

“In the past we’ve played street hockey, grown up on the same junior teams, the Danish National team, one year in Sweden and now here. It’s pretty amazing,” Nielsen said.

They haven’t just been on the same team, but also on the same line for nearly all those years.

“We grew up playing on the same line since I was six years old and we did that for 10 years, ” said Regin. “We usually play together on the national team too.”

Although they’re both centers now in the NHL, it was never a question who was the man down the middle back in Denmark.

“Always Frans. He’s older,” chuckled Regin.

Hailing from Herning, a town of roughly 50,000 people that’s three hours west of the Danish capital, Copenhagen, the two grew up playing in the Herning Blue Fox youth system. Since making it to the NHL, Nielsen and Regin often spend their summers training with the Blue Fox professional team that has won the Danish league title 15 times in the past 27 seasons.

The two were on vacation together on Spain’s Mallorca Island on the opening day of free agency, when Regin chose to sign with the Islanders.

“I was at the hotel and it was right around when the market opened,” said Nielsen. “I asked if he heard from anyone and he said ‘I just agreed with you guys.’ It was a pretty great moment.”

When I arrived, I wasn’t nervous at all because it was like going home to stay with your familyPeter Regin

The decision was so easy for Regin that he agreed to a contract within the first hour of being eligible to do so.

“After I spoke to Garth, right away it was my first priority to come here,” said Regin. “I obviously heard a lot of good things from Frans. With all the success he’s had here I thought it would be a good fit.”

With training camp set to begin next week, the two Danes are on Long Island taking part in informal team skates. While Regin searches for his own residence, he’s temporarily staying at Nielsen’s home.

“Usually when you come to a new place it’s pretty nerve-wracking; you check into a new hotel and you don’t know anybody,” said the former Ottawa Senator. “When I arrived, I wasn’t nervous at all because it was like going home to stay with your family.”

After Nielsen became the first Danish raised hockey player to become an NHL player in 2007, the popularity of the sport has skyrocketed in his home country. Although still well behind the national sport of soccer and Olympic Sport handball, both Nielsen and Regin believe hockey is now firmly the third most popular sport in Denmark.

There’s no question which player and franchise have been at the forefront of that emerging sport.

“There’s more Islanders fans in Denmark, not just because [Nielsen] was the first guy but he’s also been the best player,” said Regin. “He’s had a lot of success over the past few years. I think there are lots of Islanders fans and hopefully even more now that I’m here too.”

If the two friends can help bring even more on-ice success to the Islanders this upcoming season, it quite likely will bring even more orange and blue on the streets of Herning.

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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - MTL 76 47 21 8 200 169 102
2 x - NYR 75 47 21 7 228 177 101
3 TBL 76 46 23 7 244 198 99
4 PIT 76 42 23 11 210 190 95
5 NYI 77 45 27 5 235 215 95
6 DET 75 40 23 12 220 206 92
7 WSH 76 41 25 10 223 188 92
8 BOS 76 38 25 13 201 196 89
9 OTT 75 37 26 12 218 203 86
10 FLA 76 35 26 15 190 207 85
11 PHI 76 30 29 17 198 219 77
12 CBJ 75 36 35 4 207 232 76
13 NJD 76 31 33 12 168 194 74
14 CAR 75 28 36 11 174 204 67
15 TOR 76 28 42 6 198 244 62
16 BUF 75 20 47 8 144 254 48

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Tavares 77 34 43 -2 77
R. Strome 76 16 32 20 48
K. Okposo 55 16 31 -11 47
F. Nielsen 76 14 28 8 42
B. Nelson 77 19 22 7 41
A. Lee 71 23 16 10 39
J. Bailey 65 15 23 3 38
J. Boychuk 67 8 25 9 33
N. Leddy 73 10 21 14 31
T. Hamonic 67 5 26 16 31
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 36 16 2 .913 2.42
C. Johnson 8 8 1 .889 3.08

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