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Lifelong Friends Team Up

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

Tuesday, 09.03.2013 / 3:03 PM / 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 MTL 62 41 16 5 171 135 87
2 NYR 62 39 17 6 196 153 84
3 NYI 64 41 21 2 205 179 84
4 TBL 64 38 20 6 210 171 82
5 DET 61 35 15 11 180 159 81
6 PIT 62 36 17 9 181 155 81
7 WSH 64 34 20 10 188 159 78
8 BOS 62 31 22 9 165 161 71
9 FLA 63 28 22 13 154 178 69
10 PHI 63 27 25 11 168 183 65
11 OTT 60 27 23 10 171 163 64
12 NJD 63 26 27 10 141 164 62
13 CBJ 62 26 32 4 160 196 56
14 CAR 62 24 31 7 144 167 55
15 TOR 63 25 33 5 170 193 55
16 BUF 63 19 39 5 123 212 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Tavares 64 30 35 4 65
K. Okposo 46 14 30 -2 44
R. Strome 64 14 27 22 41
B. Nelson 64 17 19 7 36
F. Nielsen 64 11 25 12 36
A. Lee 58 20 13 13 33
J. Bailey 52 12 19 10 31
J. Boychuk 54 7 23 16 30
N. Leddy 64 8 18 15 26
T. Hamonic 54 4 21 15 25
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 33 13 0 .911 2.46
C. Johnson 8 8 1 .889 3.08

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