Ann Arbor — Gustav Nyquist admits it was weird hearing his name called in connection with the biggest events in horse racing, but the entire experience has been fun, nonetheless.
The Red Wings forward was the inspiration in naming Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist, who came up short last weekend with a third-place finish in the Preakness Stakes.
“It’s cool. It’s different,” Nyquist said Wednesday from the Volvik LPGA Championship Pro-Am. “I watched the race and like, calling a horse instead of my name on the ice, that was definitely different, for sure. It was an honor and a lot of fun to follow for sure.”
Nyquist the hockey player was getting caught up in a possible run for the Triple Crown, and if Nyquist the horse would have won at the Preakness, the Red Wing was planning to be at Belmont Park.
The fact Nyquist won’t race in the Belmont has made it bittersweet for Gustav Nyquist.
“Obviously it’s a bummer he didn’t win at the Preakness,” Gustav Nyquist said. “I thought that he raced hard and it was great to see him win the Kentucky Derby. It’s looking like he won’t go to the Belmont, and that’s a shame, but hopefully I’ll able to catch him at a different event.”
Nyquist played Wednesday with two of the bigger names in women’s golf — Michelle Wie and Paula Creamer. He was a couple of groups behind goaltender Jimmy Howard and Nyquist said he’s sure his group had the better score, though there were no wagers to speak of.
Nyquist plans to head back to Sweden in a month as he tries to bounce back from a season he and the Red Wings were satisfied with. He scored 27 goals and amassed 54 points in 2014-15 before slipping to 43 points and 17 goals while the Red Wings were bounced again in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
There was a bit of a resurgence for Nyquist when he scored seven goals and had an assist in eight games for Sweden in the World Championships and he hopes that carries over to next season.
“It’s no secret I didn’t score enough goals and that’s on me,” Nyquist said. “For the team, it’s the third year in a row now we lost in the first round. We might get to the playoffs but we want to get on a run too, so it’s not good enough and we have to come ready and be better for next year.”
Nyquist added he has talked with Pavel Datsyuk but he doesn’t have any feel for whether Datsyuk plans to return next season.
“I’ve talked to him but just in general,” Nyquist said. “You’d have to ask him.”