- Photography by Mr Hasse Nielsen
- Styling by Mr Dan May, Style Director, MR PORTER
- Words by Mr Chris Elvidge, Senior Copywriter MR PORTER
Mr Henrik Lundqvist must have driven past the white frontage of Gothenburg's Villa Överås countless times, but until today he'd never stepped foot inside. "It felt like an old Gatsby mansion," he says later, recalling the house's grand, sweeping staircases, stucco walls and Art-Deco furnishings. "Very stylish. Very glamorous."
He could just as easily be describing himself. The suave New York Rangers goaltender is a regular feature on international best-dressed lists, and is just as well known for his looks. While there's no denying that he could pass for older than his 31 years, he remains, to quote Derek Zoolander, "really, ridiculously good-looking", with piercing eyes, an envy-inducing head of hair, and chiselled features that, if anything, the first signs of age have served only to accentuate. "I'm having to play the Clooney card," he laughs. "The beard has definitely got a bit more grey recently. I'm not sure why - I guess I had to grow up pretty quickly."
He may have a point. After leaving his home for Gothenburg at 16, Mr Lundqvist spent seven years breaking Swedish ice hockey records and forging a career that would lead him to the National Hockey League (NHL) and New York at the age of 23. It has been a rapid rise, but in many ways he hasn't looked back. "Eight years on, I've really come to feel comfortable in the city," he says. "You can be yourself. I wasn't your typical New Yorker when I arrived - but then I don't know what a typical New Yorker is. You have everything there: all styles, all backgrounds."
Mr Lundqvist is due for a new contract at the end of the coming season, and while no formal decisions have yet been made, his tenure as goaltender at Madison Square Garden, the home of the Rangers, looks set to continue. He clearly loves New York, and he has unfinished business with the Rangers, having yet to win ice hockey's greatest prize, the Stanley Cup - but there's something else that might prove to be the deciding influence.
Mr Lundqvist salutes fans at a game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Madison Square Garden, New York City, April 2013
By the end of his current contract, he'll be 32, and arguably entering his prime. Under new terms agreed upon in the resolution of the 2012 NHL lockout, contract extensions are now limited to eight years - while new contracts are limited to seven. That means that the Rangers, his current team, have the ability to keep him playing past the milestone age of 40. As one of the hottest goaltenders in the league, it's an ambition that he has every reason to chase.
"I'd love to play for that long. Being a goalie is more of a mental challenge," he explains. "It's less physical. It's about how you think, how you deal with pressure. I'm a pretty intense, focused guy - I don't just show up and play. So hopefully I have a few years left!" Some things just seem to get better with age.