Sweden mourns the death of Stefan Liv

Sweden mourns the death of Stefan Liv

10 Sep 2011 | Fredrik Pålsson

Perhaps he wasn't one of the most shining stars in Swedish hockey but Stefan Liv was one of the most popular players and his death in the tragic plane crash has left the hockey nation in shock.

Stefan Liv was born on December 21, 1980 in Gdynia, Poland and was adopted by a Swedish family at the age of 2. Stefan started his ice hockey career in HC Dalen and joined the junior teams of HV 71 at the age of 16. During the 97/98 and 98/99 season he made his first games as backup goalie in Elitserien but didn't play his first game before 99/00. At the age of 20 he became the first choice goalkeeper in the 00/01 season and was undisputed first goalkeeper of HV71 until he left for NHL in 2006.

His NHL career wasn't succesful and he left North America without playing a single game for Detroit. He returned to HV 71 and played three more years with the club before leaving for KHL.

Stefan won the Swedish championship HV 71 three times 2004, 2008 and 2010. He was determined to return to the club to win it again but the crash would end his life and career too early.

He was also part of Sweden's gold medal winning team in the 2006 Olympics and the 2006 World Championship. His first season in KHL with Sibir Novosibirsk was very succesful and he played the All Star Game. During this summer he signed with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl but as it turned out he would never play for the club in KHL.

Stefan was loved for his relaxed and warm hearted style, he always had time for fans and media and many players has described as the perfect team mate. The death of Stefan and his Russian team was a big shock for hockey fans in Sweden and espacially in his home town Jönköping. He will not be missed only by his family with wife and two children but a whole nation.

HV 71 had planned to play their last pre season game against Frölunda today but the game was cancelled and at the same time as the memorial Yaroslavl a memorial was held for Stefan in HV 71's home arena Kinnarps Arena. The Arena was filled when players and fans honored the memory of what perhaps was the most popular person in the city of Jönköping. Former team mates like David Petrasek and Björn Melin were also present together with Team Sweden's coach Pär Mårts.

HV 71 will also honour the memory of Stefan Liv by retiring his number 1 jersey and current goalkeeper Daniel Larsson will switch number. The number 1 jersey will be raised to the roof in Kinnarps Arena later during the season.

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