Ulf Sterner

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Ulf Sterner
Born (1941-02-11) 11 February 1941 (age 73)
Deje, Sweden
Height 1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)
Weight 85 kg (187 lb; 13 st 5 lb)
Position Left Wing/Centre
Shot Left
National team  Sweden
Playing career 1956–1990

Ulf Ivar Erik "Uffe" Sterner (born 11 February 1941 in Deje, Sweden) is a Swedish retired ice hockey forward. He played in nine IIHF World Championships for Sweden, where the team won seven medals: one gold, five silver, and one bronze. He was also a member of the silver medal team at the 1964 Winter Olympics. Sterner played for Forshaga IF from 1956–61, Västra Frölunda IF from 1961–64, and for the New York Rangers in 1964–65, before returning to Sweden to play for Rögle BK and Färjestads BK. He finished his career in England with the London Lions in 1973–74. On 27 January 1965, he became the first European-trained player to play in the National Hockey League (NHL).

Playing career[edit]

Sterner made his hockey debut at 15 when he was accepted onto a second division club where he made a name for himself with his speed and scoring ability. On 12 November 1959, he made his international debut with Tre Kronor in a friendly match against Czechoslovakia's team. He scored his first goal in that game, which Tre Kronor won 11–3. He was the team's youngest player of all time. Through the late 1950s and early 1960s, he was one of Sweden's most popular players. He is also credited with inventing the "stick to skate to stick" maneuver. At the 1962 World Ice Hockey Championships, Sterner scored what he described as his most memorable goal when he scored the 3–0 goal against Team Canada.[1] His team won the game 5–3 and took the gold medal.[2] At the 1963 World Championship, he scored a hat trick against Canada in a 4–1 win. After the game, he and teammate Sven "Tumba" Johansson met King Gustaf VI Adolf and received a royal congratulations.[1]

His first Olympics came in 1960 in Squaw Valley. The team did not earn a medal, but from that point on he was a dominating centre in international play. By 1963, the New York Rangers had taken interest, and in October, Sterner made the trip for training camp. The parties signed a five-game tryout agreement, but Sterner declined to play that season in order to conserve his amateur status for the 1964 Winter Olympics. The team won a silver medal. Sterner arrived for training camp in 1964 and displayed excellent skills. However, the NHL, unlike the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), permitted hitting and physical play on any point of the ice; international players were not allowed to hit in the offensive zone. Allowing him time to adjust to the North American game, the Rangers offered him a start with the St. Paul Rangers of the Central League, which he accepted. After two months, he adapted and earned a promotion to the Baltimore Clippers of the American Hockey League. Finally, on 27 January 1965, he joined the Rangers in a game against the Boston Bruins, becoming the first European to play in the NHL.[3]

Ultimately, Sterner played only four games in the NHL, and he did not register a point. He had been reluctant to play physically or to instigate physical play. He was sent back down to the AHL, and it soon became clear that he was not going to return to the NHL. As much as his skills carried him through games in the AHL, he simply did not have the training to play 60-minute games with full contact. In 1969, the IIHF adopted the same body-checking rules as the NHL, and four years later, Börje Salming joined the Toronto Maple Leafs, ending up playing 17 years in the NHL.[3]

Personal life[edit]

Sterner, his wife Pia, and their family currently live on a farm near Karlstad, where they keep four horses. He nicknames his horses after former teammates and friends; when one of the horses smashed his nose, he nicknamed it Alexander Ragulin.[1]

Statistics[edit]

Regular season and playoffs[edit]

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1956–57 Forshaga IF Sweden 7 3 0 3
1957–58 Forshaga IF Sweden 14 2 0 2
1958–59 Forshaga IF Sweden 11 7 8 15
1959–60 Forshaga IF Sweden 14 17 6 23 14
1960–61 Forshaga IF Sweden 13 14 8 22 2
1961–62 Västra Frölunda IF Sweden 13 12 9 21 26 7 6 4 10 5
1962–63 Västra Frölunda IF Sweden 14 14 6 20 6 7 7 4 11 0
1963–64 Västra Frölunda IF Sweden 12 10 2 12 6 7 1 4 5 10
1964–65 New York Rangers NHL 4 0 0 0 0
1964–65 St. Paul Rangers CPHL 16 12 9 21 2
1964–65 Baltimore Clippers AHL 52 18 26 44 12 5 1 0 1 2
1965–66 Rögle BK Sweden 15 32 11 43
1966–67 Rögle BK Sweden 19 4 11 15 11
1967–68 Färjestads BK Sweden 21 16 8 24 19
1968–69 Västra Frölunda IF Sweden 19 19 20 39 10 7 5 7 12 2
1969–70 Färjestads BK Sweden 17 14 22 36 5 3 4 7 2
1970–71 Färjestads BK Sweden 6 4 7 11 13 14 10 3 13 14
1971–72 Färjestads BK Sweden 14 10 15 25 28 14 5 6 11 24
1972–73 Färjestads BK Sweden 14 7 15 22 23 14 10 2 12 29
1973–74 London Lions Britain 34 27 88 115 71 2 0 2 2 0
1974–75 Bäcken HC Sweden-3 24 14 30 44 63
1975–76 Bäcken HC Sweden-2 22 17 23 40 31
1976–77 Bäcken HC Sweden-2 24 14 24 38
1977–78 Vänersborgs HC Sweden-3 15 17 16 33
1989–90 Hammarö HC Sweden-3 1 0 0 0 0
NHL totals 4 0 0 0 0

International[edit]

Ulf Sterner
Medal record
Men's ice hockey
Competitor for  Sweden
Olympic Games
Silver 1964 Innsbruck Team
World Championships
Gold 1962 Colorado Springs, US Team
Silver 1963 Stockholm, Sweden Team
Silver 1967 Vienna, Austria Team
Silver 1969 Stockholm, Sweden Team
Silver 1970 Stockholm, Sweden Team
Bronze 1971 Geneva, Switzerland Team
Silver 1973 Moscow, USSR Team
   
Year Team Event GP G A Pts PIM
1960 SWE OLY 5 0 1 1 0
1961 SWE WEC-A 7 5 0 5 2
1962 SWE WEC-A 7 9 7 16 2
1963 SWE WEC-A 7 7 2 9 2
1964 SWE OLY 7 6 5 11 0
1966 SWE WEC-A 7 4 1 5 0
1967 SWE WEC-A 7 2 3 5 7
1969 SWE WEC-A 10 5 9 14 8
1970 SWE WEC-A 10 1 7 8 7
1971 SWE WEC-A 10 2 2 4 2
1973 SWE WEC-A 9 5 2 7 6
OLY totals 11 6 6 12 0
WEC-A totals 74 40 33 73 36

Coaching[edit]

Team Year Regular season
G W L T OTL Pts Win % Finish
Bayreuth SV 1986–87 36 21 9 6 0 48 .667 3rd in 2.Bundesliga South
Munich Hedos 1987–88 36 25 10 1 0 51 .708 2nd in 2.Bundesliga South
Fuessen EV 1988–89 34 14 17 5 0 33 .458 6th in 2.Bundesliga South

Awards[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Ulf Sterner". Legends of Hockey. Retrieved 2008-07-04. 
  2. ^ "Tre Kronor’s win over Canada becomes sports lore in Sweden". IIHF. Retrieved 2008-07-04. 
  3. ^ a b "Swede Ulf Sterner - the first European in the NHL". IIHF. Retrieved 2008-07-04. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Anders Andersson
Golden Puck
1963
Succeeded by
Nils Johansson