11 February 1941 |
|Height||1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)|
|Weight||85 kg (187 lb; 13 st 5 lb)|
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).
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. His team won the game 5–3 and took the gold medal. 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.
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.
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.
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.
Regular season and playoffs
|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||–||–||–||–||–|
|1968–69||Västra Frölunda IF||Sweden||19||19||20||39||10||7||5||7||12||2|
|Men's ice hockey|
|Competitor for Sweden|
|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|
|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|
- Won the Golden Puck as Sweden's Player of the Year in 1962–63.
- Named the best forward at the IIHF World Championships in 1969.
- Inducted into the IIHF Hall of Fame in 2001.
- WEC-A All-Star Team (1962, 1969)
- "Ulf Sterner". Legends of Hockey. Retrieved 2008-07-04.
- "Tre Kronor’s win over Canada becomes sports lore in Sweden". IIHF. Retrieved 2008-07-04.
- "Swede Ulf Sterner - the first European in the NHL". IIHF. Retrieved 2008-07-04.
- Ulf Sterner's career statistics at EliteProspects.com
- Ulf Sterner's career statistics at The Internet Hockey Database
- Ulf Sterner profile at Eurohockey.com