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Sweden mourns death of beloved hockey star

The Local/dl · 8 Sep 2011, 08:03

Published: 08 Sep 2011 08:03 GMT+02:00

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“What's happened in tragic. It's a huge tragedy. I'm hurting along with his family; his wife and kids must really be suffering right now,” said former national team head coach Bengt-Åke Gustafsson, who led Tre Kronor for several years while Liv was on the team, to the TT news agency.

New York Rangers netminder and fellow Tre Kronor teammate Henrik Lundqvist, recalled how much he enjoyed having Liv as a teammate.

“It was always incredibly fun to see Stefan on Tre Kronor. He was a fantastic person and a great teammate,” he told the Aftonbladet newspaper.

“I'm going to miss him very much.”

Liv, 30, was among the 44 people killed when a  Yak-42 passenger jet carrying the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl ice hockey team to Minsk, Belarus, crashed shortly after take off from an airport north of Moscow.

The club, which Liv joined just a few months ago, was on its way to Minsk to open the 2011-2012 season of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) on Thursday in a match against Dinamo Minsk.

Liv was about to start his second professional season in Russia, having played last year with HK Sibir Novosibirsk.

Prior to moving to Russia, Liv played in the top Swedish professional league, the Elitserien, for HV 71, based in Jönköping in central Sweden.

Outside Jönköping's Kinnarps Arena, HV 71''s home ice, hundreds of fans gathered on Wednesday night to express their sorrow.

HV 71 supporters and fans of Liv, who helped lead the club to three Swedish national championships between 2004 and 2010, lit candles and shed tears over the loss of a player who, for much of the past decade, had become a symbol for the team and its success.

“The atmosphere is very, very sad. Everyone speaks so warmly of him, about what a fantastic person he was and he cared about everyone and was always willing to help,” Aftonbladet Ebba von Esssen reported from the scene.

“Entire families are standing and hugging each other in grief.”

Born in Poland, Liv was placed in a foster home before being adopted by Swedish parents as a 2-year-old.

He joined the HV 71 club in 1995, making his debut Elitserien debut in the 1999-2000 season. In 2000, Liv also joined the Swedish national team, Tre Kronor, and was a member of the historic squad which captured both Olympic and World Championship gold in 2006.

Liv was named Eliteserien Rookie of the Year in 2001 and helped the club to three Swedish national titles in 2004, 2008, and 2010. In 2008, he was awarded the league's Guldpucken, given to the league's Player of the Year

Swedish ice hockey fans also used social media outlets to express their shock over Liv's death.

Soon after reports that Liv was among the victims of the devastating air disaster were confirmed, a number of Facebook pages appeared in honour of the Swedish goaltender.

Story continues below…

“I can't believe what's happened and am sending a big hug and thoughts,” wrote one fan of the Facebook page “R.I.P. Stefan Liv”, which had more than 75,000 members within hours of Liv's death.

“I can't get my head around this...if feels like you should come home to Kinnarps and start in HV again...totally...insane...rest in peace,” wrote another.

Even Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt expressed his condolences over Liv's untimely death.

“It's with great sorry that I've received the news that hockey goaltender Stefan Liv has died in a plane crash in Russia,” Reinfeldt said in a statement, according to the TT news agency.

“I remember him as a fantastic goalie, both for Tre Kronor and in the Elitserien, My thoughts go out to his family and friends.”

The Local/dl (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

09:15 September 8, 2011 by engagebrain
Decimated means reduced by a tenth - The Local uses the wrong word.
11:28 September 8, 2011 by satwinder
really sad tragedy for the hockey world.
18:24 September 8, 2011 by LivingInSverige
There's a time and a place for facetiousness...
00:41 September 9, 2011 by Visew

That's the right word to use nowadays.

Read this from Oxford Dictionary OnLine:




[with object]

1. kill, destroy, or remove a large proportion of: "the inhabitants of the country had been decimated."

drastically reduce the strength or effectiveness of (something): "public transport has been decimated"

2. (historical) kill one in every ten of (a group of people, originally a mutinous Roman legion) as a punishment for the whole group: "the man who is to determine whether it be necessary to decimate a large body of mutineers."


Historically, the meaning of the word decimate is' kill one in every ten of (a group of people)'. This sense has been more or less totally superseded by the later, more general sense 'kill, destroy, or remove a large proportion of', as in "the virus has decimated the population." Some traditionalists argue that this is incorrect, but it is clear that it is now part of standard English.
01:01 September 9, 2011 by engagebrain

by either definition 'decimate' remains the wrong word for the enormity of this crash.

English is a rich language with many more appropriate words.
16:39 September 9, 2011 by graceolsson
it´s very sad to his family and also to Sweden.. I wish he can rest in peace.
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