Making lots of new friends from across the sea, special thanks to Swedish correspondents Tomas, Andreas, Johan and Thomas. Big hockey fans in Sweden, and they are very excited about their team signing a future Hall of Famer. Good for them.
Here is the translation of the Leksand team site from Tomas. Again, much love for taking the time to do this.
One of the greatest goalies in the history of hockey comes to Leksand!
He has won Stanley Cup.
He has won Olympic gold.
He has been named the best goalie in NHL.
He is a living sports legend.
Last season he played 58 games for Florida Panthers in NHL.
This autumn he will play for Leksands IF.
This season the Swedish hockey audience will get the opportunity to get to know
one of sports greatest profiles of all time.
Eddie The Eagle has signed a contract with Leksand:”I see it as a big honor to
play for such a classic club as Leksand,’’ said Belfour when we had a chance to
talk to him.
There is probably a few American and Canadian hockey fans on the other side of
the Atlantic that pinch their arm and wonder what will he do in the little
village of "Switzerland" (a joke, a lot of Americans mix up
Sweden and Switzerland). Ed has the answer: “It´s the possibilities, the
adventure and the challenge,’’ he explains.
Friends have compared Leksand with Toronto. Classic organizations, long history,
full of tradition and a lot of fans.
And that was the things that made him decide to take the
step from NHL and go to a club on a totally different side of the hockey world,
explains the well-qualified goalie.
He had a lot of offers to choose from. Russian clubs have tried to get his
signature on a contract and there has been offers from NHL-clubs. But when he
decided to play for Leksand it felt like he made the right decision, he
“It´s the kind of atmosphere you find in Leksand, with great
fans that love their team in both the good and the bad times, that I like the
Through the years Ed Belfour has played with many of the most well known
players in the history of the game. Jeremy Roenick, Mike Modano, Joe Nieuwendyk, Eric
Lindros, Chris Chelios, Olli Jokinen, Mats Sundin. Now he can add a few local
heroes such as Houkko, Karlberg and Ollas to that list.
With Canadian blood in his veins, “it´s obvious
that I like outdoor activities.’’ Fishing, skiing, hunting and driving
snowmobiles is things he´s looking forward to doing between games. That he will
move to a small village Ed just see as a good thing.
”It´s my kind of living. The atmosphere
gets more personal, you get closer to each other and traditions gets bigger
Then he probably will have a few things he´ll have to do in the beginning of
He will become a father for the second time of his life in December.
Changing diapers will probably be added to his to do list.
But the goal for next season is clear to him. Bring back Leksand to the first
Leksands GM Mikael Lundström can after a long
negotiation finally introduce his latest and probably most important part of
his team so far.
”This is of course one of our biggest investments
for a step in the right direction towards our goal to get back to the Swedish
Elite League again,’’ he says.
There´s no doubt that the expectations are high on
”We have signed a goalie that will bring
stability to our defensive game and it´s a great feeling to be able to present
this kind of signing to all our great fans and sponsors,’’ says Lundström.
Ed Belfour is clear to play from the 12th of October
and will join the team at that date.
-- This from Johan: By the way, the swedish second tier league has some impressive names... Robert Petrovicky, Libor Procházka, Jani
Hurme, Ed Belfour, Marcus Ragnarsson, Kenny Jönsson, Juha Lind, Calle
Söderberg, Tomi Pettinen, Mikko Eloranta, Roman Vopat, Mikael Karlberg
and Jan Huokko. The last two is more stars in Sweden, but still... All
really great players. Most of them in Leksands IF or Malmö.
-- This from Tomas: I´m from a town called Falun a few miles from Leksand so Leksand is my
favourite team. I´m also a big fan of NHL and I have been a Calgary
Flames fan for many years. Now I live in Stockholm. 2004 I lived in
Duluth, Minnesota for 6 month and I like visiting USA.
-- My take: One thing I didn't know was the Ed was expecting another child. So, congrats to him on that. And it sounds like he's making the best of this. There's no work out there in the NHL, so why not go to a place where he's really, really wanted and have fun. I'm sure this will be a neat experience for him, and he's going to be a rock star over there, for sure.