Liwing eyes up his future after ice hockey
It's 6.30am on a freezing cold Scandinavian morning and Jonas Liwing is donning his ice hockey kit to play in an empty rink with some "old timers."
It's all a far cry from the start of last season when the Swedish defenceman was making his debut for Sheffield Steelers in cup combat with Nottingham Panthers, with 8,461 fans analysing every pass, check and shot.
But Liwing, a veteran who first entered the limelight with Sweden U17 team back in 1999, isn't complaining.
The hockey players he feels most sorry for are those at the start of their career, not those who had enjoyed the good times and are approaching the end.
Liwing, who played a single season at Sheffield after a career including seasons in Germany, France and Austria, has his eyes on a post-hockey job, although he still wants to play the game for as long as he can.
"I haven't figured out the next move yet," he said.
"I play every Friday morning 6.45-8am with a bunch of old timers right now. That's about it.
"It's tough to get a contract, anywhere. There was an article a couple of weeks ago in a Swedish newspaper and I think it said that 120-130 Swedish players that 'belong' to the first or second league are without a contract.
"But I am ok with that. I will probably look in to play in a lower league with some friends just to play for fun."
Sweden has been in the headlines for their relaxed approach to lockdown measures during the Covid 19 lockdown.
In the last few days though they have introduced new curbs, including specific capacity-levels in restaurants and cafés.
Liwing says: "We hear a lot here in Sweden about the restrictions in the UK. It’s crazy!"
Swedish sport has been playing with restrictions on numbers in the stands.
Some rinks were allowing just 50 spectators in the seated area, while there were calls to raise that to 500, said Liwing.
"Some teams and arenas got around the 50 people rule because they were allowed to put people in the boxes and restaurants" said the skater.
"So pretty much the more modern arena you have, the more you could 'cheat' the system."
He said in recent weeks teams in the top flight domestic league had disclosed coronavirus cases.
"A lot of hockey players are in a bad spot right now. I am just happy that I am 37 now and not 23. I really feel for all the younger players.
"We haven't had a lot of restrictions here really, except for sport and music events.
"People over 70 are supposed to stay inside, in nightclubs you have to sit down at a table to be allowed to drink. Just small stuff like that.
"It doesn't really affect the ordinary life that much."
Off the ice, Liwing is hoping for a new career as an electrician, he said.
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