Sheffield Steelers sign 36-year-old Swedish skater to supercharge both defence and attack
Sheffield Steelers have signed their first new import defenceman for next season - a 36-year old veteran of the Swedish and German ice hockey circuit.
Jonas Liwing committed to an "initial one year contract" after seeking recommendations from four former Steelers.
His age may once have raised eyebrows.
But you only have to look at other senior players across the sport - including skipper Jonathan Phillips who turns 37 in July - to see that is no longer an issue.
Liwing arrives from Västerås IK, in the Swedish second flight. He is relatively small, but mobile and should assist Ben O'Connor in quarter-backing, especially on the power play.
The Stockholm-born right shot – who will be the 15th Swede to play for Sheffield – said: “I was ready for a new challenge after the last two years in Sweden.
“It’s time for a new experience. I spoke with Jared Hagos and Jonas Westering (former Steelers) and they told me Sheffield was the place to play, the Arena, organisation and especially the fans. I also spoke with Andreas Jamtin and Conny Stromberg who also played with Steelers. So then Aaron (Fox; coach) and I agreed a deal. I think it’s a great fit for me and I’m confident a great fit for Steelers too.
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“When I spoke with Aaron I told him I wanted to come to a place where we could win and he assured me that this is what he was building a team to do”
Liwing is a team-orientated player. "That’s how I would describe myself, it’s team-first with me. I’d like to think I make smart plays, I use my brain. I like to play the puck, jump in the play when I can and where it is possible. I’m excited to arrive in Sheffield and meet the new team.”
The skater is the second new import brought to the club by Fox.
“Jonas is a veteran defenseman that brings a ton of experience and offensive ability to us,” said the coach.
“He has been a top dman at every level he has played and is coming off great back two back seasons in the Allsvenskan where he finished top five in dman scoring.
“He really excels on the PP and makes good decisions in all three zones. I’m looking forward to having another high character veteran in the locker-room that’s here for the right reasons.”
Liwing was an exceptional junior at the renowned AIK club, he represented his country at U17, 18 and 19 level before turning professional in 2002 alongside Jamtin and Hagos's AIK.
He played 313 SHL games with 426 more in the Allsvenskan spanning a 17 year professional career. He also played 100 league and play off games in the German DEL as well as having spells in France and Austria.