Sheffield Steelers: Why Jonas Liwing moved to 'under-rated' EIHL

Europe may have the hump with Britain over Brexit - but in ice hockey terms, we are growing ever more popular with our friends on the continent.

Thursday, 19th September 2019, 10:43 am
Updated Thursday, 19th September 2019, 10:43 am
Jonas Liwing

While some people in the more traditional hockey nations still see the UK as a frozen backwater in comparison with the likes of Germany and Sweden, the EIHL's reputation is certainly growing stronger amongst others.

That's due in part to Great Britain men's team successes – they moved up two places to 20th in the IIHF world rankings following the World Championship in Slovakia – and club-level results and performances against European opposition Champions Hockey League.

At Sheffield Steelers, Jonas Liwing is one of several players sampling the EIHL for the first time.

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He admits, after a career spanning his homeland of Sweden, Germany and France, that his announcement of a Summer move to South Yorkshire initially turned a few heads.

Liwing came to Steelers from Västerås IK in the second-highest league in the Swedish system.

The 36-year-old said of the EIHL: "I think it is bit under-rated.

"You can see that in the Champions League of Hockey, British teams are winning a couple of games there."

However, he admitted that when he told his friends he was signing in Sheffield: "Everybody was a bit surprised."

While people were unfamiliar, at home, with the EIHL, he said he found it to be a skilled division, with good quality throughout, and he was enjoying the competition.

Liwing scored for Sheffield in the 6-5 win at Dundee Stars on Sunday and has been pleasantly surprised by the fans' reaction at the House of Steel.

He described the home crowd as "amazing, it is just a great atmosphere every time you come out on the ice."

The skater was the first import D to be signed by Aaron Fox and he admitted that it hadn't take him long to make his mind up.

"I had a good talk with Aaron and I just felt like it was a really good fit for me and I am really happy I am here,” he said.

"I am in an age where...in the Allsvenskan there are so many young players they are too fast for me now!

"No, I think this was a great opportunity for me to see a new league, visit a new country.

"I love playing with foreign players, I have played in a couple of other leagues and I am really happy to be here."

Liwing is certain to see lots of ice this weekend, against Guildford and Glasgow, with fellow defencemen Aaron Johnson and Aaron Brocklehurst injured.