New York Islanders Great Stefan Persson Honored in Hometown

Just read an article about Islander legend Stefan Persson being recognized in his hometown, Piteå. I'm going to google translate the article but would recommend you to visit the original site as there are some really classic photos there. (I´m having computer troubles here so could someone please edit the text so there are some space between the parts?)

Stefan Persson Honored

PITEÅ -- He won four Stanley Cups, two national championships and Piteå's best athletes of all time. Tonight hailed Stefan Persson in LF Arena in conjunction with Piteå Hockey match.

- I feel very honored to be remembered in this way, he says. Piteå has produced a number of great hockey players. Given the size of the municipality is the incredible number that played on the other side of the Atlantic, says Stefan Persson.

We are in LF Arena, just a slap shot from Stefan's childhood home on Carpenter Street and he looks at his own painting in Piteå Wall of fame. 2006, Piteå all great hockey players respectively painting on the wall of the ice rink.

In on 78 out of 81 goals

Of all the names, one might stand out a little extra: Stefan Persson. For many who were not born before the '80s, it is difficult to understand how big the hill was. Four straight Stanley Cup 1980-1983 says a lot. As he formed the best layout in the powerplay with Denis Potvin, Mike Bossy, Brian Tottier and Clark Gillies. The season did end in 33 percent of all powerplay.

"Recently I was informed that I season 79/80 was on 78 of our team's 81 power play goals. That's incredible. Had I known it when I signed the contract I had asked for more money," laughs Stephen. "Powerplay was really our thing. I got to play as much as I wanted and the only time it did not go well in the playoffs was when our power play was not working and we therefore went out against the Rangers."

New York Islanders with Stefan Persson, the team dominated the NHL. In addition to four titles, it also became a finals loss.

"We beat out 19 teams in a row in the playoffs before we lost the final of the fourth year. There is no doubt that the record will never be turned. There's not a chance."

Stefan describes the period in NHL as incredibly fun even though there was a hardness in the league which contained only a few Swedes and 16 teams.

The story began in Piteå

But it all began in Piteå. As an eleven year old, the family moved here from Bjurholm and that was when Stefan started playing hockey for the first time. When his 12th birthday was near, Stefan began playing with Piteå IF. Three years later he made his debut for the first team away to Dubai for 4500 spectators.

"I trained a lot, often with two or three teams every night. There was a hole in the fence at the Continuing Vallen as I ran through when we would play. I got many training that all today do not take that one needs."

Emerging player, Jan-Erik Sandberg and Lasse Lindgren was also featured.

"We had a good gatuhockeylag if you had collected all."

The time in Piteå IF meant a lot to the success later. "It was a learning period in Piteå. We had a great team and that's where I got my education. It was such Gote Almqvist who taught me turn flip pass that I do not have managed without the NHL."

But first there was Brynäs where Stefan won two national championships in a team that dominated Swedish ice hockey in a way that few other clubs have done.

"We had internationals everywhere. Two goals in training was tougher and grinigare than matches. No accepted losing, but afterwards we were friends."

Do you miss it in today's hockey?

"It is clear as hell that the players are too much friends now. There is a problem. You should be pissed off at each other on the pitch."

Is that how you think as a member of the Disciplinary Board? The question makes Stefan Persson smile.

"We are like a mini court. I cannot comment on individual cases but what is written in the rulings but there is much misunderstanding about our work."

Above all, it is the Board decision after the tackles to the head that has been much discussed.

"Try to have five journalists and five sport executives view the same scene, you would see that they do not think the same. Our task is very difficult but really fun."

Stopped at 31

But there are some teams whose attitude Stefan does not like.

"It is sad that some teams never accept a punishment. They see not its own errors but only of others. Some teams are actually pathetic and one-eyed types, one day I'll say more about that ..."

Back to the NHL. After 50 assists (rookie record) first season in New York Islanders rolled the career of the 23-year-old. But at 31 years old he had enough and moved home.

"It was another age madness and money at the time. In a way, I had won myself to death. I was not motivated to belong to one my gang."

Persson was traded away to Winnipeg but moved home to then-girlfriend in Borås instead.

"I would have stayed longer, it is clear that I would have done. But Winnipeg, I had never gone to, then they had to send me to Los Angeles instead," he laughs. In Borås, it was a couple of games in second grade before the skates were shelved. Stephen became a partner in Wackes AB says giftware and has 50 employees worldwide. The work he has to this day.

"But I do not feel I need to prove myself as the best," says Stefan Persson. He has already done that so far Piteås best athletes of all time. Therefore celebrates Piteå Hockey him today in connection with the match against Björklöven. A banner in his honor will be hoisted to the roof. Something more of Piteå's best hockey players over the years will be honored with.

Facts: Stefan Persson

Age: 57
Position: Defender
Clubs: Piteå Hockey, Brynas IF, New York Islanders, Boras HC.
Merits: 4 Stanley Cup, World Championship silver, two national championships, Victoria Fellow in 1980, the PT New Year's Eve 1999 crowned best-ever athletes from Piteå.

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