Parting is Such Swede Sorrow...
All good things must come to an end so they say... and so it is tonight the Stars announce that popular Swedish imports (and adopted Billogs) Dennis Boström and Daniel Palmebjörk will not be returning for the 2017-2018 season.
Arriving on Teesside two summers ago, Dennis made an immediate impact on the League: making life uncomfortable for defencemen and bamboozling netminders with a unerring eye for that top corner. He didn't take any time at all to settle in, scoring just 13 seconds into his debut in a challenge game against Aberdeen Lynx. The goals continued to flow, Dennis continuing to find the net on a regular basis as he finished as Stars top goal scorer for the two seasons he graced the Forum ice. It's safe to say that Stars fans will talk about 'that shot' for some years to come.
Last season Dennis was joined by compatriot Daniel, a tricky forward who brought another dimension to the Stars game and helped elevate Billingham from fifth to second in the League and a playoff final appearance. Dan may not have had 'the shot' (except that bullet against Solway), but he had control, balance and a passing ability that benefited all around him. His work ethic and first-class attitude to the game made him an instant favourite with fans and team mates alike - his Man-of-the-Match performance in the playoff semi-final against Blackburn was the perfect end to his Billingham career.
Perhaps the Swedes finest moment came just before Christmas last season, when the Stars Media Team fell victim to a prank that went viral in their home country. Perhaps we should have known better, but the trusting SMT truly believed that the interview being conducted in Swedish was a genuine exchange about the game that the Stars had just won (3-2 against the Sharks). Instead... well most of Sweden seems to know what happened next! Relive the infamous kebab chat here.
Stars Media Team insiders on the pesky Swedes...
"Dennis has been the best import the league has seen over the past few years. His consistent goalscoring and high level of play meant the crowd would be on the edge of their seat every time he got the puck. Injury derailed the tail end of last season but he will certainly be a miss both on and off the ice. Dan took some time to find his scoring touch but his work rate was outstanding, throwing himself in front of shots and doing the dirty work that aren't normally associated with imports. When the scoring did arrive he jumped up the scoring charts. A big personality, as shown by the 'Caviar Sandwich Incident' his one year was one Stars fans will look back on fondly."
"The Swedish era comes to a close at Billingham at least for now, but Boström and Palmebjörk have left a lot of good hockey memories in their time at Stars. Dennis is a natural goalscorer as his tally over two seasons shows. His game is all about speed - skating speed and speed of release on his wrist shot. The back to back one timers on right and left wing against Sharks a particular memory. Daniel is in my opinion a better all-round player and never stops working on or off the puck. Once he settled into the lineup his offensive production matched his workrate and he racked up some highlight reel goals to match his compatriot. Would have loved to see them on the ice together, Dan with Dennis on his wing and a Sykes or Elder on the other side. Now if I ever make it to Umea, they owe me a kebab. I hear they make some good ones out there..."
"It's been an absolute pleasure to watch these two. Dennis is one of the best highlight reel goal specialists we've probably ever seen in Billingham - how he finds that top corner so consistently is a wonder. Dan just works his socks off, and when he was on his game he was virtually unplayable. The best thing about both of them however is their attitude off the ice - genuinely nice guys who fit right in to the dressing room and made friends for life. We'll miss them both."
Billingham Ice Hockey Club wishes to thank both Dennis and Daniel for their dedication to the Stars cause - you are both welcome back on Teesside any time!
Of course this leaves two spots on the roster to be filled... fans are advised to watch for news online and in the local press later this week.