by Mike Ulmer || AHL On The Beat Archive
Sometimes you just never know how the sports and entertainment world cross over.
With that said, there are just some stories that connect the two worlds that are amazing. Take the example of the loving Kronwall family.
I am a fan of love. The late Keith Richards – he’s the only one who doesn’t know he’s dead – hit the subject smack on when he declared “love wears a white Stetson.”
Love and marriage do go together like a horse and carriage, or a turnip with a Pomeranian. That is to say, sometimes it works but be careful, there could be a basement apartment with your name on it.
I have been more fortunate than most, having married a woman who is the single most important person in my life. Though wickedly smart, she just doesn’t know any better and loves me back with close to equal vigor. What more can a man ask?
She is, however, pragmatic. Sometimes when we walk about the neighborhood, we run into a friend who has fashioned a handsome fortune as a divorce lawyer.
My wife invariably nods toward the woman.
“Don’t even think of it,” she says breezily. “I’ve already got her on retainer.”
It is no coincidence that chocolate, one of the most identifiable symbols of Valentine’s Day, comes in all kinds of flavors, light and dark chocolate, semi-sweet and sugary.
Toronto Marlies defenseman Staffan Kronwall has been up and down this year with the Maple Leafs. Staffan and his brother Niklas are one of the few brother acts in the NHL but their presence in the league is due in no small part to love. The semi-sweet kind.
The boys’ father managed ABBA.
They weren’t an international phenomenon yet, but they were breaking through.
“He met my Mom,” Kronwall said. “She said, ‘Having a family is the most important thing’ and that’s that.”
He could tour with ABBA. He could be with her. But he couldn’t do both.
So he quit the band that would for many years become the highest grossing industry in Sweden. He quit for love.
Did he make the right decision?
Financially, no. But he had three strong, ambitious boys, two of whom played their way into the NHL.
Still in the long run, a love for the game has taken Staffan a long way in his career, as he continues to chase a full-time position in the National Hockey League. He has recorded five points and a plus-7 rating in 21 games for the Marlies and has also skated in 10 NHL games for the Maple Leafs in 2007-08.
Older brother Niklas is already emerging as one of the bright young defensemen in the NHL for the Detroit Red Wings after winning the Eddie Shore Award as the AHL’s best backliner during the 2004-05 season.
So while their dad didn’t get to manage the band, he still went on to manage two of Sweden’s best hits on the blue line.
Ed. note: Hasse Kronwall passed away in 1992, when Niklas was 11 and Staffan was 9. Tove Kronwall continued to help her three sons realize their passion for playing hockey.