Found this article about Steen today. It's from a local paper in Örnsköldsvik, the town in northern Sweden where he lives during the summers. Peter Forsberg, Marcus Näslund, Victor Hedman and the Sedins (amongst many others) are from there, as is the Swedish Elite League team MoDo, with whom Steen trains during the off-season. Thought it might be interesting for you non-Swedish speaking people, too. Translation's all mine. Original here (in Swedish). You better enjoy it, took me forever to get it finished (screaming three-week-old wasn't helping...).
GANG VIOLENCE ORDINARY FOR STEEN IN ST. LOUIS
Alexander Steen spends his summer at home in Örnsköldsvik relaxing.
It's needed. Besides being a hockey player in the worlds toughest league, he lives in one of the most dangerous cities in the U.S. -- with tornadoes, gang violence and abused fight dogs almost being ordinary things.
- You get to see horrible things. You hear gunfire every night.
Alexander Steen has just finished his third on-ice training day when we meet him for a cup of coffee, a cup that soon turns into two and three during a open-hearted conversation. For Alexander Steen Örnsköldsvik is home, despite the fact that he didn't move here until he was 20 years old. It's a home that differs drastically from his home during the winter months -- St. Louis. A city that ranks as one of the more dangerous cities in the U.S.
- St. Louis is among the top 3 or 4 most dangerous cities in the U.S. Sick stuff happens all the time. Dave Scatchard, a team mate, was going for take-out after a game and he saw someone get stabbed. There's alot of crap like that going on, feels like you hear gunfire every night.
Alexander Steen gets to experience the brutality first hand.
- I have a friend over there who works with rescuing stray dogs, and I've tagged along. Some people breed dogs to fight and when they lose they just let them loose on the streets. We go out and bring dogs like that to animal protection organizations, make sure that they're healthy and uninjured.
- You get to see horrible things. Stabbed dogs. When dogs run through some peoples lots they shoot at them. One dog we brought in had three bullets in his hind legs, and on another one someone had cut of the hind paws. It's really disgusting, so you could say that that side of town is a little bit dangerous.
But it's not only criminality that makes St. Louis a dangerous place to live. During the spring tornadoes are common and this year the storms reached record levels.
- You ran down to the basement at least one's-a-week for awhile. I underestimated the storms at first and thought that it wasn't something I'd have to bother with where I live. Then the Joplin tornado came and destroyed a whole town and killed 150 to 200 people. I've got more respect for it now, so when you hear the warning sirens nowadays you immediately run down to the basement.
Despite all of this Alexander Steen enjoys living in St. Louis. He lives in the western part of the city, where crime isn't as common, and when there's no storms the weather is pleasant with Swedish summer weather already in February.
- You try to avoid the bad side, and aside from that it's a great city -- it's large enough so there's always stuff to do, but it's kinda laid back and the traffic ain't that bad. I can't stand spending an hour and a half in the car like you always has to in Toronto.
The St. Louis Blues were a hot ticket last season, and the year before that only a handful of games weren't sold out, despite the fact that the team has missed the playoffs for two straight seasons.
- We have a very young team and haven't been able to get over that last hurdle. But it really feels like we have something good going.
Alexander Steen is an important piece in a team with loads of young talent like David Perron, Alex Pietrangelo, T.J. Oshie, David Backes, Chris Stewart and Patrik Berglund. Steen, who's an assistant captain, had the third most ice-time amongst the teams forwards and his 51 points was fourth best on the team last season.
- It's been very good playing here. I have a more offensive role and for example play as a defender on the power play. All of that's been a blast. But I also take alot of pride in everything else I do on the ice, defensively, to go up against the other team's best players, like the Sedins for example.
As a parent to small children it's not only on the ice that Alexander Steen has to be responsible.
- Being a dad is awesome. I have two great boys, they're calm and funny. Two completely different personalities. The oldest one isn't that into sports, but the younger one has almost gotten him interested. He used to not care for it at all. I took him out to the driveway to play some hockey but after four minutes he was bored and went back in. But we've been lucky, they haven't had many problems and have been healthy.
Alexander Steen knows better than most that children's health should never be taken for granted. His little brother Amadeus passed away before he even got to celebrate his first birthday.
- I was six and remember some things but not how sick he was. You think about it now and again, what kind of person he'd be. He would have been 21 now and I often think about if we would've spent much time together and so on. His name lives on through the foundation we've started. (http://www.amadeussteenfoundation.com)
Our time is running out. Alexander Steen grins when we start to talk about the yearly soccer game him and his buddy's, including hockey players Victor and Oscar Hedman, Michal Zajkowski and Tobias Viklund, plays against a team of former soccer players.
- It started as just a fun thing but have gotten totally out of control. We have new jersey's every year, a trophy, we pick a MVP, have an awards ceremony. People actually decides when to take their vacation because of the game so they won't miss it, it's really fun. We lost terribly the first year, but we've won it four years in a row now. I've scored a goal every year, and last year was the first time I played as a forward.
This fall the hunt for another trophy begins.
- We've kept the core and added some veterans who've won before. It feels like we have a real team now, and we're really close to become a really, really good team.
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