Ulf Sterner made his debut with Tre Kronor when he was only 17 years and 9 months old. He was the national team's youngest rookie of all times. At 15 Sterner was accepted onto a second division club and soon local fans were spreading the word about a speedy young virtuoso who could sneak through a bunch of men and score a goal.
He first appeared with Tre Kronor in a friendly game against Czechoslovakia at Johanneshof on November 12, 1959. The Swedish team won the game 11-3. The young Sterner scored his first goal-the first of what would be many more. What is remembered is that in the late 1950s and early 1960s, Ulf Sterner, along with Sven "Tumba" Johansson, Nils Nilsson and Ronald Petersson, was one of Sweden's most popular hockey players and an international star. It was Sterner who invented the famous fake 'stick-skate-stick' maneuver.
In Sterner's opinion, he scored his most memorable goal against Canada at the 1962 World Championship in Colorado Springs, bringing the score to 3-0. On March 15, 1963, Sweden defeated Canada 4-1 with Sterner getting a hat-trick. The crowd was elated and Sweden's aged King Gustav VI jumped up and applauded like a schoolboy. After the game, Sterner and Tumba Johansson went into the stands to meet the monarch and receive his royal congratulations. The Swedes appeared to have the world title sewn up, but they still had to get one more point in the last game against the Czechs. The last day of the tournament was the most tense and exciting, but the Swedes lost and the gold medal went to the Soviet team.
Ulf Sterner was Europe's (and Sweden's) first player to join the NHL at a time when the League consisted of six great clubs-the Montreal Canadiens, the Boston Bruins, the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Chicago Blackhawks, the Detroit Red Wings and the New York Rangers.
Sterner's wife Pia is a hockey coach, too. This hockey family lives on a small farm near Carlstad, where Sterner has four horses. His horses have regular names as well as nicknames for Sterner's former teammates and friends. One of the horses once smashed Sterner's nose and was nicknamed 'Alexander Ragulin' because it was as strong as the famed Russian defenseman. Sterner's connection to his hockey past remains as powerful as ever.