June 16, 2014

Thomas Gradin: Summertime Garbage Man

Thomas Gradin was a beautiful hockey player, exhibiting skill and grace. He was tougher than anyone gave any Swedish player credit for back in the 1980s, but he was not exactly noted as physical player.

And he certainly was not a "garbage goal" guy.

But, for one summer anyway, he was a garbage man.

That's right. While most NHLers spend their summers on golf courses or at the lake cabin, Gradin spent the summer of 1981 going to work every weekday at 6 am to collect garbage in a Stockholm suburb.

" I always hated weight training and running," explained Gradin. "So I thought this would be an interesting experiment. It's tough, but picking up 400 garbage sacks daily is good for your body."

It must have been. The following season Gradin responded with a career high 37 goals and 86 points, and led the Canucks with 19 points as they advanced all the way to the Stanley Cup final.

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