Longstaff is lured to Sweden by champions

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The Independent Online

David Longstaff, the Great Britain international, will skate into history when he becomes the first Briton to play in Sweden's Elitserien.

The leading points scorer for the Sheffield Steelers last season, has signed a one-year contract with the Swedish champions, Djurgarden of Stockholm.

"Stockholm is a great city and I'm joining a club with a fine tradition," said the Sekonda Superleague player of the year. "The standard in Britain might be getting better but you still can't compare it to the Elitserien."

Longstaff has been an excellent player in a physical league and has to make the switch to the technical style of the Swedish game, which routinely develops NHL-calibre players. Djurgarden said they were confident that Longstaff could compete.

Longstaff inspired Sheffield to a Grand Slam of Superleague, Challenge Cup and Benson & Hedges Cup during his final year with the team. He joined them from his hometown club of Newcastle Warriors in 1996.

Longstaff is the second high-profile player from Britain to move to the Elitserien. The Canadian Philippe DeRouville, the Ayr Scottish Eagles goalie, has signed for Timra IK.

Italy's Anthony Iob has been banned from next year's World Championships in Sweden after his elbow left an opponent unconscious in this year's tournament. The 30-year-old launched what the International Ice Hockey Federation called an "unprovoked attack" when he connected with the temple of Switzerland's Jean-Jacques Aeschlimann at the end of Italy's 8-1 defeat.