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Little's love for Linköping is strong

Scoring leader Broc Little has not only found his way to the back of the net during his eight seasons with Linköpings HC, he has also found love with local resident Beatrice Bergman. The couple has now married and are the proud parents of two young daughters – and the American hockey star loves his new hometown as much as the fans love him.

When the forward from Phoenix, USA, moved to Sweden to play with Västerås in the HockeyAllsvenskan in 2011, he thought it would be just a short stay – and then back across the Atlantic to try to earn a place on the NHL roster.

Twelve years later, Broc is still in Sweden, after playing eight seasons for Linköping HC, where he has another two years left on his contract.

“I never thought I would stay here this long. But I have always enjoyed it here both with the club and in the city, and I met my future wife almost immediately after moving here”, smiles the 35-year-old.

Beatrice Bergman, who has been his wife since 2020, was born and raised in Linköping.

“Broc had only lived here for a few weeks when we first met, then it took some time before things got really serious for us”, says Beatrice. “We wanted to get married before having children, so we did that during the pandemic. That's why we haven't had a celebration yet, but there will be one, ha-ha”.

Their daughter Nova turned two at the beginning of March just after she became a big sister to Nellie, who was born at the beginning of February. She often joins the family to watch LHC's home matches in the Saab Arena, when number 41 is presented in the starting line-up to a cheering arena.

“Even though Nova is so small, she actually really enjoys watching hockey. So it is never a problem getting her to the matches”, says Beatrice. The players' wives sit together in the arena and many of us have children, so it's perfect”.

When Broc signs a contract with a club, it is not only important that he is happy – but also that his wife is happy. And there is no problem with that in Linköping.

“No, I have my family and friends here. And it's a great city to grow up in as a child”, she emphasizes.

Broc, who grew up in the big city heat of Phoenix, Arizona, had a bit of a hard time adjusting to the darkness and the cold during his first winter in Sweden. But now he's used to it...

“Haha, I remember that I was very homesick at the beginning. It was a big step moving to Sweden, and since I went back to the USA, where I did pre-season training on my own, for a lot of the summer, I didn't get to experience much of the light and warmth”, he laughs.

Impressive scorer

In his first season in the SHL with LHC, Broc made a name for himself with his new fans by scoring the most goals of anyone (28) in the entire league and racking up 47 points. In 2019/20, he had the most goals in the SHL (24), and with his 53 points in the 2016/2017 season, he was just one point away from being the leading scorer in the entire league. In his first season, the club placed fourth and made it all the way to the semi-finals of the Swedish Championships. Then they made it to the quarter finals three years in a row, but fell short of the play-offs in the last five seasons.

“After being a top team for many years, with, for example, two straight finals in the championships before my time here, we have clearly been in a slump. Morale among the troops hasn't been as good as when I got here. But the investment that is being made now is very exciting. I am absolutely convinced that we can start climbing back on top and I want to be part of that journey”.

Over the years, Broc has discovered a few other favourite places in Linköping besides the Saab Arena. One of them is the course at Västerby Golf.

“I like to spend a lot of time there when I have a chance during the summer months. At the moment, I have a handicap of ten, need to put some effort into lowering it a bit. The best player on the team is our equipment manager Uffe Söderström, and of the players I would probably say that Henrik Törnqvist is probably one of the best”.

“I have also given it a go, but in my case, there is a lack of patience”, laughs Beatrice.

The family lives in a house in Ekängen, and they are quite happy there, and one place they like to go with the children is the Garden Association property.

“It is very cozy there and a perfect playground for Nova. I think Linköping is a good size city that has everything, and nothing is too far away. Certainly a city I can imagine living in even after my career is over”, emphasizes Broc.