talks to Peter Collins
LIFE'S been good so far for Dave Livingston with chance playing a big part in the path his career has followed. And although he may be the team's new elder statesman, whatever you do don't mention 'age' to him. "I've always liked to skate and go chase the puck and I've maintained my condition throughout my career so and I don't feel 36... well, maybe some days!" he said: "I don't think about being the new Dave Morrison, just the old Dave Livingston, because you have to be yourself. He was a great player but I'll just concentrate on being me and giving my best at all times. I don't even know if we play the same way, and like `I said I don't feel old!"
Born in Boston, Massachusets, after completing his time at Boston College Dave moved to Europe instead of going into the North American minors "My college coach told me there was a team in Holland looking for players, although I'd already been approached by a team in Helsinki, Finland. But I was waiting for my visa and getting fed-up so I thought I'd take the contract on offer in Holland because it would only be for a year, right? - wrong, 15 years later I'm still in Europe. I may have ended up here by chance but I don't regret any of it. I really enjoyed my time in Holland, it helped my game because as everyone knows they have a very relaxed attitude to most things but I stuck at it and played hard every game and it helped me to do well and stand out."
During his 10 years in the Netherlands with Eindhoven, Den Bosche and Tilburg - where he won three championships - he played 342 games, racking up 390 goals and 411 assists for a points total of 801 - that's over two points per game, while picking up just 391 penalty minutes. During that time he learned the language, got his Dutch passpot and met his wife. In seven years as a Dutch international he claimed 42+40 for 82 points from 52 games, playing mostly in Pool B of the World Championships. A season in Sweden was followed by a move to Klagenfurt in Austria and then on to Vienna where he's spent the last two years, never finishing lower than third in the team's scoring charts and playing alongside another new signing, Norm Krumpschmid. Chance played a big part in his move to Austria, too, which in turn had a huge bearing on him becoming a Storm player. "The money in Holland began to drop to nothing and so I went to Sundsvall in Sweden and did well, signing on for a further two years at the end of my first year. But round about April/May time they said that although they wanted me back they couldn't guarantee the money they'd originally offered and that if I found somewhere else they would understand if I went there. So I contacted an agent and he got me into Klagenfurt later that year. I then moved on to Vienna and my last two years there have been good fun, but like Holland the standard of hockey in Austria has really deteriorated and it's a mess right now. I was all set to sign back up with Vienna again but the wage cap brought about the breakup of the team".
"I had a few different offers during the summer but turned them down. I talked to a few people in England and they all said Manchester was the place to be. Norm then started the ball rolling, he told Kurt about me and then when Kurt phoned we came to an agreement pretty quick, so now I've brought my wife Linda and daughters Jordan (four) and Megan (one) to England." Described as 'gritty' by his new coach, Livingston proudly admits to being a grafter: "I work the corners, I forecheck, I put the opposition players under pressure, I'm good on face-offs. I guess I'm a typical Kurt kind of a player - a grinder who can score goals. It's definitely helped playing in Europe nearly all my career because I've not had a heavy schedule to contend with and I've been lucky injury-wise, there's not the same hitting in Europe as there is in North America or Britain come to think of it. British hockey is actually much better than the rest of Europe give it credit for. It's very professionally run, the fans are really behind their teams and competition is very good." He's really enjoyed himself so far racking up 2+3 for 5 points in six B&H Cup games and an assist in last Sunday's opening SuperLeague game win over Sheffield. He's also scored a goal and two assists against tonight's visitors Newcastle in the previous two B&H meetings. And you can rest assured he won't be leaving anything to chance tonight as he seeks to show that he might be the oldest player in town but he's still got what it takes.