Daniel Fernholm remembers vividly the first hockey game of the 2011 Russiang league season. His side, Atlant Moscow, was taking on his former team, Dinamo Minsk, when the news broke.

During the middle of the game, an announcement was made that a plane carrying his friend and fellow Swedish national team member, goalie Stefan Liv, crashed just north of the Russian capital, killing the entire Lokomotiv Yaroslavl club.

“The President of the league interrupted the game to make the announcement. A lot of us Swedish guys on the team saw some of the Russians start to cry,” the 28 year-old recalls. “I asked what happened and they told me that a plane had crashed.”

He immediately thought of his good friend, whom he had just played alongside just months before in the International Ice Hockey World Championship. In fact, both men were part of the starting squad that took Sweden to the finals, which they lost to Finland.

“I got calls from my mom and a bunch of friends thinking it was my team, since the news in Sweden said it was a club from Moscow,” Fernholm said, “I could not play for more than two weeks, something did not feel right.”

Depressed, Fernholm would end his season playing in Finland for HIFK, helping them finish third in the league standings. Still, Fernholm gained a new appreciation for life and family. So much so that he has also begun a new offseason routine.

“Before when we would lose a game, I felt destroyed,” the defenseman said. “But now, I just look at it for what it is – a game. It also changed me a lot in my relationship with my family. We are closer now.”

In the past, Fernholm would take a trip to Thailand to enjoy the night life and then slowly ease back into his training for the upcoming season. Now, he has decided to take up a few weeks of intense workouts at Tiger Muay Thai and MMA Training Camp in Phuket, Thailand limiting his party hopping and focusing on being in the best possible shape.

After all, he was once a 17 year-old kid who was drafted in the fourth round by the Pittsburgh Penguins of the National Hockey League in the United States.

“I was training with guys like Mario Lemeuix and a young Sidney Crosby. I thought I had the world, but looking back my mind was not in the best state. I was just too young and not mature,” Fernholm said, who was sent to play in the minor leagues before eventually making it in the Russian leagues.

The training he puts at TMT has been one of the best decisions he says he has done. He’s already making plans for a two month trip next year.

Though Fernholm has not signed with a team for the upcoming 2012 season, he hopes to have a contract with a Russian league team.

“I think this (training) will make me mentally tougher,” Fernholm said. “I been training with Kru Kay, and its funny because when I let my guard down, he hits me in the face. It’s humbling but fun. I love it here.”