• Sweden edition
 
HOCKEY WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
Co-hosts Sweden hope to snag ice hockey gold

Co-hosts Sweden hope to snag ice hockey gold

Published: 04 May 2012 10:28 GMT+02:00
Updated: 04 May 2012 10:28 GMT+02:00

Sweden's national ice hockey team, Tre Kronor, is hoping to avenge last year's upset loss to Norway – as well as reverse a recent string of defeats – in the quest for gold at 2012 ice hockey world championships.

The world's top 16 ice hockey nations square off in the 76th ice hockey world championships starting in Finland and Sweden on Friday.

Sweden's national team opens the tournament in Stockholm against neighbouring Norway, a team which handed Tre Kronor a surprise first-round loss last year.

"I think we just need to go out and play our game. Take charge from the start and get the momentum. If we do that, we will have a good chance of getting a win," Detroit Red Wings star Henrik Zetterberg told the IIHF website.

Reigning champions Finland are trying to overcome the misfortune that has beset hosts of the world championships in recent decades as they seek to become the first team to win gold on home ice since the Soviets in 1986.

They will also try to defend the world title on home ice for the first time since the Soviet's all-conquering Red Machine in 1979.

However, they face tough challenges from hungry pretenders headed by Vancouver Olympic champions Canada, last year's runners-up Sweden and the traditionally strong teams of Russia and Czech Republic dreaming to storm all the way to the top.

Sweden, however, is heading into the tournament having lost an unprecedented six matches in a row after losing 2-3 to the United States in an exhibition match earlier in the week.

"A Swedish national team should never lose this many games in a row," frustrated Tre Kronor head coach Pär Mårts told Sveriges Television (SVT).

Mårts's squad hasn't had a victory since beating Belarus on penalty shots on April 11th.

However, analysts hope the addition of a few NHL veterans like Daniel Alfredsson, whose Ottawa Senators were recently knocked out of the Stanley Cup playoffs, will help give Sweden a boost and ensure a repeat of last year's nightmare opening to the world championships when the team lost to 5-4 to neighbouring Norway, a squad deemed inferior to the perennial Tre Kronor powerhouse.

"Sweden has suffered very few upsets in the history of the world championships against weaker teams," wrote Aftonbladet sports columnist Mats Wennerholm.

"And never twice in a row."

Nevertheless, Wennerholm admitted Norway could defeat Tre Kronor, but added that a loss wouldn't likely prevent Sweden from advancing to the tournament's final rounds.

This year international ice hockey's ruling body IIHF has changed the format of the annual tournament, which will be co-hosted by two countries for the first time in modern history.

And it will be the first time since 1997 that the men's world championship - the biggest annual winter sports event worldwide - will be played with two preliminary round-robin groups with eight teams in each.

Finland's capital Helsinki will stage the championship's matches at the 13,350-seat Hartwall arena, while the group which is based in Stockholm, Sweden, will play its matches at 13,850-seat Globen arena.

The new format sees the top four teams in each group advance into the last-eight round. The quarter-finals will be played within the respective groups as opposed to the cross-over system.

Bottom-placed teams in each group will be relegated to Division One and replaced by Austria and Slovenia in next-year's tournament.

Two quarter-finals will be played in Helsinki and two in Stockholm. Both semi-finals, bronze medal game and the championship's final will be played in Helsinki.

Defending champions Finland are teamed up with both North-American giants Canada and the United States, Switzerland, Slovakia, France and two former Soviet Republics - Belarus and Kazakhstan in the group based in Helsinki.

Stockholm will stage the matches of the other round-robin group comprising the hosts Sweden, Russia, last year bronze medalists Czech Republic, Germany, Norway, Latvia, Denmark and Italy.

Zetterberg hopes the pressure of hosting the tournament will once again help Sweden make it to the finals in Helsinki.

"If you don’t have pressure, you won’t play well. It’s part of the game. We’re just going to enjoy it and embrace it and go out and have fun in Globen," he told the IIHF.

This year's world championship will also determine the seeding for the men's Olympic ice hockey tournament in Sochi 2014 for all countries participating in the Olympic qualification campaign.

After the end of the championship nine top-ranked teams will earn a direct entry to the 12-team Olympic tournament in Sochi.

The three other participating teams will be determined in three final Olympic qualification tournaments in 2013.

The championship title winner will be decided in the final in Helsinki on May 20th.

TT/AFP/The Local

Follow The Local on Twitter

Related links:

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Three rescued after cruise ship sinks boat
Rickard Rundgren Björk of the coastguard services speaks to the media after the rescue operation on April 19th 2014. Photo: Maja Suslin /TT

Three rescued after cruise ship sinks boat

Three Saturday morning sailors had a lucky escape after their small boat collided and sank after it crashed into a cruise ship whilst sailing in the Stockholm archipelago. READ () »

Missing Swede found alive and well in UK
Sofie Marie Jansson. Photo: Metropolitan Police

Missing Swede found alive and well in UK

British police have found the missing Swedish girl Sofie Jansson in London, exactly a week after she was last seen, with authorities saying she is doing well. READ () »

Social Democrats make tax pledge to elderly

Social Democrats make tax pledge to elderly

Sweden's opposition party have stepped up its efforts to secure the pensioner vote by pledging to lower taxes for the elderly and make higher earners pay more. READ () »

Malmö Nazi attack victim on the mend
Showan Shattak pictured in Malmö before his attack. Photo: Facebook

Malmö Nazi attack victim on the mend

The 25-year-old man, whose stabbing by neo-Nazis sparked mass demonstrations across Sweden, has made a strong recovery in hospital and took to social media to thank supporters for campaigning against fascism. READ () »

Police seeking missing Swede in London

British police have issued a plea for tips in the search to find Swedish national Sofie Marie Jansson who hasn't been seen for almost a week. READ () »

University applications rocket to record high

University applications rocket to record high

Swedish universities continue to draw vast amounts of applicants with the number of prospective students seeking a third level education increasing for the seventh year in a row. READ () »

Man jailed in US over Lars Vilks murder plot
Swedish artist Lars Vilks pictured in New York in 2012. Photo: Linus Sundahl-Djerf/TT

Man jailed in US over Lars Vilks murder plot

American authorities have sentenced a 20-year-old accomplice of 'Jihad Jane' to five years in prison for an attempted terror plot to kill Swedish artist Lars Vilks, after getting involved with the murder plans when he was a teenager. READ () »

Sweden scraps 'new start zones' after EU input
Integration Minister Erik Ullenhag visits a school in Tensta, one of the neighbourhoods mentioned when he and his colleagues first floated the new start zone proposal. File: TT

Sweden scraps 'new start zones' after EU input

Sweden has abandoned a plan to ease taxes for small companies in blighted areas after the European Commission challenged its legality. READ () »

'Easter eggs an invitation to spread germs'
A typical Swedish Easter egg. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

'Easter eggs an invitation to spread germs'

A Swedish microbiologist has warned that traditional Swedish Easter eggs laden with candy are an open invitation to the spread of bacteria and viruses. "Is this really a good idea?" he asked. READ () »

Jammed truck snarls Stockholm rush hour
Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

Jammed truck snarls Stockholm rush hour

PICTURES: A truck got wedged inside a tunnel in central Stockholm on Thursday, with authorities concerned the accident may have damaged cables in the tunnel's ceiling. READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Society
Swedish supermarket Ica pulls contested Easter commercial off air
Kungahuset
Society
Swedish royals set baptism date for princess
finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 16
Politics
Who's the prime minister's heir?
Alfie Atkins
Society
Are children's books the key to families integrating in Sweden?
National
'Sweden Dem protests cater to party's martyr image'
National
'Swedish research grants were fantastic, but now it's like Australia'
Society
Only in Sweden: The ten problems you'd never encounter elsewhere
National
Swedes stopped to take my picture, but didn't look me in the eyes
Business & Money
A swipe of the hand replaced cash and cards in Lund
YouTube
Features
Video: Oliver Gee finds out how to embrace The Swedish Hug
TT
National
Abba duo hints at reunion
Advertisement:
Private
National
Flash mobs hug it out across Sweden
Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 11-13
TT
Politics
Swedes to give six-hour workday a go
TT
Society
Aussie choir member wows Abba in Sweden
YouTube
Society
Stockholm magic a surprise YouTube hit
Fastighetsbyrån
Society
Gallery: The Local's Property of the Week
Private
Society
Swedes find 200-year-old gravestone in living room
Stockholm School of Economics
Sponsored Article
Why a bachelor's degree is no longer enough
Deepti Vashisht
Features
Deepti Vashisht dissects the magic of Sweden's personal ID number
Shutterstock
Society
Ten signs you've been in Sweden too long
Society
Jimi Fritze heard every word when doctors discussed taking his organs
Society
A Swedish farmer explains why the new bestiality ban is 'pointless'
ESL
Sponsored Article
Learning Swedish the easy way
Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Blog Update: The Diplomatic Dispatch

28 October 15:16

The Green Growth Group Summit »

"Today on the 28 October in Brussels, a large group of key EU Ministers and business people, including UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Edward Davey, and Swedish Environment Minister Lena Ek, will meet to discuss green growth. They all have a stake in resolving a challenge which, although it is crucial..." READ »

751
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com