• Sweden's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Sweden struggle to climb women's hockey ladder

AFP/The Local · 19 Feb 2014, 09:03

Published: 19 Feb 2014 09:03 GMT+01:00

Women's hockey is evolving in countries like Switzerland and Japan but for others like Sweden it is a case of one step forward, two steps back.

Sweden won the silver medal in the 2006 Turin Games after eliminating the US but in the Olympics semi-finals on Monday they were clobbered 6-1 by the Americans who outshot them by a whopping 70-9.

The lopsided contest renewed questions about the legitimacy of women's hockey in the Olympics where blowouts have become common like Canada's 18-0 win over Slovakia in the 2010 Vancouver Games.

"It was too big a challenge for us to beat the US," said Swedish assistant coach Leif Boork. "They showed they are one of the best teams in the world."

Sweden only has three players back from that silver medal winning team.

"We started to work on that improvement after 2006 when our older generation finished playing. Since then we've had a generation shift," he said.

Boork said the problem is many women are forced to give up the game when they get older because unlike the players in the men's tournament they are not professionals.

The United States were heavily favoured to reach Thursday's women's final as they have 65,700 registered female players in the country compared to just over 3,000 for the Swedes.

Canada, the other finalist, has 87,000 players while Switzerland have just 908.

Canada and the US have been mainstays at the top of international women's hockey ladder ever since the sport was included in the Winter Games in 1998 in Nagano.

Canada has won the last three Olympic gold medals while the Americans have won four of the last five Women's World Championships, but they're hungry to end that Olympic drought.

"Of course it can be a problem for the rest of the world that they are so powerful. I think we should try to look up to them and try to improve our game," Boork said.

The International Ice Hockey Federation president, Rene Fasel, said Tuesday that women's hockey is not in danger of being dropped from the Winter Olympics.

"That will never happen," Fasel said. "I can guarantee that will never happen."

Canada's Carla MacLeod says Canada and the US have a responsibility to help those emerging nations get better by running hockey clinics and schools and loaning them coaches.

MacLeod is doing her part by working with the Japan women's team as an assistant coach.

Japan failed to qualify for the Vancouver Games so they went looking for a female coach to help them improve.

Story continues below…

"I was instantly excited. It took me half a second to say yes," MacLeod said.

Japan is not the only women's team that showed some progress in the Sochi tournament.

Switzerland lost by just two goals (3-1) to Canada in the other semi-final on Monday.

"They didn't think that little Switzerland can play hockey but we showed them," said Lara Stalder, who is one of the few non-North American players in the tournament to play for a US college women's team.

US coach Katey Stone said the growth of women's hockey in the US colleges is helping the game improve internationally.

"The best players on all these teams are playing in the US college programmes. We have done a heck of a job to not only develop American players but Canadians, Finnish kids and some Russians," she said.
 

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Swedish premier pledges 5,000 'emergency' jobs
Swedish prime minister, Stefan Löfven, speaking in Gothenburg. Photo: TT

Swedish prime minister, Stefan Löfven, speaking in Gothenburg, announced a initiative to create 5,000 new 'emergency' jobs for new arrivals to the country.

Sweden's king celebrates 70th birthday
King Carl XVI Gustaf joins in with a rendition of All You Need Is Love with the Tensta Gospel Choir and their leader Cedwin Sandanam. Photo: TT

But Norwegian royals stay at home after deadly helicopter crash.

'Disgusted' Swedish boxer retains world crown
Badou Jack (right) catches Lucian Bute with a right-hand. Photo: TT

Badou Jack drew bout but kept World Boxing Council title.

PLO seeks apology over Sweden Eurovision flag ban
Sweden was the first EU member state in Western Europe to officially recognise the State of Palestine. Photo: TT

First it was the Basques...

Brussels attacks
Swedish terror suspect 'dumped bomb in toilet'
Osama Krayem. Photo: Facebook

Belgian media report that Osama Krayem tried to dispose of the explosives before carrying them onto the Brussels metro system.

Eurovision 2016
Regional politicians hit out at Sweden's Eurovision flag ban
Lots of flag-waving at Eurovision. Photo: AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson

Spanish politicians have criticized Swedish Eurovision organizers after a regional flag was banned alongside that of Isis from the competition in Stockholm.

Eight charged over shooting at Gothenburg restaurant
People leaving flowers at the scene of the fatal shooting last year. Photo: TT

The attack last spring left two people dead in one of the most high-profile shootings in Sweden in recent years.

Swedes want answers from Russia after Nato warning
Russian T-14 Armata tanks make their way to Red Square during a rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade in May. Photo: Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP

UPDATED: What exactly does Russia's foreign minister mean when he says his country will "take action" if Sweden joins Nato?

Two historic shipwrecks found right in central Stockholm
Divers looking for a ship in central Stockholm. Photo: Anders P Näsberg/Statens maritima museer

Another two shipwrecks dating back to at least the 1600s have been found in central Stockholm.

Alicia Vikander scoops lead role in new Tomb Raider
Alicia Vikander poses at the Scandinavian terrace during the 68th Cannes film festival last May. Photo: Jean Christophe Magnenet/AFP

The next Lara Croft will be a Swede.

Sponsored Article
Kista: The best office space in Sweden?
Analysis & Opinion
Why Sweden's fretting about Brexit
Sponsored Article
Why international researchers love to call Malmö home
National
INTERVIEW: Swedish police officer 'beat me up and used racial slurs'
Gallery
People-watching: April 27th
Blog updates

29 April

Editor’s blog, April 29th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hello readers, Relations between Sweden and Russia went from slightly strained to full-on James Bond this…" READ »

 

18 April

A day as a guard (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"Life as an Ambassador. Driven around in the Jaguar. Visits all planned so you go straight…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
‘Life in Stockholm’s suburbs is better than people realize’
National
Öresund bridge border checks net record number of drink drivers
Sponsored Article
'A huge waste of resources': how to fix integration
National
Swedes bid farewell to iconic Volvo
Gallery
Property of the week: Enköping
Gallery
People-watching: April 22nd-24th
Sponsored Article
'A sustainable Sweden must embrace diversity'
Politics
Could Brits in Europe stop Brexit?
Sponsored Article
What's the best way for expats to transfer money abroad?
National
The first official picture of Sweden's new royal Prince Alexander
National
Sweden's Sami reindeer still live in the shadow of Chernobyl
Sponsored Article
Sigtunaskolan: 'The best of what Sweden has to offer'
Finest
Gallery
People-watching: April 20th
Sponsored Article
How to launch your international career
National
Why was a Nazi flag hoisted in a Swedish town on Hitler's birthday?
National
How did Sweden's deputy PM get in trouble over New York comments?
Sponsored Article
Becoming an expat: where to start
Finest
Gallery
People-watching: April 16th-17th
Sponsored Article
'I may work at a Swedish company, but we’re global'
Culture
Sweden finally axes historic dancing ban
Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: Stockholm's secret dating scene
International
Have you phoned Sweden yet?
Sponsored Article
'Swedes must realize only soft power can defeat radicalism'
Finest
Gallery
People-watching: April 13th
National
Is booze going up in Sweden?
National
How Sweden's fake 'smombie' traffic sign is being used for real
Culture
Sweden's Tarzan drops trousers
Finest
Gallery
People-watching: April 9th-10th
Sport
Zlatan wants to be new 'Rambo'
National
Swedes in a huff about giant TV penis
3,254
jobs available
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
psdmedia.se