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National hockey players in group sex shame

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23:07 CET+01:00
Once again events off the field - or, to be more precise, rink - have dominated the sports headlines over the last few days. This time the behaviour of three players from the Swedish national ice hockey team has caught the media's attention - and for all the wrong reasons.

On Sunday, Andreas Lilja, Kristian Huselius and Henrik Tallinder admitted that they left their team hotel to go drinking and picked up a 22-year old woman at a Stockholm nightclub after returning from a match in Karlskoga against Norway. The trio took the woman back to their hotel where they subsequently engaged in sexual activity.

Under the watchful eye of their lawyer, Leif Silbersky, the shamed trio spoke to TT in a conference room in an unnamed Stockholm hotel - clearly hoping to defuse the media storm that has erupted around them

"They're so full of remorse and in such a bad way," Silbersky told TT, "that they couldn't handle taking part in a regular press conference."

The players claimed it wasn't their intention to go out and pick up a woman. They went out simply "to have a beer and chill out" after eating in their hotel. But they wound up in The Lab, a nightclub, and got talking to a woman.

Kristian Huselius explained that when it was time to leave "she wanted to come with us".

"She was a bit merry," Henrik Tallinder added.

The players all agreed that they had only gone out for a chat to wind down after the match against Norway.

Showing obvious signs of remorse, Anders Lilja, however, admitted that the unthinkable had happened. "I'm full of regret and would like to apologise to my family, friends and the sporting community of Sweden."

Henrik Tallinder was more matter-of-fact.

"We weren't going to go out and bring back a chick to our room," he said, doing little to dispel his macho-image.

Pressed to discuss just what went on in the room, Silbersky pointed out that the police were satisfied that this was not a criminal matter, but admitted that the hockey players' behaviour was "inexcusable".

As Aftonbladet's columnist, Lasse Anrell, pointed out, the players had obviously been prepped by Silbersky prior to the meeting. However, they didn't apologise out right for their conduct and it was up to the lawyer, renowned for handling high-profile media cases, to explain something which clearly should have come from the players themselves.

"You just don't go out at night when you're representing Sweden have a few beers or even a Coca Cola," Silbersky said. "You go to bed. You certainly don't go out and get laid under these kind of circumstances."

Whether or not Silbersky was speaking on behalf of the Swedish national hockey team remains unclear.

The chief of the Swedish Ice Hockey Association, Christer Englund, insists the players' actions have "damaged Swedish ice hockey, other players and management - as well as the girl in question."

Henrik Tallinder distanced himself from Englund's comments. "They [the association] have no idea what happened."

The shamed trio have now been banned from the national team for the remainder of the season and it remains to be seen whether further bans at club level will be dished out.

Henrik Tallinder admitted he was "disappointed, but understood [the decision to ban them] up to a point."

Only Lilja displayed any real comprehension of just how despicably they'd acted, admitting he was "ashamed" at what they'd done. That said, he did not apologise profusely as some, like Lasse Anrell, expected.

Tallinder and Huselius, visibly strained, seemed more concerned with complaining that the media had indicated that they were under suspicion of rape.

"It's because of the media that we've been publicly shamed," Huselius said, admitting he regretted going out upon the evening in question.

"Then what happened wouldn't have happened."

Sources: Svenska Dagbladet, Aftonbladet, Expressen, TT

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