Blueliner Hockey Tour Day 2

First impressions on Sweden is one of efficency. The airport terminal at Arlanda is right next to the runway. No travelling for an hour to a stand in middle of nowhere then getting a bus.
Transfering to the city center too is simple on the bus transfer.
It quickly comes clear that sport is a favourite here. A walk around the local area near the hotel shows you that. The local parks have skate parks, mini rinks, soccer nets, basketball hoops and the like. A trip to the local bar also hammers this home as well. Here tho it is obvious what sport is king.
As I entered it was soccer on the large tv screens that soon changes as it approaches 7pm and the televised hockey game is put on. It is not however the Elitserien, Swedens top flight that is showing but a AllSvenska (Swedens second tier) match up between Leksand and Mora. It is worth noting that Sweden’s answer to Dave Simms or Don Cherry is a bit different. Not only is he blonde but takes to the ice to skate with the players as they come out.
The surpise is the game a lively affair played in an arena that would put 7 UK Elite League teams to shame. The attendence too would is massive and this is on a Monday Night.
What does continue to amaze not only here in Sweden but in other countries in Europe is the amount of away support a team gets even in mid week. I am not sure if this is the case in sweden but in Austria’s second tier the league arrange mid week matches according to geographical location to make it easier for fans to travel to away games. If ever there was a task for the EIHL this was it. Get bigger attendences across the board and help clubs with increased gate receipts and would allow the league season to be shorter because mid week games could be financial viable. Of course Belfast would be the exception but in many ways they always will be but can afford to be.
For the record the game ended 3-2 in favour of Leksand.

Neil Tucker

Neil has written on ice hockey for many websites concentrating on British ice hockey mostly. Neil also covers ice hockey in other countries and organises his Blueliner Hockey Tour. A graduate of the Manchester Metropolitan University Neil turned his hand to hockey writing in 2009. As well as contributing on Blueliner Hockey Neil has contributed to Get Real Hockey and Slapshot Magasine.

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