Blueliner Hockey Tour Day 5

Today was the last full day in Stockholm and todays destination was to Solna home of our third sports club of this trip to Sweden’s capital. AIK.
Solna is to the north of the city centre and represents the largest area of any of Stockholmm’s sports club. AIK are also the biggest in terms of numbers and probably the most famous outside of Sweden due to the success of its football team.
In the heart of Solna is Stockholm’s biggest stadium and in many ways its present national stadium. Rosunda is home to AIK and not just in a soccer sense. The club shop and offices are also here. At present with the building of a national stadium through south opposite the Globe Arena it is not clear what will happen to AIK and the Rosunda as a move will be controversial playing alongside the Soderstadion home to Hammarby. However AIK is much more than a soccer club. Hosting several organisations including handball, floorball, volleyball and even a golf club as well as its ice hockey team.
The latter of course has already made the move south to the Royal Court, Hovet, and the Globe arena. It is here where AIK took on Farjestad in the Elitserien. Niether team have set the league on fire this season with Farjestad just about in the final play off place and AIK three places below in the relagation zone. But just two points higher than AIK are Djurgarden making tonights match up even more important for Swedens black and gold, AIK. As a win could send Djurgarden into the relegation zone going into the game on the 14th between the two at the Globe Arena.
There are two things that strike you as different when arrive here to watch a different home team. Firstly follows on from something that Dave simms said about teams in the UK. That some teams just try harder to get you in. It appears that way here. AIK tonight have gotten less VIP’s. Indeed the restuarant level at Hovet does not appear to have anyone in it yet on Tuesday both that level and the upper bar level were full. Also the merchandising is smaller, the kids zone that Djurgarden put on with air hockey tables is non existant and the banners instead of hanging in the rafters are drapped over the barriers at the bottom of the stands. The fan zone too is much smaller. There are number of reasons why this can be the case. Top of the list is that hockey is not the top priority it is for Djurgarden as soccer is probably that. One thing is for sure there are fewer people here.
The second thing that I did not notice on Tuesday is segragation. The away fans today have a separate entrance and are blocked off on the coutse and in the stadium. There are still away fans elsewhere but there is more of a definate different area tonight. Perhaps it is because of the repuation that has come with AIK fans for fighting but I have only ever heard of this when they play Djurgarden. What is probably more the case is number of factors. One is that due to the passionate nature of fans in Sweden it creates a better atmosphere when they are separated and two is down to the fact that a teams fan club can sell away tickets. The second is something that clubs in the UK should do as it would be easier to combine sales with travel and offset costs and so result in more travellers, high attendences and a atmosphere because of it. That does not explain the presence of police inside the arena.and not just the ones who got bored outside waiting for the concert at the globe and the hockey at Hovet to finish.
The fans tonight may not be as numersome as previous but they still love their sports team highlighted by the reception for the guest of honor AIK football team.
The game itself is a feisty, end to end affair that almost ended in a bench brawl. As it was AIK held on for 3-2 win and with Djurgarden coming back from a 2 goals down only to loose 3-2 AIK only leap frogged MODO who lost in their game and their arch rivals to lay 3 points off the Farjestad and the play offs.

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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