I thought it would be easier to separate what I did last weekend into two posts, as I have much to say about the hockey game!
A little bit of background information, the friends I went with to the game were Skellefteå fans. The reason we chose to go to this game was because Skellefteå was playing Luleå. They are pretty big rivals, as they faced each other in the final of the Swedish Hockey League (SHL) playoffs last year, with Skellefteå winning the championship. Many people in my town are Luleå fans, as it is the closest team, but there are Skellefteå fans also.
We decided not to get seats for the game, and got the standing tickets instead. Many people had told me that the standing ones were more fun, and I think they were right!
The standing section was always, and I mean ALWAYS cheering loud. I’m not even kidding, they stopped cheering for literally 30 seconds only to start up a new cheer. I thought it was so weird, because at NHL games it can get loud between whistles, but cheering usually always stops during play, unless something exciting happens. When I say cheering, I mean actual cheers too. They had all kinds of different cheers and even a little drum to keep a beat. Everyone was constantly clapping, by the end of the game my friends said that their hands hurt.
I believe that this guy was working for Skellefteå, as he was sort of the leader of all the cheers. He was actually kind of scary, I don’t know if it was his beard or because he was screaming in a foreign language I couldn’t understand. Anyways he always made sure the fans in the standing section were loud.
As for the actual game, Skellefteå had a very quick start and score the first and only goal of the game in 1 minute.
Another weird thing about Swedish hockey is that their clock counts up, not down during play. Not that there is really any correct way to do it, but I think it makes more sense to count down so you can see exactly how much time there is, without doing the simple math.
The play was aggressive and there was a lot of checking. I would maybe compare it to the AHL (NHL farm teams) in America, although I think the Swedish league may have been a bit faster.
I believe Norren means something about the north, but either way I thought it was pretty cool that there was a reindeer on the back of Skellefteå’s socks. I need to know where I can get a pair for myself.
Something I thought was different was how the seats weren’t directly on the glass. I guess it makes sense if they need the space for the camera, but it is like that all the way around the glass.
Something else I thought was interesting is that they have a section for the other teams fans. The Luleå fans were retaliating by cheering the whole game also. I thought that this was a good idea to give them there own section because it’s probably much safer. It might be kind of hard to tell because of the bad picture quality (had to zoom across the whole rink!) but they had security guards lining the section to make sure nothing happened. Which I think is kind of crazy, but I have found out that these hockey fans are truly dedicated.
You can also see on the wall to the right of the opposing team fan section a Canadian flag. My host dad had told me about it actually otherwise I probably wouldn’t have noticed it. Skellefteå has one player who is from Canada, Bud Holloway, so they have it up for him I’m guessing. It’s weird although because there is no Swedish flag hanging up.
Another thing I found different is that they have advertisements everywhere. They have them on the ice, on their jerseys, as well as along the boards. In the NHL they only have them along the boards. I think many of the European teams have ads on their jerseys, because I remember seeing pictures of some Blackhawks playing in Europe during the lockout. There are so many ads on the jersey it gets hard to find the players name during play.
Skellefteå won, as I said earlier there was only one goal scored.
I should also mention that it seemed that almost everyone who was at the game was wearing a jersey or had some kind of Skellefteå hockey apperal.
After they shook hands they had a little salute to the fans (and they did it to the standing section) which I thought was really cool. It reminded me of how when the Blackhawks win they all go to center ice and raise their sticks to the crowd.
My first Swedish hockey game was awesome! It was a very exciting game and I think I learned much about the hockey culture here. I think that Swedish hockey fans are very dedicated to their team, which makes the experience even more fun. I am excited to go to more hockey games in the future!
If you want to read more about my weekend in Skellefteå, check out the other post I did here.
Check back soon as there will be an exciting post coming soon!