On Saturday, SHL, Sweden's highest ice hockey league for men, gets going again and for the first time ever, three teams from Småland are getting ready to step into the series.
But despite the fact that about 70 players on Saturday will represent either HV71, Växjö Lakers or IK Oskarshamn, their own products shine with their absence. If you count the players who represent the same association today as when they started hockey school, the number is four. Three in HV71, one in IK Oskarshamn and none in Växjö Lakers.Own talents are important - winning is more important
All Småland teams tell SVT Jönköping that the local products are important for the association, but also says that the players, regardless of where they are raised, must be good enough.
- I think people most of all want to see the team win. It is actually the most interesting so they are what we have been going for, says Sam Hallam, coach at Växjö Lakers.More will reach the clubs at a later stage
If you count the players in Småland's three SHL teams that were brought up in the same association that they represent today, that figure is four. But counting the players who came to the club while they were still juniors, the figure rises to 19. Twelve of them are in HV71.
- We think they are both more fun to have local players from Jönköping, who grew up in our hockey school, or almost in the local area in one of the clubs here, says Johan Davidsson, assistant sports manager at HV71.