As we continue the countdown to the World Para Ice Hockey Championships in Ostrava, Czech Republic, we profile another of the sides who will be battling for medals from 27 April – 4 May.
Sweden, the first Paralympic champions in Para ice hockey, have a richer history in the sport than any other nation. The sport, in fact, was founded at a rehabilitation centre in Stockholm, Sweden during the early 1960’s by a group of physically impaired Swedes who wanted to continue playing hockey.
Although they have three World Championship medals to their name, Sweden have not made the podium at the event in 15 years. After a surprising sixth-place finish at the last Worlds in 2017, perhaps they will surprise again this time around.
World Ranking: 6th
World Championships History:
2017: 6th place
2015: Did not qualify
2013: 8th place
2012: 10th place
2009: 10th place
2008: Did not qualify
One to Watch: Former able-bodied ice hockey player Maximillian Gyllsten had a breakthrough performance at the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympics despite fracturing his ankle during the Games. Now in his fourth season with the national team, the 26-year-old forward will be looking to complement fellow forward Per Kasperi up top for a one-two punch that can propel the team to the next level.
Don’t Count Out: Who can forget the fascinating feature article by The New York Times about Ulf Nilsson at the last Paralympics? Yes, the fan favourite goaltender is back and now a year older at 55. Do not underestimate his stealthy play between the pipes.
Matchup to Watch: Sweden vs. Czech Republic on Sunday 28 April. The last time these two teams faced each other on a major global stage, the Czech Republic snuck out with a 4-3 victory in an overtime nail-biter in the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Paralympics classification round.
Worth Mentioning: Veteran defenseman Niklas Ingvarsson is the lone holdover from the last time Swedish squad that last won a World Championship medal in 2004.