Ice hockey in Sweden
Ice hockey in Sweden has a history going back at least the early 1920s. The sport was first organized in the country by the Swedish Football Association (SvFF), which was a founding member of the IIHF in 1920. The hockey department of the SvFF eventually split off to become the Swedish Ice Hockey Association (SIHA) which today is still responsible for organizing Sweden's domestic leagues and its participation in tournaments internationally. The highest tier of men's ice hockey in Sweden, the SHL, brought in 1,974,388 spectators in the 2013–14 season, the highest overall attendance in Swedish sports. The SHL's average of 5,983 spectators per match is bested only by Allsvenskan, the country's top flight of association football.
Often referred to by the nickname "Tre Kronor" (English: Three Crowns), the Swedish men's national ice hockey team is amongst the most successful in the world, being considered part of the Big Six (or Seven, along with Canada, the United States, Finland, Russia, the Czech Republic, and possibly Slovakia). The team is, as of 2013, ranked first in the IIHF World Ranking.
Sweden has won eight olympic medals, including gold medals in 1994 and 2006. They have also won the IIHF World Championships 9 times, most recently on home ice in Stockholm in 2013.
Sweden's women's national team, nicknamed Damkronorna (English: Lady Crowns) as a play on the nickname of the men's team, played their first official match in 1989, though they had been playing on an unofficial basis since 1987. In the five Olympics that have featured women's ice hockey, the team has finished with a medal twice, bronze in 2002 and silver in 2010. They finished fourth in the 2014 Olympics, and as of the 2014 IIHF World Ranking, Damkronorna are ranked sixth in the world.
47 teams total, divided into 4 groups geographically.
|4+||All divisions after Hockeyettan are organized regionally|
The SHL (Swedish Hockey League or Svenska hockeyligan), founded in 1975 as Elitserien, is the highest level of men's ice hockey in Sweden, the second-most attended (in average attendance) sports league in Sweden (after Allsvenskan), the third-most attended ice hockey league in Europe, and as of 2006 is the fourth-highest paid hockey league in the world.
HockeyAllsvenskan is the second tier of men's ice hockey, and has by far the highest average attendance of second-tier ice hockey leagues in Europe.
In Hockeyettan, teams do not compete nationally, but rather break into four divisions/groups organized geographically. These smaller divisions play half a season together, after which the more successful teams in the four divisions join two new groups, organized geographically into "Allettan North" and "Allettan South", and play the rest of the season in the new groups. Meanwhile, the teams in the four beginning groups that did not qualify for Allettan continue playing in the original groups, with the poorest performing teams being forced to defend their spots against the winning teams from Division 2 in the qualification tournament known as Kvalserien. The two Allettan winners go directly to the HockeyAllsvenskan qualifier. The teams ranked 2–5 in each Allettan group, and the top two teams in each continuation group, qualify for a three-round playoff. The two teams that survive the three playoff rounds join the two Allettan winners and the two lowest-ranked teams from HockeyAllsvenskan in the HockeyAllsvenskan qualifier, the double round-robin tournament that determines promotion to HockeyAllsvenskan.
All leagues in Swedish hockey after Hockeyettan are organized regionally. In most of the regions, there are two further divisions (Division 2 and Division 3), except for the eastern region which also has a Division 4.
The highest women's ice hockey league is Riksserien, which has eight teams. It is also the only women's hockey league organized nationally. The second-tier Division 1 is divided into regional groups.
- "SHL: 2013–14: SHL: Attendance". Swedish Ice Hockey Association.
- Sveriges Television: Stark publiktrend i svensk idrott. 2012-03-23
- "SHL: 2013–14: SHL: Team statistics: Attendance". Swedish Ice Hockey Association.
- "Allsvenskan: Tidigare år: Resultat 2013: Statistik/ligor: Publikliga".
- "2013 Men's World Ranking". International Ice Hockey Federation.
- "Tre Kronor ends home-ice curse". International Ice Hockey Federation. 2013-05-19.
- "Damkronorna". Swedish Ice Hockey Association.
- "Team Sweden's unofficial national games since 1987". Swedish Ice Hockey Association.
- "Team Sweden's all official games since 1989". Swedish Ice Hockey Association.
- "2014 Women's World Ranking". International Ice Hockey Federation.
- IIHF. Swiss fans flock to arenas.