Saint Stephen's Day bandy
|Saint Stephen's Day bandy|
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The tradition dates to the 1930s, when the two clubs IF Göta and Slottsbrons IF took to playing a Saint Stephen's Day friendly match. Despite initial objections by the Church of Sweden to scheduling the game on the Saint Stephen's Day, the event grew in popularity thereafter.
Historically, only a few instances of the Saint Stephen's Day match marked the season opener for Elitserien, Sweden’s top division. Prior to 1957, Saint Stephen's Day was the date of the final friendly match, after which the season usually started on New Year's Day. In 1957, the top division in Sweden resumed in December, and the Saint Stephen's Day marked the first day of seasons between 1957 and 1961, (the 1962 season began on December 31). From 1963–64 onwards the season began earlier in December, and since the 1966–67 season games have started in November.
There have been efforts, most notably in 1994, to revive New Year's bandy and was itself a major event. However, the New Year's game has not been played in the top-tier of the league since the 1981–82 season.
Still by 1999, Saint Stephen's Day bandy was the only major sports event over Christmas in Sweden. Starting in the year 2000, it its popularity led other sports to follow, such as handball and ice hockey. Nowadays, people sometimes instead talk of "Saint Stephen's Day sports" (Swedish: Annandagsidrott).
- Rosqvist, Berndt (22 December 2003). "Festligt och fullsatt på stora bandydagen" [Festive and packed with great bandy day]. Dagens Nyheter (in Swedish). Retrieved 2010-02-04.
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