Sven Tumba

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Sven Tumba
Sven Tumba SOK.jpg
Tumba c.1960
Sven Olof Gunnar Johansson

(1931-08-28)28 August 1931
Died1 October 2011(2011-10-01) (aged 80)
Height6 ft 2 in (188 cm)
Ice hockey career
Position Centre
Shot Left
Played for Djurgårdens IF
National team  Sweden
Playing career 1950–1966
Association football career
Playing position Winger
Youth career
Viggbyholms IK
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
0000–1949 Viggbyholms IK
1949 Åmotfors IF
1950 Viggbyholms IK
1951–1961 Djurgårdens IF 86 (50)
National team
Sweden B[1] 3 (5)
1956[2] Sweden[1] 1 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Sven Tumba (born Sven Olof Gunnar Johansson; 27 August 1931 – 1 October 2011) was one of the most prominent Swedish ice hockey players of the 1950s and 1960s. He also represented Sweden in football as well as golf and became Swedish champion in waterskiing.[3]

Johansson first became known as "Tumba" in the 1950s since there were other players with the same last name, and he grew up in the Swedish town of Tumba. In October 1960 he married his wife Mona,[4] and five years later he, along with Mona, legally changed his family name to Tumba.

After his retirement from ice hockey, he became an accomplished golfer, a golf course designer as well as an ambassador to the game of golf, even officially introducing the game of golf to the former Soviet Union. He died on 1 October 2011 after being on the Danderyds sjukhus hospital for three months due to an infection in the hip.[5] He was subsequently honored prior to the Elitserien games that were played that day, with a one-minute silence.[6] His body was buried at the Engelbrekt Church in Östermalm, Stockholm, on 20 October 2011. Approximately 500 friends and relatives arrived at the church to leave flowers and honour Sven Tumba.[4]

Ice hockey[edit]

Tumba playing ice hockey in 1960.
Sven Tumba
Medal record
Representing  Sweden
Ice hockey
Olympic Games
Bronze medal – third place 1952 Oslo Team
Silver medal – second place 1964 Innsbruck Team
World Championships
Gold medal – first place 1953 Zürich/Basel Team
Bronze medal – third place 1954 Stockholm Team
Gold medal – first place 1957 Moscow Team
Bronze medal – third place 1958 Oslo Team
Gold medal – first place 1962 Colorado Springs/Denver Team
Silver medal – second place 1963 Stockholm Team
Bronze medal – third place 1965 Tampere Team

Tumba played for the Swedish club Djurgårdens IF from 1950 to 1966, winning eight Swedish Championships and leading the league top goal scorer three years. He had a lengthy international career, playing for Sweden at 14 IIHF World Championships, four Winter Olympics, named best forward at the 1957 and 1962 World Championships and top scorer at the 1964 Winter Olympics. He also captained the national team. Djurgården has retired number 5 in his honor.

Tumba still holds the Swedish scoring record of 186 goals (in 245 games) for the Swedish national team.[7]

In 1997, he was inducted into the IIHF Hall of Fame[8] and was in 1999 awarded the "Best Swedish Ice-hockey Player of All Times", outvoting prominent players such as Peter Forsberg and Mats Sundin.

Tumba was the first European player to attend an NHL training camp, with the Boston Bruins in 1957. He reportedly received a $50,000 contract offer from the Bruins after scoring a goal against the New York Rangers in a preseason exhibition game as well as making five appearance for the Rangers Quebec Aces minor league team. However, Tumba turned down the offer as he would no longer have been eligible to play amateur hockey for the Swedish national team.[9]

As a player:[3][10]

  • 1950–63: 8-time Swedish Champion (1954, 55, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63)
  • 1952: Olympic bronze, Oslo, Norway.
  • 1953: World Champion, Zurich-Basel, Switzerland.
  • 1954: World Championship Bronze, Stockholm, Sweden
  • 1956: Olympic 5th place, Cortina, Italy.
  • 1957: Test player for Boston Bruins. He was offered a contract, but turned it down, since he then would have become ineligible to play for the Swedish national team.
  • 1957: World Champion, Moscow, USSR (also nominated best forward.)
  • 1958: World Championship Bronze, Oslo, Norway.
  • 1960: Olympic 5th place, Squaw Valley, USA.
  • 1962: World Champion, Colorado Springs, USA (also nominated best forward.)
  • 1963: World Championship Silver, Stockholm, Sweden
  • 1964: Olympic Silver, Innsbruck, Austria.
  • 1965: World Championship Bronze, Tampere, Rauma, Finland.
  • 1989: Nominated the best Swedish ice hockey player throughout time.

Ice hockey projects:

  • 1955: Inventor of the first hockey helmet, the SPAPS helmet.
  • 1957: Founder of the Swedish ice hockey school on TV and the first ice hockey tournament for children, TV-pucken.


Tumba (left) and Henry Thillberg after having scored 5 goals each on Finland in a national B team contest

In the mid-50s Tumba played for Djurgårdens IF, the team which he also became Swedish Champions with. He also represented the Swedish national team. He played one game for the national team (against Norway, 16 September 1956).



Djurgårdens IF


After a successful career in ice hockey and football, Tumba dedicated himself to golf as a player, golf course designer and ambassador of the sport. Tumba was one of the people who introduced golf into Sweden. On the 100th anniversary of the Swedish Golf Federation in 2004, he was named the most influential person in the history of golf in that country, ahead of figures such as all-time women's golf great Annika Sörenstam.[12]

Tumba also officially introduced the game of golf to the former Soviet Union.

As a player:

  • 1970: Winner of the Scandinavian International Match Play of Golf.
  • 1970: Represented Sweden in the Eisenhower Trophy.
  • 1973: Represented Sweden in the World Cup.

Golf projects:

  • 1967: Tumba Golf Center, the first indoor driving range in Sweden. Founder/Designer.
  • 1969: Founded the Colgate Cup, the largest golf tournament for children.
  • 1970: Founder and President (for 15 years) of the Scandinavian Masters, one of the largest tournaments in the European Tour.
  • 1977: Founder and President (for 3 years) of the European Open in the European Tour.
  • 1978: Ullna Golf Club, (host of the Scandinavian Enterprise Open (5 times, 1983–87) and the 1988 Eisenhower Trophy. Designer/Project Leader.
  • 1987: Tumba Golf Club Moscow (now called Moscow City Club) the first golf course in the former Soviet Union, located in central Moscow close to the Swedish Embassy. Founder/Designer.
  • 1988: Österåkers Golf Club, two 18-hole courses (host for the LPGA Compaq Open and Swedish Tour).
  • 1988: Officially introduced the game of golf to the former Soviet Union.
  • 1988: Founded the first golf school in Soviet.
  • 1995: Founded the World Golfers Championship, a yearly amateur golf tournament in many countries, played by thousands of golfers around the world.
  • 1998: Tumba Kävlinge Golf for All, Löddeköpinge. A new way of golf course design and management, with goal to benefit juniors and the general golf mass.
  • 2004: Named as the most influential person in the history of golf in Sweden.


  • 1957–61: Own radio program, the Tumba Hour.
  • 1959: Held water ski shows all across Sweden.
  • 1981: Founded the Tumba Stipendium (grant) for handicapped sportsmen, that amongst other things gave Lev Yashin a hip joint replacement in Sweden.
  • 1987: Founder of the motto "Sport Promotes Friendship and Business", supported by eminent sportsmen, politicians, artists, etc. Examples are Pelé, Sean Connery, Seve Ballesteros and Boris Yeltsin.
  • 1989: Received the Royal Medal from HM King Carl Gustaf for his outstanding sport achievements.
  • 2006: Founded the Sven Tumba Education Fund, Sport for Education, a charity together with AstraZeneca aiming to eradicate illiteracy.

Tumba also wrote numerous books: Tumba says it all, Tumba's hockey school (translated into three languages), as well as My rich life (the naked truth).

Personal life[edit]

Tumba was survived by his wife Mona and their four sons. For most of his retirement, he and his wife lived in West Palm Beach, Florida, returning to Sweden for the summer.[12]


  1. ^ a b Frantz, Alf; Glanell, Tomas; Persson, Gunnar, eds. (2008). Det svenska fotbollslandslaget 1908–2008 [The Swedish National Football Team 1908–2008] (in Swedish). Vällingby: CA Strömberg AB. ISBN 91-86184-69-5.
  2. ^ "Sven Tumba Johansson". Retrieved 12 June 2016.
  3. ^ a b Sven Johansson. Swedish Olympic Committee
  4. ^ a b Hans Abrahamsson (21 October 2011). "Det känns så otroligt tomt". Aftonbladet (in Swedish). Retrieved 12 August 2012.
  5. ^ Sebastian Chaaban (1 October 2011). "Sven Tumba död". Aftonbladet (in Swedish). Retrieved 1 October 2011.
  6. ^ Andreas Häggström (1 October 2011). "Sven Tumba hyllades på elitseriearenorna" (in Swedish). Hockeykanalen. Retrieved 1 October 2011.
  7. ^ "Flest mål i Tre Kronor genom tiderna" (PDF). Swedish Ice Hockey Association (in Swedish). Retrieved 19 November 2010.
  8. ^ "IIHF Hall of Fame". IIHF. Retrieved 19 November 2010.
  9. ^
  10. ^ Sven Johansson.
  11. ^
  12. ^ a b Associated Press (1 October 2011). "Sweden great Sven Tumba dies at 80". Retrieved 2 October 2011.

External links[edit]