The Swedish hockey model
Posted by Dean Holden at September 22nd, 2014
by Chris Dawson, 21 May 2013
Randy Edmonds, who coached professionally for more than a decade in Sweden; gives us some insight why the Swedish Hockey Model is so effective. File photo.
Team Sweden just came off a World Championship this past weekend as they knocked off the surprising Swiss for gold on home ice.
While the country has churned out some solid young NHL talent in the likes of the Wild’s Jonas Brodin, Colorado’s Gabriel Landeskog, the Sens Swedish trio of Zibanejad, Silfverberg and Karlsson to name a few, Edmonds says the Scandinavian nation is all about hockey development.
“In Sweden there are 5,000 players at each age group versus almost 25,000 in Canada and of the 5,000 kids who play the game, 50 will play pro at some level,” said Edmonds who runs the Eurocamp hockey school and the High Performance Hockey Academy in North Bay.
“This is 1%, which is about 10 times greater than many top organizations in Canada, like the GTHL, who has 40,000 players in various levels.
“Youth and Junior Hockey in Sweden is just that. It is not professional in the sense it is really about development and not about winning, where coaches are rewarded by the advancement of players to higher levels and doing things the right way.”
The game of hockey by many stretches in Canada is becoming or has become a “rich man’s game.”
Developing a player can cost families big dough even here in North Bay.
However, in Sweden money is never a factor and that allows all kids, rich or poor, to have an opportunity to excel at the highest level.
Edmonds says that cost in Sweden is so much less.
“It’s around $1,000.00 from August 1st to June 30th,” Edmonds estimates.
“It doesn’t end in March like here in Canada, the ice is subsidized by the municipality. As a matter of fact, all levels of government support subsidizing hockey and sport, while the organizations absorb some of that cost as well. All levels of government see the value of keeping kids active. They see the link between activity and health care.
“One Swedish Federation official told me once ‘we will lose in the quarter, semi finals and finals of tournaments and accept that as long as we play the game the right way.’”
The hours of training are different in Sweden too, according to Edmonds.
“Quality clubs in Europe have about 800 hours per year of training; on-ice and off-ice. The top clubs here have about 180 hours during the season and then spring and summer it is up to the individual.”
While we may be considered the front runner in many ways of the way we in Canada run the game of hockey, it’s hard not to look overseas to Sweden to see a model that is pretty fair and very impressive.