As I wrote recently, the Swedish Women’s Hockey League has many North Americans and former NCAA/ USports graduates in the line ups. But as I prepared my monthly review I noticed an unhappy trend- at least four of them are sitting out injured.
Jennifer Wakefield, Brynäs IF
Her illustrious career includes playing at University of Hampshire, University of Boston and the Toronto Furies, as well as being a Gold and Silver medalists with Canada in both World Cup and the Olympics. But the 29 year old has only managed two matches for new club Brynäs IF, before she sustained concussion when she was on the receiving end of an open ice hit in a match against HV71 on 21 September. It was Wakefield's fourth concussion in her career and her return date is unknown. Swiss Olympian Sabrina Zollinger was given a four match suspension for the hit whilst her manager seemed to imply it was Wakefield's fault because "she's known for playing dirty".
Breanne Wilson-Bennett, MODO Hockey
The 22 year old Canadian is in her first season with current league leader. But she was checked from behind into the boards by Louise Norberg Tegelin and lay on the ice for 20 minutes until she was lifted off via an ambulance. Fortunately, they have ruled out a fracture but the Canadian has concussion and it is uncertain when the University of Colgate graduate will return. AIK player, Norberg Tegelin received a four match ban following the match penalty she received during the game on 18 November.
Marion Allemoz, MODO Hockey
An unconfirmed report says that Wilson Bennett’s team mate, French captain, Marion Allemoz is also out until at least Christmas after an injury sustained during international duty. The former University of Montreal student and Montreal Canadiennes player has missed four games and has not played since 11 November and has been replaced by 16 year old Amanda Ahlm.
Michelle Karvinen, Luleå HF
The final player who is confirmed out injured in the SDHL's top scorer from last year, Finnish super forward Michelle Karvinen. The 29 year old former University of North Dakota player has missed six games for Luleå HF and even though she travelled with the Finnish team to the Four Nation’s Cup she did not play a single minute for the team she represented at the Winter Olympics in 2018. The club have confirmed an injury but are not sharing its nature but saying that it important that we "take a long term picture".
Whether this marks a trend where talented players are being given "special treatment" by the opposition, or whether it is just the nature of a competitiveness, contact sport is up for debate. But hopefully we can see more of the best players in the sport doing their magic on the ice rather than reading headlines about their injuries as the season goes on.