The game, as they say, is growing.
SDHL players made their Olympic debut in 2010, three years after the league’s inception as Riksserien in 2007. Despite the Swedish Ice Hockey Association’s counterproductive attempts to stem the flow of foreign players, the SDHL continues to attract elite global talent and attention. Thirty-seven players from the professional Swedish league from five different countries came to PyeongChang, the most players from a single league at the 2018 Games.
So, where do they come from?
All 23 of the Damkronorna play in the SDHL, representing eight of the league’s 10 teams. AIK and MODO sent the most Swedish players to South Korea with five aside.
Three players, including star goaltender Sarah Grahn, represent Brynäs.
League-leading Luleå sent three Swedish players, a third of the club’s Olympic representatives.
Damkronorna Captain Emilia Ramboldt comes from Linköping, as does star forward Pernilla Winberg.
Leksand and Djurgården sent two players each.
HV71 sent forward Fanny Rask.
Seven Naisleijonat currently call the league home. Riikka Välilä, Sanni Hakala, and Rosa Lindstedt play with HV71.
Team Finland captain Jenni Hiirikoski, Michelle Karvinen, Ronja Savolainen, and Noora Tulus play with Luleå. As if one leadership role and being the best defender in the world isn’t enough, Hiirikoski is also Luleå’s captain.
Defenders Minttu Tuominen and Mira Jalosuo are also SDHL alumni. Tuominen captained Linköping for one season and Jalosuo won the Riksserien championship with Luleå in 2016.
Goaltender Florence Schelling and forward Lara Stalder have been outstanding all year with Linköping.
Sabina Zollinger plays for HV71.
Phoebe Staenz is SDE’s sole representative at these games.
Forward Jennifer Wakefield moved to Sweden after winning Olympic gold with Team Canada in 2014. She won the Riksserien with Linköping in 2015 and signed with Luleå HF earlier this month.
Wakefield will be joined in Luleå by veteran defender Meaghan Mikkelson, formerly of the CWHL’s Calgary Inferno.
Forward Bailey Bram played two regular-season games and three playoff games with Linköping in 2014, contributing to the team’s Riksserien championship that spring.
Defender Sidney Morin signed with MODO Hockey after concluding a successful NCAA career at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. A late addition to the Team USA centralization roster, she is the first American to represent the SDHL at the Olympic level.