Dearest readers, allow me to paint you a picture.
It’s a Tuesday afternoon in mid-December. You’re having a pleasant and productive work day; the boss isn’t on your case and your passive-aggressive colleague is on holiday until the New Year. You’re just back from a reinvigorating fika where your mood was buoyed by good company, good coffee, and fresh kanelbullar. The sun even pokes out from behind the clouds.
You’re giddy with anticipation. The inaugural SDHL All-Star Game rosters are due to be announced in an hour. Who makes the cut? What other surprises does the league have up its sleeve?
Sadly, this is all hypothetical, but it doesn’t take away the fun of speculating what kind of festivities could take place without any budgetary restrictions or time constraints. Players were chosen based on statistics, a desire to showcase all ten teams in the league, and the author’s own whims. It’s a little ridiculous, a little fanciful, and hopefully a lot of fun!
Ericsson Globe in Stockholm. The nation’s capital is a good place to kick off an annual event and three of the league’s 10 teams (Djurgården, SDE, and AIK) play in the Stockholm metro area. The press would be given written rosters and full access to the Globe’s media facilities.
The All-Star Game can and should make its way around the country as the tradition grows.
- Goaltender Alba Gonzalo of HV71. Gonzalo, 21, is having an incredible year as HV71’s starting netminder. Her grace under pressure, development, and .925 save percentage earn her captain’s honors.
- Defender Jenni Hiirikoski of Luleå Hockey/MSSK. Hiirikoski is the best defender in the world. She’s a leader and a generational talent; she deserves an All-Star “C” on her sweater.
Alba Gonzalo HV71 (G)
Lovisa Berndtsson Djurgården (G)
Gracen Hirschy Leksand (D)
Jessica Healey HV71 (D)
Samantha Hanson Leksand (D)
Ivana Bilic Brynäs (D)
Johanna Fällman Luleå/MSSK (D)
Sidney Morin Linköping (D)
Michelle Karvinen Luleå/MSSK (F)
Michela Cava MODO (F)
Pernilla Winberg Linköping (F)
Kaitlyn Tougas MODO (F)
Noora Tulus Luleå/MSSK (F)
Lisa Johansson AIK (F)
Sanni Hakala HV71 (F)
Leanne Ganney SDE (F)
Sara Grahn Luleå/MSSK (G)
Sofia Reideborn SDE (G)
Jenni Hiirikoski Luleå/MSSK (D)
Maja Nylén-Persson Leksand (D)
Josefine Holmgren Djurgården (D)
Emmy Alasalmi AIK (D)
Johanna Olofsson MODO (D)
Rosa Linstedt HV71 (D)
Emma Nordin Luleå/MSSK (F)
Melinda Olsson Luleå/MSSK (F)
Kennedy Marchment Linköping (F)
Riikka Sallinen HV71 (F)
Erika Grahm Brynäs (F)
Erica Udén Johansson AIK (F)
Anna Borgfeldt Göteborg (F)
Andrea Dalen Djurgården (F)
Lara Stalder and Jennifer Wakefield have both had serious injury issues this season. Stalder’s year is over and she’s returned to Switzerland for shoulder surgery, while Wakefiled missed 18 matches - half the SDHL season - with a concussion.
Fanny Rask was suspended for seven games on Jan. 10. She’s appealing the decision and has been allowed to play in the meantime. However, with an appeal still pending, this one’s up in the air.
Hanna Olsson’s departure from Djurgården was announced on Jan. 18. Per her Twitter, she won’t play in the SDHL for the remainder of the season. If she was still in the league, she’d be a lock for an All-Star nod.
Swedish pop star Håkan Hellström will perform prior to the game.
Erika Holst and Valentina Lizana Wallner. Both are Olympians and SDHL alumna. Holst captained the Damkronorna to two consecutive Olympic medals in 2002 and 2006. Wallner won two SDHL championships during her playing career. She currently works as a goaltending coach for Stockholm Nord and blogs for HockeySverige.
The Special Guests
Her Royal Highness Princess Estelle will drop the puck, accompanied by her mother Crown Princess Victoria.
Agree with the rosters? Disagree? Want a different musical guest? Sound off in the comments!