After playing 14 seasons in her native Sweden and one season in the PHF with the Buffalo Beauts, no one would’ve been mad at her if Lovisa Berndtsson decided to step away from the game at the age of 33 - which is considered old, by hockey standards anyway. But last season, her first in the PHF, the Swedish netminder played while recovering from multiple hip surgeries. This season, Berndtsson is now completely recovered from that ailment and ready to help the Beauts reverse their recent fortunes.
If her performance on opening night against the Montreal Force was any indication, Berndtsson is poised for a big season. While she didn’t clinch her first PHF just yet, she played a full 65 minutes and stared down eight shootout attempts. That first W is coming soon, and probably others as well.
“Lollo’s always been a solid goalie for us. She’s so great in the net, and always so supportive on the ice towards her teammates. You can tell she worked really hard over the summer. I honestly don’t know anyone else that loves the gym as much as Lollo does,” said Beauts defender Allison Attea about Berndtsson. “That shows on the ice, and I’m really happy she’s back. She had a great game on opening night and I’m hoping she can build off of that for the rest of the season.”
One thing that everyone I spoke with about her mentioned was her positive attitude, and vibes. That came across when I had the chance to speak with her after Buffalo’s first preseason game. Berndtsson was not only gracious with her time but thankful that I had an interest in talking with her. After just a brief, five-minute conversation it was apparent that she loves the game, and being a part of the team, and we should feel fortunate that she is a part of the PHF.
Here is my conversation with Berndtsson about returning to the Beauts and North America for a second season, her favorite netminder, and more.
The Ice Garden: What led to you returning for a second season in Buffalo?
Lovisa Berndtsson: I had a wonderful year in Buffalo last season, even though I didn’t get to play too much. I loved my time there, and the team that we had, so I felt like I wanted to give it one more year; and also give myself a chance to develop more and see what I can do in another season here.
Lovisa Berndtsson gör entré… – Damhockey https://t.co/W7ipwtzKYw— Lovisa Berndtsson (@LolloBerndtsson) October 4, 2022
TIG: How is your health? Obviously, you didn’t dress for the game today, but how are things progressing for you?
LB: It was tough to come back (last season) after my hip surgery plus transitioning to the North American game. I am currently out now, but excited to be back on the ice and healthy. This is something separate from my hips, they are fine, but this is something else and we are just playing it safe so I am good to go when the season starts.
TIG: Please don’t take this the wrong way because I want you to play as long as possible, but you’re at an age where a lot of players typically don’t continue playing. Why do you keep playing?
LB: I still love playing hockey. I love being a part of a team, and I feel like as long as I have the motivation to put in the hard work that it takes (to play at a high level), then I want to keep on playing. I feel like I’ve done a lot in my career, but I also think I can achieve more - and I can always develop. Also, I can spread some of my knowledge and routines to the younger girls; those are things that drive me now.
TIG: Do you have a favorite goalie?
LB: Oh, Henrik Lundqvist all the way haha! He’s been my favorite goalie from back when he played junior hockey in Sweden. It has been fun to follow his career and have him as an idol of mine growing up.
TIG: Full disclosure, I love goalie gear. How much fun do you have designing your mask, and your pads?
LB: Oh I love it, and I’ve also worked with a hockey equipment company for a lot of years so yeah, I’m a big geek when it comes to designing pads and stuff. The masks, those are extra valuable because then you can really put your personal stamp on them and I like to put things on them that have meaning to me, it’s a lot of fun.
TIG: Why do you wear no. 88?
LB: I had worn no. 70 back home for six years, but when I came here CJ (Carly Jackson) had it, so then I picked number 88 because that is my birth year. That’s basically the only reason, and I don’t like the typical goalie numbers like 1, 30, or 35…I want to have something unique.
TIG: A new season means new goaltending partners. How is that going so far?
LB: We get along great, both on and off the ice. Kassidy (Sauvé) is an amazing person and an amazing goalie. I think we will complement each other and compete for ice-time while supporting each other at the same time. I think we will be a good tandem this season.
TIG: It’s been a rough couple of seasons for Buffalo, why do you believe that the Beauts be better this season?
LB: I feel like we have a very strong, group mentality where everyone accepts their roles. We can build off of our positive attitude, and how much fun we have together off the ice, and if we can bring that on the ice I think it will be a good season.