2024 Worlds Preview: Sweden

Damkronorna is trying to close the gap between itself and some of its closest rivals at 2024 Worlds. Will this year's roster be the key?

2024 Worlds Preview: Sweden
Photo by CARTIST / Unsplash

We are back, and this time, stateside, with Utica, New York playing host to the 2024 World Championships. Team Sweden, aka Damkronorna, is back in Group B and ready to try and close the gap between itself and some of its European counterparts.

Team History: Where They've Been

Sweden has had to fight for a spot back in the top division after being defunded in 2019 and then relegated to 1-A. When they made it back in 2023, it was with one of, if not the youngest squad in the competition. Then 16-year-old Hilda Svensson and 24-year-old Hanna Olsson tied with Worlds MVP Sarah Fillier (Canada) for fourth in total points with 11 in seven games played. 19-year-old Lina Ljungblom, who opted out of playing for PWHL Montréal in their inaugural season, tallied seven goals and 10 points of her own.

That said, the road was not easy for Damkronorna. They dropped their opening game in Brampton to Germany, 6-2, and were beaten by Finland twice throughout the tournament. Still, they managed to win a handful of necessary games against Hungary, France, and Japan, and kept Canada against the ropes until overtime in the quarterfinals in one of their best performances. In short, they were a step ahead of some of the other nations in their group, but still a sight behind teams like Czechia and Finland.

Where They Are Now: The Roster

Forwards: Lova Blom, Josefin Bouveng, Mira Hallin, Ebba Hedqvist, Sara Hjalmarsson, Thea Johansson, Sofie Lundin, Hanna Olsson, Wilma Sundin, Hilda Svensson, Hanna Thuvik, Felizia Wikner Zienkiewicz

Defense: Linnéa Andersson, Paula Bergström, Emma Forsgren, Mira Jungåker, Ida Karlsson, Anna Kjellbin, Maja Nylén Persson

Goaltenders: Ida Boman, Tindra Holm, Emma Söderberg

Ljungblom, Svensson, and Olsson are all back for 2024. Olsson is perhaps the biggest wild card as she's coming back from major surgery from an injury she sustained in October, but if she can come back strong, I foresee another big tournament from her. Svensson and Hedqvist also did well at U18s in Zug, Switzerland, with 8 and 10 points respectively in five games played, so keep an eye on them. Josefin Bouveng, meanwhile, had a tremendous 50-point year with Minnesota and will add some good depth up front.

Defensively, Ida Karlsson is making her debut out of UMD, joining fellow Bulldog Bergström, and Emma Forsgren is also joining the lineup in the only other change made to the blueline. Otherwise, offensive force Nylén Persson is back, as well as captain Kjellbin and youngster Jungåker.

Who to Watch

Outside of the forwards mentioned above, PWHL Boston netminder Emma Söderberg is back for more after she wowed in Brampton last year. Her heroics against Canada in the quarterfinals are the stuff of legend by now, and her aggressive, confident playing style sometimes gets her into trouble, but more often it is a boon, as witnessed in the highlights above. Expect her not just to get the lion's share of starts, but also to be the difference-maker in a lot of these games.

How to Watch

In the United States, you can catch Damkronorna and the rest of the competing nations duke it out starting April 3 on NHL Network and ESPN+. Canadians can find all Worlds games on TSN. Check iihf.com for game days and times.