In a sweeping statement released today, 43 Swedish National Team players announced on social media that they will be sitting out of the upcoming training camp set to start on Aug. 15 and the Five Nations tournament which runs from Aug. 20 - 25 in Finland. The Damkronorna are boycotting the camp and tournament because of the lack of support the team receives from the Swedish Ice Hockey Association.
The players in question released a coordinated social media post using the hashtag #FörFramtiden, which translates to “for the future.” Needless to say, it echoes Team USA’s #BeBoldForChange movement and the #ForTheGame movement that served as a precursor to the Professional Women’s Hockey Association.
The past few years have been tumultuous for the Damkronorna in international play. Under their contentious former head coach Leif Boork, the team had a terrible record. At the 2017 World Championship they placed sixth. At the 2018 Olympics, they finished a record-low seventh place, dropping their IIHF ranking to sixth in the world. Boork was finally replaced in April 2018 by Ylva Martinsen. However, a few months later, the Swedish Olympic Committee made the shocking decision to cut funding to the Damkronorna.
The good thing about hitting rock bottom, though, is that it leaves only one direction left to travel: up. ... Cleaning up after both Leif Boork and the Swedish Ice Hockey Association is going to be a long and arduous process, especially under the SIHA’s current leadership. That said, Martinsen possesses both realism and common sense. She grasps the magnitude of the task in front of her as well as the external pressure. She’s taken teams to the podium before. Given the proper resources, support, and a reasonable time frame, it’s not unthinkable she could do it again in years to come.
The team struggled at Four Nations, coming in fourth place to Finland after giving up three goals in the third period.
At the next international tournament in the season — the 2019 World Championships in Espoo — the team suffered its most glaring setback. Playing in Group B, the team finished 2-0-1-2 and were relegated to Division IA. Remember, Sweden is the only non-North American national team to win a silver medal on the Olympic stage.
None of this is due to lack of talent. The Swedish talent pool is teeming with great players. But the Swedish Ice Hockey Association’s failure to invest in and support the national team has clearly led us to this point.
This story is developing and we will have more as it becomes available.