Life of an Import #11📍

Forget the Oscars. It's time for the SDHL Pregame Show Awards from international correspondent @SallyHoerr

Life of an Import #11📍
LHC Arena | photo by Sally Hoerr

One thing about me is that nothing gets more hyped up for a game than a perfectly choreographed pregame show. This might be the most consistent thing about me as I remember thinking that the rotating ice logos and pregame cut scenes in EA's NHL 2002 was the best part of the game. Instead of actually playing, sometimes I would just cycle through the teams to see all the different jersey designs and logos (and listen to that killer soundtrack). Now, 20 years later, I thought comparing and appreciating the pregame shows of some Swedish teams would be a good content idea. Clearly, hockey pregame shows are a part of my core values.

I was able to see three pregame shows before my paperwork for the SDHL went through, and I loved them all. They all took unique approaches and focused on different elements (video/lighting/production etc..). So, I thought I'd share them and give them little awards like a high school yearbook. If you ever travel in Europe during hockey season, I would highly recommend attending a game. The hockey fandom is something to experience and there's never a dull moment, especially if they're playing a local "derby" rivalry game.

Okay - onto the awards!

Linköping: Best Pregame Video(s)

Starting with a victory for the the home team! They have three videos in total, but these 2 in particular are really special. There is just something about this song, with it's clear vocals and acoustic melody paired with gorgeous shots of the area that made me feel immense amount of hometown pride for city I had spent less than 24 hours in. I guarantee you'll find yourself humming this insanely catchy chorus in a few days.


Linköping HC pre-game / by Linkoping HC / song: Wilden - Linköping

They followed it up with a beautifully crafted cinematic video incorporating the lion with, honestly, pretty impressive animal CGI for this type of production. Normally, I like stimulation overload with these types of videos (quick edits/flashing lights etc...) but the decision to go with long shots matched with a slower, more majestic soundtrack fit perfectly with the lion aesthetic. It really puts you into the "awe" state rather than pure blood-pumping adrenaline.


Linköping HC pre-game / by Linkoping HC

MoDo Hockey: Best Use of Speaker System

MoDo Hockey not only had the clearest and loudest sounding speakers, but chose an appropriate song to show off their equipment. The song choice also doubled as excellent crowd engagement because the beginning is designed to get everyone clapping and seasoned fans obviously knew what was coming and started ahead of time (albeit a little off tempo). Song selection can make or break a pregame and if MoDo's choice broke anything, it was my ears when I played this back through headphones the first time.


MoDo Hockey Pre-Game / by MoDo Hockey

Sometimes a good song choice is all you need, but I also wanted to include this cool effect they did at the beginning with their stairs. I love how some arenas incorporate their whole building into show, so you'll probably see why our final contestant blew my away.


MoDo Pre-Game / by MoDo Hockey

Luleå/MSSK: Best Total-Arena Production


Luleå HF Pregame / by Luleå HF

This was the first pregame I watched after arriving in Sweden and it felt like I was at a concert. Every inch of this arena was put to use and timed together. We have lights on the ceiling, on the stairs, on the glass, behind the boards, sparklers, ice projections, a descending bear head - you name it, Luleå's got it. What I loved the most was the amount of effort their operations team had put in to choreograph everything together. Take a look at this next clip to appreciate the fluidity of the music, video and lights. A digital fireball flies down from the video board and "explodes" on the ice, burning away to reveal a full-ice length photo of the announced player. I actually didn't even see the photo of the players on the ice until I re-watched the video later because there was so many other things to look at.


Luleå HF Pre-Game / by Luleå HF

I was recently on a podcast where a question was asked, "if you weren't doing hockey what would you be doing?" and I said (aside from the classic post-career hockey coach stint) putting these productions together. As a former film student, movie trailer enthusiast, and professional hockey player, it's where all my passions collide. I'm not technically savvy enough to do the actual editing, but it would be so fun to be a part of creating the big-picture vision of these productions.

There you have it, three takes on a hockey pregame show from Sweden, hopefully some of you enjoy these as much as I do! We're almost at the end of the hockey season here, so I wanted to thank everyone once again for reading along and following me on this journey. My next post will be another non-slice of life story as I will be spending most of my time preparing for playoffs! SDHL playoffs start Friday, February 23rd - click here to check out the bracket and schedule.

See you in the next one!