Welcome to the Nordic News, a new biweekly-ish roundup of women’s hockey happenings across northern Europe, primarily in Finland and Sweden. The goal here is simple: cover stories and players that frequently get overlooked in the English-speaking women’s hockeysphere, and remind people that hockey leagues do exist outside North America.
(Cassie Campbell-Pascall, I’m looking at you.)
Rookie Canadian defender Lauren Wildfang left MODO Hockey to return home to be with a seriously ill friend. It goes without saying this is a tragic situation, even more so because Wildfang had her own health issues that ended her hockey career before having something of a renaissance in her debut SDHL season.
From a strictly on-ice perspective this is a big loss for MODO. Wildfang’s a stellar playmaker with 21 assists and five goals in 25 games. She’s second among SDHL defenders for scoring, behind only the mighty Jenni Hiirikoski. MODO has not yet announced how they’ll seek to fill this void.
AIK goaltender Anna Amholt has a concussion, sustained during training last week. The injury kept her off the Damkronorna’s December 5 Nations Tournament roster; she won’t be in net for AIK’s upcoming stretch before the holidays, but she’s looking to return after Christmas.
Leksand’s Julia Åberg was named as her replacement.
Espoo Blues captain, defender Minttu Tuominen, is the Naisten Liiga’s November Player Of The Month. Tuominen, a three-time Olympian and an alumni of The Ohio State University, is a stalwart in the Blues’ defense corps. She has 44 points this season with seven goals and 37 assists.
The Blues currently sit first in league standings with 44 points through 18 games.
Michelle Karvinen returns to the team after an injury that kept her out of the Four Nations tournament in November. She returned to club play with Luleå Hockey/MSSK on November 30.
I am very honored that I got the opportunity to design this years world championship logo! @IIHFHockey @leijonat Then I am also extra happy that I got the chance to pay tribute to my teammate and Finnish legend @riikkavalila 🦁💪🏻⭐️ pic.twitter.com/lOt5voe86X— Michelle Karvinen (@Karvinen_33) August 20, 2018
Nordic Players Abroad
A Finn and a Swede walk into a rink in Nashville...
Swedish forward (and defender...she’s versatile!) Michelle Löwenhielm and Finnish goaltender Meeri Räisänen are the first players from their respective nations to play the NWHL. Now, they’ll also be their countries’ first NWHL All-Stars. Räisänen was drafted to Team Szabados and Löwenhielm to Team Stecklein.
Finnish goaltender Noora Räty of the Shenzhen KRS Vanke Rays attended the annual Finnish Independence Day gala on December 6 at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki.
Getting an invite to the most prestigious event of the Finnish social calendar is a huge honor. Previous Naisleijonat attendees in recent years include Susanna Tapani, Jenni Hiirikoski, and Riikka Välilä.