Ylva Martinsen Named Team Sweden Head Coach

Cue the Hallelujah Chorus, the Leif Boork era of Team Sweden is ending.

The sun is shining, our pores are clear, and Leif Boork’s contract isn’t going to be renewed after the PyeongChang Olympics. In his stead, Ylva Martinsen will assume the Damkronorna head coach mantle, starting April 1, 2018.

“I am incredibly proud to have this opportunity. It is an honor and the best job you can get in hockey,” she told Swehockey.se.

Unlike Boork, who was named head coach after a single season as an assistant women’s coach and no medals since the early 1980s, Martinsen (neé Lindberg) comes to the position with women’s coaching experience and championship success. She served as an assistant coach on Segeltorps IF’s Rikserrien Championship team in 2010 and was head coach when the team repeated in 2011. She moved on on to AIK from 2012 to 2015 before moving to Sweden’s U18 team. Her squad won bronze in 2016.

In addition to coaching work, Martinsen is a Damkronorna alumni: she was an alternate captain on the legendary Olympic silver medal team at Turin in 2006. Her understanding of the players’ reality as well as the existing relationships she’s formed will be invaluable assets:

“I have a good relationship with the players. It's important because my job as head coach is to get out the players' full ability in the competition situations and without a good dialogue, it does not work,” said Martinsen.

That’s certainly more insight than Leif Boork is capable of, and it doesn’t come a minute too soon. It’s too late for the PyeongChang team, which is missing some of Sweden’s finest players due to Boork’s petty feuds and infantile behavior, but the next generation won’t be subjected to his whims.

Talk about growth and development is cheap. It’s time to back it up. While the Svenksa Ishockeyförbundet has a long way to go to regain the confidence of both the public and the players themselves, Martinsen’s hiring is the first ray of light this team has seen in far too long. Although there’s still reason for concern with Anders Larsson and Olof Östblom in positions of power, here’s hoping this is the first sign of the Federation actually putting their money and resources behind the women’s game.