I scrolled through my posts for the past 7 months and found, to my surprise, that I haven’t written a single one about hockey this season. If anybody else is keeping track, this is my 14th season playing the sport.
This year the team I played on last year (Linden) joined up with another team in Södermanland (kind of like a county in Sweden), that team is Södertälje Sportklubb. We joined our forces to create SSK/Linden, and my oh my was that a good decision. The resulting team has more players, more talent, and I’d like to think more fun. It’s a totally different environment from last year, where there are always a good number of girls at the practice and practices are high intensity and focused. (Okay, mostly focused.) With so many players we’ve also been able to play four lines all season, which is a great advantage over teams who are forced to play with many fewer players.
Officially, according to the Swedish Icehockey Association (Svenska Ishockeyförbundet or SIF), we’re only allowed to play under one club name, so on their standings we’re listed as SSK.
It has been quite the adventure joining two teams together, but it has paid off in game play as we’ve finished the regular season in second place. Our regular season ended the Wednesday before last with a win, and we’re continuing on to play offs.
Playoffs start TODAY. You read that right, to-day. Playoffs consist of game play across Sweden against one team from the Southern region, one team from the Northern region, one team from the Western region, and two other teams from the Eastern region. We’re the third team from the Eastern region. The two teams that placed last and second to last in Sweden’s highest women’s league, Riksserien, join us as well in playoffs.
The schedule is broken up into three games a week in 30 days. We play Saturday & Sunday, as well as one week day game. All eight teams are competing for four spots in Riksserien. These four spots are two more than any other year, as this season SIF has decided to increase the number of teams in Riksserien from 8 to 10.
The eight teams playing in the play offs have until January 31st to finalize their roster. This means that up until three weeks ago teams were recruiting. Many of the teams in playoffs now knew they would be playing in this league a while back so they have planned accordingling and brought some “fresh legs” to their teams. In the past this has provided for exciting game play as teams no longer have the same composition they had during regular season play.
Who knows what will happen once game play begins?! Things will be exciting. Guaranteed.