Sheffield and you choose recently to bring Jerry Andersson to the club. What do you think he will be able to contribute with?
– Jerry is a very experienced hockey man at all levels, management and coaching, we have a very good working relationship with our time together in Troja, Jerry will bring vast knowledge of the Swedish way and be key in our process of bringing Swedish players into the Elite league and Sheffield, as well as his assistant coaching duties he will also have a strong eye and input to our younger players…
Another ex-Troja will play for you the upcoming season is Marcus Nilsson. What do you think of his chances in the EIHL? Will he be one of your leading players and what are his strengths as a player?
– Markus will be very unknown here, but I have coached him and Jerry has managed him for many years, his speed and puck possession and 2-way game is what we are looking for, his role is not to be our top scorer, if he is its happy days, it’s a different style here but Markus will adapt and be given good opportunities to grow. This will be a good test for Markus but I would not sign him if I thought he could not have an impact here.
In recent years they have played more and more Swedes in EIHL, even players with qualifications from SHL and Hockeyallsvenskan. Is the league on the rise in terms of reputation in Europe?
– the league is a lot higher in standard than is perceived, just ask Freddy Vestberg and Conny Stromberg, we have 14 imports here and most have AHL experience, our Brits are all National team players and the league is far deeper than its been. The pound is also strong to the euro so the quality of player had increased. Because nearly every coach/GM here is North American they do not know the Swedish market, myself and especially Jerry do and good quality Swedes will do well here and enjoy the league.
Will there be more Swedes in Sheffield next season?
– Hope so I like the Swedish mentality, skill level and work ethic, we are talking to two SHL Swedes but it will come down to contract etc. The more Swedes that play in the league will open the door for others.
More players who has played in Troja before?
– you never know.
What do you think is the biggest difference between HockeyAllsvenskan and EIHL?
– Speed is higher in Allsvenskan but that is changing as we get deeper rosters, we carry tough guys and more veterans but they would be good games. We had 2 good, tight games at home in Champions league to Frolunda and Jyp…
I think the top teams here would now be good allsvenskan teams.
Is there something in Swedish hockey that you would like to introduce in the EIHL?
I already have. Oh yes referees..
Many swedes associate EIHL with fight and an abundance of old North Americans how finishing their careers in a poorer league. Is that perception of the league correct or what do you think characterizes EIHL?
– It’s a tough league for sure but not as its perceived, in Sweden I saw more hits from behind than you ever would here, yes they fight but not as reckless with tackling as Sweden.
It’s a different style but changing to a skilled skating league, the league will always be classed lower than it actually is as its compared to the national team level where it is of a much higher standard.
If we looking back. How do you look on your year here in Troja/Ljungby? Both on the ice and outside the ice?
– I enjoyed Troja, great experience, tough end to the year but met many good people.
What could you have done differently to avoid relegation?
– I think had I been given more time we would not of been in regulation.
I think about it a lot and it’s a very tough series and bjorkloven and Whitehorse were better when it mattered. lots of things you can talk about but most of our imports were not at the level of our Swedes in the kvalserien and that was a problem, it’s a very pressured environment and some guys froze I feel.
I blame no one because as a group we never got it done.
Did you want to stay in Troja after the relegation?
– Only if Jerry was staying.
Do you follow Troja anything today? What do you think Trojas chances of getting back to Hockeyallsvenskan?
– Yes I follow Troja and hope they return one day and they will.
In the future. Had an comeback in Troja been something you would felt intresting?
– You never know in this game, I really like Swedish hockey and the style and commitment, but I run a very big club here with 7000 fans at games and this league is growing fast, but I still have good memories of my time in Ljungby and would love to see the club climb the ladder again as it has a new arena and great passion.