Wednesday, November 17, 2010

2006 Sweden National Team Mats Sundin Jersey

On this date in 1922, the Swedish Ice Hockey Association was founded. The administration of Swedish ice hockey had previously been a part of the Swedish Football Association, which allowed Sweden to gain membership in the International Ice Hockey Federation back in 1912.

Sweden's first international participation came in the 1920 Olympic games, with a 4th place finish. Since then they earned a silver medal in 1928, a bronze 24 years later in 1952 and a silver in 1964. At this point the "Tre Kroner" (Three Crowns), as the team in known, had won three medals in 11 tries spanning 52 years. After skipping the 1976 Olympics, Sweden entered a new era of competitiveness and earned the first of three consecutive bronze medals in 1980, followed by others in 1984 and 1988. They came in 5th in 1992 before finally earning their first Olympic gold medal in 1994 thanks to Peter Forsberg's memorable shootout goal, which was later immortalized on a postage stamp.

Forsberg Stamp

After another pair of fifth place finishes in 1998 and 2002, Sweden once more came home with gold following the 2006 games after defeating their Nordic neighbors and rivals Finland 3-2. Their most recent finish of 5th earlier this year in Vancouver, while not a medal finish, kept alive their streak of never finishing lower than 5th in 20 Olympics dating back 90 years.

Sweden entered the World Championships for the first time in 1931 and won their first medal in 1947 with a silver. Considered one of the World's elite hockey nations, Sweden has never been outside of the Top Division of the World Championships in their history, with medal winning finishes coming more often than not.

The Swedes have captured the World Championship eight times, the most recent being in 2006 in Latvia. That championship victory, coupled with their Olympic gold medal championship three months earlier, made Sweden the first team to ever win both the Olympics and World Championships in the same year. They have also won World Championship silver 16 times and bronze an additional 15 times, including the most recent tournament in 2010.

Considered one of the World's elite teams, Sweden has also participated in the six team Canada Cup tournaments all five times it was held, with a best finish of second in 1984, and the eight team World Cup of Hockey twice, reaching the semi-finals in 1996.

Today's featured jersey is a 2006 Sweden National Team Mat Sundin jersey. Sweden's jerseys adorned with the three crowns are the most traditional of all the national team jerseys, similar to the Montreal Canadiens in that they remain essentially unchanged with only minor tweaks throughout their history and are more resistant to manufacturer trends than other countries. Sweden, in fact, won the last Olympics in 2006 wearing regular style jerseys, while every other country, save Swizterland, was wearing the supposed performance enhancing Nike Swift jerseys for the first time.

While Sweden is best known for their bright yellow home jerseys, and seem to wear them in a disproportionate amount of their games, they won the 2006 Olympic gold medal while wearing today's featured jersey, their blue road jerseys.

Sweden 2006 jersey photo Sweden2006OLYF.jpg
Sweden 2006 jersey photo Sweden2006OLYB.jpg
Sweden 2006 jersey photo Sweden2006OLYP2.jpg

Sweden has a long and illustrious history to draw on for today's video selections, and we begin with a look at several of the gold medals Sweden has won since 1987.

Here is the conclusion of the shootout in the gold medal game at the 1994 Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, which included Forsberg's famous goal.

In 2006, Sweden became the first country to win both the Olympics and the World Championships in the same season.

Here are highlights of the Gold Medal game against rivals Finland.

And here they celebrate the historic double by winning the World Championships three months later.

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