Friday, April 27, 2012

1984 Sweden National Team Anders Håkansson Jersey

Born on this date in 1956, Swede Anders Håkansson worked his way up to the top level of Swedish hockey after three seasons as a member of Malbergets AIF in the second division before joining AIK Solna in Stockholm for two games of the 1974-75 season at the age of 18. During his second season with AIK, Håkansson made his international debut at the 1976 World Junior Championships, where he accounted well for himself, scoring 3 goals and 4 points in 4 games.

1975-76 AIK team
Håkansson, third from the left in the back row, while with AIK in 1975-76

Following his international exposure and the new era in the globalization of hockey thanks to the success of players such as Borje Salming with the NHL's Toronto Maple Leafs and Anders Hedberg and Ulf Nilsson with the Winnipeg Jets in the WHA, Håkansson was drafted by the St. Louis Blues in the 1976 NHL Amateur Draft, but elected to remain at home in Sweden, where he continued to play for AIK for the next six seasons while pursing his engineering degree. During that time period, his best season was in 1979-80 when he scored 14 goals and 24 points in 36 games.

Hakansson AIK 78-79
Håkansson in the 1978-79 season after choosing to remain with AIK

That same season he again suited up for the Sweden National Team for five games. The following season he again answered the call for Sweden, playing in 10 games during which he scored 6 times for the Sweden National Team and again for the World Championships in the spring for an additional 7 games, scoring another 4 goals as Sweden came home with the silver medal. Håkansson's efforts earned him First Team All-Star recognition following the tournament.

Having a change of heart about competing in the NHL, Håkansson signed a contract with the Minnesota North Stars of the NHL during July of 1981.

Now firmly established with the national team, Håkansson donned the Tre Kroner yet again in the fall for the 1981 Canada Cup tournament, registering a goal and 2 points in 5 games as a precursor to his upcoming season in North America.

The sheer length of the NHL season was an adjustment for Håkansson, as the 72 games he played with the North Stars were twice as many as he had ever played in a season of Swedish hockey, but versatile left winger scored a dozen goals in what must have felt like a hockey marathon, which was added to with an additional 3 playoff games. Only a separated shoulder prevented him from playing even more games.

He returned to the North Stars for the start of the 1982-83 schedule, but was traded after only 5 games to the Pittsburgh Penguins in a deal which would eventually give Minnesota the first overall pick in the 1983 draft. Håkansson played in 62 additional games for the Penguins while raising his point total from 16 the previous season up to 21.

Hakanson Penguins

Just prior to training camp for the 1983-84 season, Pittsburgh shipped Håkansson west to the Los Angeles Kings for the rights to future star Kevin Stevens. The move to Los Angeles was a good one for Håkansson, who set a number of career highs, including 80 games played, 15 goals, 17 assists and 32 points while playing all three forward positions.

Hakanson Kings

He was once again called to play for his country, this time for the 1984 Canada Cup. Sweden fared much better than Håkansson's previous experience, as they qualified for the playoffs after a 3-2 record in the Round Robin stage. After a 7-1 thumping by the United States in the tournament's opening game, Sweden more than got their revenge by eliminating the Americans 9-2 in the Semifinals. They advanced to face the hosts Canada for a best-of-three final series, where they fell 5-2 in Game 1 in Calgary and 6-5 in Game 2 in Edmonton. Håkansson contributed a goal and an assist in 8 games for the Swedes.

Back in Los Angeles for the 1984-85 season, Håkansson scored 12 goals and 24 points in 73 games as well as making only his second postseason appearance with 3 games.

He was back with the Kings again in 1985-86, seeing action in 38 games, but limited to 4 goals and 5 points. When the Kings placed him on waivers with the plan on sending him down to New Haven of the AHL, Håkansson decided to instead retire from hockey and return to Sweden to resume his education.

His final NHL totals were 330 games played, 52 goals and 46 assists for 98 points.

Today's featured jersey is a 1984 Sweden National Team Anders Håkansson jersey as worn during the 1984 Canada Cup tournament, where Sweden finished the as the tournament runners up. Be sure to note the somewhat subtle collar on this jersey, which is relatively unique to Scandinavian hockey jerseys.

After going away from their traditional "Three Crowns" cresting for a period, including employing a polar bear logo for a period, Sweden returned to the "Tre Kroner" in the early 1980's and has stayed with their tried and true look ever since.

Sweden 1984 F jersey
Sweden 1984 B jersey

Today's video section is highlights of the final game of the 1984 Canada Cup between the hosts Canada and Sweden.

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