Frida Nevalainen Erika Holst Elin Holmlov

sweden

Elin Holmlov

Here are Elin's notes from the 2011 4 Nations Cup.

Assistant Captain, Elin Holmlov  blogged throughout the 4 Nations Cup. Here are her comments on the game vs Canada.Sweden 1 Canada 3 Nov, 12, 2011. Below this blog is her interview with WINIH Nov. 2011.

The first period…0-0
In the previous games we have played a good 1st period by being very disciplined and working very hard. I think that is how we went out there today as well, by working together as a team and trusting each player to do their job. Before the second period we talked in the locker room about the importance of staying focused and keeping the shifts short in order to be able to do so. Kim Martin played amazing in net and I think the part of us trusting each other to do our jobs and staying in our positions is something that played a big role in this. I also think that we were able to use our offensive skills more because of this and therefore create attacks and get some quality shots.

The Importance of our Goaltender …
Kim Martin played an unreal game in net for us! Kim is so calm in net and this spreads to the rest of the team. It allows us to focus on being disciplined in the d-zone and on taking the players rather than the puck because we know she has the first shot. She played incredible today, making amazing saves and really being our rock. Kim is just unreal!!!!!

Playing Canada twice...
The scores in both of the games were pretty close, 4-1 in the exhibition game and 3-1 today. I think we played better today as a team, being more disciplined in the d-zone, as well as being more of an offensive threat by creating more quality scoring chances.

You scored the only goal…a beauty.
I am not entirely sure about how this happened... I got the puck in our defensive zone and started going towards their net. Then I did a toe drag and a little move to the side and ended it with a high backhand that went in on the right side in the net.

After the game…
Canada is an unreal team with talent and hard workers. After the game, the atmosphere in the locker room was pretty good. It is never fun to lose a game but in this game we proved to ourselves that we are improving and that our system is working. Even though it was a loss people were pretty satisfied, we played two even periods and a good third period.

A special meeting….
On Friday, our day off from games, we had the privilege to have a team session with Tina Thörner, (I mentioned her in the last post, she is famous in Sweden and a talented rally driver). I think this was very positive for our team in a lot of ways. She is a bundle of energy and this spreads to everyone in the room. She also has a lot of great advice and thoughts that she shared with us about how to get yourself into the right mindset and the importance of being happy with who you are as a person and loving yourself. Another thing she mentioned was that you need to be able to trust each other on a team and feel love for each other in order to succeed together. I think this session was very inspiring for our team and something everyone will take with them.

Elin Holmlov was an assistant captain with Team Sweden in 2011. A national team member since 2002 she started on defence but moved to forward; so far for the 2011/12 season she has notched 6 goals and 13 points. She is combining travel and hockey playing her first year in Russia for Moscow Tornado team in the Russian elite league.

Here is her interview with WINIH Nov. 2011.

Elizabeth Etue: You have been playing with Team Sweden since 2002 . How has your game changed playing at this level?
Elin Holmlov: My game has changed a lot over these 9 years, I started out as a defenseman on team Sweden and now I am a forward. I hope to have grown into a better hockey player with the help of my various coaches and teammates by gaining more knowledge of the game as well as developing my skills on and off the ice.

EE: How has the team changed in this time?
EH: During this time we have had great hockey players and great staff. As a team we are always improving and building on what we have, we are fortunate to have had great players who have shaped and led the way for this team. We have always had a good mix of younger players and veterans that has helped us develop our team by being able to learn from experience and pass the knowledge along.

EE: You also played for University of Minnesota-Duluth from 2006-09; tell us about that experience.
EH: The program at UMD is a tradition of excellence, not only on the ice but also off the ice and with the help of your coaches and teammates you grow as a person as well as a hockey player. The level of hockey at UMD has always been very high, there is so much talent from all over the world and I am very lucky to have gotten the chance to play with so many great players during my 4 years at UMD. Coach Shannon Miller is the best coach I have ever had and I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to play for her, her passion and knowledge for the game is very inspirational. Playing at UMD for four years gave me the chance to meet people from all over the world and build friendships that will last forever. It was the best four years of my life and an experience I would not trade for anything.

EE: What did you study at UMD?
EH: I graduated with a bachelor in marketing, which I hope to use one day. Right now I am fully committed to playing hockey and loving everyday.

EE: Why did you decide to play in Russia this season?
EH: My good friend Frida Nevalainen played in Russia last season and she said it was a great experience for her and something she recommended. After having an amazing experience at college I was looking into options of where to play this season. Tornado seemed like a great club and I contacted them and got the opportunity to play for them. I am very thankful, I get to do what I love everyday and the team is great both on the ice and off the ice and we have excellent staff that knows the game and take very good care of us.

EE: Describe a typical game for your Tornado team?
EH: We just played our rival team, SKIF. Tornado and SKIF are the two top teams here in the Russian league and between these two teams you can really sense that there is a rivalry. After this series we will have played our first round of the season, the teams besides SKIF are not as strong and we have been able to win pretty big against the other teams in the league. Our team has a lot of skilled players who are good with the puck as well as have a good vision of the ice. Everyone can be a threat offensively, which is why we have been able to have a lot of success in our attacks. Comparing a game here against a game in college, in these games you have more time, which allows more stickhandling and more time to make a play, whereas in college the game is faster and you have to make quick decisions.

EE: Are there communication challenges or do you speak Russian?
EH: Unfortunately I do not speak Russian, there are a few communication challenges at some points in every day matters, such as going to the grocery store, but around the team everything works great. We have players and staff who speak very good English and we always have people willing to help.

EE: Little is known about the league or team. Would you talk about both your team and the league?
EH: Our team is located in the Moscow region in a town called Dmitrov, which is about an hour and a half from Moscow by car. Tornado is a great club and organization. Our team is made up of mostly Russian senior national team players and Under-18 players, as well as five foreigners. Tornado is very professional, everything is very well organized and planned in order for this team to be successful.

The Russian league is made up of six teams; Chelyabinsk Fakel, Ekaterinburg Spartak, Krasnoyarskiy Locomotive-Energie, Nizhniy Novgorod SKIF, and us Tornado Moscow region. There are long distances between each team, which means you have to take a bus, train or a flight to reach the cities. It is a great opportunity to play hockey and experience a new country and see a lot of new things. You play each team six times each, one series is three games divided into a time span of what usually is four days. The league is mainly made up of Russian players, with only three teams that have imports, Tornado, SKIF, and Ufa. The winner of the Russian championship league gets to participate in the European Championship, since Tornado won the league last season, we are fortunate to be participating in the European Championship this year starting with our first round at the start of December.

EE: How many non Russian players are there?
EH: We are five non Russian players on our team, Jana Kapustova (Slovakia), Kim Martin (Sweden), Danijela Rundqvist (Sweden), Melissa Jaques (Canada), and me.

EE: The 4 Nations is the best vs. the best; what kind of team does Sweden have this year compared to the world championship in 2011?
EH: We have made a few changes in our team since the world championship, however, we have almost the same team as we had during 8-nations in Finland in August 2011 where we were successful. The 8 Nations tournament in Finland was an important experience for our team because we had a lot of players who played their first national team games. They along with the rest of the team really stepped up and worked really hard alongside our coaching staff to be a threat in the tournament, which is something we will continue doing at 4 Nations. As an older player on the team, I am really proud to see how the young and new players have made a huge impact on our team as well as the dedication and hard work of our veterans who lead the way. Our captain Erika Holst is a terrific example of dedication, hard work, and motivation. She leads by example with her knowledge and experience, and she is an inspiration to our whole team. We are also very fortunate to have a great staff who help and push us to reach our potential. I am very proud to be a part of team Sweden and I cannot wait for 4 Nations to start.

EE: Are you optimistic about growth of women’s hockey in Sweden? IF yes why?
EH: I am very optimistic about the growth of women's hockey in Sweden because as we could see at the last camp there is a lot of talented younger players that can help make an impact for Sweden in tournaments. The talent, hard work and willingness to develop in the younger players will have a great effect on hockey in Sweden in the future.