ZURICH – The 2012 IIHF U18 Women’s World Championship set a new attendance record for this category: 17,480 fans attended the 22 games in Zlin and Prerov, Czech Republic, for an average of 794.
The previous record was set at the inaugural event in 2008 in Calgary, Canada, with a total attendance of 9,872 spectators and an average of 494.
The highest attendance figures were set in the secondary venue, the Zimni Stadion in Prerov, where 3,250 fans saw the 5th-place game between the host Czech Republic and Finland. This is also a new single-game record, beating the gold medal game of 2008 in Calgary, which was attended by 2,156 fans. Millions watched in Canada
January 9, 2012. Courtesy of IIHF.com
This is my last blog and I just want to thank you all for reading!
We played against Canada in the semi-final and we had a tough game and lost it, 7-0. We never stopped believing in ourselves. We did the best we could. It wasn’t sadness or tears or anger.
We looked forward to our most important game this year. We knew that USA and Canada were tough to win against and that a good and realistic goal would be to finish in the third place. We started immediately to focus on the bronze game.
We ended the tournament just like we wanted.
We went home with a bronze medal around our necks and happy faces. We won the bronze game against Germany, 4-1. I can´t describe the feeling after the game. This meant so much for us and it was really revenge from last year. This is my last year with the Under18 Swedish national team. It was a really emotional moment; some happy tears after the win and some sad tears for the end. I´m just so happy that we had a good ending to an amazing story!
Sara, Jessica, Matildah, Michelle, Olivia, Linnéa, Anna, Michelle, Amanda, Linn, Lina, Emmy, Emily, Caroline, Wilma, Elin, Johanna, Isabelle, Sabina, Julia and Malin…
I want to thank you all for making my biggest dream this year come true. We´re the best and I love you guys!
For full details on Sweden vs. Germany game:
Friday, January 6th, 2012
Czech Republic vs. Finland
& Closing Ceremony
Friday was our last game of the tournament. We played Finland for 5th and 6th place. Because the semi-final games were being played in Zlin (our original rink) we had to move to Prerov. The dressing room and athlete warm-up area is better in Zlin but the seating capacity in Prerov is much bigger. Our coaches told us that about 3,000 - 4,000 people were supposed to attend our game. During warm-ups the rink was starting to fill-up. I figured that there were a couple hundred people. I even spotted a lion mascot in the crowd with our national team emblem imprinted on its stomach, which was really cool.
In the dressing room before the game the coaches went over lines and how we should play against the Fins. We played the Fins in an exhibition game right before the tournament, so we knew a little about their play. When our coach finished talking, we walked down a hallway and a ramp toward the Zamboni doors. Each player went onto the ice one at a time. When it came my turn to go onto the ice I looked out at the crowd and I could not believe my eyes. There were thousands of people, all screaming and cheering for us. It was priceless.
Because of all the fans watching our players were really pumped up and were working very hard. Also, the crowd was so loud that it was hard to hear the coaches on the bench, which made line changes kinda hard. Every few minutes the stadium would do the wave, and I have to admit that I joined in a couple times myself.
Until the last goal neither team was ever ahead by more than one goal. With 16 minutes left in the game the score was 3-3. Less than a minute later Finland scored making it 4-3. After a few minutes we pulled our goaltender to get a quick goal, but we got a tripping penalty so she went back in net. Just four seconds after the preceding face-off Finland scored, it was now 5-3. Again we pulled the goalie but the score remained the same and the game ended.
It was sad moment for our team, but it was especially emotional for all our third-year players, including myself. This was our last year and our last chance to fight for the medal. These last three years has been an incredible journey for us and we have been through so much together. In the dressing room after the game our assistant captain, Denisa Krizova, gave a heart-filled and passionate speech to the young players telling them to enjoy their time on this team, not take anything for granted, and give it their all.
When we had our team closing ceremony the coaches called up each third-year player, giving us our national team jersey and a warm thank you. It was a really sentimental moment as I had flashback of our first camp together, back in August 2009, when I put that national team jersey on for the first time. I couldn't be more grateful.
It was a bummer to finish the tournament with a loss in front of such a huge crowd but I think it was incredibly important day, and tournament, for Czech women's hockey and women's hockey in general. So many people had come to all the games that had never really been familiar with women's hockey before. We were able to show and convince our home country that girls can, in fact, play hockey. I think the world championship was very influential for the social status of female Czech hockey players and will have noticeable impact on the support and growth of the sport.
Thank you for reading my blog!
SWE-FIN 2-1 Jan.4th, 2012.
I can’t explain how great it feels when I’m writing this - We won our quarterfinal against Finland in overtime with just 2 minutes left.
The game was really interesting. It looked exactly the same as last year’s quarterfinal against Finland. We lost that game in overtime. I talked to some of the girls earlier today and I could feel that we still didn’t hadn`t forgotten that game. I think that our thoughts about last year made us a bit nervous but at the same time keen for revenge.
In the beginning of the game we felt that this was going to be a tough and consistent game. Finland is good. We always have tough games against them, but we felt that we were the strongest team. There wasn’t much that happened in the first period, both teams had good chances to score but it ended 0-0. We were happy about our first period, now we just have to score!
After 1.31 in the second period Linn Peterson (14) scored with an assist from Amanda Lindberg (18) and that gave us a lot of energy. We got better but then we had two penalties; we became nervous. They had a good chance to score because we played 3 against 5 for almost 2 minutes. They had two or three shots but to no avail. Back to 5-5 again. Now they got energy and they played better than we did for a while. The period ended: now 1-0 for Sweden. After two periods our coaches were happy about our hard work on the ice and told us to keep going.
As I said, it was a consistent game and Finland scored after 3 minutes in the third period. It was a tough period and we got 3 penalties but also had some chances to score but so did Finland. The period ended 1-1. Sudden death overtime.
At that moment I felt, is this really happening again? The situation looked exactly like last year. It was overtime and we had a penalty. It was in this situation Finland scored last year and now they had the same chance. It couldn’t be true. Instead of worry about that we pumped up each other and told each other that this was our game. WE ARE GOING TO WIN THIS! 7 minutes and 27 seconds later (11), Matildah Andersson scored. We were so happy! Like I said in the beginning, I can´t explain how great it felt to win this game. It was really revenge for last year and it felt so good!
Our goalie, Sara Besseling got the most valuable player award and she really was a big part of this win. She had amazing saves and her mood was positive through the whole game even if we got into some serious trouble. (I’m thinking most of our 3 against 5 situations). What I like the most about Sara is that she’s always so happy! It’s important to have players like her in a team. Congratulations Sara, very well done today!
Matildah Andersson shouldn’t be forgotten and of course she got the MVP-award from our coaches. She was the hero of the game with her goal in the overtime. I think she has really found the right attitude. She has had a really good tournament so far. You go girl!
SWEDEN vs. RUSSIA Jan. 2, 2012.
We had an early morning: practice at 8.30 AM. We were tired but it didn’t stop us from having a good practice. The pre-game skating always gives us energy and I think it’s the best way to prepare for a game. After the practice everyone looked more alert and that felt good. We had an important game today against Russia!
At our meeting before the game we watched, as usual, clips from our last game. We had a tough game against USA yesterday but our coaches showed us what we did well in the game and that was good for our self-confidence. Even if we lost the game, 0-7, we had a good feeling for today’s game. The coaches also told us about some of their players and I think that will actually help us in the game.
For this tournament we have changed our off-ice warm-up a bit. We are running and having some exercises like always, but we are also playing a game with a football and loud music. The game is a good way to get into the right mood, we are having fun but we are still focused and serious.
After a good warm-up our coaches gave us some last advice before the game. They told us we have nothing to worry about and that we should go out there and do what we are good at.
Our second line had a good first shift and after one minute, Linn Peterson scored. After that, something happened; we started to worry about everything. It became a bad first period; we were not focused at all; not holding our positions and making decisions that were too difficult instead of doing the easy and right things. Even if we didn’t play that well, Anna Kjellbin, our defence scored a power play goal for us and the first period ended 2-0.
Our coaches were not happy. They said, “It looks like you are afraid out there, that you are worrying too much instead of doing what we have told you. You have nothing to worry about, let’s go out there and have fun.” They also talked a lot about our positions and to focus more on that. Everything they said was true, we decided to forget our anxious and play the ice hockey we know we can play.
The second period we had four penalties which gave them a good chance to score; they did. But we didn’t give up. We scored two goals; Anna Kjellbin again and then Matildah Andersson and we won the second period, 2-1. After two periods: 4-1 for Sweden.
We started the third period with two power plays but could not take advantage of them and the Russians played well. Just a minute later they scored and they were in the game again. When that happened we said to ourselves that we have to do something now. We have to be stronger, skate faster and be more aggressive. The tempo got higher and an interesting situation occurred. On a power play we got a great shot on goal and a rebound. It was chaotic in front of the net; a Russian player laid down on the puck. We got a penalty shot for delay of game. Anna Kjellbin scored with an awesome penalty shot! The game score was now 5-1. We felt calm again.
This was our game! Lina Backlin (see photo) ended our scoring with a slap shot from the blue line. The game ended 6-2. We were ready for quarterfinal. We weren’t happy about our game but we won and that’s the most important.
Anna Kjellbin got the game award for MVP; she really deserved it. She scored three goals. Anna is a good friend of mine: here is a quick post-game interview with her.
Me: How did you feel today?
Anna Kjellbin: I was really excited before the game. Russia is a good team; it’s always fun to play against them. A funny thing that happened before the game. One of my teammates came to me when I was taping my stick and asked me how many goals I would score today. I joked and said I was going to score three goals.
Me: What do you mean joked? Aren’t you the one who scores three goals in one game?
AK: No I’m not, I play defense and don’t usually score. But today, my stick was really hot.
Me: What did you think about when coach said, “take the penalty shot?”
AK: I knew that it was my chance to do a hat trick in the game and I took it. I did not have the time to think about it. I feel pretty calm when it comes to penalty shots; I know what to do and today was my day.
Me: Where you happy about your penalty shot or could you have done something different?
AK:No, it was perfect! ... No, I’m kidding.
Me:What did it feel like to be the most valuable player today?
AK: Honestly I thought that our goalie Jessica was going to get the award. But of course, it feels great!
Me: Is there anything you would like to tell readers on this blog, about the game, about you or the team?
AK: We have a really good team and we believe in ourselves. WATCH OUT!
Linnea Hedin got the most valuable-player award from our coaches who said “We played a lot of box play today and needed someone who could clean it up. You really did well, Linnea.’’ She is a very quick little defensive player that often makes good decisions. She takes initiative in the defensive zone and is a good playmaker. Congratulations Linnea.