The Swedish ice hockey team made its Olympic debut in 1920, in Antwerp, Belgium, in the first-ever hockey tournament. Team Sweden lost to Czechoslovakia (0:1) in the bronze medal game.
Eight years later, at the 1928 Olympics in St. Moritz, Switzerland, Team Sweden won its first Olympic silver medal. In the final round of that Olympic hockey tournament, the Swedes beat the hosts (4:0) and Great Britain (3:1), but were defeated by Team Canada (0:11), which eventually became the champion. In their history, the Swedes have won two more silver (1964, 2014) and four (1952, 1980, 1984, 1988) Olympic bronze medal sets.
Team Sweden has won the Olympics twice. The first time the team achieved victory in 1994, when Tre Kronor defeated Team Canada 3:2 SO. The Swedes took their second Olympic gold medal in 2006, beating their eternal rivals, Team Finland, 3:2. The gold-medal-clinching goal for the Swedes occurred after a shot by Nicklas Lidstrom at the start of the third period.
As a player, Johan Garpenlov played for Djurgarden in Sweden, with which he won the national championship three times (1988, 1990, 2001). He also spent ten seasons in the NHL, where he represented Detroit, San Jose, Florida, and Atlanta. As a member of the Swedish national team, he became world champion twice (1991, 1992).
In the early 2000s, Garpenlov finished his playing career and immediately switched to coaching. He was first an assistant coach at Djurgarden, later worked as a scout at Dallas, and in 2016 he joined the coaching staff of the Swedish national team. He was appointed head coach of Tre Kronor in 2019.
Under Garpenlov, Team Sweden played only one major tournament, the 2021 IIHF World Championship in Riga, at which Tre Kronor team failed to make the playoffs and finished in ninth place. After the 2022 IIHF WC, the coach will leave his office.
Lars Johansson, Gagarin Cup champion in 2019 with CSKA, is in his fifth season in the KHL. In the current year, he leads the league in all major goaltending statistics — goals-against average (1.63), save percentage (93.2%), and shutouts (9).
Defenseman Linus Hultstrom is also a great addition to the Swedish national team. The 29-year-old blueliner is among Metallurg’s top-5 scorers (28 points) and shares first place on the team in assists with Philippe Maillet (24 each). Hultstrom came to the Olympics break with an alive scoring streak of four games, in which he scored 4 (1+3) points.
CSKA recently extended the contract of forward Lucas Wallmark through the end of the 2022-2023 season. The forward brings a lot of value to the Red Army — he’s one of the best on the team on the faceoff dots (58.4%, 265 wins), he’s a solid defensive player, but he also enjoys significative time one ice in powerplay situations.
Team Sweden has called up players from three leagues — the roster includes ten players from the KHL, as many from the SHL, and another 7 players from Switzerland.
The final roster raised questions from the Swedish press and fans. A lot of players who had an outstanding season in the KHL and the domestic league were left out, and instead Johan Garpenlov invited players with fewer pure skills, but who can play more of a defensive and physically imposing style. An important part of the roster, according to the coach, is versatility: he called up eight centers, some of whom can play on the wing. CSKA’s Joakim Nordstrom, for example, is one of them.
The stakes by Team Sweden’s coach on defense are confirmed by the goaltending squad. This is probably the strongest part of the team. In addition to Lars Johansson, the Tre Kronor squad includes HC Sochi’s Magnus Hellberg (2.42, 91.7%, 5 SO) and CSKA’s Adam Reideborn (2.37, 90.2%, 4 SO). The goaltending trio is having a great season in the KHL and could be the main asset for the Swedes at the Beijing Olympics.
The Swedish team has some strengths, but it doesn’t look like a contender. It’s unlikely that the Johan Garpenlov’s team can count on anything more than reaching the semifinals at this year’s tournament.