Introducing the Rölers! ('rOI-Lers)

In this day of fair-weather fans, dime-a-dozen sports leagues, and re-branding of teams to follow changing affiliations and demographics, it is hard to decide how to steer one's sporting allegiances.

It is one thing to grow up in a city and live with the ups and downs of the prized sporting team - in that case, the choice seems abundantly clear. At least, that is my story with the Edmonton Oilers.

But what about deciding upon a team in a new found sport or, in my case, arriving in a new country. How does one choose on which side of the line to pull?

There are the typical answers:
  • geographic location - choosing the team in your city
  • the look - choosing based on the best looking colours, design, logo, etc.
  • a player - changing allegiances by following the career of a specific player
  • team philosophy - identifying with the attitudes or style of a particular club
  • indoctrination - by way of a relative or friend, being indoctrinated to a team's ideals or culture
  • the winner bandwagon - a team at the top of the table, consistently wins and often has a big piggy bank.
  • the underdog - choosing the least likely, cheapest-run team and relishing in their smallest of victories
  • affiliation - based on partnership or affiliation system (farm league)
  • anybody but... - having one team that is the antagonist and should be cheered against in all and any circumstances
Over at the football blog Keepie-uppie, there was a recent post that aptly put a degree of reality to allegiances he had passed down to him through his family. It was less about living and dying with the success and failures, but more about realising his own limits of fan-dom. After all, this is only sport. We vicariously live in these moments of battle as modern day gladiators enter and exit the playing field for copious amounts of money and glory.

Is it really that important? No, not really.

But it is still outrageously fun to cheer, sing, heckle and follow these teams in their rise and falls.

When it comes to hockey in Sweden, for seven years, I have chosen to remain impartial about "my team". Although, I can identify nine possible ways to choose a team, it was a tenth option that fit best:
  • making up my own team


New to the hockey Elite Series this year is Rögle BK of Ängelholm.

I have never seen Rögle play live, nor do I have any significant connection to their playing style, ideals or players.

Although, what seems to fit best in this case is how well their logo synchronizes with that of my beloved Oilers.

I say, what better way to choose a team than to graphically mash and merge (and lousy at that) two logos into one? This year, I will cheer for Rögle and the Oilers and the same time. The Rölers do not exist in any one league other than my own head, although being able to cheer for one and both gives all the more fun to focus in both the Elite Series and the NHL.

This will be the plan, at least until the weather turns ugly or I can photoshop versions of OilGårdens or OilSands.


It's Beginning to Look Alot Like Hockey Season...

The leaves on the trees are changing colour, the days are shorter, that cool breeze is in the air and the sports dailies issue their previews of hockey season.

For Swedes, or maybe just me, it is the sign that hockey is here.
Sportbladet (a division of Aftonbladet) released their 180 page magazine on Thursday.
I'll take a few more in depth look at this magazine in coming posts, but for now, I'm in a reading frenzy. Must be ready, because the regular season starts September 15th!


Total Eclipse of a Qualifying

Ever built one of those thingamajiggers in grade school science class to look at the sun? You are well aware that you shouldn't stare at the actual sun, but how bad could it be? Just a peak, for a few seconds, right at the burning fire of reality.

Or rather, maybe it is like watching a horror film from behind one's hand – peeking between the fingers. The urge to watch is more than there. One is driven to see the horrors for oneself, even if it might leave nightmares for 4 long years.

Canada’s men’s national soccer (hereafter known as football) team (CMNT) faces 4 long years of waiting, should tonight's match-up with powerhouse Mexico be yet another defeat. As recently as last week, the CMNT blew up what was felt to be REAL World Cup qualifying hopes, when they lost a home match 2-1 versus Honduras.

With 4 matches remaining in stage 3, and only -1 in the goal differential column, Canada is not mathematically out. Sadly, this does not take into account that of these 4 matches, 3 will be in foreign, unfriendly confines and a fourth will be a rematch versus said Mexico.

I have my face covered, though I’m still peeking.

For more blog commentary on tonight’s match-up, I hyperlink thee to the following:

And some more official links:


World Junior Tournament 2009 - Oilers Prospects

August was a chance for both 2008 Edmonton Oilers draft pick Johan Motin and 2007 pick William Quist to don the blue and gold Tre Kronor jerseys in advance of this year's IIHF World Junior Tournament

Two separate exhibition tournaments were the chance for evaluations of Swedish talent prior to selection of the team that will be on the ice this December in Ottawa. Sweden has drawn into group B along with Russia¸ Finland, Slovakia, and Latvia. Canada is in group A with the USA, Germany, Kazakhstan and the Czech Republic.

Pär Mårts returns to the helm of Sweden's Juniorkronorna, as they are known, after last year’s somewhat surprise silver medal performance (link to video clip). Mårts added the Juniors silver to his coaching resume, to go along with a 1994 Olympic Gold (assistant coach) and a 2004 Swedish Elite Series title (head coach).

The approach to selecting this year's team appears to be divided among two groups of players. Half (22 players) I will term the "Real Deal", and the other 22 shall be known as the "Soon-to-be Runners-up".

The "Real Deal" travelled over the Atlantic to Lake Placid, NY in early August to face a series of matches against 3 squads made up of the US junior program. Sweden’s team featured heavily touted 2009 draft prospect Victor Hedman and LA Kings prospect, Oscar Möller. The Oilers' Johan Motin was also among the "Real Deal", though did not register any points in the 4 matches played.

Later in August, the "Soon-to-be Runners-up" traveled to the Four Nations Cup in the Czech Republic. They finished a respectable third, which is not bad considering they were a bit of a B-team. The players, most of whom will be playing in the J20 programs in Sweden or with Allsvenska clubs, had a convincing win over Finland but lost to Russia and the host Czechs. William Quist played 3 tournament matches in the Czech Republic and was held pointless, though did register on the scoresheet with 4 PIM and was -1. Additionally, he appeared in a 6-2 (non-tournament) win over Slovakia, Aug 29.

Though they may be looked at as a B-team, these players were still are on an international stage and it was the chance to impress the coaching staff for future exhibition matches.

This means very little. If anything can be drawn from these matches, it is the status report on where Mr. Quist and Mr. Motin rank in terms of the Swedish class of 1989-1991. The Oilers have 2 young prospects both of whom are being looked at for the national junior team. Positive, yes?

Next up, Mårts will likely whittle down his prospects, with exception of those playing in the WHL & AHL, and will compose a team of Swedish based players for the Four Nations tournament that is set for Uppsala, Sweden in November.

Motin was previously scheduled to appear at the Oilers Rookie and Training camp though now appears set to start the season with Elite Series team Färjestad BK.

Quist is also set to start the season with his new Allsvenska club, Nybro IF.

FINAL NOTE: Björn Bjurling's Tre Kronor appearance was hardly spectacular as the Swedes lost 4-1. Sweden showed some fire power registering 32 shots, to Finlands 20. This article notes that in the 2nd period, Bjurling allowed 2 goals on 4 shots while during the same span, Sweden peppered Finland with 13 shots and scored only once.