O-vik. Swedish for hockey
by Andrew Podnieks|06 FEB 2022
Emma Soderberg is one of four Swedes who were born in Ornskoldsvik, a the true hockey town in Sweden.
photo: Andre Ringuette / HHOF-IIHF Images
It’s a tough name to pronounce, but an easy name to remember. Ornskoldsvik. It’s rather north in Sweden, and any hockey fan of the men’s game knows it’s hockey royalty. Despite being 600 km north of Stockholm, and despite claiming a population of only about 60,000, this city has produced an inordinate number of Tre Kronor stars – Peter Forsberg, Victor Hedman, Daniel and Henrik Sedin, Marcus Naslund, Anders Hedberg, Niklas Sundstrom, Mattias Timander, among many others. 

But here’s the thing. It’s not just on the men’s side. It’s the women, too. It’s a paper mill town, a working town, but outside of Monday to Friday, 9 to 5, it’s a hockey town. More specifically, that means MODO, the club team that has been a central force in the development of virtually every local talent. The current women’s team in Beijing boasts four players from this one small town, and the national program has several others who were born and grew up in what everyone calls O-vik. 

Emma Soderberg is the most prominent name these days. The 23-year-old goalie (24 on 18 February) grew up in the MODO system, playing for five years (2013-18) in the SDHL in her early teens before going away on a scholarship at the University of Minnesota Duluth. She played at the 2015 and 2016 women’s U18s, winning bronze in the latter, and was important during Sweden’s successful qualification for Beijing. She stopped 37 of 39 shots in the team’s 3-1 loss to Japan to start these Olympics.

Ebba Berglund, like Soderstrom, is ’98 born, and in O-vik that means that the two were teammates with MODO. Indeed, Berglund, a defender, played four years with Soderberg but has since moved around the SDHL, playing for Linkoping, Lulea, and HV71. She won two club championships with Lulea before being lured to HV71 just last year. Berglund was on that third-place WW18 team in 2016 as well as the successful qualification team last year.

Paula Bergstrom is a year younger than Soderberg and Berglund but has been a MODO lifer. She also started playing senior hockey in 2013, at the age of 14, and the only interruption in her SDHL career with her native team was 2019-21, when she moved overseas and played for the Long Island University in New York. She became the first LIU alumna to play at the Olympics, but for most of the past two seasons she has been back home with MODO. She also played at the 2015 and 2017 WW18 tournaments. 

Emma Nordin is one of the veterans on the current team. She is at her fourth Olympics and has also played at six Women’s Worlds and two women’s U18s. The 30-year-old started her career with, surprise, MODO, staying for eleven years (2004-15). She has been with Lulea since then and is expected to turn her experience into a valuable education for the younger players here in Beijing. 

Celine Tedenby is currently an alternate with the Olympic team and is a MODO alum from 2012-18 until she left to play for the University of Maine Black Bears, an NCAA school rich in developing European players. Rahel Enzler (SUI), Amalie Andersen (DEN), Michelle Weis (DEN), Teresa Vanisova (CZE), and Vendula Pribylova (CZE) all have U of Maine blood in their veins. The 22-year-old Tedenby also played at three U18s between 2015 to 2017. 

Maja Grundstrom is next-gen O-vik. Only 19 years old, she played at the 2019 and 2020 U18 Women’s Worlds. She had her senior debut with MODO in 2015 at age 13 and has been in the program ever since, first with the junior team and for the last four years with the senior incarnation. She will be on the national team at some point.

Moa Vernblom played five years with her hometown MODO team before moving over to Linkoping in 2018. She also played at three U18s, 2014-16, but has yet to make an appearance at the senior Women’s Worlds. Still only 23, she has time to develop into a top-level player.

Ann-Louise Edstrand was a long-time player for the Swedes, appearing in three Olympics (1998-2006) and nine Women’s Worlds between 1994 and 2008. She was on that famous 2006 team that won silver in Turin, and in 2016 she was inducted into the Swedish Hockey Hall of Fame. 

Tina Enstrom played most of her league hockey with MODO before moving to Djurgarden Stockholm. She also played at the 2010 Olympics, five Women’s Worlds, and two WW18s.