Ostling: “Enjoy the moment”
by Lucas Aykroyd|12 JUN 2022
Swedish head coach Madeleine Ostling has guided her team to a semi-final meeting with the defending champion Americans at the 2022 U18 Women's Worlds in Wisconsin.
photo: Chris Tanouye / HHOF-IIHF Images
Swedish head coach Madeleine Ostling can truly relate to what her U18 Women’s Worlds players are going through because she lived it out herself in 2008. Then an assistant captain with Brynas IF at the tender age of 17, she suited up at the inaugural tournament in Calgary, where the Swedes came fourth.

Serving as a U18 assistant coach each year from 2016 to 2018, she won a silver medal with the Cinderella Swedish team in Dmitrov. Now Ostling will need to get the very best out of her 2022 group as head coach in order to get past the host Americans, who are defending champions, in Sunday’s semi-finals.

Ostling chatted with the hockey media after the 2-1 quarter-final win over the Czechs.

What did you think of the quarter-final?

I think it was a game that had almost everything. It was an intense game. Two good teams that played, but I'm super-happy that we won this one.

How intense was it when the Czechs mounted their push in the third period?

The Czechs are a good team. It's hard when they're pushing so hard. But at our bench, it was good energy, not calm energy, but a good energy. 

Your thoughts on getting to play the Americans again after losing 6-1 in the opener?

I'm very happy to have another chance because we learned a lot from that game. We need to step up our activity, we need to be stronger in the 50-50 battles, and also believe a little bit more in ourselves.

Your team has continued to get better with each game.

It's a process for this team during the tournament. And I think we have been better for every game and also each period. That’s a thing that we talk about a lot in the team. And also I want to [give extra credit] for our goalie today. Lisa Jonsson was phenomenal in the net. She was great. 

Did you expect this kind of physical quarter-final with some penalties?

Yeah, it's an intense game, and I think for sure it was too many penalties from our side, more than I wanted. But we had a hard time figuring out the level from the referees today. I think both teams felt that way. Still, we had a great penalty kill and a good power play and we won today. So I'm happy even though it was hard.

What made your PK work so well?

I think we had very good scouting on the Czech power play. Kim Martin Hasson did a great job for us. So we knew what what they wanted to do. They had like a few things they wanted to do in different power plays. So I think our players were prepared. We did a good job with that.

What are your favorite memories from 2008 in Calgary as a player?

Long time ago! And oh, great memories. It was a nice team to be around. Obviously, I also remember that we didn’t get the result we wanted. We lost 4-2 against the Czechs in the bronze medal game. But it was a great experience. And that’s what I want to give our players – a great memory and to feel that they don’t regret anything when they come home, to do your best and feel safe with that.

What are some of the special qualities that Kim Martin Hasson brings to the position of video coach as a former star goalie?

She helps a lot with the goalies too. So we have great staff that help each other. But she’s very good at reading the play, and she’s done great, great work with the video tool so far. That said, I also want to bring Pernilla Winberg up – great work with the power play. And also, our goalie coach Jens Frederiksson really, really supports the goalies to do their best.

The SDHL is getting more coverage in Sweden due to the six-year TV deal that began in 2019-20. How has that impacted the popularity of women’s hockey in Sweden?

Very much. It’s important that the crowd gets to see us even if they can’t come to the rink. Maybe a few can’t come – busy lives nowadays – so it’s great that they can see us on TV at least.

The SDHL is also talking about legalizing bodychecking to a certain extent next season. What are your feelings about that plan?

Tough question! New rule. They said we are going to try for one year and then we’ll see. But hopefully, maybe it's going to be a little bit more even because we had like ups and downs, depending what kind of referee you had. Some referees haven't been a referee in a women’s game before, so that they feel like we can touch each other. So I hope it's going to be more even, not more rough or ugly.

What do you hope players can take away from this U18 Women’s Worlds experience?

Believe in themselves. Enjoy the moment. You have nothing to lose. They love to play ice hockey. If you love it and don't feel scared, you play the best. So that's what I want them to feel that the coaching staff and this group have created for them. Just do your best. You can’t do more than that.