Stars Come Out at Night
by Risto Pakarinen|18 NOV 2022
The gala at Aviici Arena in Stockholm.
photo: Risto Pakarinen
On 17 November 2022, a hundred years to the day since the foundation of the Swedish Ice Hockey Association, it celebrated the centennial with a big gala at the Aviici Arena in Stockholm, formerly known as the Globe, built for the 1989 Worlds – the venue of the 1995, 2012 and 2013 Worlds – and getting ready to host the 2025 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship.

The site is full of Swedish hockey history, as the Globe Arena sits next to the Johanneshov’s rink that hosted the Worlds in 1963, 1969 and 1970.

Recapping a century of hockey in a country that’s won eleven men’s World Championships, two Olympic gold medals, a women’s Olympic silver, two World Juniors gold medals, been in a Canada Cup final and won over 700 of the more than 1,000 international games its men’s team has played, not to mention the 400 NHL players that have come out of the nation, well, it’s a tall order.

“How do you compare one generation to another? I think it's impossible,” said Henrik Lundqvist. “When I stood on the stage and looked out to the crowd I saw a lot of guys that I had looked up to as a kid, players who had inspired me.”

Even though it’s natural that there’s a slight bias toward the heroes and heroines of our time, during the night, legends from the past were also highlighted, all the way from the first women’s team – founded by Crown Princess Margareta in 1908 – to the modern women’s hockey pioneers to the first Tre Kronor team to Sven Tumba, Ulf Sterner, Kent Nilsson and referee Dag Olsson.

It did make for a fun and heart-warming two-hour gala, celebrating Swedish hockey, its accomplishments and all the players, coaches, and officials that have been a part of the century-long success story. And well wishes from President Tarja Halonen of Finland.

“The IIHF is proud to have a member like Sweden, and to have such a huge ice hockey history is impressive,” said IIHF President Luc Tardif as he presented the award for Coach of the Century to the late Tommy Sandlin.

The gala was also a celebration of the life and career of Borje Salming, who was in attendance despite health issues due to ALS.

He received three standing ovations and accepted the NHL’s Honorary Award from Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly. Salming was surrounded by his family on stage as he formed a heart with his hands, signalling his love to the people of his country, in his last public appearance. Salming also received the Greatest Moment award, as voted by the general public, for the standing ovation he received in Toronto at Sweden’s opening game in the 1976 Canada Cup. 

Salming was also named to the nation’s men’s Centennial All-Star Team with Henrik Lundqvist, Nicklas Lidstrom, Mats Sundin, Peter Forsberg, and Hakan Loob. 

“Hakan was my idol and I wanted to be a goal scorer like him... but I guess I didn’t have the talent,” Forsberg said in a self-deprecating way.

On the women’s Centennial All-Star Team were goaltender Kim Martin Hasson, defenders Jenni Asserholt and Emma Eliasson, and forwards Maria Rooth, Erika Holst, and Danijela Rundqvist. 

At the end of the night, it was the modern legends of Swedish hockey - Lidstrom, Lundqvist, Forsberg and Martin Hasson – who walked around Globen with their awards. Lundqvist was also named men’s All-Time Goaltender, Forsberg men’s All-Time Forward, Martin Hasson women’s All-Time Goalie, and Lidstrom men’s All-Time Defender and Player of the Century. 

“I’m incredibly honoured and proud, naturally. I’m not sure I can reflect on this,” said Martin Hasson, who’s currently the GM of Frolunda Gothenburg’s women’s team.

“I retired fairly young, which is typical for women’s hockey. I see a better future for women’s hockey and I’m very focused on working toward it.”

The Awards

Katarina Timglas
Dag Olsson

Centennial Club Team
Nacka HK 1988–1998 (W)
Brynäs IF 1966–1972 (M)

Coach of the Century
Tommy Sandlin, Brynas, Swedish national team

Men’s Centennial All-Star Team
G: Henrik Lundqvist
D: Borje Salming
D: Nicklas Lidstrom
F: Peter Forsberg
F: Mats Sundin
F: Hakan Loob

Goalkeeper of the Century
Kim Martin Hasson
Henrik Lundqvist

Defender of the Century
Gunilla Andersson Stampes
Nicklas Lidström 
Forward of the Century
Erika Holst
Peter Forsberg

Team of the Century
The 2006 Olympic Gold Medal Team 

Player of the Century
Kim Martin Hasson
Nicklas Lidstrom

NHL Honorary Award
Borje Salming