Europe’s kings are coming
Article - Europe’s kings are coming
In Frolunda HC the dominator of European club hockey enters the Spengler Cup. The traditional team from Goteborg has won four of the past five Champions League editions. Could the first Swedish Spengler Cup title since 1994 also happen?
Frolunda’s colours may be red, green, and white, but in the past decade the club has been the gold standard. Under coach Roger Ronnberg, instated in 2013, the team has won two Swedish championships and won the Champions League four times - in 2017 facing Spengler Cup opponent Sparta Praha. Ronnberg is considered an excellent player developer, winning U20-world championship gold in 2012. “For us player development stands above all else. If we, for example, should struggle to score goals, we will not simply sign new players. Instead, we will attempt to squeeze more out of our existing resources’, he once described his philosophy in Frolunda.
This attitude is anchored deep in the club’s DNA - and the results speak for themselves. Not only does Frolunda win many games and titles, but also exports players to the NHL with breathtaking regularity. Icons Daniel Alfredsson and Henrik Lundqvist began their careers here - Henrik’s 39-year old brother Joel still captains the team. The volume of draft picks has been enormous in the past years: Buffalo selected Rasmus Dahlin first overall in 2018. Eight of the organization’s players were selected between 2019 and 2020. In comparison: Switzerland had one single draft pick in the same timeframe. In some way, Frolunda has been a victim of its own success: the roster is in constant transition, the best forces continuously departing for North America. In the past two years Frolunda finished the regular season in seventh place.
But the engagement of Frolunda is a coup for the Spengler Cup organizers around tournament director Marc Gianola. The long-planned participation of Europe’s kings is a strong signal and significantly improves the tournament from a talent perspective. Frolunda may well be the tournament favourite. Despite their youth development, the team does not lack established players and attractions. In Ryan Lasch (ZSC Lions and Bern) as well as Jan Mursak (bern) the roster also contains two forwards with a Swiss past. On defence the two most important players are Stefan Elliott and Christian Folin.
Text: SLAPSHOT/Nicola Berger Bild: Frölunda HC