A Brit On Thin Ice
  • Hem
  • A Brit On Thin Ice
A Brit On Thin Ice

CHL: Frölunda make to fifth final to meet Mountfield

Frölunda Indians continue to show why they are the Champions Hockey’s League’s most successful team, taking themselves to a fifth final in the competition’s six year old history.

They will face Czech opponents in the final for the first time since 2015/6, in the shape of Mountfield BK. The home team put pay to the possibility of another all Swedish final in the CHL by dumping out Djurgården IF by an impressive 6-1 on aggregate.

Frölunda again took the difficult route to the final, going into tonight’s deciding match in Luleå with a 2-3 deficit having been outplayed by the SHL league leaders in Gothenburg last week.

And when Luleå HF scored first to stretch their lead to two goals through the ever present Finn, Juhani Tyrväinen at 13:41 it seemed a repeat on the 2014/5 CHL final might be on the cards with the Norrbotten team coming out on top.

But in the second period the visiting Indians do what they do best - come from behind and take an unlikely victory.

One of the key architects of that was 37 year old captain, Joel Lundqvist. Whilst he may have been their most penalized player, sitting out for six minutes in total, he was a key part of their crucial game changing second period goal when he deftly flicked the puck to New York Islanders drafted Rhett Rakhshani to net on the powerplay at 30:59. He was also the goalscorer of the equalizing goal at 43:19 with a beautiful deflection in front of Luleå netminder, Joel Lassinantti.

Luleå are great on defense and for almost two hours managed to put a lid on Frölunda’s diminutive playmaker, Ryan Lasch so that he was barely noticeable. But the undrafted American was able to do what all great players do - make a difference in one split second when it counts. And at 50:35 he took the puck just at the top of the left hand circle, shifted to the left to beat his man and shot the puck past the Luleå minder up into the net.

Mountfield will be able to look at the match videos and see how to neutralize Frölunda, but the question still remains if they can do it for long enough to prevent the Swedish team taking their fourth CHL trophy at five attempts when the two teams meet in the Czech Republic on 4 February.

Dela inlägg
A Brit On Thin Ice

SDHL: Finnish stars dominate as Luleå thrash Brynäs

Brynäs IF are rising stars in the SDHL, have bought a team in the summer of 2018 to challenge at the top of the women's hockey league. Sitting in third before today's match they could take second place away from visiting Luleå/ MSSK if they won.

This top of the table clash was played by 11 of the league's top 16 scorers. But it was the current champions who put on a powerful display to humiliate the young pretenders, who were on home ice. Luleå did it primarily with a third period where they scored three goals without reply to win the game 2-7.

Brynäs got goals through their newly bought stars - drawing level through former Toronto Furies' Michela Cava at the end of the first period at 1-1. Then reducing the deficit to just 2-3 with c. 5 minutes to go in the second period through the league's top scorer and Swiss international, Lara Stalder.

But it was the Finnish pairing of forward, Michelle Karvinen and defender, Ronja Savolainen who, almost single-handedly, destroyed the Gävle team today.

The 29 year old forward has missed nine league matches, as well as an international duty for an undisclosed injury. But Karvinen was back to the kind of form that won her the SDHL top scorer's prize three years in a row from 2015/6-2017/8 with 2G+2A.

Meanwhile the 22 year old Savolainen was involved in all three of the team's final period goals with 1G+2A as she chases HV71's US Olympic Gold medalist, Sidney Morin for the top scoring defender of the year competition.

HV71 remain at the top of the SDHL, but Luleå showed the kind of form which makes them a likely bet to be joining the Jönköping team in the final in a few months time.

Dela inlägg
A Brit On Thin Ice

Russia banned from competing at Olympic Games

On Monday 9 December, the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) announced that Russia would be banned from competing in "all major sporting events” for the next four years, therefore including in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games. The announcement follows the failure of the Russian Anti Doping Agency (RUSADA) to comply with WADA's standards in January 2019. The Russians have the possibility of contesting the ruling through the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

Sochi

Allegations of Russian doping practices have been widespread since the 2014 Sochi Games where the country was accused of mounting a blanket doping campaign among its athletes and using sophisticated cover up techniques to hide performance enhancing drugs (PED) usage.

Doping in Olympic ice hockey

At Sochi the country’s sixth place in the women’s ice hockey competition was removed from the record books when seven of the team were accused of doping during the Oswald's Commission investigation into Russian doping at the Games. According to InsideTheGames.biz website, two of these athletes returned values that where physically impossible for women to obtain. In the end six players were banned for life from the 2014 squad.

Not that this is the first time that hockey players have been banned from the Winter Olympics for PED use. According to figures from Wikipedia, four hockey players have been banned from participating in the Winter Games between 1974-2010.

But Sochi saw an unprecedented increase with three other hockey players being banned apart from the Russians. They included Washington Capitals' defenseman, Niklas Bäckström. The Swede fell foul of a difference in the rules in the NHL, where his sinusitis medication is legal, and the Olympics, which run under WADA’s stricter rules regarding this medication.

Two of the Latvian team were also banned - Ralfs Freibergs, who has played with the Montreal Canadiens AHL team, and Vitalijs Pavlovs who has played the majority of his career at KHL team, Dynamo Kiev. But both players played in the ECHL the season after Sochi proving the old adage that "no publicity is bad publicity" to be true.

The future of Russian Olympic hockey

Gary Bettman has already indicated that, just as in 2018, it seems unlikely that NHL players will take part in the 2022 Beijing Games. But Russians may have the same “get out of jail free card” that was given them in the fallout from the Sochi scandal. That is the possibility for athletes to compete under the neutral Olympic banner.

In Pyongyang the so called Olympic Athletes of Russia (OAR) team came fourth in the women's tournament but won Gold in overtime against the surprise of tournament, Germany, in the men's tournament. The Game Winning Goal was scored by Minnesota Wild drafted, Kirill Kaprizov (in photo, above and re-live his goal at 2:21 in the official highlights video, below).

Further complications may arise with the ice hockey World Championships, players who currently play in the Russian Kontinental Hockey League as well as if the KHL joins the European wide, Champions Hockey League as the ban relates to "all major sporting events".

However, the Euro 2020 football tournament is scheduled to go ahead in St Petersburg as planned, so there appears to be some flexibility in the ruling - which many have already suggested undermines WADA's ban in the first place.

Dela inlägg
A Brit On Thin Ice

SDHL EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW - Zoe Hickel of Linköping

27-year-old, Zoe Hickel, comes from a hockey playing family but describes herself as a regular girl from Alaska, USA who loves the outdoors and cosing down next to the camp fire.

But right now, she’s living with her younger sister, Tori Hickel, in a flat in Sweden’s fastest growing city, Linköping. For the second year in a row the sisters are playing in the same club, but last year it was with the last ever Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL) champions, Calgary Inferno.

Growing up Zoe loved skiing as well as hockey. But when it came to taking only one of them seriously it was a no-brainer to choose hockey, “There’s a lot of individual pressure with skiing, but with hockey you get to go through everything as a team, the good and the bad. It’s as individuals come together that everything happens. My best friends have all come out of hockey -it’s a special kinda friendship that you don’t get anywhere else”.

And if you had any doubt about her passion for the sport, you ask her a few questions and watch her face light up, thinking tactics from the off. “Would I be on the same line as Forsberg?” she asks when I ask her which Swedish legend she would rather play in a team with, Peter Forsberg or Henrik Lundqvist? Hickel is a woman who want to play with the best and beat the best.

Her exuberance and experience just flows out of her - not a surprise when you consider in the space of just five years after college she has won the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL), the CWHL championship, two World Championship gold medals as well as being the top scoring American in CWHL in 2018/9.

But now she's in Sweden, “I’m really enjoying it, there’s something special about the place and it’s great to share it with Tori - she can show me all the things she loves about it. Of course, Sweden is where I won my first World Championship medal…” she drops into conversation.

That was in 2015 when Hickel had just graduated from the University of Minnesota-Duluth where she was linemates with Sweden and Linköping star, Pernilla Winberg. The plan at the start of the season was to reform the Winberg-Hickel line. But sadly, the veteran has not played a single minute since she was signed off for concussion at the beginning of October.

But Malmö wasn’t the only place Hickel has collected World Championship gold. The second win came in Kamloops, Canada the following year. “To beat the Canadians in Canada with all the fans against you… that was something special,” she says with smile.

The second Gold medal occurred in the same season that Hickel was part of the Boston Pride team that won the NWHL's inaugural Isobel Cup.

But whilst things started well in the NWHL's second year, out of nowhere suddenly all the players pay was cut, “It was really tough,” she said, “But who can play for a club like the Metropolitan Riveters if they can’t actually earn enough to live in New York?” she points out getting to the crux of the crisis within women’s hockey - it's about people who love the sport and want to make it a career with a living wage.

Hickel, and some of the others from the American national team, chose to cross the border and join the CWHL because of the strength and depth of the player pool as well as being able to get regular practice against their biggest rivals, the Canadians.

When her team, Calgary Inferno, won the 2019 Clarkson Cup final against Les Canadiennes du Montreal multiple Olympic and World Championship Gold medallists were on the ice. "We worked hard all year long and you knew you’d beaten the best ranked players in the world. It was a great feeling!” she reminisced, “Then, a week later, we got a call that league had folded. We were in total shock”.

Hickel said that because her husband works in Calgary, they had been thinking of staying put there for a few years, so it was a terrible moment personally, as well as professionally.

The CWHL’s collapsed on 1 May 2019 led directly to the start of the #ForTheGame movement, which was launched the following day. Over 200 players, including Tori and Zoe Hickel, took dramatic action aimed at creating, "a sustainable professional league for Women's Hockey."

With options closed in North America, the invitation to play in Sweden felt like the right thing to do - Tori would return to the country she had played in for two years after graduating from Northeastern College and take her older sister with her for the ride, “I’m 27 years old now!” she laughed, “but hopefully things will sort themselves out for the next generation of players coming through. To be honest, I’m just focusing on the game here at Linköping HC and letting the PWHPA sort things out back home”.

Whilst 25-year-old Tori has played for Djurgården IF, this is Zoe’s first time in the SDHL. “The game’s different here. In North America is was much more north-south, I’m used to a give-and-go game, but here it’s much more about building up play, maybe that’s to do with the extra space”. She says when asked about the differences in the four different leagues she’s played in.

We move onto Linköping’s season, which for players and fans alike has been disappointing with just four regulation wins (at the time of writing) for last year’s runners up.

“We’ve got an optimistic attitude in the group; this is a good team and we’ve got great goaltending at the back. We just need to break down that wall of bad luck - pucks that bounce the wrong side of the net and so on”.

Personally, Hickel has been thinking a lot about her health, “I’ve just come back from five games out, [Isobel] Palm is coming back but Pernilla is out. I’m trying not to put pressure on myself to score masses of goals, I’ve just got to take care of myself”.

Zoe Hickel and Linköping HC could naval gaze and look back on the season that’s gone. But the double world champion knows that things can change fast in hockey – a couple of good results, remaining injury free, a little bit of Lady Luck and a lot of hard work – and this season could still end up with a gold medal around her neck as she has done everywhere else she’s played.

(Hickel wears #36 in the colours of USA in photo, above).

See video of Zoe Hickel’s first international goal for USA during the Gold medal winning 2015 World Cup campaign, below.

Dela inlägg
A Brit On Thin Ice

CHL: Swedish clubs continue to dominate in Europe

Last night in the quarterfinals of the Champions Hockey League three teams from Sweden, three from Switzerland and one a piece from Germany and the Czech Republic remained in the competition.

But by the time the full-time sirens had rung out across Europe all three Swiss teams and the Germans were no longer left, whilst Sweden’s three clubs - Frölunda Indians, Djurgården IF and Luleå Hockey - will all compete in the semifinals alongside the team from the Czech Republic.

Not that it was a foregone conclusion- in three of the games only one goal separated the teams after the first leg on 3 December so all was to play for in the return fixtures.

Djurgården IF alone had a commanding lead after the first leg with a 5-1 win in Stockholm. And they completed the job with ease winning 8-1 in total over last year’s runners up Red Bull Munich.

In the first Swiss-Sweden match up Luleå HF found their way past a spirited Lausanne HC, although the game finishing a convincing 7-3 after the second leg in Sweden.

The other match up between the two nations turned into a CHL classic. Swiss team EHC Biel-Bienne led the match at home 6-4 on aggregate with just 3:58 to go. That was due to two great third period goals from former Edmonton Oilers'Marc-Antonie Pouliot and Austrian international, Peter Schneider. The home team looking set to knockout the current champions.

But Frölunda Indians showed incredible resolve to come back from a two goal deficit, just as they did in the previous round against Farjestad BK.

They sent the game into Overtime through two 6-on-5 goals with their Chicago Blackhawks netminder, Johan Mattson pulled. The gap between the goals was just 29 seconds apart with just 2:31 of regulation left on the clock. They finished off the Swiss when Gothenburg born and bred, Patrik Carlsson, scored in Sudden Death - again with a man advantage on the Power Play. .

The Gothenburg team currently have the competition's top scorer, with undrafted American, Ryan Lasch as well as the top goalscorer remaining in the competition, Samuel Fagemo (pictured). The 2019 Los Angeles Kings drafted Swede who has netted seven times in the CHL and just one more goal will take him to the top of the goal scorers list. They will be in a semifinal that will be a re-run of the first ever CHL final in 2014/5 which was final won by Luleå HF.

Djurgarden will play against Czech team, Mountfield BK, the only non-Swedish side left in the competition. That’s after they shutout EV Zug to complete a miserable night for Swiss club hockey as all three NLA teams crashed out of the competition.

The semi finals will take place on the 7 and 14 January 2020 with Swedish teams Frölunda and Djurgården hosting the first match before the return at Luleå and Mountfield, respectively, the following week.

Dela inlägg
A Brit On Thin Ice

SDHL EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW - Georgina Farman of Brynäs

28-year-old Georgina Farman grew up in Hull on England’s east coast, an unlikely place to start an ice hockey career. In a country more well known for football and rugby and where the women’s hockey is almost non-existent, Farman had many mountains to climb before arriving in Europe’s best league.

As a child she started going to watch men’s game and liked it so much that she asked her parents if she could play – and she hasn’t stopped since then. The only option was to play in mixed teams to start with, but by the age of 14 she was already playing for the senior women’s team with Sheffield Shadows – the sister team to the men’s Elite League club, Sheffield Steelers who have competed in the Champions Hockey League. From the age of just 16 yrs. Farman has also been playing for the Great Britain team.

And it was whilst playing for the national team that Farman experienced her career highlight when Great Britain won the 2008 Division III World Championship. They took the gold medal in dramatic fashion with an overtime goal against Slovenia.

Aged 22, her friend and GB national teammate Katie Henry suggested that Farman move to Sweden and play with her at Norrköping. After a successful first season she was invited to join Linköping HC- not their SDHL team, but their Division 1 outfit.

Despite all this, the thought that she could go pro never entered her mind, the option just wasn’t there and it was just a fun hobby.

Farman remembers wanting to play for the elite squad, loving it when she got to train with them and then getting to play her first ever matches at the pro level. So, when Kim Martin Hasson invited her to join the SDHL squad as a defender for the 2015/6 season, it was like a dream come true, “I couldn’t have been more happy, but I knew there was a lot of hard work ahead of me”, the Hull born player said.

Farman was the first Brit to take this step, but would blaze a trail for others to follow such as Great Britain’s captain Leanne Ganney (SDE), forward Louisa Durnell and netminder Nicole Jackson (both Gothenburg HC).

Four seasons at Linköping HC saw Farman establish herself at the top of the sport in Sweden as a tough defender who was more likely to make the game saving poke check that than the Game Winning Goal. She would collect a gold and two silvers in the Swedish national championships at the Östergötland club.

Throughout this article I have used the phrase “pro-hockey” to talk about the elite level of the sport. But as any of you who follow women’s hockey will know, this usually means the athlete has the attitude of a pro, but must also have another job in order to pay the bills which fits into the demanding schedule of training and travelling to away matches. For Farman, working from home as an accountant has been the surprising compliment to committed hockey lifestyle.

After four years in Linköping the Great Britain defender was in the mood for a change and decided to make the move north to Brynäs IF. And in the summer of 2019 the Gävle club made a number of attention-grabbing signings showing they have only one thing in mind – to win the SDHL. The Englishwoman has been reunited with former Linköping teammates, including the Swiss pairing of the sharp shooting Lara Stalder and fellow defender, Sarah Forster as well as Swedish two ways forward, Emma Muren.

But for Farman it is the team effort that is making the difference, “things are going really well at Brynäs. The team is great,” she says,” I think we have a lot of talented players but we all work hard together as a team and that’s what is getting us the points”.

At the time of writing Farman’s Brynäs sit in third place, just two points behind Djurgården IF. And whilst HV71 are currently at the top, Brynäs beat them 7-2 at home, so don’t be surprised if this team goes all the way and wins their first ever SDHL championship in spring 2020.

The Video clip is from IIHF 2012 World Championship, with no sound on the original.

Dela inlägg
A Brit On Thin Ice

SDHL: Boquist returns to Sweden

Leksand IF visited Linköping HC on Sunday afternoon, in the last SDHL match before the international break and play resumes on 20 December for both teams with a return match up in Tegera Arena.

Last season the two clubs finished third (LHC) and fourth (LIF) - but this year they both find themselves at the bottom of the table going into the break in seventh and eighth, just above the relegation zone occupied by another former top club, MODO Hockey, and perennial stragglers, Gothenburg HC.

Sunday's match was the second time the two team's had met at Stångebro Hallen this year - but for Leksand IF it was another unwanted defeat. However, one of the differences between the two matches was that the Canadian, Brooke Boquist, was in the the blue and white dress of the visitors.

The 23 year old Providence College graduate scored the team's consolation goal to leave the final score as 4-2 to the home side.

But Boquist is no stranger to the SDHL.

This is actually her second year outside of the NCAA and her second year in Sweden, where last year she was at MODO Hockey (see photo). She was one of several Canadians at the club, included Michela Cava and Kaitlyn Tougas. In fact, Boquist and these two are all from the same town, Thunder Bay, Ontario.

But, unfortunately for the young star and the Örnsköldsvik club, Boquist received concussion and did not play for the second half of the season having been one of the league's top scorers with 20 points in 17 games, including 11 goals in 2018/9.

She has now been back in Sweden for Leksand for nine games, in which she has already amassed 10 points meaning she is at almost the exactly the same average as last year with 1.17 PPG.

To give you an idea of her talent, that puts her at a similar the production rate as Luleå/ MSSK's European international players, Emma Nordin (SWE) and Noora Tulus (FIN) as well at former teammate, Tougas.

The second half of Leksand's season will be focused on staying clear of the relegation zone and then mounting a playoff campaign which could take them further than last year's disappointing loss in the quarterfinals.

And you can guarantee that Brooke Boquist will play an important part in that journey. And, despite a year's break from Swedish hockey, the Canadian is already showing the kind of form which will be keeping the opposition's backs and goaltenders very busy before the 2019/20 season ends.

Dela inlägg
A Brit On Thin Ice

SDHL: Top trainer quits with immediate effect

HV71 have dominated the first half of the season in the SDHL winning 18 out of 21 matches.

But now they will have to complete the rest of season without their trainer, Lucas Frey, who left the club with immediate effect on 5 December citing ”personal reasons”.

Frey has been part of the Jönköping’s club set up since 2015, and took over as head coach in 2018/9, a position he held until this week.

Frey’s partner is former Swedish international and HV player, Jenni Asserholt, who retired from pro hockey in 2018/9 when the pair had their first child.

The news comes in the same week as A Brit On Thin Ice published an interview with HV71 forward, Kaitlyn Tougas. The Canadian mentioned that the quality of the coaching staff was one if the reasons she moved to the club.

https://sportbloggare.com/a-brit-on-thin-ice/sdhl-interview-tougas

But now the team will have to manage without Frey and his assistant trainer, Joakim Engström takes over for now.

When asked by Jönköping Posten newspaper the General Manager refused to drawn on whether it had to do with Frey’s training style.

The winter schedule, wIth the international break starting soon, favours the club and they have until 20 December when they play their next match home against reigning champions Luleå/ MSSK to consider their options before the season starts again.

Dela inlägg
A Brit On Thin Ice

SHL: November Review - Luleå top league with 7 straight wins

A light dusting of snow is covering most of the country and the Advent lights are on in houses, whilst Christmas decorations fill every shop - it can mean only one thing - December is here and that means it is time for the November review here in the SHL.

And after seven (!) straight wins, Luleå Hockey have returned to the position they last occupied at the end of last season - first place in the SHL. And with a team that has not changed dramatically from last year, it is the same formula that is producing results - don't let in any goals, and just do enough to win. It is therefore no surprise that keeper, Joel Lassinantti, heads up the netminder league with an awesomely low 1.55 GAA and an incredibly high 93.28 SVS%.

So don't expect a high scoring game if you're thinking of visiting the COOP Arena this year. Their only have one player in the top 25 points scorers this season - 19 year old Nils Lundqvist - and he's only scored 4 goals. Not that the 2018 New York Rangers drafted defenseman will be upset by that - it is already his highest scoring season in the SHL where, despite his age, he has already played nearly 100 games.

Behind the Norrbotten club are four teams, in descending order; Frölunda Indians, Färjestad BK, Örebro HK and HV71 making a group of five clubs only separated by seven points.

The top three on Total Points, in fact, play for the clubs in second and third place - that is Färjestad's undrafted pairing of Marcus Nilsson (6G+18A) and Michael Lindqvist (10G+12A) and the Indians' diminutive American, Ryan Lasch (6G+16A) who also has never been drafted in the NHL.

Worthy of mention is Örebro HK, who have never been in this upper eschalon of the SHL until a recent great run of form. It is worth mentioning their trio of top scorers who no-one would have guessed would be in this position after about half the regular season has been played. They are in 8th place on Total Points, Mattias Brome (7G+12A), in 13th place Sakari Salminen (7G+11A) and 16th place, Shane Harper (8G+8A). The team only lost 3 times in November - two of which were against teams currently above them in the table.

From 6th to 10th place are a collection of clubs separated by 8 points, whilst the bottom four teams are separated by just four. That should give some hope to Leksand IF and IK Oskarshamn, the two teams that have come up from the Allsvenskan, but now sit in the bottom two rungs of the table with 20 points each. There is still a chance to crawl up and over those other teams, including 12th place Linköping HC, who seem unable to find any kind of form, winning just 5 games all year and find themselves very close to the relegation playoff places, with just 21 points this season.

Dela inlägg
A Brit On Thin Ice

SDHL - EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW - Kaitlyn Tougas of HV71

25 year old Canadian, Kaitlyn Tougas, grew up in a hockey family in Thunder Bay, Ontario - a lakeside town which is a similar size to Jönköping where she is playing for HV71 this season.

With her Dad a coach, older brother and sister playing, hockey was natural part of life and she fell in love with the sport and played from as young as just 4 or 5 years old. Whilst enjoying other sports like volleyball, they were just fun activities on the side.

Just six month younger that fellow Thunder Bay inhabitant, Michela Cava, the two of them played youth hockey together as well as being teammates in 2017/8 and 2018/9 at MODO Hockey in northern Sweden.

And it was together with Cava and older sister, Courtney, that Tougas got to take part in one of her career highlights when the Thunder Bay Queens won the 2010 Esso Cup Nationals and Tougas took home MVP of the tournament.

It was always her ambition to gain a hockey scholarship and the drive to make the sport her career took her to the States and four years in the NCAA in the autumn of 2012. In all but her first year at college she topped the scoring for Bemidji State University and was rewarded with a being drafted in the CWHL at #18 by Markham Thunder in 2016.

But after a year in the CWHL she didn't find the success she craved and took the decision to travel to Europe and hook up with Cava at MODO in Sweden.

2018/9 was her breakthrough season in Sweden as the club threatened Luleå's dominance in the SDHL. They finished second in the regular season with Cava winning the Total Points competition and assistant captain, Tougas, herself finishing in 8th with 50 points (20G+30A) in just 36 games.

But it was not to be and for the second year in a row MODO went out in the semifinals against Linköping HC.

So for her third year in Sweden, Tougas decided to swap Örnsköldsvik for Jönköping, whilst Cava and former Bemidji State teammate, Ivana Bilic, opted for Brynäs IF.

"Changing clubs was a decision I made for my own personal growth. I felt that it was time to really commit to a team that was going to have a good shot at winning the gold. HV71 has a great coach and signed a lot of talented players, it felt right to give the south of Sweden a shot", she says about the move, "So far I’m happy with the experience".

And it shows.

Tougas is the top scoring Canadian in the SDHL with 26 points (7G+19A) in 21 games and sits in 7th on Total Points, two points ahead of Cava. And the HV71 team as a whole are crushing the opposition having lost just three games all year, 12 points ahead of second placed Djurgården (at the time of writing). This team is re-writing the rules and raising the standard for the SDHL.

But perhaps more importantly for Tougas, they're in first place and few would bet against the Jönköping team taking their first ever Swedish championship in the women's team's history in the spring.

2019 has been a challenging year for women's hockey both in North America and Sweden. The women's game, "still has many steps to take to be a sustainable career", she says - and she speaks with the experience of playing in three of the top leagues in the world in America, Canada and Sweden.

But right now for the 25 year old Canadian, it's not about talk in the boardroom, but hard work out on the ice - so keep a look out for #19 in the blue and yellow of HV71, otherwise she'll have danced past you on her way to the goal and the first you'll know about it is when the siren rings.

Look on the SDHL's own website if you want to see current footage of Tougas playing for HV71 this season at https://www.sdhl.se/play .

Or if you want to see a bit of older footage check out the You Tube link below to the Bemidji State 2014-5 season review. Tougas wears #9.

You will also see her current HV71 teammate, the American blue liner, Alexis Joyce (#22), who won Rookie of the Year that season and former MODO teammate and defender, Ivana Bilic (#23) playing for the Beavers that year.

Dela inlägg