Thursday, September 23, 2010

An introduction to the Norwegian Elite League - part 2

Click here for part 1.

Sparta Warriors (the club is really named Sparta Sarpsborg

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History
Sparta was founded in 1958. They won the Norwegian Championships in 1984 and 1989. In 1995 they went bankrupt and got relegated to level 3, but were back in the elite league just 2 years later.

Last season
Sparta finished second in the league and lost 2-4 in the semis to Stavanger.

Arena
Sparta Amfi was built in 1963 and became Norway's first indoor hockey arena. The building is old and the facilities are pretty run down and the dressing rooms are shitty. The arena itself is dark and cavernous and has a capacity of 3 450 people. As bad as the arena is, it is often full and when the crowd is rocking it is LOUD. It's probably the hardest road arena to play in.





Location
Sarpsborg is a city in the county Østfold. It is 50 mins or so East of Oslo, towards the Swedish border.

This pic shows its location in the Southern half of Norway (green dot):


Key personell
Defenseman Mat Robinson who has NCAA and AHL experience looks like a very exciting addition before this season. The same does 21 year old Alaska product Dion Knelsen (FW). But the two key players for the team are forward Henrik Malmström, a swede with a lot of experience from the Swedish Elite league, and team captain Jonas Andersen. Andersen is an experienced forward with some national team experience and some experience from Sweden.

Overview
Sparta has a team with a mix of good young players and some experienced veterans. It's not the team with the most star power, but they have a very deep team and are hard to play against. Sarpsborg has hockey as its number one sport and lately hockey has become extremely popular there. They even call themselves Hockeytown (ugh). And with a good team and a good home crowd, this will be a team to be reckoned with. I think they will finish third in the league and then win the championship.


Stavanger Oilers

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History
Stavanger Oilers was founded by Finnish expats in 2000 and was promoted to the Elite League a couple of years later. They won their first Norwegian championship in 2010.

Last season
They finished third in the league and won the Norwegian Championship.

Arena
Siddishallen takes 3 100 people and was built in 1968. It's an old arena, but it has decent facilities and has been shined up lately, so it's a pretty nice arena. Nothing special, but nice enough.





Location
Stavanger is a city on the Southwestern coast of Norway. It's a pretty nice city and it is the oil capital of Norway.

Location in Norway (green dot):


Key personell
Finnish goalie Antti Ore is a key reason for their recent success. Defensively, Norwegian national team player Juha Kaunismäki is the anchor. Henrik Solberg also has some nation team time. Former UMass, Griffins and Springfield defenseman Cleve Kinley is an exciting addition too. Up front Lars-Peder Nagell, Snorre Hallem and Marius Trygg are both veterans with national team experience. Peter Lorentzen is on the national team now and is a key forward. Several Swedish and Finnish forwards round out the pack.

Overview
This team has a few very good Norwegian players and then a good crop of foreigners. Ex-national team player and coach Petter Thoresen coaches them well and there is no doubt that this is one of the country's better teams. I predict a second place finish and then a loss in the semifinals.


Rosenborg

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History
Rosenborg is mostly known as Norway's best football club. The hockey team was founded in 1934, but always lived in the shadow of city rival Trondheim IK. When TIK went bankrupt a couple of years ago it opened the door for Rosenborg, who was promoted to the elite league this year.

Last season
They won the division 1 comfortably and got promoted after placing second in the promotion/relegation playoffs.

Arena
Leangen ishall was built in 1977 and takes 3 000 people. I have never been there, so I know nothing about it really.





Location
Rosenborg is from Norway's third biggest city, Trondheim, which is in the middle of the country, by the coast.

Location in the country (green dot):


Key personell
In goal they have young national team backup Ruben Smith. He's a pretty good goalie (and a nice guy). On defense, young Lars Petter Mengshoel will be a key player. I remember playing against him as a youngster and the kid is good. Offensively Inge Stokvik has always been the club's big player, but now he has help from former University of Vermont product (and Detroit Little Ceasars product) Colin Vock and former Hamilton Bulldog Ilya Dubkov.

Overview
The team has been strengthened a little since last year, but their roster remains to thin and full of young, inexperienced player. The fact that David Brodawski, a guy who played one year above me for the same team as me, makes the team scares me. I predict that they finish last, but survive the relegation round.


Stjernen (means The Star)

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History
The team was founded in 1960. They became Norwegian Champions in 1981 and 1986. They won the league in 1986/87.

Last season
Stjernen finished 6th and lost to arch rivals Sparta 2-4 in the quarters.

Arena
Stjernehallen was built in 1970 and takes 2 473 people. It's a bit old, but it is nice enough and has decent facilities, even though the dressing rooms are a bit cramped. This is the arena where my team won the Norwegian Championship in my age group (15 year olds) in 2003.



Location
Stjernen are from Fredrikstad, a city in Østfold, 50 minutes East of Oslo, towards Sweden. The city is almost grown together with Sparta's hometown Sarpsborg.

Location in Southern Norway (green dot):


Key personell
The team has National team starter (and plumber) Pål Grotnes in goal. On defense they have no big names, though Alex Syversen, ex-teammate, is an asshole. Henric Höglund and Elias Godoy leads the team offensively.

Overview
The team doesn't have too many big names, but the team is deep and filled with pretty good players. I think they will finish 5th and lose in the first round.

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