Shimmy shimmy ya with these hirsute heroes
Skating is huge in Sweden – if it involves ice. They’re also pretty good at it. The men’s national ice hockey team is ranked number one in the world and their Olympic team won silver at Sochi last month, while the women’s team just missed out on bronze.
“I believe all Swedish people have skated on ice at some point in their lives,” says Ol’ Nerdy Bastard, a tough talking derby player who sports an exquisite beard. “Hockey players, bandy players and long distance skating would be Sweden Men’s Roller Derby’s backgrounds, although as far as I’m aware we have no ice dancers.”
When it comes to men’s roller derby though, Nerdy says there are “only a few brave enthusiasts” in Sweden. “There is one men’s team, which is my team, The Salty Seamen out of Gothenburg, and one co-ed team, The Malmö Royals.”
According to Nerdy, the men’s game has struggled with credibility among the women’s teams and finds it hard to attract guys onto the flat track, which isn’t helped by the distance between cities.
“Luleå has a very open climate towards men’s teams but in Stockholm there is a lack of interested players to form a team. Distance is also a killer in Sweden with 1500km between some teams. Some teams have to travel 200km to their closest team.”
“The groundbreaking game for men’s derby was in Kallio, Helsinki, in Finland, where the first Scandinavian men’s bout was fought between Sweden’s The Peaches vs Finland’s Sons of Peaches,” recalls Nerdy. “Sweden started with eight players and ended with five due to foul outs and injuries. We fought a good battle but I am sad to say that the Finns won.
“This truly was a milestone and a great game though; messy as nothing ever seen on Scandinavian soil. Today I am proud to be able to say I was there and I battled 1000 kilos of testosterone-filled Finns.”
The national team has since gone official and expanded. Seventeen players will make the trip to England for MRDWC, alongside Ankefar of Crime City and Obnoxious Li Olsson of London Rockin’ Rollers on the bench.
“We are so proud to be able to say that we have Ankefar from CCR as our head coach. She has great experience as a player having competed in the 2011 Blood and Thunder World Cup and she also coaches regularly. As line-up we have the amazing Obnoxious Li Olsson. She is a cunning tactician and the right hand of Ankefar.”
The Swedes already have some experience playing together as The Dirty Few. They beat the Netherlands in Eindhoven last year and finished third at the Kings of the North tournament in January in Malmö. They also played their first international game proper, as Sweden MRD, against Finland a week ago in a warm-up match, though it didn’t quite go to plan.
“We’ve been suffering a lot of minor and also some major injuries lately, so the conditions were not perfect, but the brave men of Sweden went over the Baltic Sea to once again meet the Finns,” says Nerdy.
“Unfortunately we had a really bad start and were unable to stop Finland’s jammers. The lead was at one point 50-1 to Finland. As we woke up we were able to control the game better but we were just too far behind and the game ended 270-150.
“It’s always bitter to lose against them but they were the better side this time. However as a team we showed that we never give up and can step up our game.”
The Swedes now have one final warm-up match, against Gothenburg Roller Derby’s A team, before they head to the world cup.
“We’re just looking forward to playing roller derby; it’s a jolly good time for everyone. The rush of a competition is just an extra spice. Of course I hope this will help us move the sport forwards by building great bonds with other teams and players to better ourselves and I hope to make some new friends.
“Go, go, Sverige! Go!”
Who will Sweden be watching at MRDWC?
Ol’ Nerdy Bastard
I’m excited to play against Sutton Impact (Eng). I gave him a penalty once while refereeing in London and he was not amused, to say the least. I’ll make him eat his words this time around. And Ninjapan; are they ninjas? I hope they are ninjas.
Post by Beat Monkey / @jamiepotter